Posts Tagged 'Economy'

More From My Interview With U.S. Congressman Gene Taylor

As promised, here are a few more quotes and bits of information from my interview with the U.S. Representative Gene Taylor (D, MS-4). The original Radionian article based on my interviews with Rep. Taylor and his potential opponent, Joe Tegerdine, can be read here.


Early in the fifteen minute interview, conducted on April 22, 2010, I made the mistake of framing a question in way that referred to Taylor as a “very moderate Democrat.” Before I could finish my question, he was quick to jump in and correct me, saying affirmatively “A very conservative Democrat.” Far from considering himself a liberal, Taylor is proud to call himself a conservative.

As I wrote in the article, he was quick to dismiss criticism of his Conservative credentials. He has been criticized multiple time for voting to support Nancy Pelosi for Speaker of the House. When I asked him about this, he responded “That’s an election that took place in San Francisco.” Now, it is true that Nancy Pelosi was elected to Congress in San Francisco. However, it was in D.C. where Congress, including Taylor, voted to make her the Speaker. Looking back, I think he may have simply misunderstood my question.

Don’t Ask Don’t Tell

Congressman Taylor’s website indicates that he “supports the current ban on gays in the military.” On his website, he says that “to introduce openly gay men and women without serious regard for the consequences could severely damage the security and morale of our nation’s armed forces.”

I asked him if his mind had changed at all on the issue. I also asked if he would reconsider his position should any evidence arise that showed that gays in the military did not present a threat to the security and morale of our armed forces.

“Even amongst the senior officers there was very strong disagreement. I remain opposed to it.”

Federal Involvement in Education:

I had a pretty long conversation with Joe Tegerdine on education, but due to the time constraints of my conversation with Representative Taylor, he had to be more concise. He referenced his time in the Mississippi state legislature, and pointed out that he had dealt with education before. So how much federal involvement should there be?

“State should shoulder as much responsibility as possible.”

Taxes and the Debt

Though he did not directly say whether or not he would favor raising taxes to pay off the national debt, what he did say indicates that he probably would. He said that there will have to be some changes and that “any program worth doing is worth paying for right now. Otherwise, we shouldn’t be doing it.”


As I mentioned in the article, Taylor favor repeal of the healthcare bill but believes that the provision on pre-existing conditions is worthwhile. He related that he understands the difficulty someone with a pre-existing conditions faces when attempting to get insurance, referencing a family member who suffers from lyme disease.

“I’m the father of the father of a 21 year old who had a pre-existing condition.”

I suppose that “father of the father of” was a clever way of avoiding using the term “grandfather.”

Congressman Taylor did make a joke at my expense as I was beginning my final question. “I have just one more question,” I said. “Do they teach you that in journalism school?” he asked, laughing. He told me that phrasing the final question in such a way was an old journalism trick, and that I am far too young to already know it. I suppose he was expecting it to be my “GOTCHA!” question. Luckily for him, I was only asking what advice he had for college students.

Unfortunately, that’s about all the extra material I have for the interview with Representative Taylor. I enjoyed speaking to him, even though I do disagree with some of his positions.


Interviews With Joe Tegerdine and U.S. Representative Gene Taylor

Tegerdine and Taylor Discuss 2010 Elections, Issues

The Radionian
By Ashton Pittman, Opinions Editor
May 2010, Volume 86, No. 7

The 2010 midterm elections are shaping up to produce heated contests all across the nation that could drastically change the political landscape this November. One of those races may well take place in Mississippi’s 4th Congressional District, which includes Gulfport, Biloxi, Hattiesburg and Laurel.

Several candidates have stepped up to challenge incumbent Democrat U.S. Rep. Gene Taylor, who has occupied his seat for more than 20 years. One of those challengers is businessman Joe Tegerdine who resides with his family in Petal. Taylor and Tegerdine both took time to speak to “The Radionian” about the election, their positions on the issues, and their visions for America’s future.

Congressional Candidate Joe Tegerdine (R-Mississippi)

“There’s a lesson to be learned from winning and there’s a lesson to be learned from losing. I have learned valuable lessons from both. That’s life.” Photo by Ashton Pittman

One year ago, Joe Tegerdine was virtually unknown in South Mississippi. Today, most favor him to win the June 1st primary for the Republican nomination to the 4th District’s U.S. Representative Seat.

Tegerdine said that his campaign began last year after he involved himself with the local Tea Party group, with whom he attended an April 2009 Town Hall meeting held by Taylor. Tegerdine said that during the meeting, he and Taylor had a heated exchange.

“People were cheering after I spoke,” said Tegerdine. “Immediately, someone tapped me on my shoulder and said ‘Hey, have you thought about running for office?’”

At the time, Tegerdine had only considered getting involved in politics at an older age. However, over the following weeks, he made a decision after finding himself troubled by national events.

“It was the realization that if I didn’t do something today, then I would not have the country I grew up in to pass to my children,” he said.

Tegerdine entered the race with business experience, a bachelor’s degree in communications, and a juris doctorate, but he lacked political experience. He considers that a positive.

