Oktibbeha County Democratic Party Chairman Albert N. Gore Jr. says America’s political system is broken and he aims to do something about it.
On Tuesday, Gore qualified to run for incumbent Republican Sen. Roger Wicker’s U.S. Senate seat. Wicker, who has yet to qualify, is expected to do so in seeking his first full term as Mississippi’s junior senator. Wicker was appointed to Sen. Trent Lott’s seat in 2007 when he retired.
Gore, 81, is originally from Webster County and has a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Millsaps College and a master’s degree in divinity from Duke University. He joined the U.S. Army, served in Vietnam and retired as a colonel in 1988. For his service, Gore received numerous awards and recognitions, including the Bronze Star and Purple Heart. Gore was wounded by enemy mortar fire in Vietnam on July 4, 1967.
“From my military background, I believe you set a mission, analyze the mission to see what obstacles are in your way and then you go forward with your plan,” Gore said. “There’s a definite need in Mississippi and in Washington, the political climate is chaotic and there is no leadership. Statesmanship is lost among most politicians since they are all bought, but I cannot be bought. I want to fix the system.”
Mississippi’s greatest need, Gore said, is funding for education.
“Funding for education — and I mean education from pre-K to college — needs to be increased on all levels. You have to fund it and not just on paper. It’s a very serious problem which is tied into our state’s economic, job and health problems,” he said.
In order to fix Mississippi’s and America’s political systems, he said, money must be taken out of the equation.
“Money needs to get out of politics immediately. You can buy any office in Mississippi; most of them are bought,” he said. “(For government to work) It takes a mixture of ideas. Not all ideas are good, either. You have to educate yourself on the ideas of the day. Some of the attitudes present in our society have to change, and it’s a slow process that won’t take six months or five years.”
As for taxes, Gore said they are the lifeline of government and everyone should pay their fair share.
“Everyone should make a contribution. There are so many elements in society that don’t pay taxes,” he said. “There are so many loopholes in our tax code that if you have a good tax man, you could avoid paying taxes all together. For everything to work it takes everybody working together.”
In regard to November’s three statewide ballot initiatives, Gore said he voted against the “personhood” and voter identification amendments while supporting the eminent domain measure.
“I’ve been involved in elections for a while; we don’t have that kind of fraud. If you go in and sign your name, that should be worth something. (Voter ID requirements) remind me of the poll tax days,” Gore said. “As for Initiative 26, neither you nor I have the right to be God. I spoke against (the initiative) before the election. It’s a privacy issue.”
Gore said he will soon begin traveling the state in an effort to campaign and attract voters. In a reflection of his personal ideals, he said he will not run an expensive campaign and only accept local contributions.