My name is Brian McGee. I was running in the special election for Jeff Sessions’ old senate seat. I have resigned from this race and am endorsing Doug Jones for the next senator from the great state of Alabama. My dropping out was not an easy decision. I have the experience, skills, and temperament that would make me a great senator BUT this election is not about me. This election is not about any one person. This election is about the citizens of Alabama. The Republicans who have controlled Alabama for about ten years have intentionally held back the people of Alabama. Just giving two examples, they refused to adopt the Medicaid expansion offered under the Affordable Care Act. Had they accepted it, a family of four earning a little over $30,000 would have been on Medicaid. This is money they stole from our people and gave to the rich. Further, Republicans have shown their lack of understanding of what drives an economy by insisting on giving tax breaks to the wealthy while denying hard working, minimum wage earners a living wage. When Birmingham voted to give its residents an increase in the minimum wage, Montgomery passed a law not allowing any municipality to increase the minimum wage. This is wrong on so many levels. We MUST have someone in the senate that speaks for you and me, for small businessmen, for farmers, for teachers for union workers and for non-unionized workers. Doug Jones will do that. Doug Jones can get elected. Doug Jones can and will make a difference.
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Where I stand…
Summary: We are in a period of dramatic global change. We MUST research and embrace these changes or get left behind. Green energy is one of them and Alabama could be a leader in this field.
Issue in Depth: The United States and the world find themselves in a period of dramatic change similar to what happened during the Industrial Revolution. I lived in Wisconsin when Uniroyal moved from Eau Claire to Opelika and then in 2009 Uniroyal was forced to close its plant in Opelika. In my area of Alabama (Valley/Lanett), textile mills drove the economy. Now all of that production has gone overseas. Trying to hang on to old jobs is fighting against time. Buggy whip manufacturers and textile manufacturers are never going to come back to Alabama.
That doesn’t mean all is lost. Alabama needs to look to the future and encourage new innovative businesses to relocate here. Huntsville’s development in the aerospace, rocket engine, and computer simulations sectors should be the example for city planners across Alabama. We should be seeking more innovation like Kia’s development of a hybrid car that gets 50+ MPG. We need to actively recruit new future-oriented industries to move to Alabama. Whether we like it or not, change is in our future. We can either get in front of the change or get left behind.
A good example of missing the economic future centers in our talk about Global Warming. I believe it is a fact BUT I am tired of arguing about it. The earth is doing what it is doing, and what our opinion is matters not a bit. It is also true that the energy of the future generates jobs and profits now. It is projected that in just THREE years demand for solar energy will be worth more than 10 TRILLION dollars worldwide. Germany is currently getting 30% of its energy from renewables, versus our 13%. If we stay wedded to old energy, we will be playing catch up with the European Union.
Our state should be encouraging solar research in our universities. We need to make a solar economic hub in Alabama just as was done with rockets and simulations in Huntsville. Our citizens want their share of quality high-paying jobs. Our state needs its share of the tax base that would be brought in through solar development. On top of all of that, we end up with a cleaner environment for our children and our children’s children. Our Alabama politicians must be forward thinking. They need to stop spinning the truth and start solving problems. We must make Alabama a significant part of our nation’s future or Alabama will get left in the past.
Summary: The United States is one of the largest, most innovative, and most powerful nations the earth has ever known. A quality PUBLIC education for EVERY CITIZEN is critical if the United States wants to maintain that leadership.
Issue in Depth: Quality public education is not a fuzzy liberal issue; education is an issue critical to bringing high-quality jobs to Alabama. Think logically about this. Alabama, and every other state in the nation, wants to attract quality employers so our workers get paid good wages and we increase our tax base. This is the same thing EVERY SINGLE STATE IN THE United States WANTS TO DO. The answer is not private schools for the wealthy. It is not tax credits to help the few. It is not charter schools that are not held to the same standards as public schools. We need all, and I mean ALL, of our citizens to have a quality education.
If we have a quality education system, employers will WANT to come to Alabama. This, in turn, provides good living wages for our citizens and a stronger tax base to pay for the education. If a state wants to improve the quality of life for its citizens the state MUST work at providing their children and the adults themselves with quality education and training. This is not an option. It has to be placed on our MUST DO LIST. We must work together toward this end.
