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Congressman Russell Fry on Tackling the Fentanyl Epidemic

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Konten disediakan oleh Breaking Battlegrounds. Semua konten podcast termasuk episode, grafik, dan deskripsi podcast diunggah dan disediakan langsung oleh Breaking Battlegrounds atau mitra platform podcast mereka. Jika Anda yakin seseorang menggunakan karya berhak cipta Anda tanpa izin, Anda dapat mengikuti proses yang diuraikan di sini https://id.player.fm/legal.

In this episode, we've lined up a trio of compelling guests to keep you informed. First, Congressman Russell Fry, representing South Carolina's 7th District, joins us to discuss critical topics, including the border crisis, Hurricane Idalia's impact on his district, and his bipartisan bill, the Fentanyl Crisis Research and Evaluation Act. Plus, we'll explore the latest developments in the Biden family investigations.

Then, we'll shift our focus to New York's 3rd Congressional District with congressional candidate Kellen Curry where he discusses his bid to unseat incumbent George Santos.

Lastly, friend of the show, Henry Olsen, a Washington Post columnist and senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, will provide insights into the ever-evolving political landscape, including his recent analysis of Trump.

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Congressman Russell Fry is proud to serve the Grand Strand and Pee Dee as their Representative for South Carolina’s Seventh Congressional District.Russell is a true believer in the American Dream. Growing up he watched his parents work hard for every penny they earned, and since then Russell has been doing the same. He put himself through his undergraduate education at the University of South Carolina and law school at the Charleston School of Law, where he served as president of the Student Bar Association, helped the school achieve its American Bar Association accreditation, and also received the prestigious Civility Award. After this, he practiced law along the Grand Strand for over a decade.As an Eagle Scout, Russell shares the sentiment that “you should leave your campsite better than you found it.” Every day he strives towards a goal that “we should leave our country better than we found it.” Growing up, he saw first-hand how government’s actions directly affect families living paycheck to paycheck, and he is committed to fighting for those who don’t always have a voice.Russell is a public servant and active member of his community. Prior to this role, he represented State House District 106 (Horry County) in South Carolina’s General Assembly for seven years. He served as Chief Majority Whip, where he fought for lower taxes, less government, pro-Second Amendment legislation, and pro-life legislation. Russell also chaired the House Opioid Abuse Prevention Study Committee, which resulted in 18 policy initiatives being signed into law and record funding for opioid prevention, education, and treatment.Russell is a loving husband to his wife, Bronwen, and dedicated father to their son, James. The family lives in Murrells Inlet with their chocolate lab, Jasper.

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Kellen Curry

As a graduate of the United States Air Force Academy Kellen spent eight years on active duty delivering critical cyber security technology for our country’s military and completed two tours of duty in Afghanistan. After completing his Master of Business Administration degree at George Washington University, Kellen went on to work at J.P. Morgan’s Corporate and Investment Banking Division in New York City. Kellen believes his extensive experience working in national security and in our national economy will serve him well in his bid for Congress. Kellen continues to serve our nation in the Air Force Reserves and is a student at Columbia University pursuing a Master of Science in Sports Management where he also volunteers with Positive Coaching Alliance, a non-profit organization which strives to create a positive youth sports environment in communities across the country.In his campaign, Kellen will be focusing on core issues including national defense in the face of rising global threats, economic insecurity due to persistently high inflation, increasing affordability on Long Island and raising the accountability bar in D.C. through ethics reforms.He will also be working to achieve what he calls ‘the gold standard of constituency services’ which has been absent but is critical to improving the lives of NY-3 residents.

