Mo Brooks responds to Parker Griffith’s push-polling…

From Mo Brooks…

April 8, 2010

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Parker Griffith Attacks Mo Brooks With False “Push Polling”

The “push poll”, “attack-Mo” questions are:

1.“If you knew Mo Brooks raised garbage rates would you be more likely or less likely to vote for Mo Brooks?”

The Real Facts: “Madison County garbage rates were last raised over a decade ago (in the 1990s). Since then, employee wages and health costs have gone up, diesel fuel costs have gone up, garbage truck purchase and maintenance costs have gone up, etc. By 2009, the Madison County Garbage Department was losing large sums of money. Garbage rates were being subsidized with gasoline and property taxes. Commissioner Bob Harrison (who operates the garbage department) moved for a roughly $4.50/month rate increase. I successfully pushed for a smaller rate increase (roughly $3.50/month), defeated the larger rate increase request, and then voted for the smaller rate increase. I believe that those who use a service (such as garbage) should pay for it (without it being subsidized by taxes taken from citizens who do not use the service).

2.“If you knew Mo Brooks raised his own pay as an elected official, would you be more likely or less likely to vote for Mo Brooks?

The Real Facts: As a legislator, I never voted for a legislative pay raise. As a Tuscaloosa Assistant District Attorney or Madison County District Attorney, I never gave himself a pay raise. When I was elected to the County Commission, the legislature controlled commissioners’ compensation. Five to ten years ago, the legislature passed a law that tied Commissioner pay raises to the pay raises given to Sheriff Department deputies and all other County employees. Hence, if the Commission gave a 2% Cost-of-Living pay raise to its employees, that same 2% pay increase applied to Commissioners. Over the years, I have voted to give across-the-board pay raises to Commission employees. Per state law, all Commissioners’ pay went up by the exact same percentage. These are the votes Griffith refers to. For emphasis, I have never voted for a pay raise in the “it gets the public angry” sense, to-wit: for myself (except where it applied to all other Commission employees). And, even in those instances, the reason my pay went up is because state law mandated it.

Paradoxically, in 2007, Parker Griffith voted for a 62% pay raise for legislators!

3. “If you knew Mo Brooks spent over $100,000 on a boathouse in his district would you be more likely or less likely to vote for Mo Brooks?”

Factual Background: Over the years, I and the other County Commissioners have budgeted funds for improvements at Ditto Landing and Whitesburg Boat Harbor. One of those improvements was the construction of a boathouse that is rented to those who store boats in it. Budgeting funds for parks, playgrounds, Greenways, gymnasiums, and other recreational facilities is part of what county commissions (and city councils) do.

4. Griffith next polled on religion. Griffith asked voters whether they were Protestant, Catholic, Jewish or Atheist. Griffith then asked whether a voter was a “born again believer”.

Comment: Candidates (like Parker Griffith) don’t poll on religion . . . unless they intend to launch an appeal to religious prejudice, bigotry, or intolerance.

Typically, with religious polling, the campaign tactic is:

First, identify voters who are likely to have a different religious view than an opponent candidate.

Second, send those voters a letter (or make an anonymous phone call to them) that appeals to their prejudice against the candidate of a different religious faith.

I was raised in the Methodist Church (I attended Trinity Methodist on Airport Road). As a teenager, I briefly attended both Whitesburg Baptist and Faith Presbyterian. A very close friend of mine was a Mormon missionary. In 1978, I joined the Mormon Church. About a decade ago, I decided that my faith was more akin to that of a nondenominational Christian.

I have faith in God and in Jesus Christ as our savior. I read the King James version of the Bible. I believe in the two great commandments. Per Ecclesiastes 3:17, I also believe it is God’s place to judge my soul (“God shall judge the righteous and the wicked.”).

My wife is Mormon. Notwithstanding that I do not have faith in all of the things necessary to be a Mormon, I have great respect for Mormons. They are fine people. They teach strong family and moral values. I attend Mormon services with my wife, Martha, because she likes me to sit with her during sacrament service and because I love her (and the weekly reminder of moral values and principles is good for me).

The other Congressional candidates know that I am a nondenominational Christian. But this is a race for Congress. In political terms, this is the “big leagues”. A lot is at stake. And it is very common for candidates to use any weapon they perceive they may have. Hence, it is very likely that my Congressional foes will attack the Mormon faith and appeal to prejudice in an effort to drive a wedge between voters and me.

Fortunately, we’’ve won 8 elections despite past appeals to religious prejudice. But that does not seem to stop those who stoop to such tactics.

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