Rep. Mo Brooks

Rep. Mo Brooks

Rep. Brooks visits with JWEMC staff at the Trinity office

A Conversation with Congressman Mo Brooks

By Michael Cornelison

For this year's Legislative Issue I sat down with Mo Brooks, our U.S. Representative for the fifth congressional district of Alabama. We wanted to get his perspective on the issues that not only effect Joe Wheeler EMC members but the whole country. This is the interview in its entirety. 

Given everything that has gone on with you in the past year; the softball shooting, the fights in Congress, the Senate run, have any of these changed your outlook of the future? 

Rep. Brooks: None of that has changed what I believe is the right philosophy of government for our country to continue to prosper. Those principles are immutable. They don’t change with assassination attempts; they don’t change with big-boy hardball politics. The foundational principles are what allow the people of America to be the greatest nation in world history for about seven decades now. 

No nation in world history has been able to come close to what our standing is and has been for seven decades across the globe. And that all comes down to the foundational principles that our Founding Fathers set forth in the constitution in 1789. 

The one thing our Founding Fathers did not envision is that the central government would be wholly and completely irresponsible and be 20 trillion dollars in debt. 

We are being warned by the Congressional Budget Office, the Government Accountability Office, and the Comptroller General of the United States, that we are headed to an insolvency and bankruptcy. They are putting their reports in writing.

If we don’t change our path, America will suffer through a debilitating insolvency and bankruptcy that will make the Great Depression look like an economic bonanza.

It is a very challenging issue to address. And a lot of Senators, Congressmen, and Presidents have declined to become embroiled in it, either because they lack the intellectual capacity to understand the circumstances of the threat, or because they lack the backbone to do what needs doing to prevent us from going into an insolvency and bankruptcy. And the backbone is probably the biggest factor. You have to constrain spending to avoid the insolvency and bankruptcy. You (WE) can make the situation better by implementing policies that spur economic growth. That is a must. But still, you have to constrain spending. It doesn’t make any difference how much revenue you have if you continue to spend more. 

How do you view U.S. energy policy in general?

Rep. Brooks: I support energy independence for the USA. To me, that is a national security issue, and I believe we ought to let the free enterprise system dictate what the most economically efficient forms of energy production are. The federal government should minimize, or totally eliminate its role in picking more expensive forms of energy production which end up making our deficit and debt worse or costing taxpayers and ratepayers more. I have great confidence in the ability of people who are in the energy industry to make the most economical decisions possible to maximize energy production at minimal cost. I have little faith in the ability of the federal government to wisely pick winners and losers in the energy industry. 

On the plus side, our oil production has gone up far more than anyone thought would happen in the 1970s and ‘80s. No-one thought that was possible. But what we’re doing, particularly with “fracking”, and also with our discovery of various other oil reserves is making us much more energy independent today, than we were two or three decades ago. We are even exporting energy; natural gas, and oil. 

Rep. Brooks with President Donald Trump for the
2017 NASA Authorization Bill Signing.
Photo provided by Congressman Brooks' office.

Are President Trump’s and the new EPA’s approach toward reducing regulations a good thing?

Rep. Brooks: One of the blessings of the Trump administration is they have figured out that the long-term, net effects of all these government regulations is to make it more difficult for people to be able to pay their power bills. And that has an economically depressing effect, not only on families but America as a whole. So the more the President can do to free up energy production and distribution, by minimizing federal government intervention, then the better off we as a county are going to be, and the better able families are going to be to pay their power bills. 

What are your thoughts on the recent push to bring broadband Internet to rural areas?

Rep. Brooks: I’m torn. On the one hand, I like the idea of all Americans having access to broadband Internet and all the related services. But on the other hand, I am concerned about beneficiaries of that broadband forcing other people to pay higher taxes, or higher rates for services they do not use. Someone has to pay the bill. And generally speaking, the consumer of a good or service ought to be who pays that bill in a free enterprise system. 

Recently, electric cooperatives have been exploring ways to provide broadband services to members. What role does the government play in helping to make this possible? 

