Both Byrne and Young told Lagniappe they supported term limits and Byrne said if he was elected, it would be the end of his political career. He also said he had no plans of living in Washington. Contrary to Young’s assessment, Byrne said Young was actually the more egotistical candidate.
“We need problem solvers and not problem makers,” Byrne said. “Dean Young is not the sort of person that’s going to be effective in Washington. He may get on television for saying some things, but won’t be effective as a legislator. The way he says things is going to be ineffective in building coalitions. A minority of one is still just one, and I think he’ll give our area a black eye at a time when we’re trying to attract people from all over the world to bring businesses here. He’ll give us the exact wrong image and the exact wrong persona.”
Recently, The Daily Caller website rehashed statements Young made when on the campaign trail for Roy Moore in the 1990s. On separate instances, Young urged the state’s gays to “get back in the closet” or “go back to California or Vermont or wherever they came from.” But Young defended himself, saying the website didn’t put the comments into perspective and unfairly cast him as homophobic when in fact, he was simply expressing his convictions on law and Christianity. Recently, The Daily Caller website rehashed statements Young made when on the campaign trail for Roy Moore in the 1990s. On separate instances, Young urged the state’s gays to “get back in the closet” or “go back to California or Vermont or wherever they came from.” But Young defended himself, saying the website didn’t put the comments into perspective and unfairly cast him as homophobic when in fact, he was simply expressing his convictions on law and Christianity.
“They sensationalize stuff,” Young said of the article. “What was happening was the homosexuals were pretending like they were getting married in Vermont and California and wanting to get recognized in Alabama. There is a thing called reciprocity where if they are married there, they are married here and that’s not the way it is in Alabama. I think there is a constitutional amendment against that, so you can’t just say you’re married in Alabama.
“We’re all on this planet and we’re all a bunch of sinners. We all do stuff that is wrong and I believe there is not one person on this planet better than the next guy. At the same time, there are homosexual people that like me and want to vote for me. I will always disagree with that lifestyle, just like I will always disagree with adultery between two people and just like I will always disagree with lying. But I know people that lie and lie to me and they are still my friends. The idea of me somehow disliking or even hating homosexuals is one they just try to put out there. I’ll get up and give my seat to a homosexual just like I would anybody else. I don’t think I’m better than anybody else walking on this planet and I’m not throwing rocks, but when I leave here, y’all are going to say what you’re going to say but you’re going to have to say, ‘he’s an honest guy.’ I am being painting wrongly and that’s part of what Bradley Byrne is doing.“
Other than identifying himself as a pro-life, Christian conservative, Byrne has been relatively quiet on social issues.
“Right now the biggest thing facing this country are fiscal problems,” he said. “If we don’t get control of them, we won’t have the basis on which to have these arguments about what’s going on with our society and culture. I’m a very strong pro-life, traditional marriage Republican and when I have the opportunity to stand up on social issues I will, but in terms of what the government has to face over the next several years to get our house in order, we better be focused on fiscal issues. And if you look at what’s happening with Supreme Court rulings, you see the areas in which Congress can act on social issues has been very substantially curtailed anyway.”
Young appears to place more of an immediate emphasis on social issues.
“As a nation if we don’t get back to the Godly principles that made this nation great then all the fiscal stuff is not going to work. Those two aren’t separate of each other, you reap what you sow. If a company does well and they work hard and they live by the rules they will be rewarded. But in politics, you can’t just stand up and lie to the whole nation. You can’t have Wall Street people stealing money and elected officials wasting money. All that goes back to morality. You have to care about your brother and sister because people have gotten to the point they think its OK to lie and cheat and steal. What they are doing in Washington is immoral.”
On entitlements, where Byrne said the nation could easily reevaluate their merits and save $100-200 billion per year, Young speaks of personal responsibility and faith in the free enterprise system. If it were up to him, Young said he would like to see many entitlements completely discontinued. Where Byrne believes he can work with an existing coalition of conservatives and moderates on both sides of the aisle, Young believes he can build a coalition from the most 50 conservative members in the house.
Both, given the opportunity, would eliminate the Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Education, as well as many other federal offices and departments. Money saved at the federal level is money that can be spent locally or used to pay down the national debt, they say. Both have identified Austal’s defense program, industrial job recruitment and a new I-10 bridge over the Mobile River as local projects in need of the next congressman’s support. Yet at the end of the day, both point to their own qualifications as the most likely to accomplish those goals.
“I can balance budgets. I’d ask people to look at what I did at the two-year college system,” Byrne said. “It’s hard to do but I’m convinced we can not only get to a three-to-five year window to balance the budget, I’m convinced we can come up with a credible plan over the long run and pay down the debt in meaningful way. I also learned a lot on the state school board for eight years, but that was qualitatively different from being in a legislative body. I went to the senate, and it was a pitched battle virtually every day, and we would stay up night after night. But sometimes you have to do that, to be willing to stand and have those fights. There are many days we didn’t pass a single bill, but those were good days, because we didn’t pass bad legislation.”
Young on the other hand, called himself “the only business person running.”
“I’m a successful business person who came from poverty,” he said, also mentioning Democratic contender Burton LeFlore, who either he or Byrne will face in the general election Dec. 17. “You have two lawyers in this race and a businessman. One of those lawyers has shown how he’ll just stand there and lie. I don’t know how any fair-minded south Alabamian can vote for that guy. As far as the general election, that’s a fight for another day.”
The print version of this story inaccurately reported only Byrne’s most recent fundraising total of $371,969. Throughout the campaign, Byrne has out-raised Young by a ratio of eight-to-one.
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