After getting out of the military in 1970, I went back to school to become a teacher, and I worked as a teacher for the next 35+ years. I started working as a teacher in Wisconsin and spent most of my time with the Department of Defense Schools teaching military children in the U.S. and overseas locations. My wife, Jackie, and I are both well trained and seasoned teachers. I believe that if you engage students, prove to them the importance of education, and make learning relevant, students will learn and they will WANT to learn.
Think about it. When a child is born, God made them “learning machines.” Most of us have watched an infant or toddler as the “click” occurs, and you know they got something. Every single waking moment is spent learning. For some reason, many students lose this desire to learn as they get older. They don’t see it as important, but that can be changed. If we are going to make Alabama GREAT, we need to improve our education. It MUST be a top priority.
Summary: There is no Planet B. This is OUR planet. If this planet dies, we die. Holy books are filled with references to “Good Stewardship.” We must act to protect this planet for our children, and our children’s children. At the same time, the demand for solar energy will be 10 Trillion dollars world wide. Alabama needs a share of that.
Issue in Depth: There is an old saying, “if you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything.” Well, the same thing holds true for our planet. God made this planet and we are told over and over again in holy books to include the Bible, the importance of being “good stewards.” We live here. There is no “planet B.” We can’t move.
The God I believe in expects me to use the gifts He has given me wisely. I believe when I go before my God I will be held accountable for my actions on earth. He will not look kindly upon me if I do not help “the least of my brethren” and I am not a good steward of this beautiful planet He created. If the air is polluted or the water poisoned, what do we have? What do our children and our children’s children have?
But there is HOPE. As an officer in the military, I was taught to analyze problems and develop positive, workable solutions. There is a lot you can do, but let’s start with use, reuse, and recycle. Unbridled consumption isn’t good for you, our planet or your pocketbook. If you think all the liberal tree huggers are nuts, there is a secret for you in this “environmental movement.” Lawmakers have lied to you for years as they need the support of the oil and gas industry which has financed their campaigns. If the State of Alabama takes positive action on improving the environment, it can mean thousands of new high-paying jobs.
I am a strong believer that most of Global Warming is man-made but, for this discussion, let’s say you disagree with me. Let’s instead look at Global Warming from the prospect of new jobs. Just think what would happen if Alabama was a leader in the fight against man-made climate change. How many homes are there in Alabama? If your goal was to have a solar hot water heater on every roof in Alabama, would that create new jobs? You bet it would.
Here is an example of what can happen if we embrace green technology. We find and put more money into our our universities for research and development. Let’s say we develop the innovative, inexpensive solar water heaters I was talking about above. This turns into manufacturing jobs for anyone who creates plumbing parts, knobs, switches, and every imaginable “thing-a-ma-jig” need to create the solar water heater. Then think of all the installation jobs across the south. Then since we are leaders in solar water heaters, we manufacture and ship solar water heaters all over the south eastern United States. Even electric companies will not be left out as you still need backup water heaters for when it is cloudy. With lower demand for electricity and gas, the price of electricity and gas goes down.
The transition AWAY from oil and gas will make some states, countries, and people VERY rich. Now I care about good stewardship of the natural planet our God has given us, but if you only want to think of dollars and cents, you have to support the development of new green technology. I want a piece of that pie for Alabama and I want the greener healthier environment for myself, my children, and my grandchildren.
Summary: I was an army officer of a small elete combat unit while in Vietnam. The weapons we use on the battlefield have no place in a civilian environment. In a combat zone you carry a weapon almost all the time. You do this not for fun or to be considered cool or “mocho.” You do it to be ready to fight and kill your enemy at a moments notice. Thank God we do not have to do that inside our boarders. I for one am happy and proud that we have a strong police force to protect us. I feel they should be allowed to do the job they are so well trained to do.
Issue in Depth: My family owns guns. I own four, my sister owns one, and I wouldn’t hazard a guess as to how many my brother owns. As to the rest of the family, while I don’t believe my mother ever owned a gun, both my stepmother and father owned handguns. I believe in responsible gun ownership.
