The economy, immigration, and the midterm elections: Georgia Congressman discusses big issues

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – The Means Report is working to cover everything that we can think of that has to do with politics and the key issues facing the United States. Now, just days away from the general election, it’s coming up on November 8th, and we are gonna talk about some of those headline-making matters today with 12th District Congressmen from the great state of Georgia, Rick Allen. He’ll cover inflation and the economy, something that’s impacting us all. Same with gas prices. His recent Commitment to America pledge that he and fellow Republicans have made when it comes to protecting America’s workers.

Brad Means: Congressman, thank you so much for taking time off the campaign trail to be with us.

Rep. Rick Allen: Thank you, good to be here.

Brad Means: And that’s my first question is how’s it going out there? Liz Johnson, familiar foe, will face off with you in November. How’s life?

Rep. Rick Allen: Well, it’s busy, but you know, it’s encouraging. Because a lot of people, people are energized and they’re energized for the same things that you just mentioned. Obviously gas prices, inflation, the overall economy and the direction there. Obviously the border is a big concern. Crime is big concern. Education is a big concern. And then, of course, government accountability. This administration has not been held accountable and that needs to be fixed.

Brad Means: Let me ask you about Georgia’s early voting numbers.

Rep. Rick Allen: Yeah.

Brad Means: Before we get into all of our questions, because there isn’t a day that goes by that we don’t get an email here at Channel six talking about how many people are coming out to vote.

Rep. Rick Allen: Yeah.

Brad Means: Setting records.

Rep. Rick Allen: Right.

Brad Means: Who does that benefit, do you think?

Rep. Rick Allen: Well, you know, we want people to vote.

Brad Means: Yeah.

Rep. Rick Allen: In fact, Georgia’s voting law was named by Heritage Action as the most secure voting law in the country, but it was also named the most accessible. There is no reason that you should not go vote. What I would suggest is you do your research on the candidates and per that research, pick the candidates that will best deal with the problems we’re facing.

Brad Means: Do y’all have any early polling or a feel for whether this surge in early voting is Democrats or Republicans or you think it’s 50/50?

Rep. Rick Allen: Well, yes. I mean, there’s polling every day. And the problem with polling is it doesn’t tell you how many people on either side are gonna show up to vote.

Brad Means: Right.

Rep. Rick Allen: But I can tell you, for what I can see those folks that are concerned about these issues are showing up to vote. And when you look at any national poll, for example, like on inflation and economy, we’re polling double digits above Democrats. If you look at, well, the big deal now is again, education, school of choice and that sort of thing. We’re polling double digits.

Brad Means: Let’s stop-

Rep. Rick Allen: And this interesting, this is the first election that we have ever polled above Democrats in education. And it’s because of these policies like Critical Race Theory and things that they’re teaching our children, like gender-affirming care and these kinds of things that have no place in the classroom.

Brad Means: I do wanna talk-

Rep. Rick Allen: That’s for parents to deal with.

Brad Means: I do wanna talk about education, but first let’s look at inflation ’cause I think if you ask anybody on the street, that’s their top concern.

Rep. Rick Allen: Right.

Brad Means: Can y’all do anything?

Rep. Rick Allen: Oh yeah.

Brad Means: As the minority party? Can you do anything right now about it? Because if you can, why haven’t you? This is just, seems like it’s getting worse.

Rep. Rick Allen: First off, let’s frame inflation. 8.2% CPI, okay? But CPI is hundreds of products priced, okay? The problem is the essentials. Food, fuel, and shelter. We’re talking 20, 25%. For a working family in Georgia, paycheck to paycheck, that is over one month’s paycheck to deal with that. So, how do you deal with something like that? Like if you’re missing an entire month of your paycheck, now how do you correct it? First, you unleash oil and gas. This administration has had a war on all oil and gas and we came from energy dominance just three years ago to now we’re running around the world begging for energy and we’re at their mercy on what we’re paying for that.

Brad Means: You think we have enough offshore off the coast of the United States to help this country be less dependent?

Rep. Rick Allen: Brad, we have more oil under our feet and with a straw and Anwar than all the other nations combined.

Brad Means: Congressman Allen, let me ask you this, and it’s just probably overly simplified, I know, but nobody likes inflation. Democrats don’t, Republicans don’t. So, why can’t y’all get together on this?

Rep. Rick Allen: Well, obviously we’re not in the majority, we don’t have the White House.

Brad Means: I know, but since all people wanna work on it, why can’t y’all?

Rep. Rick Allen: You know-

Brad Means: I mean, take me through a backroom deal. Do you get to a point where you say, “Okay, hey guys, hey Democrat, let’s unleash these oil and gas leases so that we can use some of our own resources to offset our dependence on other nations.” And do they look at you and say, “No.”