Rep. Brooks: I have a house in Marshall County and am a member of an electric cooperative, North Alabama Electric Cooperative operated out of the Scottsboro area, so I understand the issue. I believe that’s [cooperative broadband] wonderful and I would get the federal government out of the way and let cooperatives be free to negotiate however they wish, so they are in the best position possible to abdicate the interest of the co-op members. I would free them up.

The one place where the government needs to intervene is when the free enterprise system does not work because of the existence of a monopoly or oligopoly. Free enterprise works because competition forces industries, or businesses, or co-ops to provide a service either better, or cheaper, or faster than the competition. And the competition is what enables the consumer to get the best deal possible. If there is a monopoly or oligopoly, then there isn’t sufficient competition, and the consumers tend to get gouged. Co-ops tend to be middle-men, and as a consequence, they should be freed-up to make choices over what they want to broadcast through their own systems. There is an issue there relative to local TV stations, where the co-ops are put at a competitive disadvantage because of federal government rules and regulations. I believe the co-ops ought to be able to tell anybody that we either like your service and will pay your price, or not; we’ll get it someplace else. That competition, again, long-term will enable co-op members to get better quality service, at lower prices.

It’s predicted that Alabama will lose a House seat after the 2020 census because of people moving away from rural areas. What can rural communities do to stop this?

Rep. Brooks: That’s not the reason we will lose a seat. We will lose a seat because there are roughly 15 million illegal aliens in America and they are worth 30 congressional seats. So the cities, counties, and states which promote sanctuary and inward migration of illegal aliens are the ones who gain political power at the expense of the American citizens who follow the law. They are counted for census purposes, that then determine how many congressional seats each state has. That is the biggest factor in whether Alabama will keep its seventh congressional seat, or lose one and be down to six.  

Is there a final message you would like to send to our members?

Rep. Brooks: I am a person that believes a rising tide lifts all boats, so my focus is in trying to promote policies that help America be more secure and more prosperous. If I am successful in that endeavor, then there is greater opportunity for all Americans, including those I represent to take advantage of that greater prosperity and security. As such, I fight for National Security to get a larger percentage of the money being spent to face an increasingly dangerous world; as evidenced by the military conflicts and around the globe, generally, and terrorism here in the U.S.

I will also do everything I can to try to prevent the United States from suffering a debilitating insolvency and bankruptcy. If that happens and you follow the cascading effects, that can only lead to one conclusion – an American insolvency and bankruptcy will probably lead to the premature loss of millions of American lives. That’s how serious an insolvency can be and how dangerous it is to American citizens. So that is far and away my number one priority. If we go into an insolvency and bankruptcy as a country, in effect, we will have destroyed over two centuries of sacrifices of those who were able to make America the greatest nation in world history. If I can play some role in stopping that from happening then I’m a happy camper. 

Given the current atmosphere, how do you make that happen? 

Rep. Brooks: The answer is going to be depressing for a lot of voters to hear, but if you just do the math, a congressman has one part, of one-third of the federal government, split between the congress and senate. Which means one Congressman has one 435th of one-sixth of the federal government. With that one part that I represent, I try to maximize, as best I can, to influence other members of Congress to be stronger on the deficit and debt issues. The way to do this is to help the public better understand the risk involved. First, that a debilitating insolvency and bankruptcy really can happen and second, what the effects on America and the lives of individual Americans will be.  

If the United States government went through a debilitating insolvency and bankruptcy, our economic circumstances would be far worse than what our county had to endure during the Great Depression. The cascading effect of the Great Depression was the kind of desperation that led to the empowerment of the Nazis in Germany, the Fascists in Italy, that helped to prompt Japan to divert economic depravity in Japan to conflicts in Korea and China and ultimately Pearl Harbor. The Great Depression produced a brewing pot that, with all of that combined, that cost roughly 60 million lives across the planet. And that was before the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction like nuclear weapons. So, it is critical that American voters understand the risk and dangers associated with insolvency and bankruptcy and that voters act accordingly at the ballot box, not just in Alabama, but in the other 49 states. What I try to do is to help them understand because American voters will do the right thing if they understand what the right thing is.