Former Massachusetts senator Scott Brown (R) explored the possible future of the United States and its highly contentious issues in Cox Auditorium on Tuesday, Jan. 24.
Brown said he was never supposed to win the Senate seat in the 2010 special election. The outlook was bleak because opposing candidate and sitting Attorney General Martha Coakley had support from then-president Barack Obama.
“Needless to say, it was a little bit of an uphill battle,” Brown said. “When I announced the so-called candidacy that I was running for, people laughed at me. They laughed.”
Brown nabbed the seat in stunning fashion to become the first Massachusetts Republican in more than 40 years to be elected to the U.S. Senate. He succeeded Ted Kennedy, brother of John F. Kennedy, whose death left the seat up for grabs.
“It’s the people’s seat,” Brown said, illustrating a point contrary to Massachusetts rhetoric during his campaign. “It’s not ‘the Kennedy seat,’ it’s not a Democrat seat, it’s the people’s seat. It’s your seat.”
After laying out his hard-won journey, Brown turned his attention to the presidential election and his experience with the GOP candidates. He invited the 2016 Republican presidential candidates to speak about their campaign in a series he held at his home, “No B.S. Backyard BBQ.” After listening to the candidates and hearing what they had to offer, he decided to endorse Donald J. Trump for president.
“Just to dispel any rumors…he’s a very good listener. I’ve been up to Trump Towers, I’ve known him for seven years,” Brown said. “His kids are fantastic…his kids are hard-charging, honest [and] hard working. They don’t drink, don’t smoke and are regular, nice people. He’s a very good listener and he asks a tremendous amount of questions.”
Regarding Trump’s administration, Brown predicts an easy transition for Cabinet nominations. With 52 Republican Senators in office and only 51 votes required for confirmation. Brown says there is no question that all of Trump’s Cabinet will be confirmed.
He also discussed his views on current issues including terrorism, welfare, Obamacare and the economy.
“I have no problem providing assistance for people as a helping hand. I have no problem with it, ever, at all. I just want to find a way to pay for it,” Brown said.
“I don’t think it’s a lifelong entitlement. I think it’s there as a safety net for people like my mom and me and my sister,” Brown said, noting that his family relied on it for assistance in his youth.
Addressing another social policy, Brown insisted that The Affordable Healthcare Act, dubbed Obamacare, “forced people to get insurance on things they don’t need.” He said the “one-size-fits-all” approach by the federal government did not work. Brown said he voted for healthcare, but it was for Romneycare, rather than Obamacare.
Brown shed some light on a highly debated topic in today’s political landscape: Terrorism. He described the creation of the Islamic State as a result from the U.S. leaving Iraq, which left a void. He emphasized the size of the Islamic State by noting its land mass coverage to be larger than New England. He also stressed how well-funded and well-armed the Islamic State is.
After speaking for almost an hour, Brown opened the floor for a Q&A session followed by a meet and greet. Brown encouraged attendees to ask questions, whether it be in the Q&A session or after, one-on-one.
Omaima Elbachiri, a sophomore at UT, decided to attend because she wanted to hear how the Republican shift will translate into the every-day lives of Americans. “I wanted to see a more political side to all that’s going on. Someone with a little more experience,” she said.
“I expected a different viewpoint than what you’re usually introduced to in college,” Colton Simpson, a sophomore at UT, said. “Instead of seeing on TV what’s happening in politics, you kind of see first-hand from a politician at that level actually say what’s happening in the political atmosphere of the United States today.”
Featured Image by Kaitlin Flippo
Edited by McKenzie Manning