I believe that military style weapons have a place on the battlefield but not on the streets. The issue of Open Carry laws is a political football designed to win votes and make some people a lot of money. No one is going to take guns away from me or from you. Gun manufacturers try to scare us so we will buy more guns and ammunition. To them, it is a business and they are in the business of making MONEY. As to Open Carry laws, if I walk into a Walmart and see a person carrying a weapon, it doesn’t make me feel safer. I look at the person wondering if he is a NUT who is planning on creating mass murder. My anxiety level goes up.
The next time you talk to a politician, ask them if they allow guns into their work places. I can tell you guns are NOT ALLOWED in state or federal office buildings. Why not if they believe in open and unfettered gun carrying laws? Obviously, they are afraid some nut will come into their workplace and kill them. There is an issue now where some colleges and universities are being pressured to allow open carry on their campuses. If hospitals, restaurants, churches and business owners can ban carrying weapons on their property, why shouldn’t university presidents be allowed to do the same thing?
I will change my opinion on this just as soon as judges and politicians allow anyone to carry a weapon into their place of business. Many politicians are lying and spinning the truth to get them and their friends elected. No one is taking my guns from me. The gun fear is all about money. Back in 2014, the NRA spent more than $32,000,000.00 on political campaigns. Folks, NO ONE IS TAKING AWAY YOUR GUNS. It is all about Money and Power.
I have resigned from this race and am endorsing Doug Jones for the next senator from the great state of Alabama. My dropping out was not an easy decision. I have the experience, skills, and temperament that would make me a great senator BUT this election is not about me. This election is not about any one person. This election is about the citizens of Alabama. The Republicans who have controlled Alabama for about ten years have intentionally held back the people of Alabama. Just giving two examples, they refused to adopt the Medicaid expansion offered under the Affordable Care Act. Had they accepted it, a family of four earning a little over $30,000 would have been on Medicaid. This is money they stole from our people and gave to the rich. Further, Republicans have shown their lack of understanding of what drives an economy by insisting on giving tax breaks to the wealthy while denying hard working, minimum wage earners a living wage. When Birmingham voted to give its residents an increase in the minimum wage, Montgomery passed a law not allowing any municipality to increase the minimum wage. This is wrong on so many levels. We MUST have someone in the senate that speaks for you and me, for small businessmen, for farmers, for teachers for union workers and for non-unionized workers. Doug Jones will do that. Doug Jones can get elected. Doug Jones can and will make a difference.
Summary: The Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act was a GOOD THING. Thirty plus states have accepted this expansion. NOT A SINGLE ONE IS GIVING IT UP. That is correct. Let me say this again. NOT A SINGLE STATE IS GIVING IT UP. Do you need to know anything else? Based on current proposed Republican legislation 23,000,000 Americans will lose their health care and the cost of insurance for the people over 60 and not on Medicare, will go up over 5 times. On the VA, Republicans are floating the idea of privatizing the VA. The rich are hoping to create “middle men” who will skim off money providing services to the vets. This is not in the Country’s or the Vet’s best interest.
The Issue in Depth: It is stupid to think we will make Alabama Great if we do not have a viable health care plan for the state. Alabama lawmakers have been lying to you. The Congressional Budget Office said that 24 million people would lose their health care under the first version of TRUMP CARE. They pushed through the second version before the Congressional Budget Office could run the numbers, but they are now in. Under the new version, 23 million Americans will lose their healthcare. For a person 64 years of age, their insurance costs could go from roughly $2,000 a year under the ACA to over $15,000 a year with the new plan.
The Republicans are lying to you. Republicans have demonized the Affordable Care Act because they never wanted anyone to know the benefits of improved health care. The proposed House replacement to the Affordable Care Act would not allow any state that has not taken the Medicaid expansion, and Alabama did not, to take it after their version of health care would be signed into law. If you do not know what this means, it means that anyone whose income was 130% of poverty level for their family was supposed to go on Medicaid in their state. I want you to think about this a second. Do you REALLY believe that any politician is going to DENY you this access because they are looking out for your well-being? NOOOOO. No, they denied you access to the Medicaid expansion because they were afraid if you first got it, you would never want to give it up. Instead of providing you and me with affordable health care, their new bill is an attempt to save enough federal dollars to give their rich friends more tax breaks.
