9th District: Broun Seeking Conservative Return

9th District: Broun Seeking Conservative Return

Dave Schechter

Dave Schechter is a veteran journalist whose career includes writing and producing reports from Israel and elsewhere in the Middle East.

Paul Broun’s message to Republican voters in the 9th District is that he is a true conservative, unlike the incumbent Republican congressman, Doug Collins.

“I will stand strong for our conservative values and actually fight back against big-government liberals in Congress,” while Collins “is an establishment politician who has consistently done the opposite,” Broun said in a 250-word news release touting endorsements in which “conservative” appears at least nine times.

Broun repeated that theme in answering questions from the Atlanta Jewish Times.

Former Congressman Paul Broun
Former Congressman Paul Broun

“People are fed up with Washington politicians because they keep ignoring we the people,” he said. “Conservative grassroots especially are fed up with the Republican leadership and establishment for constantly breaking promises, caving to Obama, and coming up with excuses for why they can’t do anything. I’m fed up too, and that’s why I’m running.”

The challenger, who represented the 10th District in Congress from 2007 to 2015, blames Collins for the tone of the campaign. “I called Congressman Collins a week before I announced to let him know I’d be running. I told him my campaign would be about comparing my voting record to his voting record. Then I announced, and within 24 hours Congressman Collins had a radio ad up attacking me personally with half-truths and falsehoods. His attacks have only gotten more vitriolic and personal and, honestly, further from the truth,” Broun said. “I won’t get down in the mud. I started this campaign by talking about voting records, and that’s how I’m going to end it.”

Broun, who turned 70 on May 14, was exposed to politics at a young age. His father, Paul Broun Sr., represented the Athens area in the Georgia Senate as a Democrat for 38 years.

The son, Dr. Paul Broun Jr., graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in chemistry and earned his medical degree from the Medical College of Georgia. He has been a family physician for more than 40 years and served as a medical officer in the U.S. Navy Reserve.

Broun and his wife, Niki, married in 1985. He has three adult children and two grandchildren.

Broun considers Israel a priority issue. “I’m an ardent supporter of Israel because of a promise G-d made with our father Abraham. G-d promised he’d bless those that bless Israel and curse those that curse Israel. It is imperative that the United States continue to bless Israel. I’ve worked closely with the Jewish community both nationally and in Georgia to make sure America continues blessing Israel.”

That blessing includes foreign aid. “Before even considering foreign aid to any other country, we must guarantee that we’re providing it to Israel. Foreign aid packages to Israel should be robust, beyond sufficient and effective for helping Israel stay safe. Additionally, any foreign aid that the United States is sending Arab countries needs to be conditional and based on their efforts to help us combat terrorism and help Israel.

“The United States, and Congress in particular, must also take the lead in being a strong voice in support of Israel on the global stage. This includes encouraging Arab nations and Palestinians to work toward an agreeable two-state solution and to help in combating radical Islamic terrorists. The United States can and should lead the way in promoting, encouraging and aiding moderate Palestinians who will actively work to eliminate radical Islamists in the region.”

Broun expressed concern about government overreach in the name of national security. “Our United States Constitution, as our Founding Fathers intended it, will protect civil liberties and American citizens. The United States government should cease and desist spying on law-abiding citizens and trampling upon our G-d-given, constitutionally protected rights.”

Broun, a member of the Prince Avenue Baptist Church in Bogart, also worries about the trampling of expressions of faith. “Religious liberty must be protected at all costs. Our nation was founded upon Judeo-Christian, biblical principles that allow people to practice their religion, and this must be protected. The First Amendment is one of the guardians of liberty and freedom, and this must be protected as well.”

Summarizing his political philosophy, Broun said: “Our domestic policy must ensure a strong national defense, national security and a strong economy. The unsustainable national debt and unfunded liabilities are the greatest threats to our national security and to our economy’s future. We must restore fiscal sanity in Washington and go back to constitutionally limited government as our Founding Fathers envisioned it when they constrained the federal government through the enumerated powers.”

He said the government “has a spending problem and not a revenue problem. But, in addition to cutting spending, we need to reform the tax code, which currently stifles job creation. My JOBS Act would change this dramatically and bring manufacturing jobs back to America. Additionally, we need to abolish the IRS and move towards a FairTax.”

Broun also favors a reduced federal role in public education. “We’ve got to let teachers teach. Education policy has to recognize that each student is unique and original. Meeting the needs of every child requires a variety of educational choices and options that can only be done at the local level. Moving towards that requires sending powers back to the states and getting federal bureaucrats out of local education decisions. We need to abolish the Department of Education, fully and finally repeal No Child Left Behind as reauthorized in the Every Student Succeeds Act, and put a complete stop to Common Core,” he said.

Broun continues to face questions about matters dating to his congressional tenure. His congressional chief of staff was indicted in April on charges of misusing taxpayer money to finance campaign activities and obstructing a congressional investigation. “I have cooperated fully with the investigators at every step. Throughout this process, it was made clear that I was not the subject of the investigation. Everything I did was completely above board and the investigation has proven that,” Broun said.

He also has garnered publicity for controversial comments, including videotaped remarks in September 2012 to a church group. “All that stuff I was taught about evolution, embryology, big bang theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of hell,” Broun, who was then a member of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, told the audience. “It’s lies to try to keep me and all the folks who are taught that from understanding that they need a savior.”

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