“I truly believe that if we are going to put our country back on the right track, average, everyday Americans have to take the country back from career politicians,” he said.

Tegerdine believes that one of the biggest problems in American politics is the propensity for career politicians to be continuously reelected with the aid of special interest groups. He plans to champion an amendment that would limit U.S. Senators to two terms and U.S. Representatives to four terms. He has pledged to serve no more than four terms if elected.

As a Congressman, he would also like to work to wean Americans off dependency on entitlement programs that he believes will eventually bankrupt our economy. He related his story of being raised with four siblings by a single mom and the struggles they faced.

“She justifiably needed some help,” he said, “but I firmly believe that kind of help needs to come from your family, your church, your charitable organizations, and the very last option would be your community.”

He disagrees with critics who have alleged that he seeks to cut the lifelines of the needy.

“I believe that if we take the federal government out of the equation, people will start being more charitable again and families will take responsibility for their ailing or disabled family members,” Tegerdine said. “I think it’s a fallacy and a lie to think that just because the federal government isn’t there with a handout that somehow we would lose our humanity and not take care of each other. I think that we are starting to lose our humanity because we have just allowed the government to take care of our loved ones.”

Tegerdine also takes a family-based approach to education.

“We’ve got to find a way in our country to reengage parents in their children’s education,” he said, adding that parents, not federal bureaucracy, are the key to our children’s education.

He disagrees with educational programs that insulate children from failure.

“There’s a lesson to be learned from winning and there’s a lesson to be learned from losing,” he said. “I have learned valuable lessons from both. That’s life.”

Congressman Gene Taylor (D-Mississippi)

Station Gulfport Ribbon Cutting

“I wish everyone had been as concerned about the national debt as I have been. You can’t spend more, collect less, and pretend it’s going to work.” Photo by uspcgpress of Flickr.

Congressman Gene Taylor has served as the Mississippi’s 4th district U.S. Representative since his initial election in 1989. While the anti-incumbent mood is causing concern for some incumbents, Taylor is not worried.

“People have been running against me for 20 years,” he laughed.

He disagrees with Joe Tegerdine’s idea on term limits.

“I oppose them,” he said. “We already have term limits—elections.”

He also dismissed criticism levied against him by opponents accusing him of supporting Nancy Pelosi.

“That’s an election that took place in San Francisco,” he said. Taylor believes that his record will show him to be on the side of the American people, not fellow politicians.

Some have suggested that his ability to hold this Seat for 20 years in one of the nation’s most Republican districts is remarkable. His success in the 4th District may be largely due to his willingness to embrace conservatism. He emphatically describes himself as a “very conservative Democrat.”

However, his party has moved to the left over the past year, with lavish stimulus packages and a liberal healthcare reform bill. Even so, Taylor does not place the blame solely on his party.

“I wish everyone had been as concerned about the national debt as I have been,” he said. “You can’t spend more, collect less, and pretend it’s going to work.”

Taylor said that he has been concerned about federal spending under both Democrat and Republican presidents.

When it comes to the recently passed health care reform bill, the only question for Taylor is whether it should be repealed or amended.

“I would prefer to repeal it,” he explained. “I guess it’s going to depend upon the makeup of the Congress in January.”

He does not believe, however, that the bill is entirely bad.

“Some provisions are worthwhile,” he said, pointing to the portion that bars insurance companies from discriminating against those who have pre-existing conditions.

Even so, he believes that bulk of the bill is bad policy that will only add to the national debt.

Taylor conceded that tackling the national debt crisis will not be easy.

“It’s going to be very difficult,” said Taylor.

He explained that the ongoing wars in the Middle East, programs like Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare and an aging population are all complicating the problem.

“This is why we don’t need to make any new promises,” Taylor said.

When it comes to paying off the debt, Taylor does not rule out the possibility of raising taxes.

“There will have to be some changes,” he said. “If we’re going to be at war, then we ought to be willing to pay for that war right now. Any program worth doing is worth paying for right now.”

Taylor offered advice for college students who may feel discouraged by the woes facing our country.

“Read history,” he said. “When you read history, you realize that every generation of Americans has had significant challenges.”

Whether it was the people who had to weather the Great Depression and World War II, or those who had to serve in Korea and Vietnam, Taylor said each generation of Americans has risen to meet its challenges.

“I intend to help us to face these challenges and to protect the freedoms and liberties we cherish so that we can leave a better place for our children and grandchildren,” Taylor said.

Interview With MS State Senator Chris McDaniel

McDaniel Discusses ‘Nathan’s Law,’ Economy

The Radionian
By Ashton Pittman, Opinions Editor
February 2010, Volume 86, No. 4

Recently, Mississippi State Senator Chris McDaniel (R-Ellisville) of the 42nd District, a JCJC alumni, spoke to The Radionian about issues that lawmakers in Jackson are currently dealing with. McDaniel offered insight into several of these issues and shared some of his thoughts.

