Freshman State Sen. Josh Carnley (R-Ino) recently sat down with 1819 News to discuss his first legislative term, gaming bills and the cultural issues of the day.

Carnley acknowledged that things moved quickly for him in his first session, while the more seasoned lawmakers were more comfortable with the flow. He said the passage of his peanut bill was a "special" moment for him.

In the interview, the freshman lawmaker also emphasized how the promotion of "woke" or "leftist social agendas" acted as a "slow erosion" of the state's moral foundation, especially in the wake of the Alabama Department of Archives & History hosting a luncheon about Alabama's LGBTQ history last week.

"All we're teaching is the radical left stuff," Carnley lamented. "We're not teaching patriotism. We're not teaching a heterosexual lifestyle. You've never seen that stuff in these events. Everything is way over here. You know, we've got to promote all this left stuff. And a lot of it stems from home because we're not teaching our kids what we believe, and then they're being taught by social media, they're being taught by somebody else that has an influence on them."

Read the interview below:

What were your first impressions of Montgomery?

"There's a lot coming at you really fast. You have a finite amount of time that you have to work within to get bills passed and learn about the proposed legislation. You're learning about your colleagues in organizational sessions, and that's just the Senate, not to mention the House. You're trying to take all this information in so quickly, and you look around at your colleagues that have been there, and they seem to be just going with the flow, and a lot of it is because of things that you don't know that they learned just over time. The expectations of you are the same as of them to get things done while you're trying to figure things out. You feel like you have a lot to learn and keep up with."

What do you think about filling your predecessor, Jimmy Holly's, shoes?

"That's a tall ask. A lot of that is due to his years of experience. Learning how to work a bill, work members, trying to make sure you can do what you need to do to get something you're passionate about through. It'll take a lot of time, but I'm working on it. I tell folks I do a little bit every day and learn a little bit every day so I can be the best senator I can be for District 31."

Why did you choose the peanut bill as your first bill, and what was the process like?

"Ag is my background. My family is a farming family. They're beef producers and poultry producers today. I farm as well, so an Ag bill was something I felt comfortable with because I was familiar with it—as a farmer, the peanut referendum affects me personally. That kind of legislation, to me, is easier to work with because you are familiar with the context you are working within. I worked with the Farmer's Federation on this. There was a companion bill in the House carried by Representative [Jennifer] Fidler of Baldwin County. We both were new and had the opportunity to work on this. It wasn't very controversial, so there weren't many obstacles except for Bobby Singleton trying to embarrass me on the floor, but that's what he does when it's your first bill. It was a good time to be able to learn and to work with not only your legislators but also with the lobbying side.

I think anything Ag-related is special to me because I see it and I live it every day. I definitely like being involved in those bills like the peanut referendum bill. It's not something that changes people's everyday life like the grocery tax, but it means something to farmers, and being able to help them is special to me."

What do you think about gambling or lottery bills as an alternative form of revenue?

"Well, just from my standpoint, I'm opposed to gaming and to the lottery. We all look at the financial side of it and try to figure out how that's going to lessen the tax burden, but I'm also concerned about the people that are going to be negatively impacted by it. Sometimes, it's the family, not the person out there gambling, that suffers. I know people who say, 'Well, that's their choice, and people do what they want to do.' I agree, but I don't know if that's the most responsible way to take care of our state. In my opinion, I'm just opposed to the lottery and gaming legislation."

What are your thoughts on Anti-Woke legislation and the LGBTQ history event at the Department of Archives and History?

"Some people stand up and say, well, don't try to create solutions to problems you don't have. But also, I think you have to be careful and watch how things are happening. And most of this, what you call woke or what I call leftist social agendas, is just a slow erosion. You know, it's things that you look at today, and you're like, 'Oh, well, it's no big deal. Just leave it alone.' And then here you are today with drag shows. I mean, who would have ever thought that would have been in Alabama?

And again, I'm a Christian, and I believe one of the greatest things about Christianity is that God created us, and he gives us a choice to choose him or to reject him, you know? He doesn't force himself on us, and he gives us a choice. And I believe it's those people's choice or perhaps how they desire to live. But now, I don't want them trying to force that on my children and especially with the public money that we spend. I mean, if you want to do it privately, go do it. But I mean, is that really what we as a state need to be promoting?

You know, some people tolerate a certain social agenda just to be able to say that we're compassionate toward people that choose an alternative lifestyle that I'm strongly opposed to. I think, unfortunately, what happens in politics is that some groups will say, 'Well, you're discriminating,' and that could be said by the ones that don't think we need to do anything. You could turn that into a race issue or something else, and it's just not the way it is. And I just feel like we, as a state, need to stand up and say, 'Hey, we do not want to be known as a state that accepts this. We're going to stand against it.'

I called Stephen Murray and expressed my concern over allowing this to be done. My main concern is this: if this were a religious event, they'd be jumping up and down on the steps saying, 'You can't do this. You can't do this.' But as long as it's dealing with an alternative lifestyle, everything's okay, and we bow down and back out of the way for these people. You've got to give them their ability to tell who they are. But my thing is, you've got to do it for everybody. You can't just do it for this group.

It's amazing to me that this same group that wants to promote all of this is the same group that wants prayer out of schools and doesn't want us to say the pledge of allegiance. It's hypocrisy to me. They say religion shouldn't be anywhere, but yet their lifestyle can be. I love these people, and I tell people that I know people who live an alternative lifestyle, and I'm not ugly to them. I respect them. I don't agree with it, but I'm never going to be beating them down. I don't agree with people that cheat on their spouse and have adulterous affairs either, but I feel like it's the parents' responsibility to teach these things at home.

As a state, I think we can't promote this stuff. I mean, if you say, 'Hey if you're not going to promote this, you also can't promote this other stuff,' then don't. It's like I told the director (of the Department of Archives), I said, 'Look, what happens when the white supremacists come up there and say they want to have their history known?' Nobody's going to want that or agree to that, but how do you tell them they can't? You're getting to a point where you can no longer say no. And when you accept one, you accept all.

All we're teaching is the radical left stuff. We're not teaching patriotism. We're not teaching a heterosexual lifestyle. You've never seen that stuff in these events. Everything is way over here. You know, we've got to promote all this left stuff. And a lot of it stems from home because we're not teaching our kids what we believe, and then they're being taught by social media, they're being taught by somebody else that has an influence on them. Well, why don't we counter it with stuff that we want people to believe? But nobody wants that. That's not popular, at least on the national scene."

Part 2 coming on Tuesday.

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