Politicians are lying to you about the Affordable Care Act. Google how many of the 32 states that took the Medicaid Expansion are dropping it? ZERO. Politicians are not coming up with this new health care bill to help YOU. They are not reforming it for any reason but to take tax dollars from working men and women and give it to the wealthy. Notice that major changes in health care are always scheduled to happen AFTER an election. Do you believe a politician would intentionally stop one of their bills from going into effect until AFTER an election if they thought the bill was great and would get them elected? The changes in the House bill fully implement in 2022, after the 2018 midterms, and after the 2020 presidential campaign.
A lot of politicians are calling for privatization of the VA. This is wrong at so many levels it is hard to know where to start. I will start by suggesting a metaphor. If you buy a car and all you ever do is put gas in it to keep it running, how long will it last? One year? Two years? Ten years? However long you say, it will eventually break down. That is what politicians have done to the VA.
Politicians wave the flag, walk in parades and solute all the brave soldiers who have given up so much for this country but THEY DON’T SUPPORT FUNDING THE VA AT THE LEVEL IT NEEDS TO BENEFIT THE VETERAN.
For the most part, politicians did not answer the call of their country to serve in the military. It varies slightly but in round numbers, about 80% of the US Senate has never served. In the US House, about 78% have never served. That is a huge percentage of the general population. Where were they when we fought in Vietnam? Where were they after 9/11? Where were they when we went to war in Iraq or Afghanistan? They were sitting at home or in Congress waving the flag and kissing babies and letting other Americans go out and fight and die for this country. Now when it is time to support those that did fight for their country, they come up with a way to help their rich buddies make more money off of the veteran. They want to privatize something that has been around supporting the vet since the Revolutionary War.
The VA is not beyond being salvaged. It needs funding and sufficient oversight. Those are both things privatizing of the VA would still need, funding and oversight. When I enlisted in the army back in 1966, I entered into a contract with the United States of America. This was a sacred covenant I made with my country. I wrote my country a blank check pledging up to and including my death. In return, I expected my country to stand by me should I be injured performing that duty. It was my country with which I made a contract. I did not contract with a private company whose purpose is to make a profit at my expense.
Summary: I believe one big problem this nation faces is people are not committed to service to country. If a person grows up only thinking of Me, Me, Me, that is destructive for a Democratic Society that depends on people doing what is best for all and for future generations. I am a firm believer in mandatory service to country for all young people. That service can take a thousand different avenues, one of which is military service, but all citizens should learn that they owe something to their country. Being an American comes with responsibilities.
Issue in Depth: I am proud to say that four generations of McGees have always stepped up to the plate when called by their country in time of need. My grandfather fought in WWI, my father fought in WWII and Korea, my wife’s father landed in Normandy shortly after D-Day. My son joined the US Navy after 9/11 and participated in Project Enduring Freedom. I myself commanded the 39th Scout Dogs for the 173rd Airborne Brigade in Vietnam. One of the reasons I am running for the Senate is I believe our country is again in serious peril. We all have to step up and do what is right to protect and defend our country, and our constitution. Our actions should be based on moral and ethical reasons.
Military service is only one way to serve this country. Police, Fire, Emergency Medical Technitions all are providing a key service to America. I believe we should consider mandatory service of some kind after high school completion or at age 18, for both males and females. It does not need to be three or four years, but something should be asked of our citizens. Getting up every day with a purpose teaches critical life skills. Young people can learn how to accomplish meaningful work that benefits them and the community, at home or abroad. It is also good for young people to meet others, whether from different parts of the country or from entirely different countries and cultures.
Last, but not least, service to our nation, in some capacity, could help solve the problem we have of people who don’t feel a part of anything. If you have once served your country, you are less likely to be an apathetic, uncaring citizen.
