Republican Jerry Carl faces Democrat James Averhart in a battle for the state’s 1st District congressional seat.
Carl and Averhart each hope to be the person voters choose to replace incumbent Rep. Bradley Byrne, R-Montrose, in the U.S. House.
Carl, a Mobile County Commissioner, has helped lead during the COVID-19 pandemic at the county level and has some ideas on how to help at the federal level as talks between the House and the Trump administration continue.
“We need to try to get everyone to focus on getting money to the end user,” Carl said. “I don’t want to give money for people to sit at home. We need to give money to the employee and employer. That helps everyone.”
Both sides agree the country should help the people, Carl said, but a plan to do that shouldn’t be filled with “pork,” or extra funds that aren’t meant to help during the crisis. Carl blames Democrats for the delay in a relief package.
“The Democrats don’t want the president to score a point by getting something passed,” he said.
While Carl said he “wears a mask as much as I can remember” in public, he’s against a national mandate to do so.
“People have a right to make that choice,” he said. “A mandate pushes that on everyone. I don’t think it’s the government’s job to mandate that.”
Carl is also against the Affordable Care Act, known colloquially as Obamacare. The Republican joked that “affordable” was the worst name for it.
“It made everyone’s price go up,” he said. “It’s not the taxpayers’ responsibility to provide health care to everyone. I’m big on health care and I understand the value, but it’s also a motivator to get people to work.”
Providing health care to those who don’t have it through work is the job for state and local health departments, Carl said.
On immigration, Carl said he supports legal immigration done “by the book.”
“The system is broken,” he said. “There’s too much bureaucracy involved. If they want to become citizens, there’s got to be some kind of documentation. Just to welcome them in, that’s a mistake.”
Carl said he supports more funding for the Coast Guard and as a member of Congress, he would help to make that happen.
China is the nation’s biggest adversary because of the way they steal technology, Carl said.
“That’s the part that bothers me the most,” he said.
Carl made note of the social unrest in the country and said he supports and “understands” protesting.
“I’m sure I protested a few things in high school,” he said. “This is not protesting. It’s destroying stuff. That’s when it becomes a problem for me.”
Averhart did not return several requests for an interview for this story.
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