CD3 forum Part 9: Trump’s COVID response, minimum wage laws, legalizing marijuana

Ninth in a series. Previously: Conflicts with the party and whether to move to a gold standardBig government programs and impeaching Supreme Court justicesIncome tax and unconstitutional executive orders or Supreme Court decisionsGetting rid of Constitutional amendments and how to improve the Republican PartyFederal spending and gun controlThe Council on Foreign Relations and powers delegated to the House, Motivations for running and transparency in legislation, and The greatest threat to the American way of life, mandatory vaccination, and enforcement of immigration laws

A candidate forum for Congressional District 3 was held in Newberry on July 18, with the following candidates present: Bill Engelbrecht, Joe Dallas Millado, Judson Sapp, Kat Cammack, Ryan Chamberlin, Amy Pope Wells, and Gavin Rollins.

A video is available here.

The forum was moderated by Tim Marden and Jennifer Cabrera.

During the break after Question #14, some audience members submitted questions, and to save time, each candidate was given 30 seconds to respond to the following.

Question #18: If you had the opportunity to advise Trump on his COVID response, what would you tell him?

Chamberlin: “I think Trump’s done a great job on many, many things. I would tell him just keep being Trump and don’t be swayed by the left at all on this particular issue, just keep straightforward and keep being Trump.”

Wells: “Well, I had the privilege to actually do this, as the Health Care Council, so we were literally flying this plane as we were building it when COVID hit. I was in the White House February 11th through the 15th, we were sitting in a policy conversation, and that conversation started with ‘This is no worse than flu.’ Before we were 3 days out, they said, ‘Well, we’ve got a little bit more of a problem.’ So here’s what I will tell you: my advice to this committee was number one, do not affect the American economy to the extent absolutely necessary, but number two, please educate people, because believe it or not, guys, people don’t wash their hands. People don’t follow the rules sometimes, so needless to say… let’s make it common sense.”

Rollins: “I would tell him reopen the economy because there’s results from the economy being shut down that are causing deaths, as well as suicides, domestic violence, loss of jobs, all kinds of issues because we’re keeping our economy shut down. And then let the American people, the independent, rugged American people make their own decisions in their own best interests and take necessary steps to protect themselves.”

Engelbrecht: “Well, as an everyday American, I don’t want to be mandated to wear a mask. I don’t want to be mandated to have a vaccination, either. Allow me to encourage you, however. In my industry, I take care of the elderly. I suggest that you do wear a mask with the elderly. And not to sound insensitive when I say this, but it goes back to the roots of when I was a kid: go outside, rub dirt on it, you’ll be okay.”

Millado: “I would tell the president the truth… that’s the problem, people up there are too smart that they’re thinking five steps ahead and didn’t get past the first step. So I think it’s telling the truth, which is we’ve got to do two things: We can’t be fighting fire with fire. We can’t play the Democrats’ side, the Socialists’ side, just screaming louder. We have the facts to prove it. Why don’t we just prove it with the facts and use our directions and our advisement… with facts and data and metrics.”

Sapp: “Well, let Trump be Trump, and we’re gonna be okay. That’s the reality – his instincts are spot on, and that’s what we need to do. But I’ll say something really quickly… when this all started, my 5-year-old goes, ‘I don’t understand, why isn’t everyone not already washing their hands?’ It’s a 5-year-old… So please do.” 

Cammack: “I would tell President Trump that his response to date has been excellent. We receive emails weekly from the White House with every effort that is being made across every federal agency. The communication and coordination has been impeccable. But beyond that, I would say please do whatever we can to reopen the economy and bring American manufacturing back home and do not give in to the Socialist mob and the liberal media. Keep fighting back!”

Question #19: What do you think about the federal minimum wage laws? 

Wells: “I’m in the jobs business. Some of these people I wouldn’t pay ‘em what they’re currently making… I think it’s only fair. We deal with employees everywhere from minimum wage up. I think it has to be fair and equitable, for a person to have a basic lifestyle, but I will tell you, we look at employees that don’t even work hard enough to make minimum wage.”