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Henry Olsen is a Washington Post columnist and senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. He was the Thomas W. Smith distinguished scholar in residence at Arizona State University for the winter/spring 2023 semester. Olsen began his career as a political consultant at the California firm of Hoffenblum-Mollrich. After three years working for the California Assembly Republican Caucus, he returned to school to become a lawyer. Following law school he clerked for the Honorable Danny J. Boggs on the United States Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals and as an associate in the Philadelphia office of Dechert, Price & Rhoads. He then joined the think tank world where he spent the next eighteen years as an executive at a variety of institutions, serving as the President of the Commonwealth Foundation, a Vice President at the Manhattan Institute, and as Vice President and Director, National Research Initiative, at the American Enterprise Institute. He left AEI in 2013 to pursue a career in political analysis and writing at EPPC. During that time his work has appeared in variety of leading publications in America and the United Kingdom. He is the author or co-author of two books, “The Working Class Republican: Ronald Reagan and the Return of Blue-Collar Conservatism” and (with Dante J. Scala) “The Four Faces of the Republican Party”. His biennial election predictions have been widely praised for the uncanny accuracy, and he is a frequent guest on television and radio programs. Olsen regularly speaks about American political trends and global populism in the United State, Europe, and Australia.

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TRANSCRIPTION

Sam Stone: Welcome to another episode of Breaking Battlegrounds with your host, Chuck Warren. I'm Sam Stone. Our first guest up today, Congressman Russell Fry, represents South Carolina's seventh District. Prior to going to the US Congress, he represented the state House in South Carolina's General Assembly for seven years, served as chief majority whip. And Chuck, we always love Congress members and senators who have served in their local, state house or local government because you just get a perspective that Washington does not offer. So we're very excited to talk with him. He is a fighter for lower taxes, less government, pro-Second Amendment legislation and pro-life legislation. Chuck, if you're pro-life today, you've got to be fighting this fentanyl epidemic, this crisis that is tearing the country apart.

Chuck Warren: 100%. Congressman, you have introduced a bipartisan bill called the Fentanyl Crisis Research and Evaluation Act to learn more about how the fentanyl crisis is impacting America in South Carolina in 2021, you had 1494 deaths due to fentanyl. I mean, that's we can multiply that by 1020 because of the family members it affects, right? Their loved ones, things of that nature. What do we need to do to turn the tide back against this fentanyl crisis?

Congressman Russell Fry: Oh, gosh, there's just a lot. And quite honestly, I don't even know that we have enough time in this segment, but we'll try. The first thing I think is and the first thing is you've got to stop the flow that's at the border. You've got to stop that. You've got to address that. But beyond that, what you have to realize is you need access to care. You need the ability of families to get the resources and the help they need. You need to strengthen law enforcement. And what frustrates me is this is the biggest one of the biggest health care problems that we have in this country. But beyond that, Congress doesn't know a lot about the impact on the economy, on the labor market, on housing, the impact on the Treasury, I mean, all these different things. And the fact that we don't know those frustrates me. I just got there. I'm like, wait a second, y'all don't know these data points that would help dictate good policy. So you got to stop the flow. But beyond that, you need to give lanes for recovery so that people can get back on their feet and get back to work, get back to being normal people. And fentanyl just I mean, we see it every day. 70% of the overdoses in this state are associated with fentanyl alone. And it's similar like that across the country. It's just sad to see.

Chuck Warren: Well, what's so frustrating about this fentanyl crisis is a there is a role for government closing the border, finding out what these data points are, the things you're trying to investigate.

Sam Stone: And pushing people into treatment.

Chuck Warren: Pushing people in treatment. But what's also frustrating for me is just don't take drugs. I mean, you know, I mean, it's that's what's hard about it. Right? And so there's you know, the government has a role in this. And I don't want to pretend it does not law enforcement has a role in this. But there's also a lot of personal responsibility. And I think that's something the communities and churches I mean, the old Nancy Reagan slogan, just say no, which was mocked. I don't know. Maybe we need a campaign like that again.

