Opinion: Wicker the clear choice for Mississippi

Posted on Nov 1 2017 - 8:00am by Wright Ricketts

This guest column is in response to Will Hall’s column “Elect McDaniel, oppose establishment” published Oct. 16.

As our country’s two major parties begin preparations for the 2018 midterm elections, Mississippi’s U.S. Senate race has already received attention on the national scale. In what is expected to be a highly competitive race, state senator and attorney Chris McDaniel is expected to challenge incumbent Sen. Roger Wicker in the June 5, 2018 Republican primary.

McDaniel, an unapologetic tea partier who is best known for his intense primary challenge to Sen. Cochran in 2014, wields a formidable level of grassroots support throughout Mississippi and is expected to receive an endorsement from former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon.

Wicker, former Congressman representing Mississippi’s 1st district and Air Force veteran, has served in the Senate since his appointment by Gov. Barbour in 2007 and currently resides on several influential committees.

While campaigning has yet to officially begin, both candidates have already begun to tout their credentials and make their case to Republican voters in Mississippi. Sen. Wicker has been actively emphasizing his voting record, which he claims is evidence of his conservative values and support for the President. Meanwhile, McDaniel has already gone on the attack, attempting to frame Wicker as a Mitch McConnell “yes man” while questioning his conservative principles.

However, when one looks past the theatrics and noise, it is clear Sen. Wicker is the proven conservative in this race. Pragmatic yet principled, Sen. Wicker has consistently and ardently advocated for conservative policies in Washington, D.C., on behalf of Mississippi, and his voting record proves it.

Americans for Prosperity, an organization committed to fighting government regulation and over-taxation, awards Sen. Wicker a 100 percent economic freedom score based on his votes during the 115th Congress. The National Rifle Association also gives Sen. Wicker an A+ grade, while Gun Owners of America grants him an A, making Sen. Wicker the fourth most gun friendly individual in the entire U.S. Senate.

Sen. Wicker has also been one of President Trump’s closest allies in the Senate since his inauguration. According to fivethirtyeight.com, Sen. Wicker has voted in line with the President’s agenda 96.2 percent of the time, one of the highest ratings of any sitting senator.

A repeal and replace of the Affordable Care Act, the travel ban and a complete reform of the federal tax code are just a few of the President’s hallmark policies that Senator Wicker has supported throughout the last nine months. Without an ally such as Wicker in the Senate, implementing President Trump’s legislative agenda would be even more difficult than it is today.

Sen. Wicker’s dedication to small government and individual liberty, along with his support for an “America First” agenda, is evident in his voting record. Decades of consistently fighting for his Mississippi constituents, as well as for all Americans, to enact conservative policies in Washington make Sen. Wicker the clear choice for Republicans in Mississippi’s 2018 U.S. Senate race.

Wright Ricketts is a junior banking and finance major from Memphis.