The Elmore County Republicans met in a courtroom upstairs at the Elmore County Court House, and Katie Britt was working the room Tuesday night like a seasoned attorney making a case for her client.
The difference, this time, the client Britt is making a case for is herself. But she hopes she is doing a good enough job that soon she will be representing the people of Alabama.
Britt is running as a Republican for the U.S. Senate seat that will soon be vacated by Richard Shelby, the longest-serving senator in state history, who is retiring after 36 years.
The Republican primary is May 24. Britt is running against current U.S. Representative Mo Brooks (AL-05), businessman Mike Durant, and the relatively unknown Lillie Boddie, Karla Dupriest, and Jake Schafer.
After a day that started in Mobile, carried her to Shelby County, and back to Montgomery before ending in Elmore County, Britt was asked what she wanted people to walk away remembering about her as a candidate.
“My passion and ability to protect this country that we know and love,’’ Britt said.
She opened focusing on foreign affairs, on President Joe Biden’s handling of everything from the southern border (“Not only did he stop building the wall, he stopped repairing it,’’ Britt said), the threat from China both as an economic rival (“Stealing intellectual property and undermining the American worker.”) and as a supplier of Fentanyl (“Enough fentanyl has come from China through Mexico and across the border to kill every citizen in the U.S. four times over!”), hitting the current crisis with Ukraine and last year’s withdrawal from Afghanistan (“I never thought I’d see an American President on bended knee, letting the Taliban dictate when and where our troops would withdraw, leaving Americans behind.”).
Britt was asked by a grandfather about the national debt, which is now over $30 trillion, or $90,272 for every U.S. citizen.
“One, we have to balance the budget,’’ Britt said. “Two, there is a lot of waste in Washington. That starts with the Department of Education – I’m not sure why we have the Federal government in education, but I know there are bureaucrats in the Department of Education making $100,000 a year while our teachers make less than $50,000, and that’s backwards. But it isn’t just the Department of Education; we need to audit all government agencies. The more bureaucrats you have in government, the harder it is on small businesses. We have got to end duplication and waste.
“Third, you have to have people who make reducing the debt a priority, and I promise that will be a priority for me.”
One of the more controversial acts that Britt is often associated with is the Alabama Gas Tax, which was passed while she was President and CEO of the Business Council of Alabama.
In fact, Britt was told by one member that they remembered a commercial featuring Britt advocating for the gas tax.
“That was not me,’’ Britt said. “I’m sorry, but that’s incorrect information. The BCA made the gas tax a priority before I got there.
“I signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge. I will not vote to raise taxes in the U.S. Senate. I want to make sure that is off the table.”
But in this race, particularly among the three leading candidates, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of difference in policy positions.
Britt admitted as much.
“You can count on me to be a conservative vote,’’ she said. “And I do think the other candidates would do the same.
“The difference is the energy, the passion, the fight to protect our values. And I want to do it in a way that others will follow, to build a coalition that will get results. I’m a person that listens and not just lectures. … I’m convinced that when the election comes, it will be huge to take the House (of Representatives) and the Senate, which will give us the opportunity to stop this Biden agenda, to stop the bleeding.
“Then, when we take back the Presidency in 2024 – and I believe we will – we have to be ready. We have to have our ducks in a row and be ready to take the reins and act quickly. Our future is at stake.”
To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email ray.melick@1819News.com.