Congressman Russell Fry: Well, maybe. Look, and I do know that prevention for every dollar that you invest in prevention, you save, I think, $4 in health care costs and $7 in criminal justice costs. So the messaging, the PSA that people put out there, that that education component is just so big. And what's crazy look, I'm 38 years old and we all know people who partake in a little bit of marijuana or whatever. People just do that. And and in some states, it's allowed. Some states it's not. But you know what's crazy? They lived to tell the tale until recently. I mean, it's laced in everything. And that's the that's the crazy people don't go out and seek, you know, let me get some fentanyl. It's usually added into other things. And you hear about West Point cadets, you hear about students, you hear about just really everybody in all walks of life that have to deal with this. And they never live to tell the tale to get back on the recovery. So the prevention side, which you just talked about, that's critical to this.

Sam Stone: Well, and and, Congressman, this is Sam. One of the things that so I've worked a lot with the city of Phoenix. And one of the things that that we know that I don't think the public is fully aware of yet is that Narcan loses effectiveness after a person has had to use it a couple of times. So the more the more someone has overdosed. And right now, we're keeping a lot of these folks alive by having Narcan everywhere. But there are limitations on that. And that's going to result in a increased death toll over time.

Congressman Russell Fry: I'm right. Right. And you know what's frustrating to to that point, we just did this pilot program in South Carolina that I think other places can do. But say you say you overdose, you go to the hospital, you're recovered, you revive, you come around again, and you know what? You have this moment of clarity. At that point. A lot of people do, and they go, I need to get help. And so then they try to go get into a place to get help. And guess what? You got to wait two, three, four weeks to get into a place. Well, guess what? By that time, that addiction has already started to pull you back in and you're back doing the same thing you are again. What we've done in South Carolina, at least here locally, is fast track those people. So when these things happen. But that's one of those barriers to access that just when there's that clarity because everyone hits that point, when there's that clarity and you go, I need to get help, I need help, you got to wait around for 4 or 5, six weeks. If you can even get in somewhere.

Sam Stone: You have to have help available right then and there, right?

Congressman Russell Fry: So you need it. And if you don't have that peer to peer help, if you don't have, you know, medication assisted treatment or whatever, whatever options are out there, if that's not available to you, you're doing the same thing again. And you might not get a second, third and fourth chance in the future. You might overdose and pass away. And that's what we're seeing right now.

Chuck Warren: With Congressman Russell Fry. He represents South Carolina's seventh district. You can catch this interview this weekend in Florence, South Carolina, on Am 1400 and of course, nationwide on other outlets. Congressman, have you talked to local law enforcement about this issue? And what are their what's their feedback to you?

Congressman Russell Fry: Well, I have and unfortunately, in your listening area in Florence, there's a sheriff whose daughter just recently passed away from a fentanyl overdose. And so, again, it affects everybody, but they're seeing just the dramatic growth in it. Their officers are equipped with Narcan. They're seeing it. They're seeing the growth of this drug in rural communities, in urban centers, really everywhere. And it's and it's worse than it's ever been. So they feel frustrated. South Carolina did fortunately pass a law last year. I had when I was in the General Assembly, I was had brought it up. And sometimes these things take a couple of years to get done. But in this one, it just gives tools to law enforcement to be able to crack down on this, to be able to, you know, to unwind some of these some of these drug rings that are that are around. And so that's a big component to this, too. But they're feeling it and they see it every day. And they have to train their officers on how to deal with it because it's a dangerous substance that if it gets on your skin, one of their own might go down.

Sam Stone: Yeah, we've seen that across the country with police officers who have been overdosed from from very minor exposure to fentanyl during their interactions with the public. So it's a huge issue. But Congressman, one of the things and I know you've been a big fighter for a secure border, but it seems like this is not a problem we're going to be able to address unless we start getting control of the border. And the data that just come out shows that not only are we not doing anything realistically to get control of the border, the problem is worse than it's ever been. Over 90,000 people detained by Border Patrol last month, you know, beating a May 2019 record.

Chuck Warren: And that's who they.