One topic of particular interest to Jones County residents is Nathan’s Law, a school bus safety bill that McDaniel formally introduced in January.
“Nathan’s Law is pretty special to me because of the genesis of the act,” he said, referring to the death of North Jones Elementary kindergarten student Nathan Key, who was killed in December after a driver failed to yield to a stopped school bus. “It’s probably one of the most horrible things that’s happened here in a long time.”
The bill creates harsher penalties, enacts a curriculum to teach about school bus safety, and demands that drivers be tested. “There are school bus laws in other states, and we researched many of those laws in compiling Nathan’s Law,” said McDaniel, “but we believe this one is the most comprehensive.”
Turning to the state’s economy, McDaniel offered a somewhat grim assessment of the situation, citing a very difficult budget year. “The reality is that we are about $400 million behind our anticipated revenue for this year, and there’s absolutely no end in sight, no clear economic indicators that this recession is over. So we have to assume that it will be equally bad if not worse for next year. It’s the result of a worldwide recession that we did not cause and wish would end.”
He made it clear, however, that education reamins a priority despite the recession. “First and foremost, for [Jones Country Junior College], we’re trying to see that JCJC receives the funding it needs to operate without costing any jobs and to make sure it can do its job efficiently.”
When asked about comments made by some in the Obama administration that “everybody agrees that the recession is over” and we are now in a recovery, not a recession, McDaniel was blunt. “That’s just political posturing,” he said, “They’ve lied to us before and I think they’re lying to us again.”
He said that the Obama administration’s policies weren’t helping, either. “When people are uncertain about the future, they stop spending, and frankly Barack Obama and his administration, by pushing nationalized healthcare and pushing our spending to historic levels, is creating uncertainty and people aren’t spending.”
He said that while Mississippi lawmakers are working to find ways to ensure that that the most needy and vulnerable are covered “while getting the waste and abuse out of the system,” the cloud of chaos in Washington looms heavily over Jackson, making it very hard for Mississippi lawmakers to take action to improve our own health care and economic conditions.
“The debt and proposal of new taxes in the future weighs on our minds heavily. We know the federal government has gotten way too large and has taxed us way to much, which makes it almost impossible for Mississippi to tax its citizens. I am not going to support a tax increase, period. We’re taxed way too much and too often. Now is not the time to burden families and businesses; they need to operate.”

Government Bailout Comes With High Price Tag

Government Bailout Comes With High Price Tag

The Radionian
by Ashton Pittman, Opinions Staff
March 2009, Volume 85, No. 5

During an economic address at George Mason University, President Barack Obama recently claimed that government is our only hope to save us from the current economic crisis. He has clearly demonstrated this belief through his support of congressional Democrats’ $800-billion spending bill. While Democrats in Congress claim that this so-called “stimulus package” is intended to rescue the ailing economy, there is very little to evidence this claim within the bill itself.

How does giving Hollywood film producers $246 million in tax cuts help the the struggling farmer in Iowa to afford clothing for his family? How does spending $248 million dollars to update government office furniture help to ensure that a hardworking family in Mississippi will not lose their home? And while many in Congress feel it is their divine duty to save the world from the dangers of incandescent light bulbs, it is a stretch to make the case that spending $6 billion to turn federal buildings “green” will somehow create jobs for the unemployed in California. These are just a few examples of the many excessive spending projects included in the bill.

The inclusion of such absurdities is not quite so puzzling, however, when put into the context of its authors and their agendas. While there are undoubtedly some who support the package out of fear of being seen as “doing nothing,” the goals of people such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid are quite different; they seek to use this bill  to promote nationalized industry and create an economy at the mercy of its messianic government.

They are using this bill as a stepping stone towards their ideal nation. In their America, the people will be at the mercy of elected officials, not elected officials at the mercy of the people; the people will be in the hands of government, and not government in the hands of the people.

We cannot afford to place our lives in the hands of government; we must not ask what our country can do for us, but we should ask what we must do for ourselves. The true root of our economic woes comes from a widespread lack of individual fiscal discipline and a reliance on government to bail us out of ever having to take responsibility for our own mistakes (all the while endowing our even less responsible government with more power). As Ronald Reagan once said, “I don’t believe in a government that protects us from ourselves.”

Not only does this spending bill promise to save us from our self-inflicted economic woes, but it promises an expansion of governments’ role in our everyday lives. However, as government expands, freedom contracts. The more power we give to the government, the less power we have to freely choose the course of our own lives.

No president understood this better than our 40th president, Ronald Reagan. In his 1981 inaugural address, he addressed the recession that he was inheriting form Jimmy Carter:

“From time to time we’ve been tempted to believe that society has become too complex to be managed by self-rule, that government by an elite group is superior to the government for, by, and of the people. Well, if no one among us is capable of governing himself, then who among us has the capacity to govern someone else? All of us together, in and out of government, must bear the burden.”

Recently, Obama said, “At this particular moment . . . the federal government is the only entity left with the resources to jolt our economy back to life.  It is only government that can break the vicious cycle.”  Reagan took a very different approach, when he poignantly said “In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.”

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