Rep. Andy Gipson (R-Braxton) is an attorney and Baptist pastor. And in her report in the Clarion-Ledger, Analysis: Gipson wields influence, Emily Wagster Pettus says he is one of the most influential lawmakers in the state.
As the chairman of the House Judiciary B Committee, he was influential in a number of bills including House Bill 585 (improve efficiency and costs of the state’s criminal justice system) and House Bill 1400 (banned abortion at 20 weeks). He helped push through the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (Senate Bill 2681) in spite of all the opposition.
Gipson is a notably vocal opponent of gay rights since President Obama changed his stance on gay marriage in 2012. He has remained a staunch opponent of gay rights even with calls for his resignation and the other pressures associated with taking a Biblical stand on a range of issues.
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According to Moshe Ya’alon, the United States foreign policy under President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry is demonstrating weakness around the world making both the U.S. and Israel more susceptible to terrorist threats.
The Times of Israel reports,
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon on Monday issued a scathing critique of the Obama administration, declaring that Israel cannot rely on the US to thwart Iran’s nuclear program, accusing the administration of broadcasting weakness throughout the world, and warning that its perceived weakness was inviting further terrorism against US targets.
Referencing U.S. policies with Muslim world, Syria, China, and Russia and the Ukraine, Ya’alon said, “This is a war of civilizations. If you are perceived to be weak, that certainly does not pay in the world. I hope the US will reassert itself.”
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With conservative activists backing challengers to sitting Republican Senators in Mississippi (Chris McDaniel), Kansas (Milton Wolf), and Kentucky (Matt Bevin), establishment Republicans are feeling the pressure to maintain their power. In an interview with the New York Times, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) declared war on the more conservative members of his party stating, “I think we are going to crush [the Tea Party] everywhere.”
In Mississippi, Sen. Thad Cochran currently has little to worry about. He is comfortable with his record and lead over Chris McDaniel heading into the state’s June 3rd Primary according to a Roll Call report. Tea Party groups, including those that support McDaniel, have targeted incumbents like Cochran who have used earmarks and their positions within the federal government to bring pork into their states while bolstering their own footholds in government.
Conservative organizations such as FreedomWorks, the Madison Project, Club for Growth, and the Senate Conservatives Fund are collectively but unofficially known as the “Tea Party.” Among other things, such organizations have typically supported a return to constitutionally limited government, lower taxes (if not abolition of the IRS), and reducing the size and intrusiveness of the federal government. In 2010 and 2012 such organizations were responsible for ousting Republican Party-backed candidates to elect Senators Rand Paul (R-KY), Ted Cruz (R-TX), and Marco Rubio (R-FL).
The Republican Party traditionally supports incumbents but has been criticized in recent years by its more conservative members like the Tea Party organizations for neglecting the U.S. Constitution, not fighting for limited government and lower taxes, and not aggressively opposing President Obama and Democrat Party policies.