Desoto Times - Republicans go head-to-head - The three Republican candidates vying to become the next U.S. Representative from the First Congressional District squared off Thursday in a forum sponsored by the Republican Women of the DeSoto Area.
Russell, a practicing ophthalmologist from Oxford, called himself a true disciple of Ronald Reagan and family values advocate. He and his wife Amy, parents of two biological children, have been foster parents to 90 children during the course of their 24-year marriage. "There is nothing more important than protecting human life," Russell said. "Every one of us started out as a fertilized egg." Russell said he would protect the rights of the unborn if elected to Congress and work to secure America's borders. "You don't leave the door to your home open," Russell said. "America is our home." Russell estimates there are between 20 to 30 million people who are not supposed to be in this country." Russell said the state of American healthcare needs to be improved and be made more efficient. A staunch supporter of Second Amendment rights, Russell said he advocates a strong military.
Glenn McCullough, Jr., a sixth-generation Mississippian, said he, too, is a conservative Republican who will protect America's freedoms. "This country is founded on your right to life," McCullough said, citing the preamble to the "Declaration of Independence that guaranteed "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." "It's a basic right that all Americans have," McCullough said. "If we forget we are one nation under God, we will be a nation gone under." He chastised what he called "liberal courts that take away basic freedoms.' McCullough, former chairman of the Tennessee Valley Authority, also touted his working relationships with Washington D.C. power brokers such as Mississippi's senior U.S. Senator Thad Cochran. "We need to make sure you have full funding for I-69," McCullough said. "DeSoto County is the 34th fastest growing county in the U.S. I am the person who has sat down with Sen. Cochran and his staff." McCullough said the future Interstate 22 needs to be completed in parts of Alabama to fully operate as an interstate system. He said the region's airports and other infrastructure are important to the county's future. "The second busiest private airport in the state is in Olive Branch," McCullough noted. McCullough said as a former mayor, city council member and business leader, he knows how to work with various levels of government to build on that investment.
Southaven Mayor Greg Davis said his tenure of service as a mayor for 11 years and a state legislator for seven years has proved his leadership abilities. Davis served as a state legislator from Southaven from 1991-97. "When we were down there, we were the Right to Life authors," Davis said, adding lawmakers were among the first in the nation to outlaw partial birth abortion. "I'm a firm believer in the sanctity of life," Davis, father of three young daughters. Davis said if elected to Congress he would bring the same type of efficiency in government that he has brought to City Hall. "We've been able to acquire enough renters at city hall to pay for our utilities," Davis said. "We've gone from spending 60 percent on bureaucrats to more than 60 percent on public safety." Davis said as mayor Southaven's crime index is far lower than neighboring Memphis. Davis said Memphis has a crime index of 18.5 while Southaven's crime index is at 1.7 for violent crime. That equates to 1.7 instances of violent crime per one thousand people. Davis said his city invested more than $10 million into Snowden Grove and has seen a return on that investment of nearly 100,000 visitors a year. "It was because we had a vision," Davis said.