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Col. Rob Maness Speaks on Senate Candidacy at Reagan Luncheon

Col. Rob Maness Speaks on Senate Candidacy at Reagan Luncheon

COL. ROB MANESS, USAF (ret.) brought his candidacy for the United States Senate to Baton Rouge Tuesday with a call to balance the federal government, limit the federal government to its lawful powers, support the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, protect the free enterprise system, and strengthen the national defense. Maness spoke to a packed house at the Ronald Reagan Newsmaker Luncheon at Café Américain, 7521 Jefferson Hwy. The former B-1 bomber pilot, B-1 squadron commander, and wing commander at Barksdale AFB told Baton Rouge Republicans that he is running against Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu to promote liberty, prosperity, and certainty in our country. “Do the people in Washington really believe that deficits are going to work?” he asked. “The U.S. is no longer one of the Top 10 nations in the world for economic freedom. We’re now No. 12. We’ve had seven years of overspending, seven years of debt, seven years of unemployment, and seven years of a war we should have been out of! I don’t believe big government works!” Maness retired from the Air Force after 30 years and went to work with Entergy in Slidell. He said that as a military family they have lived in Louisiana for 10 years, longer than anywhere else, and he considers it home. Col. Maness said elected officials take the same oath he took in the Air Force to protect and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. “I’m not going to stand by and let government run over our rights,” he said. Maness said his No. 1 goal is to have a limited government as provided in the Constitution. “I took an oath to our original Constitution as amended, not some version someone else has created in their minds. That’s the document I am sworn to defend.” Maness said the Constitution is very much alive to day, and so many of the big issues facing the country involve attempts to circumvent or undermine the Constitution. This includes the IRS scandal, the NSA collecting data and spying on our citizens without a warrant, and Obamacare, he said. No. 2 on Maness’ list is protecting the Bill of Rights. “We must defend our basic rights, such as the Right to Life and the Right to Property,” he said. “The Right to Keep and Bear Arms is the insurance policy for all our other rights,” he said. Maness said gun control is costly and doesn’t work. He said Mary Landrieu has been supporting President Obama 98 percent of the time and taking an opposite position from his own. He said the Obama administration has been making guns available to drug dealers and criminals in the Fast and Furious scandal. Maness’ 3rd priority is the economy, he said, starting with repeal and defunding of the “Despicable Unaffordable Health Care Act,” or Obamacare. As a result of this act, employers are cutting employees to under 30 hours a week and laying off people, he said. “I’m the only candidate in this race who favors defunding Obamacare,” he said. On energy, Col. Maness said Sen. Landrieu pretends to help the energy sector in Louisiana, but really doesn’t. “We should be at full production in this state, and we’re not,” he said, because of the federal government. If Louisiana was permitted to do so, it would out-produce Texas, and there would be little need for state taxes, he said. Maness said his 4th priority is building a strong national defense. “Because I am a military man, you may think I support a strong national defense, and I do!” he laughed. “But I don’t believe the defense budget is untouchable. There is plenty of fraud, waste and abuse. It’s ridiculous!” But Maness said he strongly objects to Congress’ cutting $6 billion for the retirement benefits of military retirees. “The cost-of-living formula was put into the law to prevent this very thing — using our veterans as a political football!” The average enlisted man will lose $80,000 in his lifetime from this bill, he said. “They were planning their lives around this money, and they live on a very tight budget,” he said. On the Republican Party, he said, “I’ve been a Republican since I was 19, and I’m tired of people saying this is the party of big business. It must be the party for average citizens!” Maness said, “My family has always believed in people having the opportunity to achieve the American dream. We believe in individual responsibility, strong communities, and working through private enterprise. That’s how we’ll fix our country. That’s how we’ll fight poverty. Big government programs simply don’t work. When asked in the question period the differences between himself and Sixth District Congressman Bill Cassidy, who is also seeking the Senate seat, Maness said with a laugh, “I don’t look like him!” Then, turning serious, he said, “Look at his voting record. We have a different philosophy. I’ve pledged to defund Obamacare. He hasn’t. I’m against gun control at the federal level. He’s not. He voted for federal hate crimes legislation. I’m against it. Criminal law cannot be based on what someone is supposedly thinking.” Also in the question period, Manesss was asked if he believes the Constitution is a living document. He said, “It was written for all times. Show me what in the document, as amended, that is not applicable today.” He was asked his position on the minimum wage. He said, “When it gets raised, what happens?” Someone said, “It costs jobs and prices go up!” “That’s right!” Maness said. “It’s only intended to be a starting wage.” He was asked his position on affirmative action. He said, “It might have been necessary after slavery and when laws were in place that discriminated. But I don’t believe it is necessary any longer. The military is color blind and has been a long time. That’s the way I think things should be.” On China, Maness said, “Opening trade with China was the right thing to do. But there have not been enough controls on the transfer of science and technology to the Chinese. “The military is very concerned about China as a ‘near peer.’ But now I’m reading about the F-35 using Chinese electronic parts. That in itself represents a military threat. China is setting itself up as a world power. The first step is this Air Defense Zone near Japan. They see America as weak and divided. They are putting technology into nuclear submarines and long-range aircraft.” On a question about the F-35, Maness said we are putting all our bets on this aircraft at a cost of $400 million each. “The number of F-35′s requested is down from 1,000 to 800 but here’s the problem.: it’s not performing as it is supposed to. Some in DOD want to scrap it. On a question about national flood insurance, Maness questioned why it should be mandatory. “We’ve bailed this program out 18 times!” He urged withdrawing from the program and providing relief to those who have been abused by the program. “We have a moral obligation to those who have been forced to pay in, but the current program should not continue.” On Afghanistan and Iraq, he said, “I didn’t agree with going into these wars in the way we did. I believe we go in quickly and get out, the way we did in Desert Storm. On the other hand, I also disagree with the way we’ve pulled out, without a status of forces agreement.” Most importantly, he said, “Long wars never work.” Maness urged voters to go to his website and Facebook page and “Like” it and then contribute and get involved in his campaign. Congressman Bill Cassidy will speak at a future meeting of the Ronald Reagan Newsmaker Luncheon. Rep. Paul Hollis, who just entered the Senate race, will also be invited. The Ronald Reagan Newsmaker Luncheon is held on the 2nd Tuesday of each month at 12 noon at Cafe Americain. It is open to registered Republicans, guests, and members of the news media. Story and photo by Woody Jenkins, editor,Capital City News. For more on the Republican Party of East Baton Rouge Parish, go to

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