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Broihier talks senate race, McConnell

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SALYERSVILLE – U.S. Senate Democrat candidate and retired marine lieutenant colonel, Mike Broihier, talked with the Independent last week, discussing the campaign and what made him decide to jump into politics.
Broihier, a retired fighter pilot, former editor of Kentucky’s third oldest newspaper, The Interior Journal, and current farmer, explained to the Independent he led marines all over the world, including Japan, Korea, and Somalia in 1992 and 1993 during the U.S.’s intervention operation, and led the war plan from 2000 through 2002 as the U.S. fought the Axis of Evil. He’s taught at the University of Berkeley and for the past 15 years he and his wife have lived and worked on their farm in Lincoln County, Kentucky. 

“What’s happening in Washington, with Mitch McConnell running this nation into the ground is exactly why I’m running for U.S. Senate,” Broihier said. “He’s changing this country forever and that’s not what the founding fathers envisioned for how government should be conducted.”

Before the pandemic, Broihier said people on the campaign trail voiced that their major concerns were jobs, healthcare and the environment and since COVID-19, those three things still seem to the main issues.

“We’ll be dealing with this pandemic for years,” Broihier said. “We need to put people to work.”

He proposes more federal jobs that pay prevailing wages, noting that we could see a lot of infrastructure benefits across the nation, replacing more bridges and water lines. For Appalachia, he said he would like to see the area become an energy hub.

“The people of Eastern Kentucky and coal built the heart of this country and now they’re left holding the bag,” Broihier said. “But they have welders, electricians – real skills that translate to good jobs above ground and in infrastructure, so we could reclaim old mine sites for solar and wind farms. Eastern Kentucky is ready with a workforce and they’re skilled. When you build infrastructure, industry tends to follow.”

He said the federal government could use the skilled labor in this region to build infrastructure setting up industries for producing green energy, which will supply jobs for years to come.

As far as the pandemic response, Broihier said action now would be “better late than never.”

“This is a global crisis and people look for leadership, but there’s been absolutely no uniformed efforts,” Broihier said, noting that the president could use the Defense Production Act to produce PPE to fight the virus and allow the Army logisticians to coordinate the disbursement of the needed supplies, instead of forcing the states, federal government and FEMA to compete for the same supplies. 

“He calls himself a wartime president, but says he has total authority and zero responsibility,” Broihier said of President Trump. “He needs to act like a wartime president.”

He also noted that he is a supporter of a universal base income, which would provide a check to every American every month.

“It’s not a foreign idea,” Broihier said. “The U.S. gave $6 trillion over the last six weeks. The people of Congress can write checks for money we don’t have. They give tax breaks and incentives to industry all the time, but if you’re going to create wealth, you have to give the tax breaks to the working people because they will spend the money.”

He cited how Congress gave $50 billion to the airlines in 2009, who turned around and spent $45 billion buying back their shares. 

“I’m pretty sure that money didn’t trickle down to any of us,” Broihier said. “I’d much rather give it to the middle class because they will spend it.”

He said during recessions and during the Depression, the U.S. has implemented some forms of a universal base income, with Alaska currently using a system like he proposes, which basically makes each citizen a stakeholder in the state.

“The farmers on the surrounding farms here farm by headlights because they have to have other jobs,” Broihier explained. “If they had that padding, they may not have to work other jobs and could produce more. The federal government gives cash all the time. I’d rather give it to the working class.”

As for what he wants Magoffin Countians to know going into the Primary Election, Broihier said, “I am not running for office to pad my resume. I’ve had a very full life. My single focus is on Mitch McConnell and bringing social justice to the people of the U.S. There’s no ulterior motive. I just want to beat Mitch McConnell. Congress should reflect our values.”

He also noted that, while some have raised concerns over the security of absentee voting, he said mail-in voting has been used successfully in other states for years and results in more informed voters. 

“You’re able to sit at the table and Google candidates and make sure who you’re voting for and why you’re voting for them. It’s really one of the most secure ways of voting. As a marine, I voted absentee most of my adult life and I put my ballot in the mail with great confidence. It makes us better voters.”

Broihier is running against the following Democrats in the June 23 Primary Election for United States Senator: Andrew J. Maynard, Eric Rothmuller, John R. Sharpensteen, Bennie J. Smith, Mary Ann Tobin, Jimmy C. Ausbrooks, Charles Booker, Amy McGrath and Maggie Jo Hilliard. Longtime incumbent Mitch McConnell is running against the following on the Republican ticket: Naren James, Kenneth Lowndes, C. Wesley Morgan, Nicholas Alsager, Wendell K. Crow, Paul John Frangedakis and Louis Grider.

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