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franklin county times

Lott keys on conservative vote in 4th District

By By Fredie Carmichael / staff writer
October 11, 2004
State Rep. Mike Lott, R-Petal, hopes voters in the state's 4th Congressional District vote Republican in November for president and for their U.S. representative.
Lott meets incumbent Democrat Gene Taylor and Reform Party candidate Tracella Lou O'Hara Hill in the Nov. 2 general election for the 4th District U.S. House seat
The winner will represent the 4th District in the U.S. House a seat Taylor, a former state senator, has held since 1989. The 4th District covers part of Southeast Mississippi, stretching as far north as Clarke County.
Lott discussed his campaign with The Meridian Star's editorial board.
The Meridian Star: Why are you running for this seat in Congress?
Mike Lott: I think the 4th Congressional District for a long time now has needed some representation that is kind of a sounding board of the views of the people of the district.
We're a very conservative district. We need someone who can go to Washington and be a team player with our senators, Thad Cochran and Trent Lott. And what we've got is someone who is doing his own thing up there.
I call it "Gene Taylor philosophy." He's got one or two issues that are important to him and he doesn't sway one way or the other. We've got some great concerns in our district, and I don't think those concerns are being addressed and haven't been addressed, and I'd like to be the one to address them.
The Star: What are some of the things you would say you've accomplished during the past five years in the Mississippi Legislature?
Lott: Educationally speaking, we were able to get the accountability law passed, and that was even before the federal No Child Left Behind Act. Being in the classroom and being an administrator, I had some unique perspectives, I thought, on that issue.
I also had a couple of legislative pieces in education that we did get passed that I thought were important and they have become state law. I was also chosen to head the Mississippi Legislative Conservative Coalition.
The Star: What would you say are the biggest differences between yourself and Taylor?
Lott: There are a lot. The first is the party affiliation. Why is that an issue? No. 1, the make-up of the district. This district, when it was the 5th District in 2000, put President Bush into office with the fourth highest vote of any congressional district in the United States. We know that he had votes from both parties, but this is a heavy Republican district, a heavy conservative district, with conservative probably being a better word to use.
When you look at the people who vote in the national election, especially in that 2000 election, it was pretty clear that they voted Republican.
That's important because in the U.S. Congress, your chairman of your committees are part of the majority party. And when my opponent first got into office, his first five years, the Democrats were in control of Congress and he had no leadership position.
Since that time, the Republicans have been in control of Congress and it seems that they will for a while. So as long as that's the case, then he won't have any leadership position.
And it's time that we have somebody from South Mississippi who can have leadership position. As a member of the party that's in charge, I have a much better opportunity to be in a leadership position.
The second thing is our different positions on the tax cut issue. The tax cut issue is extremely important to me. I think that tax cuts create revenue for our government. My opponent's one issue seems to be the national deficit. That's why he votes against tax cuts. Every single time, he votes against the tax cuts. And that's just not what the people of this district want.
Another issue is small business. I have one of the highest pro-business voting records of any (Mississippi) legislator, Senate or House. Compare my record to that of my opponent.
In Congress, the National Federation of Independent Business People, (Taylor's) last rating with them was 29. I tell people that when I taught school, anything below 70 was an "F." We used to hold students back. To me, he's holding the district back with pro-business scores like that.
Another would be social issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage. I've heard that he agrees with my position on those positions.
I'm against taking an innocent life before it's born. I'm against same-sex marriage. I'm against same-sex civil unions. I don't even agree with heterosexual civil unions. I'm a firm believer in the institution of marriage. I think that's important at the national level to protect us from the liberal judges who sit on the benches at the federal level and, in my opinion, are making law rather than interpreting law. I take a firm stand on those issues, and I would never endorse someone for president who believes opposite on those issues.
He says he believes that way. But if you do, why on earth would you endorse Wesley Clark for president back in the fall when the Democrats were vying for their nominee position. If you mean you're against abortion and same-sex marriage, then don't go over here and endorse someone for president who's going to support those issues.

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