Short BIO – Brian McGee Jobs/Education/Accomplishments:
1. Ditch Digger and Tunnel Construction in College
2. U.S. Army Infantry Officer
a. Officer Candidate School Fort Benning
b. Jungle Warfare School in Panama
c. Ranger School Ft. Benning
d. Commander 39th Scout Dogs for 173rd Airborne Brigade in Vietnam (Significant note: I did not lose even one man in 13 months duty in Vietnam)
e. Company Commander of a Reserve Army Engineer company.
f. Left the Active Army with the rank of captain
g. Highest military awards CIB (Combat Infantry Badge) and Bronze Star
h. Currently have a service connected disability of 10%.
a. While teaching I built and ran a small hog farrowing operation.
b. While teaching, I worked with/for a high school friend who ran a relatively large hog finishing operation as well as cutting and baling hay for sale.
c. The most land I have owned at one time has been 200 acres.
d. For personal consumption we had a very large vegetable garden, raised Angus beef, milk goats, chickens, bees and, of course, would finish out a hog every year.
e. Most of my farming happened between the 70’s and early 80’s. Farming was tough where we lived with multiple farm auctions happening weekly. We eventually liquidated our farm at auction before moving to the Middle East to work for the Department of Defense’s Schools in Bahrain.
4. Degrees: Bachelors in Elementary Education, Masters in Educational Technology, Specialist Degree in School Administration
5. Businessman: website development, sale and construction of log homes, director of nonprofit
6. Taught eleven years in Wisconsin and twenty-six years for the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) and lived in the Middle East (Bahrain), Central America (Panama), Asia (Japan) and Europe (England). Was a teacher, and Educational Technologist, and a database specialist at the district level in England.
7. Married for 47 years to Jacqueline McGee, a native of Columbus, GA. I have two children and four grandchildren. One is a CPA in Panama City Beach and the other is a Networking Specialist and Supervisor working as a contractor for the Department of Defense in Japan.
8. Currently active in St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Opelika, AL and a weekly participant in an inter-denominational Bible Study Group that meets out of Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Opelika. Also active weekly in a prayer and study group with the Cursillo movement.
9. Just started a non-profit foundation called Simulations Foundation, Inc. We are currently filing for our 501c3 status. The group will be creating, supporting and funding quality “simulations” of all types. www.Simulations.Foundation
Summary: Some Republican Congressmen are demanding the privatization of the VA. It is not in the best interest of the veterans. The VA has been around in one form or the other since 1776. The attempt to privatize is an attempt to move money from the veterans into rich people’s pockets. The primary problem is neglect and underfunding of the VA by congress. The VA is fixable. It needs our support.
Issue in Depth: A lot of politicians are calling for privatization of the VA. My own representative in the 3rd District is one of them. It is wrong at so many levels that I don’t know where to start. First, this call for privatizing the VA comes from many congressmen who had never been in the military. In the current US Senate, something like 80% have not served in the military. In the US House of Representatives, about 78% have never been in the military. It is like men being the ones to rule on women’s health issues. The VA has been around since 1776. They have been providing a service to our servicemen and women throughout our nation’s history. Even the “concept” of outsourcing the various jobs the VA does such as VA Hospitals, pensions, death benefits, etc. is repugnant to me.
If the VA is failing in anything, it is because of a lack of funding. A lot of politicians talk a good line waving the flag, making speeches, saying to veterans, “Thank you for your service.” While most politicians have NO military experience they want the vote of the veterans so is it suprising politicians give lip service to the military? Veterans want to go into a hospital where other veterans go. When you sit in a waiting room filled with veterans you know everyone might have a different story, but at some time we all have a common level of service. I am not sure who wrote this but it has been said:
A Veteran Is Someone Who, at one point, wrote a blank check made payable to ‘The United States of America’ for an amount of ‘up to and including their life.’
These people, the veterans, acted in an honorable way and now our nation needs to live up to its promise. I will fight until the day I die the idea of privatizing the VA Hospitals. As a Veteran, the contract I made as I put my life on the line was with the United States of America. It was not with some “for profit” company. If we want a military second to none, we need to train them, arm them and then take care of them if they are hurt defending the people back home. Congressmen and Senators, open your wallets and if the VA needs fixing…. FIX IT.