SAVANNAH Congressman Earl "Buddy" Carter ran unopposed for reelection in 2016. Democrats in Georgia’s First District didn’t even field a candidate.
But the game has changed. Now, with President Trump at record disapproval ratings and Congressional town halls turning into raucous displays of dissatisfaction, the way would seem open for Carter to face serious opposition.
Several hats are being tossed into the ring as we speak for the chance to gain the Democratic nomination and face Carter in November 2018. Connect will endeavor to speak to all of them, and this week we speak to Steve Jarvis.
During a time when many Democrats are saying the Bernie Sanders/Elizabeth Warren approach of more overtly leftist economic populism is the way forward, Savannah native Jarvis is taking a nearly opposite approach.
Claiming a return to the First District’s old persona as the home of conservative Democrats like Bo Ginn and Lindsay Thomas, Jarvis’s approach seems downright nostalgic in this era when conservative Democrats, especially in the South, are a nearly extinct species.
Jarvis thinks his extensive military record as a U.S. Army combat infantry veteran of the Iraq War will help him gain traction in a district which has a heavy military presence.
Why are you running at this particular time, rather than last election cycle?
It wasn’t time then. I was just getting out of the military and trying to find a new career path. Now, I’m settled. I’m happily married with three children and one more on the way.
Now, as a veteran I don’t appreciate the way veterans are being used as pawns. My parents are in their upper 70s. To me veterans and the elderly are used as pawns by politicians, and the day after the election everything’s forgotten.
I want to get into the race to be the voice of the people of this district. I don’t want to be the voice of big pharmaceutical companies, or of big government. I want to be the voice of the people, and of the veterans and the elderly. I don’t believe our current congressman is any of those.
The current mood in the country, and especially among liberals, seems quite angry. What makes your temperament a fit for this particular national mood?
I’m a warrior and I win. Right now our current congressman isn’t a warrior at all. There is a disconnect between him and the people who voted for him. I think he listens more to lobbyists that benefit him.
My temperament is I listen. I pay attention. I care. People aren’t listening to the elderly or to veterans.
I know somebody who’s been fighting the VA on one claim for 20 years. That’s unacceptable.
If the current congressman isn’t going to hold the VA accountable, why is he there? If he’s not going to be the voice of the elderly, why is he there?
Where do you stand on the current debate over the future of the Affordable Care Act?
President Trump said for seven years Republicans have been wanting to repeal and replace, but that was easy to say when they knew they had a president that wouldn’t sign it.
Now they have a president in office waiting with pen in hand. Why hasn’t anything been done? Because it doesn’t benefit them.
But what would you like to see? Obamacare kept, fixed, done away with?
I would like to see a health care program where the buyer has more say. Health care is broken and it needs to be fixed. It needs to be affordable and accessible. Right now it’s not either. People should be able to have a policy that works for them. But frankly this is probably going to be taken care of before I take office.
There’s a growing mood on the left wing of the Democratic Party that the only real way forward is single-payer, nationalized health care.
I don’t think single-payer is the path we need to go on. It will give the government too much more power. I don’t believe health care is a government issue, and I don’t believe it should be a national government issue.
Some say health care is a right, others say it’s not. But to make it a government issue is outside the realm of what Congress is supposed to be doing.
In the Trump era, immigration is a highly polarized issue. You are running for the nomination of a party which is opposed to Trump’s proposed border wall. Where do you personally stand?
I’m pro-legal immigration. There needs to be legal pathways to immigration. We’re a nation of laws and we’re a sovereign nation. I served six years protecting that. We pride ourselves on the fact that people want to come here and live. If that’s the case, they need to come here the legal way.
You can’t round people up who are here illegally. You need a path to citizenship available for them. They don’t go to the front of the line, but there has to be a path. But for illegal immigrants here who are committing crimes, there should be no path at all.
In a Democratic primary, you are inevitably going to get questions about where you stand on issues of use of excessive use of force by police, and associated issues like racial profiling and stop-and-frisk.
That’s a local issue. That is police department policy. When we see these things on Facebook and TV, we’re getting a small picture of the entire issue. If a police officer uses force beyond what is called for under their policy, absolutely that police officer should be tried. It’s up to the jury at that point. As a former parole officer, I know there are times use of force is necessary. We have almost gotten to the point where the police are considered criminals.
Should you be elected, and should Democrats take over the House in 2018, impeachment proceedings will almost certainly be proposed. Where do you stand on the issue of the impeachment of President Trump?
What high crime or misdemeanor did he commit? If there’s no crime there’s no impeachment. That goes to the partisan politics and game playing that got us where we are now.
What do you think of the current allegations that he colluded with Russia?
I know of none. Where's the proof? Where's the crime? If there's no proof even with the independent counsel, why are we doing this? Congress needs to be moving America forward.