Candidate Questionnaire: Roger Wicker | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Candidate Questionnaire: Roger Wicker

Sen. Roger Wicker is the incumbent for his own Senate seat, which he has held since 2007. He served in the U.S. House of Representatives before then.

Sen. Roger Wicker is the incumbent for his own Senate seat, which he has held since 2007. He served in the U.S. House of Representatives before then. Photo by Roger Wicker Campaign

Fast Facts About Roger Wicker

Election: GOP Senate Primary

Age: 66

Family: Married to Gayle Long Wicker; three children: Margaret and son-in-law Manning McPhillips; Caroline and son-in-law Kirk Sims; and McDaniel Wicker and his wife Kellee; and five grandchildren: Caroline, Henry, Maury Beth, Virginia McPhillips, and Evelyn Sims.

Place of Residence: Tupelo

Education: Educated in the public schools of Pontotoc, I went on to receive both my B.A. and law degrees from the University of Mississippi. I’m also a graduate of the Air Command and Staff College.

Work Experience: Prior to my service in the Senate, I was elected seven times, beginning in 1994, to represent Mississippi’s First Congressional District in the House of Representatives. Before being elected to Congress, I served in the state Senate on behalf of Lee and Pontotoc counties. I served on active duty in the U.S. Air Force and then joined the Air Force Reserve. I retired from the Reserve in 2004 with the rank of lieutenant colonel.

Current Job: U.S. Senator for Mississippi

The Jackson Free Press reached out to all candidates in the four Mississippi Congressional districts who are listed on a primary election ballot on June 5, regardless of whether they had a challenger or not. Each candidate received the same five-question questionnaire. We've published their responses in full below, with minimal edits for editorial/reader clarity only. The JFP did not copyedit or line-edit candidate responses. The views expressed by candidates do not necessarily reflect the views of the JFP.

Why does your district (for Senate candidates, your state) need you right now?

Under the Trump-Pence Administration we have:

-Confirmed a record number of conservative judges

-Eliminated hundreds of regulations, making job creation easier

-Passed historic tax cuts, which have directly led to more jobs, more investments, employee bonuses, and higher wages

-Ended the Obamacare individual mandate

-Laid the groundwork - through my SHIPS Act – to meet the Navy’s requirement for a minimum of 355 ships, many of which will be built in Mississippi

-Devised innovative ways to fight Alzheimer's through my EUREKA Act, now being implemented by the National Institutes of Health

I want to continue working with President Trump to grow our economy, secure our borders, and keep Americans safe. Our campaign will continue the hard work to organize volunteers in all 82 Mississippi counties and earn the trust and support of voters in the Republican primary and general election this year.

Provide one or two examples of when you have been an advocate for your district (or state) in your personal or professional life. What was the result?

I am committed to ensuring that our military has the resources they need to protect our nation and its citizens. Last year, I authored the Securing our Homeland by Increasing our Power on the Seas (SHIPS) Act, which was signed in to law. The SHIPS Act makes a 355-ship fleet the official policy of the United States, confirming our resolve to the meet the growing needs of our U.S. Navy.

Our current fleet is insufficient to protect maritime traffic, reassure our allies, respond to aggressive rogue nations, and safeguard our national security interests unless we adequately equip our commanders and sailors to do so.

Since my bill became law, there have been two major announcements, which will have a direct impact on Mississippians. First, Huntington Ingalls is reopening its shipbuilding facilities on the east bank of the Pascagoula River, previously damaged by Hurricane Katrina. For the more than 12,000 world-class shipbuilders and their families on our Gulf Coast, this is particularly good news. Second, the Navy declared that it would reach the 355-ship goal by the 2030’s – a full 15 years earlier than previously planned. Clearly, the SHIPS Act has already delivered needed certainty for our military and will ensure the continued preeminence of our military forces. I am still working as Seapower Subcommittee Chairman to push for getting to 355 ships sooner.

I am also particularly proud of the progress that has been made in the field of muscular dystrophy research. In 2001, I authored the original “Muscular Dystrophy Community Assistance, Research, and Education (MD CARE) Act,” which was designed to get the federal government off the sidelines and into the fight against this devastating disease. This was a signature achievement.

Prior to 2001, no legislation had specifically addressed Duchenne muscular dystrophy – the most common fatal genetic disorder diagnosed in childhood, which affects 1 in 3,500 boys worldwide.

Since MD CARE was signed into law, federal research has paved the way for groundbreaking therapies, extending the lifespan of muscular dystrophy patients by an average of 12 years and significantly improving their quality of life. Children who once faced a bleak prognosis are now enjoying longer, more active lives. Many patients are living long enough now to go college, get married, and have children of their own.

This tremendous progress warranted an update to the law to account for the fact that these young boys were reaching young adulthood. In 2014, I led the effort to reform MD CARE to remove the law’s restrictions on researchers to focus only on pediatric patients. The law also now covers multiple forms of muscular dystrophy and adds important accountability measures.

I joined this battle 17 years ago when a fellow Mississippian told me about his son’s diagnosis with Duchenne. Since then, we have made great strides, and I am confident that even more breakthroughs are on the horizon.

In the past year or so, what was the most important vote taken for your district (or state)? How would you have voted and why? What is the most pressing issue for your district (or state)?

I voted for the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,” which was enacted last year. I strongly supported this plan to cut taxes and reform the tax code because it prioritizes the success of American workers and middle-class families.

A big goal of the tax bill was to make American job creators competitive with the rest of the world. That will in turn help grow our nation’s economy, leading to higher wages and better job opportunities. A pro-growth tax code puts more money back into the hands of those who earned it.

By now, most Americans should have started to notice the impact of the tax law in their paychecks. The new federal withholding guidelines based on the law’s lower tax rates took effect in February, and the Treasury Department has estimated 90 percent of U.S. workers will now bring home more of their wages rather than sending them to Uncle Sam.

These changes might seem small now, but they are expected to add up to significant savings for families, empowering them to plan for the future and offering relief when finances get tight. According to the Tax Foundation, an average family making the median income in Mississippi could keep hundreds of dollars more this year than they would under the old system.

A groundswell has begun, with more than 500 companies using their tax savings to benefit employees. So far, more than four million Americans will receive bonuses. Now that this year’s Tax Day has come and gone, we have a great deal to look forward to thanks to a simpler new system and more take-home pay.

If you could propose one piece of legislation that would greatly improve the quality of life for people your district (or state) what would it be?

I introduced the EUREKA Act and shepherded it to passage. It creates a $10 million prize for breakthrough Alzheimer’s research and is currently being implemented by the National Institutes of Health. It is an innovated and cost effective approach to encouraging more private sector research into Alzheimer’s.

If you are unsuccessful in winning your race, how specifically will you continue working on behalf of your district (or state)?

I want to continue working with President Trump to grow our economy, secure our borders, and keep Americans safe. My senior leadership positions on the Armed Services Committee as chair of the Seapower Subcommittee and on the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation offer Mississippians a seat at the table and key influence on important issues to our state.

Read more 2018 election stories at jfp.ms/2018elections. The JFP is still taking candidate questionnaires. Don't see your candidate? Tell them to email their questionnaire to [email protected].

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