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Brooks Wicker challenges John Yarmuth
Brooks Wicker is one of the candidates who will be running against John Yarmuth this fall for a seat in the US House of Representatives
By Ben Finley–
Congress formally adjourned its legislative session last Friday, Sept. 21, marking the return of legislators to their constituencies and the unofficial beginning of the congressional campaign season. Often overlooked during presidential election cycles, congressional elections have major influence over policymaking on Capitol Hill.
The legislative branch has a hand in nearly every policy decision made inside the Beltway and, for many, the importance of the makeup of Congress is immeasurable in politics.
In Louisville, incumbent Congressman John Yarmuth faces a re-election challenge for Kentucky’s 3rd Congressional district from Republican Brooks Wicker. A self-styled conservative family man, Mr. Wicker previously worked as a successful entrepreneur and business owner.
Similar to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, Mr. Wicker’s previous work was largely focused in finance and wealth management. In addition to a successful career in the private sector, Mr. Wicker is a husband of nearly 30 years and father to a senior at Trinity High School. The Wicker campaign allowed us to get to know their candidate’s political stances on a more intimate level by answering a few questions students can relate to.
With many students preparing to enter the workforce during an economic downturn, the first question concerned the Wicker plan for economic growth. The campaign said that tax reform to encourage private growth coupled with deficit busting would be key to their economic agenda in order to fix the current economic slump.
According to Mr. Wicker’s campaign, 65 percent of government spending comes from entitlement programs. He would encourage Congress to include cuts to such programs as a part of an “everything is on the table” approach to alleviating the nation’s growing public debt.
The campaign also pledged to support a balanced budget amendment to the United States Constitution, ensuring that “we [the federal government] don’t spend more than we take in.” In addition to such measures, Mr. Wicker has previously stated his support for Paul Ryan’s “Path to Prosperity.” He has spoken out about the necessity to keep taxes low on upper income earners to stimulate economic growth.
Along with record youth unemployment due to the severe economic downturn, student debt figures and tuition expenses have reached record highs this year. The Wicker campaign was asked about its plans regarding growing student loan debt and college expenses.
Mr. Wicker’s stance on issues of secondary education took on a tone of understanding coupled with anecdote. The campaign suggested that secondary education needs to be more affordable, mentioning the fact that Democratic Governor Steve Beshear paid around $62 per class during his collegiate years. This stands in contrast to the tens thousands of dollars funneled into collegiate degrees today.
With respect to specifics, the campaign offered little on what policies it would implement to bring down educational costs or existing student loan debt. Campaign Manager Michael Wray suggested that Mr. Wicker would aim to “cut down on overhead expenses and decrease the cost of education.”
In the wake of the attack on the American consulate in Benghazi that resulted in the death of U.S. ambassador Christopher Stephens and three other Americans, Mr. Wicker’s campaign was asked about issues of national security.
While policy decisions rest in the hands of the executive branch, the fiscal appropriations power of Congress means that they have a hand in formulating foreign policy. When asked whether he would cut foreign aid to countries such as Libya and Egypt, Mr. Wicker expressed his belief that Congress should use its power to “strip aid to foreign countries which support terrorism.”
In contrast, the Wicker campaign issued its full backing of Israel, going as far as to suggest that Jerusalem belongs to the Israelis but failing to mention the contentious Iranian nuclear program.
As a part of Wicker’s “peace through strength,” he believes in training allied militaries to increase combat effectiveness and decrease reliance on direct American military intervention. The campaign dubbed President Obama’s planned troop withdraws from Afghanistan premature and counterproductive to peace through strength and a stable, independent Afghanistan.
Brooks Wicker faces a battle in the days leading up the Nov. 6 election. Mandatory congressional redistricting following the 2010 census has seemingly tightened the Democratic grip over Kentucky’s 3rd, making it more difficult for Republicans to win in an already progressive-leaning district.
Rep. John Yarmuth holds the incumbency advantage as a three-term congressman and defeated previous Republican challenger Todd Lally by a margin of over 10 percent.
Still, Mr. Wicker’s campaign remains confident in their ability to achieve victory given Congress’s low approval rating and the current economic climate.
In an effort to inform young voters, The Cardinal hopes to also speak to both Democrat incumbent John Yarmuth and third party challenger Robert DeVore, Jr. about their stances on issues facing the country.
Photo courtesy BrooksWicker.com