(Story By Jeff Ledington, The Mountain Advocate)
A retired Lieutenant Colonel, teacher, and farmer is aiming to unseat Kentucky’s senior senator. He says “What’s happening in Washington is really on one man, and that’s Mitch McConnell.”
Lt. Col. Mike Broihier served over 20 years in the Marine Corps in both war and peace time. He retired after serving as lead war planner in Korea and went on to become an adjunct faculty member at the University of California. He has served as a substitute teacher in Lincoln County schools and worked in newspapers for five years. 10 years ago, Broihier and his wife, also a combat veteran, started what is now Central Kentucky’s largest all-natural asparagus farm.
Broihier is running a progressive grass-roots campaign to become the Democrat’s nominee for the United States Senate. “We tend to run middle of the road candidates and get creamed every time,” he stated. A veteran with a wide range of experience, he believes he is “uniquely qualified” to take on McConnell.
The McConnell campaign has hit at the progressive candidate, calling his policies “socialist fantasies.” When asked to respond, Broihier said, “clean water, clean air, safe schools, good healthcare. I don’t know how that is necessarily socialism.” Broihier added that McConnell likes to use the word socialism as a “big scare word.” He continued that McConnell loves to give out money when it suits him and that he doesn’t care about giving money to the rich or companies. “I’d rather give money to people rather than corporations,” Broihier said.
Broihier is getting all his funding through grassroots, raising 10 times more in the last quarter than he did in the previous. He didn’t mince words when speaking about his main competition’s funding, fellow Marine Amy McGrath. “The bulk of her money comes from out of state and super PACs,” he said. He added that “those people don’t get to vote in Kentucky.
Broihier was quick to call out McGraths changing positions, saying she’d gone from the most liberal person in Kentucky to a Trump supporter that believes McConnel is holding the president back. “I don’t know which one she is now,” he said. Broihier doesn’t think Kentuckians will go for a candidate picked by the DNC and Chuck Schumer and stated, “people in Kentucky are going to vote for the candidate that best reflects their values.”
Broihier wants to see a transition to a single-payer healthcare system similar to Canada and Australia. “The system is broken, it doesn’t work,” he said. Broihier added that investing the money now will result in long-term savings. “Why people are against it I don’t know. You save money and everyone has access all the time,” he added.
Broihier is a gun owner and stated it was hard not to view guns through the eyes of a combat veteran. He stated that given the level of safety taken by the military, universal background checks should be the bare minimum and are supported by a majority of Americans. Broihier believes red-flag laws have been misrepresented and that it is untrue to say that your neighbor can have your guns taken for no reason.
On the economy, Broihier wants to go green with an emphasis on public works programs and cleaning the environment. Broihier wants to put people to work building and repairing infrastructure. He pointed out a major factor in drawing businesses to Eastern Kentucky was installing the types of infrastructure businesses need such as broadband internet and sewer systems.
Broihier has adopted universal basic income as a pillar of his campaign. He has proposed $2000 per month for adults and another $1000 for children during the pandemic; this would transition to a permanent $1200 for adults and $400 for children after.
Broihier says he was driven to run by the oath he swore to defend the constitution. “I see what’s happening in Washington as decidedly unamerican,” he stated. He called out some members of congress for being subordinate to the president and McConnell for helping pass through unqualified judges; the American Bar Association has rated nine Trump appointed judges as “unqualified.”
Recently Broihier picked up the Indivisible Kentucky, a leading state-wide progressive group. Whether Broihier will have a shot at McConnell remains to be seen, he faces nine other candidates in the upcoming primary.