Rollins: “I think let the market decide. What happens when you increase minimum wage is that companies automate, and then you lose jobs that way, so it’s actually negative impact on those who need those jobs the most.”

Engelbrecht: “I absolutely don’t believe in unions. So when you’ve got somebody who’s sitting there putting a nut on a bolt, and they’re being paid $35, I think it’s outrageous because that cost is passed down to each and every one of us. So as far as minimum wage, raising it to $15, as they have proposed in some of these different states, I think it’s too much. I think people want to work. Allow people to work, and take away the automation when it comes to simple jobs.”

Millado: “I don’t believe in federal minimum wage. Instead of encouraging people to not work, what we want to do is inspire people to reach their potential, that they’re not going to need a hand out, that they could care for themselves or even care for somebody else. That should be their own decision… We don’t want to fish for people; we want to teach you guys how to fish, and that’s what our campaign’s about.”

Sapp: “Yeah, let the market determine your wage. You see this all the time when you run a company, I have a very good bonus system—you get great production from bonuses. I’d like to see that done in Congress, too. What if Congress were paid a minimum wage? Say, if you don’t balance the budget, you don’t get your salary!”

Cammack: “Unfortunately, that would be unconstitutional, but—Personally, I’m in favor of abolishing the federal minimum wage. I believe that minimum wage produces less desirable outcomes, less desirable work product, let the free market and competition work the way it’s intended to, and we’ll get better employees with higher wages.”

Chamberlin: “Three things: Free enterprise, free market, and made in the U.S.A. We need to bring things back to the U.S.A., bring more jobs back to the U.S.A… we do it better than everybody else, anywhere… bring it back here, everything else will take care of itself.”

Question #20: Do you support legalizing marijuana?

Rollins: “I think, for medical marijuana, we have to adjust the schedule as it currently is. I don’t think a mass legalization immediately is a good thing because there is unintended consequences, but specifically medical marijuana, I do think it should be legalized.”

Engelbrecht: “Medical marijuana, yes, absolutely… I believe every plant out there… there’s some kind of extract that’s in there that can help us get over our illness. So I think we need to do more research on the plants and the trees that we have, and so forth. So medical marijuana, for sure.”

Millado: “As a criminology background major, I love this issue. I think that it should be, at least, decriminalized. Now, Gavin Rollins hit on that point, it’s a Schedule 1 drug, you know what that means? Schedule 1 means that there’s no scientific medical purpose for it, yet crack cocaine is Schedule 2. So whoever figured that one out, that’s ridiculous, they should be fired… It’s a billion-dollar industry, trillion-dollar deficit, it’s supply and demand.”

Sapp: “I’m glad Joe touched on the Schedule 1 because that’s a very important point that a lot of people don’t know about. That needs to be removed from that part of the Comprehensive Criminal Justice Reform. But from a personal standpoint—I’ll try not to get emotional here— my mom passed away from pancreatic cancer. She battled it for 6 years, and medical marijuana, when it finally became legal in Florida—when it didn’t the first time, the nurse said, ‘If it was legal, you’d be out of the emergency room.’ She spent the majority of her life in the emergency room. When that bill passed and she was able to take it at home, she was able to leave the emergency and go home and spend time with her family.”

Cammack: “Yes, Schedule 1 drug needs to be taken off the books in that way, decriminalized at the federal level. Personally, I believe this is a states’ rights issue. If a state decides they want to allow for medical marijuana, that is the purview of the voters of that state.”

Chamberlin: “I think we’re talking two issues here, medical and recreational. I’m not for legalizing recreational marijuana so it can be sold to the masses.”

Wells: “Like Judson was talking about, I absolutely support, from a quality of life perspective, people being able to use medical marijuana when it’s absolutely medically necessary. I do not support legalizing it for recreational. I also support that this is a states’ rights conversation.”