Meet Your Senate Candidates
The 2022 race for U.S. Senate is well underway in Alabama. Primary elections for the Republican and Democratic parties are scheduled for May 24, 2022, and the general election will be held on November 8, 2022.
While the May primaries seem far away, the race for the Republican nomination has already become crowded with four candidates declared. No Democrats have filed candidacy for U.S. Senate in Alabama at the time this article was published. Today’s blog will focus on introducing the three most prominent candidates in the race: Katie Britt, Lynda Blanchard, and Congressman Mo Brooks.
The Chamber reached out to the candidates with questions on small business issues, workforce development, and federal spending. Highlights from their answers are below.
Britt is a native of Enterprise and the former President and CEO of the Business Council of Alabama. Prior to leading BCA, Britt served as Chief of Staff for U.S. Senator Richard Shelby and was an attorney with Butler Snow LLP. Britt earned her bachelor's and juris doctorate degrees at the University of Alabama, where she also served as SGA President. She lives in Montgomery with her husband, Wesley, and their two children.
On the issues:
Britt identified workforce shortages, over-regulation, and inflation as the biggest issues facing Alabama’s small businesses. To address workforce development issues, Britt stated she supports, “commonsense, innovative programs that support industry-driven skills training and education.” Britt explained that workforce development starts in the K-12 system, and improving education in the state is critical to Alabama’s future. On the issue of over-regulation in particular, Britt stated, “I firmly believe that businesses should have the freedom to make decisions that are best for their own unique situations.” Britt stated that out of control tax-and-spend policies are causing inflation. If elected, Britt stated she would fight to tackle the spending and the national debt. Britt maintained she does support continuing strategic federal investments that benefit Alabama families and national security.
While Britt has never been elected to public office, her years at the helm of Alabama’s largest business advocacy organization prove she has a pro-business policy track record. Britt’s policy positions are pro-business and socially conservative. She has the support of her former boss and retiring U.S. Senator, Richard Shelby, who she is seeking to replace in Washington.
Blanchard is a Montgomery native and former U.S. Ambassador to Slovenia under President Trump (serving 2019-2021). Prior to serving as the U.S. Ambassador to Slovenia, Blanchard successfully ran a real estate investment firm and co-founded an international development non-profit. She earned a B.S. in Mathematics from Auburn University. She lives in Montgomery with her husband, John, and is a mother of eight.
On the issues:
When asked to name the biggest issue facing Alabama businesses, Blanchard named workforce development issues. Blanchard contends Alabama’s workforce issues are caused in large part by federal unemployment subsidies and regulation on employers. Blanchard stated that Alabama’s workforce issues would be best solved through public-private partnerships. Blanchard has stated if elected she would work to secure increased appropriations for Alabama’s rural communities for issues she feels have been neglected in the past, such as infrastructure.
Blanchard was an early supporter of Donald Trump’s 2016 U.S. Presidential campaign and she describes herself on her website as a “Trump Republican”. Many of her policy positions reflect the more populist and conservative factions of the Republican party. While she has never served in an elected office before, her statements and connection to the Trump campaign indicate she would be one of the more conservative members of Congress.
Brooks was raised in Huntsville and currently serves as the U.S. Representative for Alabama’s Fifth Congressional District, which includes Lauderdale County among others. Prior to serving in Congress, Brooks served as a Madison County Commissioner and an Alabama State Representative. Brooks earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and economics from Duke and a juris doctorate from the University of Alabama. He lives in Huntsville with his wife, Martha, and has four children.
On the issues:
When asked what are the biggest challenges facing small businesses in Alabama, Brooks identified over-regulation, tax burdens, and workforce shortages. Brooks explained he would continue to vote to cut taxes and regulation in the Senate as he has in House. On the issue of workforce, Brooks stated, “Every able-bodied American should be self-sufficient.” Brooks explained that he would address the issue of workforce shortages by fighting federal welfare policies that discourage employment. As Brooks stated, mall businesses should not have to compete with a federal government that pays able-bodied people excessive amounts not to work.
Brooks maintained Alabama’s Fifth District has, “experienced unprecedented prosperity” during his time in Congress. If elected, he said would take the same approach to representing the entire state. Brooks is one of the most fiscally and socially conservative members of Congress. Brooks has been endorsed by former President Donald Trump, and is an ardent supporter of the former President. Brooks member of the ultra-conservative House Freedom Caucus.