Rep. Rick Allen: Exactly. They want to end fossil fuel as we know it. They want to end it. In the name of this climate ideology. And it is gonna have a, mean, here’s an example. This country has lowered its carbon emissions 1400 tons since 2005 and we have sacrificed economically to do that. Okay? The nearest country to us is Japan at 200 tons. Yet we haven’t lowered the temperature of this planet one degree. Okay?

Brad Means: Right.

Rep. Rick Allen: So, why in the world are we doing this when the Chinese and the Japanese and in India are laughing at us? So, it’s the wrong agenda. It’s the wrong process. And, we need to return to sanity as far as how to run this economy.

Brad Means: All right. Let’s take a look at the situation on our store shelves.

Rep. Rick Allen: Yeah.

Brad Means: And it kinda ties in with the whole economic answer you just gave.

Rep. Rick Allen: Right.

Brad Means: So, forgive me if it’s repetitive. When am I gonna walk down the grocery store aisle and things are gonna look normal again?

Rep. Rick Allen: When we unleash fossil fuel.

Brad Means: Yes.

Rep. Rick Allen: Because it has an implication on every single item we buy. Now, the other thing we’ve got to do is deal with supply chains and Brad, there’s a war on the family farm right now. I mean, they’re restricting us on pesticides. We don’t wanna be Sri Lanka. I mean, you know, you can’t use fertilizer in Sri Lanka. You can’t use pesticides. And those people are starving to death. And that was a government-driven decision.

Brad Means: I do wanna talk about farmers when “The Means Report” continues, Congressman Allen, because they have always been at the top of your mind since your service in the House began. So, we wanna look at the efforts that are being made on behalf of those who provide our food for us. That and the other big issues of the day as election day draws closer on “The Means Report.”

Part 2

Brad Means: Welcome back to “The Means Report.” We’re talking with Congressman Rick Allen. He is fresh off the campaign trail and is stopping by our studio to talk about the key issues facing the United States. I had to get to that last break. We were in the middle of talking about our farmers. That’s another thing that I would think would unite both parties, helping our farmers do their very best, helping them thrive. Are you pleased with the direction things are going for farmers?

Rep. Rick Allen: No. Their input costs have skyrocketed. But, that’s not only farming, that’s industry-wide. I mean, it’s everywhere. People have no idea what their cost of goods sold are gonna be. They have no idea if they’re gonna get the products they need to produce the products they make. And this is all dealing with supply chain things that can be fixed. But here’s the point to make. None of these problems existed until this administration started instituting their policies. They created this very mess. Inflation, government, they spent over $4 trillion since they came into office. I mean, that’s the perfect recipe for inflation.

Brad Means: If y’all win the majority, if Republicans regain the majority in the House, let’s just say.

Rep. Rick Allen: Yeah.

Brad Means: Could we start to see change in your opinion on these issues?

Rep. Rick Allen: Well, obviously that depends on the president.

Brad Means: Right.

Rep. Rick Allen: I mean, we have the legislation written. We have it actually in committees to correct all the policy mistakes this administration has made. From inflation, again, unleash oil and gas like we did before, become energy dominant and then correct the supply chain issues. All those things can be done legislatively, but the president has to sign it.

Brad Means: All right. So, the buck stops at the White House.

Rep. Rick Allen: Yeah.

Brad Means: When it comes to that.

Rep. Rick Allen: Yeah.

Brad Means: Let’s look at education because goodness knows, I had two sons go through high school during the pandemic and early college during the pandemic. It’s a thing. I mean, it’s impacted kids, no question.

Rep. Rick Allen: Yeah.

Brad Means: How do you feel about where our schools are about getting back on track and getting back to pre-pandemic?

Rep. Rick Allen: Well, I was with Governor Kemp all day Monday, and it is amazing. Well, one, we have great leadership in our state, okay? And obviously he, we opened early and our kids missed very little school. The teachers, they were on the front line.

Brad Means: Yeah, they sure were.

Rep. Rick Allen: Yeah. And they were there for those students. It was not like that around the rest of the country. There were children in congressional districts that did not go to school for two years. And they are seeing horrific results in testing and in the future of those children. It’s gonna be a lot of catching up to do. Georgia’s leading the country in economic growth and economic activity. In fact, if we could keep the government from spending money and get our workforce back and get people back to work, our economy would surge even more in Georgia.

Brad Means: Hey, do you think if there’s another pandemic we would shut down at all? Or do you think we’d just stay wide open all through it and just depend on people to protect themselves?

Rep. Rick Allen: Well-

Brad Means: Or, do you know?

