Republican opponents lay out priorities for 3rd Congressional - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Republican opponents lay out priorities for AL 3rd Congressional District

U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers (Source: Congressman Mike Rogers) U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers (Source: Congressman Mike Rogers)
Thomas Casson (Source: Thomas Casson for Congress) Thomas Casson (Source: Thomas Casson for Congress)

U.S. Representative Mike Rogers and Thomas Casson, his opponent in next week's primary election, have a different list of priorities for office. The two men are facing off to be the Republican nominee for Alabama's 3rd Congressional District in next week's primary election.

The East Alabama district includes Calhoun, Clay, Macon, Russell, Tallapoosa, Chambers, Cleburne, St. Clair, Cherokee, Lee, Randolph and Talladega Counties and an eastern portion of Montgomery County.

Casson, a former banker from Lee County, has never held elective office but is adamant that House members should not serve more than three terms.

"I'm convinced that we need term limits. How long should a Congressman serve? I think it was good enough for George Washington and Ronald Reagan to serve in the federal government for only eight years and I'm convinced that I can do that- that I can keep my promise and I will term limit myself if I can't get term limits passed," Casson told WSFA. 

Casson is facing off against Rep. Rogers, who is running for his seventh term and says he has never been a supporter of term limits.

"Congress, as a whole, is an institution where power and seniority go hand in glove. You'll never have any real power in this institution unless you have seniority You also never really have any subject matter expertise," Rogers said in a phone interview Wednesday from Washington D.C. where the House was in session. 

"Alabama is a small state. We only have seven members of the House of Representatives and if it weren't for seniority, small states like ours would be run over by the big states....the way that the small states are able to protect themselves and their constituents is through seniority," he added. 

Thomas Casson's other sticking point is cutting the budgets used to run congressional offices.

"I'm proposing that my congressional office take the first hit. Each congressman gets $1.2 million for office, staff and travel. We can cut that in half. The constituents won't miss it and then Congress can have clean hands and look at the whole budget and look at what else needs to be cut. We're currently bring in $2.5 trillion. We need to live within that budget," he said. 

Rep. Rogers says lawmakers have already been forced to cut their budgets 20% over the last four years. 

"Where we really make a difference is in constituent service for people back home, when they have a problem with their social security check or your VA claim or you need a passport or whatever your particular concern is, you have to have staff that can attend to the needs of your constituents. That's the thing I take the most pride in,"  he said. "Folks expect when they have a concern in Washington that their member of Congress can help them with it and it takes staff to do that."

Thomas Casson currently manages a consulting firm for small businesses and non-profit organizations. He worked as Lee County coordinator for the Bob Riley for congress campaign and served as field representative for Congressman Riley from 1997 until 2000. Casson and his wife, Lorra, are foster parents and have adopted six children out of the foster care system. His campaign slogan is "Bringing Common Sense to Washington D.C."

"Nobody trusts Congress anymore and we need a Congressman that will actually lead and will lead by example. And we really need to take Washington back," he said. "We need common sense in Washington. I really don't believe we have any of it and I think the election of a new kind of congressman that will go up there and serve versus being served by the people. I think that's very important."

Rep. Rogers said one of his main goals for this term in office is repealing the Affordable Care Act. 

"People are going to find out that the 80% of Americans who have health insurance through a group plan are going to be hit by Obamacare this fall. It was only 20% of Americans who were hit last fall when the individual mandate kicked in so you're going to have a lot of turbulence in this country when people start getting hit by those premiums and deductibles and limited networks of providers," the congressman said. 

Rogers told WSFA he's also focused on bringing more jobs to the district.

"I think the aerospace industry is going to be the next auto industry for us. I think that with Airbus coming to Mobile and the GE Aviation plant going to Auburn are good indicators that the aerospace industry is going to start moving towards us and I'll be aggressively courting that," he said. 

As Chairman of the Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, which is the subcommittee over all nuclear weapons, missile systems and satellites, Rogers says he has a lot of interaction with aerospace companies and he intends to use those contacts to try to bring some of that industry to the third district.  Rogers also currently serves on the Agriculture Committee, the Armed Services Committee and the Homeland Security Committee.

On Wednesday, he called on VA Secretary Eric Shinseki to resign immediately following the release of a Department of Veterans Affairs Inspector General's report. In addition, Rogers joined with House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller (R-FL) in calling for the Department of Justice to immediately begin a criminal investigation into wrongdoing at the VA. 

The winner of the GOP primary will face Democrat Jesse Smith in November. A 14 year Army vet, Smith went on to work as a federal civil service employee at the Department of the Army Combat Readiness/Safety Center. Smith says his service to our country and leadership skills position him to "lead a Charge for Change" in Washington, D. C. 

Copyright 2014 WSFA 12 News.  All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly