Republican senate challenger Bryant “Corky” Messner talks issues in Dublin

  • Senate hopeful Bryant "Corky" Messner speaks to voters at a Town Hall event at the Dublin Public Library on Wednesday evening. Staff photo by Abbe Hamilton

  • Senate hopeful Bryant "Corky" Messner speaks to voters at a Town Hall event at the Dublin Public Library on Wednesday evening. Staff photo by Abbe Hamilton—

  • Senate hopeful Bryant "Corky" Messner speaks to voters at a Town Hall event at the Dublin Public Library on Wednesday evening. Staff photo by Abbe Hamilton—

  • Senate hopeful Bryant "Corky" Messner speaks to voters at a Town Hall event at the Dublin Public Library on Wednesday evening. Staff photo by Abbe Hamilton—

  • Senate hopeful Bryant "Corky" Messner speaks to voters at a Town Hall event at the Dublin Public Library on Wednesday evening. Staff photo by Abbe Hamilton—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 12/13/2019 12:53:28 PM

Bryant “Corky” Messner, a Republican candidate running against Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) for a senate seat in 2020, held a Town Hall at the Dublin Public Library and fielded questions from the eleven attendees on Wednesday night.

“I feel very, very fortunate that a blue collar kid from Appalachia in Pennsylvania is able to succeed in this country,” Messner said, referring to his upbringing in Altoona, Pennsylvania. “I’ve lived the American Dream.”

He credited his personal success to “individual liberty and economic freedom” and said he sees more government control as leading to “less economic freedom … and less opportunities for young blue collar kids.” “given the … leftists are trying to move this country to socialism,” he said he is running “so our kids and our kid’s kids have the same opportunity to live the American dream as me.”

Messner described his background, citing his experience as a military leader in the Army Rangers after graduating West Point, as well as in the private and nonprofit sector as a lawyer and entrepreneur.

“I’m a job creator, I’m a problem solver,” he said.

Messner said he originally was introduced to New Hampshire as a West Point Cadet, when he came up to help a friend shut down his aunt’s camp at the base of Mount Monadnock. He said he fell in love with the region, and eventually moved to a home on Lake Wentworth in Wolfeboro, where he said he is involved with the Wentworth Watershed Association.

When asked what he would do to strengthen the inadequacies in the Social Security program, Messner said it was “an absolute priority” for him, and in order to do it, the country needs to reduce the cost of healthcare, discretionary spending, and waste, fraud, and abuse within the Department of Defense, he said. Messner also said the country needs to continue the “economic policies that are resulting in this incredible economy” to get more workers to participate in Social Security.

“If we can get to a 4 percent growth rate that means the economy doubles in eighteen years,” he said of the US economy.”

Messner assured the attendees that he “won’t be shy” about voicing his belief that the U.S. needs to withdraw from the Middle East.

“I think we need to get the troops home, a lot of our troops and leaders did a fabulous job,” when they were on the ground, Messner said, but that the US “lost sight” of exiting after the initial directive. Messner cited Senator Shaheen’s support for remaining in Syria.

An audience member asked if he agreed with Sen. Mitch McConnell’s statement that allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices is socialist.

“Not in those words,” Messner said. “We need to reduce drug prices. There needs to be transparency in that,” he said, and explained that his plan would be to promote the discrepancies in price between different medical care providers, and allow the free market to bring the costs down.

After an attendee asked if he would consider allowing veterans to use V.A. benefits in other hospitals for routine procedures, Messner said, “Absolutely.”

When asked about the legislature he would support to mitigate climate change, Messner questioned whether the scientific base “really know how much of an impact man has had on climate change.”

“I consider myself a conservative conservationist,” he said, and that he supported individual efforts to reduce carbon levels and the formation of a bipartisan group to study “what’s going on about climate change.”

“There’s far too much politics involved in this,” he said about the consequences of natural disasters occurring in the US and polar regions due to climate change.

He described attributing the causes of natural disasters as climate-related as a “silly political way.”

“I think we need to help people, no question … that’s why we have an emergency fund.”

“The idea that we’ve got to do a Green New Deal, it is the leftist attempt to grab control of our lives,” Messner said, later describing “the whole leftist climate change movement” as a “naked grab of power.”

He described being in junior high in 1970, when the first Earth Day occurred and “the ice age was coming,” and referenced the depletion of the stratosphere’s ozone layer and the effects of acid rain on New England states.

“Those things, as we found out, turned out not to be true,” he said, and that he saw them as examples of the government “using the environment to grab control.”

An attendee said he agreed with much of what Messner was saying, including that the topic of climate change had become too political, “but by using the term ‘leftist’, you’re sustaining that.”

When an audience member asked Messner for his response to recent criticism that he can’t win the senate race, he said, “I’m gonna beat Jeanne Shaheen. That’s what I’m focused on.” He added that he was fortunate that he could do some self-funding for his campaign.


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