Rep. Rick Allen: You know, and again, there needs to be a complete investigation of the way we handled the pandemic. Where’s the majority on that? They don’t wanna talk about it other than mandate vaccines. It’s just one-size-fits-all, top-down mandates, which drive the American people, I mean, you know, American people want choice, but the bottom line is this, you know, there are countries that protected those who are compromised, but allowed the others to work. And if they got covid, yes, they stayed at home. But then, as they built that resistance against Covid, then they didn’t need the vaccine or anything else. And of course, the big debate about whether children should be vaccinated is ongoing.

Brad Means: It is ongoing.

Rep. Rick Allen: Because we don’t really know the repur, well, we know that there are some children that have issues and we should never put a child in that position.

Brad Means: Let me move on to the Employee Rights Act of 2022. This is an act that you co-sponsored, it made headlines recently. So, I wanted to cover it today. Am I interpreting it correctly when I say that you’re protecting workers from unions or that you wanna let, explain how it works when it comes to protecting those workers?

Rep. Rick Allen: Yeah, well, we, in Georgia, we have union workers and we have non-union workers. Georgia is a right-to-work state. What that means is that a person cannot be forced to pay union dues and keep their job. Okay? What the Pro Act, which is what the Democrats want to pass, would do away with all state-to-right work laws.

Brad Means: Got it, okay.

Rep. Rick Allen: And as you can see, all of the businesses are moving from blue states who impose these mandates to Right-to-work states. That’s number one. They wanna do away with a secret ballot. And of course, you know we had a problem with that in the national election and secret ballot is what keeps us a republic. Okay? In other words, you cannot influence another person’s vote. You can tell them if you want to share with them your ideas, how you voted, why you voted this way or that way. That’s fine if they ask, but you can’t impose that. And the unions want to impose that.

Brad Means: Have you heard from unions any pushback saying, “Hey, Congressman, you’re on the wrong track here?”

Rep. Rick Allen: Well, we have a modern workforce, say franchising, for example, huge economic advocate in the country. Lots of small business people have grown wealth tremendously through franchising.

Brad Means: Yeah.

Rep. Rick Allen: This model that they’re perpetrating would end franchising as we know it. My Employee Rights Act allows each franchise to decide how they want to work. But in the modern workforce, one is employees don’t really want an adversarial relationship with, employers don’t want that with their employees. And vice versa.

Brad Means: I wouldn’t think so

Rep. Rick Allen: They want to motivate their workforce. And that’s the problem with the Pro Act. That’s what we’re dealing with in the Employee Rights Act. Give the employees the opportunity to be passionate about their work, be passionate about their company, and don’t let people who benefit from creating an adversarial relationship. But in the modern workforce, it’s very entrepreneurial and it’s changing and these old models don’t work.

Brad Means: Let me ask you about your commitment to America. Republicans recently signed off on this deal, this contract, really assuring people that they would be proactive when it comes to several issues that impact folks in the U.S. including immigration. I wanted to get your thoughts on immigration and people may think, why are you asking him about that?

Rep. Rick Allen: Yeah.

Brad Means: It’s the southern border. He’s a Georgia congressman. Because immigration brings drugs, immigration issues, illegal immigration, brings drugs and other problems.

Rep. Rick Allen: Right.

Brad Means: To Georgia.

Rep. Rick Allen: Yeah.

Brad Means: How do you think we’re doing on that? And what do you see in the future?

Rep. Rick Allen: Yeah. Well, again, our commitment to America was bottom up. We went out to the American people, particularly when we saw the adverse adverse effect of these policies coming outta the White House and being passed in Congress in the majority. And we went out and of course, you know, you see the results of it. Inflation, crime, this defund the police business, the border, there’s enough fentanyl that has poured over that border to kill every American multiple times.

Brad Means: Yeah.

Rep. Rick Allen: That is a very, it’s the leading killer of young people between the age of 16 and 35. The leading killer, 106,000 people. Why is nobody talking about that?

Brad Means: I know I keep asking you this question, but why, we’re talking about some things, inflation, education, immigration that it seems would be no-brainers for both parties.

Rep. Rick Allen: Yeah.

Brad Means: To get together on. Again, take me to that back room when you say, “Hey, we have too much fentanyl in this country, we need to stop it.” What does the other party say to you?

Rep. Rick Allen: They’re open borders, Brad.

Brad Means: Why?

Rep. Rick Allen: They believe in open borders. There are lots of theories out there, but one of them is backfiring on them because they believe people that they allow in the country illegally and that they can eventually would become citizens that they would vote for them.

Brad Means: Right.

Rep. Rick Allen: Okay.

Brad Means: You hear that all the time.

