BUFFALO — In a campaign visit to Midway BBQ Monday afternoon Republican congressional candidate Tommy Pope thanked those who endorsed him for the Fifth District Congressional seat and discussed what he considers the most important issue facing America.
Pope’s visit to Midway BBQ came just days after his campaign announced that he had received the endorsements of more than 100 public officials, business leaders, and private citizens from throughout the US House of Representatives Fifth Congressional District. The district includes Union County and five of those who endorsed Pope are residents of Union County including Union County Supervisor Frank Hart, former supervisor Tommy Sinclair, philanthropist Barbara Rippy, community advocate Amy Austin, and businessman Kendall Austin.
During his visit, Pope thanked those who endorsed him for the Fifth District seat.
“It’s always humbling when anyone is willing to put their name on the line for you,” Pope said. “I think these endorsements were based on relationships, not politics. I believe each individual made their decision based on my past performance.”
Pope has represented western York County in the SC House of Representatives for the past seven years and has twice been elected Speaker Pro Tempore by his colleagues in the House. Prior to serving in the House, Pope served three terms as Solicitor for the Sixteenth Judicial Circuit which includes both Union and York counties. Prior to his service as Sixteenth Circuit Solicitor, Pope served as a SLED agent.
During his visit, Pope also discussed the issues he said are facing the country, especially national security which he considers the most important of all.
“The number one priority for me is national security,” Pope said. “We’ve got to be secure in the world, at our borders, and in our communities.”
Pope said that while there are many issues that must be addressed during what he said is “a small window of opportunity to have some conservative change in Washington” with the election of Donald Trump as president, he said many such as the repeal of Obamacare and tax reform are secondary to national security. He said that if the country is not secure there is no country and therefore those other issues will be moot.
National Security Proposal
Pope’s visit came just hours afer his campaign released a “seven-point national security policy proposal to end illegal immigration, rebuild our military, bolster our alliance with Israel, protect the 2nd amendment, and support law enforcement.”
In announcing the plan, Pope said “we either have a country, or we don’t. For our economy to thrive and for us enjoy the freedoms we are blessed to have as Americans, we must first be secure in the world, at our borders, and in our communities. We need to end illegal immigration, rebuild our military, protect the 2nd Amendment, and support our law enforcement and first responders.”
The seven points of the plan are:
1. Build the Wall
Recent estimates say that the United States is home to over 11 million illegal immigrants. We do not know who these people are or what their true intentions are towards America.
We can’t have peace at home until our borders are secure – and if we don’t have borders, we aren’t a nation. We should not have to apologize for wanting to secure our Nation. I stand with President Trump 100% on building the wall. Despite what the Obama years taught those who wished to come here illegally, we will send a strong message – if you try to come here illegally, we will turn you away at the door and send you home.
2. More Resources for Border Enforcement
We need to increase our physical presence along our border. In President Obama’s last four years in office, the number of United States border patrol agents dropped each year, and in FY2016 there were less agents on the border than in 2009, even as the population of illegal immigrants has remained above 11 million. This is an unacceptable trend that we must reverse.
We need more border patrol officers and ICE officials, and, if necessary, the national guard to help officers train, just as President Bush ordered in 2006. Most importantly, the federal government needs to empower our local law enforcement agencies to enforce existing law. Too often, our agencies aren’t given the tools they need to get the job done. That needs to change.
3. No Funding for Sanctuary Cities
There are about 100 sanctuary cities currently ignoring our nation’s federal immigration laws. Sanctuary cities create a culture of lawlessness that our citizens cannot afford.
Sanctuary cities empower illegal immigrants to remain free while committing heinous, brutal crimes including rape and murder. And what do our city officials do? Reward these cities with over $26 billion in federal funding.
With President Trump and a Republican Congress, this is a perfect opportunity to send a message to cities providing sanctuary to those here illegally – these practices will not be tolerated, and, if they are continued, you will lose your federal funding. Period.
4. Rebuild Our Military
President Obama severely diminished our military budget, and it was unacceptable. I was encouraged by and stand strongly with President Trump and OMB Director Mick Mulvaney, who proposed a $54 billion increase in defense spending in their latest budget proposal.
As we know, the federal government has plenty of places it can trim fat. In these dangerous times, our military should never be on the chopping block. As your Congressman, I will work to ensure that this new trend continues for as long as we face these threats.
5. Stand with Israel
We can’t have peace in the Middle East if we don’t stand with our strongest ally in the region. The Obama administration repeatedly turned its back on the nation of Israel.
Not only is Israel a vital ally in an otherwise hostile region, but they serve as a trading partner and one of the few nations in the region that shares the same set of values that we do.
As your Congressman, I will stand with Israel. We must continue to provide military aid, as well as publicly stand with them to send a message to the region: an attack on Israel is an attack on freedom and democracy.
6. Protect the 2nd Amendment
Americans have a constitutional right to bear arms and protect themselves. This constitutional right is not questionable nor up for debate. While it’s important that criminals can’t get access to firearms, it’s more important that law-abiding citizens have the means to protect themselves in their own homes. As your Congressman, I will protect the gun rights of law abiding citizens so they can protect themselves from the dangerous world we live in.
7. Support Law Enforcement & First Reponders
Respect for our men and women in law enforcement is at an all-time low. In President Obama’s second term alone, our nation lost 562 police officers in the line of duty. Yet, did the President ever publicly and loudly stand with them?
As a former police officer, I know first-hand the risks that our first responders face every single day. They are our first line of defense if anything goes wrong. To treat them with anything but deference and respect is simply unacceptable. As your Congressman, you can bet that I’ll stand and work with the 5th District’s local law enforcement and first responders to ensure they have our nation’s support, as well as any resources they need to get the job done.
Pope is one of six Republicans running for the GOP nomination in the May 2 primary. If no candidate gets a majority in the primary, a runoff will be held two weeks later. The special election for the Fifth District seat will be held June 20.
For more information about Pope, his campaign, and his positions on the issues, visit PopeForCongress.com.
Charles Warner can be reached at 864-762-4090.