Rep. Rick Allen: You hear that all the time. But guess what we, those folks that came here and did it the right way, we’re seeing a, we elected in a district in Texas, the first Mexican-born member of Congress, Mayra Flores. She’s the real deal. She’s God, family, country. She believes in freedom. Her husband’s a border patrol agent. And we hadn’t won that district in 100 years. And they aren’t even targeting her because she is so popular. There is a movement out there, Brad, an undercurrent that I’ve never seen before.

Brad Means: All right, let me just buy into that. Let me say that I believe you and there is this red wave coming potentially, at least in the House.

Rep. Rick Allen: Yeah.

Brad Means: Are you seeing anything on the Democratic side that indicates concern or fear or anxiety at this point where they’re saying, hey, we see what’s about to happen, we see the writing on the wall, come January, please, let’s work together. Anything like that at this point? I know that’s kind of an odd question.

Rep. Rick Allen: You know, obviously some of the candidates are reversing, like on defund the police, things like that. But for the most part they’re doubling down on their agenda.

Brad Means: What about crime? We see so much gun violence, gun violence, the number one killer of young people in our country.

Rep. Rick Allen: Yeah.

Brad Means: The number one killer of young people.

Rep. Rick Allen: Yeah.

Brad Means: How can we keep them safe and fight overall crime?

Rep. Rick Allen: Yeah, well again, there has to be respect for authority in this country. They have apparently convinced people that their victims and that there should be no authority over them.

Brad Means: Who told ’em that? Mom and dad?

Rep. Rick Allen: No, it is these activists organizations that are out there, they’re indoctrinating children, particularly children who are in very difficult communities. You know, obviously the gangs are a problem and the gangs are a result of the breakdown of the family. Unless we restore the family unit in this country, it’s gonna be difficult to reverse this trend.

Brad Means: I know that we could probably spend an hour on this, but just real quickly, how do you do that? Do you go door to door and say, “Hey, be nicer to your kids.”

Rep. Rick Allen: You know, kids need to, you know, this is the greatest computer ever created.

Brad Means: Oh, it sure is, the brain, it is awesome.

Rep. Rick Allen: Yeah. And if you put garbage in there, what are you gonna get out? You’re gonna get garbage. So says my textbook in middle school.

Brad Means: Exactly.

Rep. Rick Allen: Yeah. These kids are being indoctrinated. They don’t know the truth. They don’t know where to turn to. My heart goes out to ’em, my heart breaks for them because they’re angry and they should be because they’ve grown up in an environment without a dad. They’ve been abused. They’re told that they will be on welfare. That Grandma was on it, Mama was on it. I’m gonna be on it. I go into the schools and what I do is I tell those children, “Don’t you let anybody tell you that you cannot live the American dream.’ I was with Ben Carson last night and had dinner with him and what a great example. Grew up, worst part of Michigan and terrible grades. His mother said, “You gotta start reading.” Here’s the other thing, and of course we know the rest of the story, but if you’re not reading at the third grade level, when you finish the third grade, you’re not gonna graduate from high school in this country. Now, if you don’t graduate from high school, where you going to work? You’re going to the streets. And then of course then you know, you’re probably gonna be incarcerated for crime. We should be able to stop that. Why can’t we teach young people early? Why can’t we target them as far as reading capabilities, comprehension. There’s no reason that they shouldn’t be reading at the third grade level by the time they get to the first grade.

Brad Means: Let me ask you two more questions probably, if I have time, we’ll hurry through them. Who is going to run for president on the Republican side? Do you know yet?

Rep. Rick Allen: Well, obviously, you know President Trump is hinted that he wants to run again and obviously he’s playing in races around the country. So he’s active, they thought he would go away. He is not going away. DeSantis is very popular.

Brad Means: So it’s those two, the obvious ones. We still need to watch both of them.

Rep. Rick Allen: Yeah.

Brad Means: To see what happens.

>>Yeah. And the governor of Virginia is another one who is very popular, Red wave election. So, but the answer to your question. We have a very strong bench.

Brad Means: Yeah, okay.

Rep. Rick Allen: I mean Nicki Haley.

Brad Means: She could run.

Rep. Rick Allen: Oh yeah.

Brad Means: Herschel Walker, Raphael Warnock, who you got?

Rep. Rick Allen: Herschel, I’m gonna be with Herschel Friday.

Brad Means: Yeah.

Rep. Rick Allen: Herschel Walker has a great heart. Yes, as we say, we’re all broken and fall short of the glory of God. We’ve all had our issues. They have spent $50 million highlighting Herschel Walker’s issues. I would hate to think if somebody did that to me. I mean, but they have not been able to move the numbers.

Brad Means: All right.

Rep. Rick Allen: Herschel’s out there. We are seeing momentum. Herschel Walker’s gonna be your next senator.

Brad Means: Y’all, November 8th is quickly gonna be upon us. Early voting is already underway. No matter who you’re for, go out and vote and we will bring you those results come election night.