Sam Stone: Caught and that's who they caught. The fentanyl dealers are not the ones those are the ones who are turning themselves over to Border Patrol to begin the asylum process. The people were not catching are the fentanyl traffickers, the dealers, the cartel members. Right. How do we address this unless we start really securing our border?

Congressman Russell Fry: Well, you can't. And that's been my message even before I got to Congress. And just doing dealing with opioids in the state level, you cannot begin to address the issue until you shut off the hose, until you shut off the flow. And it doesn't mean you can't start start trying and keep trying. South Carolina's always going to do that. Local governments are always going to keep trying to address it, but they're not in the position that the federal government is to deal with the flow. And when you have the administration touts the record amount of fentanyl that they've seized, that's great. But there's so much more that's coming through the border. We know that. We know the precursors, the chemicals are coming from China. We know that they're being manufactured. And just south we know that the cartels are shipping them up and they're not dummies. They will flood an area with 100 200 migrants and then two miles up the road, they'll sneak a you know, they'll sneak fentanyl across the border or, you know, human smuggling or human trafficking. They'll do that because all the resources are dealing with the 200 people that are just sitting there in this section of Yuma or wherever they might be. It's obscene.

Chuck Warren: Well, with Congressman Russell Fry, you can get him on Twitter at Russell Fry, SC. Congressman, you you're your district was just hit by the hurricane. How is everybody doing? How's everybody coping out there?

Congressman Russell Fry: I think okay. I mean, we were very fortunate. I mean, there was some tornadic activity up in the Cherry Grove section along the coast. And so you had some homes that were damaged. You have a road that that looks like it took some damage. But I would say overall, we were very fortunate. I think the storm, you know, there's never a. A great time for a storm to hit. But when it's low tide and the storm arrives, you don't have the storm surge. It was moving very quickly, so it didn't stay here long. You know, it rained five and a half, six inches, which is a lot. But it was able we were able to largely absorb it. So I think overall, we were very blessed in dealing with it. And so some some things to recover from, but not as bad as Florida and not as bad as prior storms in our area.

Sam Stone: Congressman, we have just about two minutes before we go to break. And folks, we're going to be coming back with more from congressman here in just a moment. But one of the things I kind of Chuck and I have been kind of talking about these last couple of days watching this hurricane is that I think the almost every American citizen would would give thanks to God that this did not end up being a worse situation than it was, that it was not the catastrophe that was predicted. But what is kind of disconcerting to me is that it seems like the corporate media, the left media, even some Democrat officials, there was almost a palpable sense of disappointment that these two hurricanes that we've just had, the one on the West Coast and this one neither delivered the kind of catastrophe that that they almost seem to be hoping for.

Congressman Russell Fry: No, it's it's it's wild. And they drive clicks and they spin up fear. We actually had some and I won't tell you who, but we had some news interviews that were canceled. And I just have to assume that it was it wasn't it wasn't chaotic enough for them. But regardless, I think I think you're right. And and it's sad to see people get spun up. We've been dealing with storms since forever. And in 1957, we had Hurricane Hazel that wreaked havoc. It was way before my time. But you talk to people, it was, I think, a Category 4 or 5 that hit this area directly. These storms are you know, they they are problematic. But what makes it worse is just the the doomsday scenarios from the media. People just need to be prepared. They need to listen to their, you know, their local local officials and state officials on how to deal with this. But then that's when FEMA comes in on the back end, is to help the recovery.

Sam Stone: Yeah, absolutely. Breaking is going to be back in just a moment with more from Congressman Russell Fry.

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Sam Stone: Welcome back to Breaking battlegrounds with your host, Chuck Warren. I'm Sam Stone. We're going to be continuing on in just a moment with more from Congressman Russell Fry of South Carolina's seventh District. But first, folks, how's your portfolio doing? Been an up and down, another up and down week in the Biden stock market. What if you could earn up to a 10.25% fixed rate of return instead of taking all that risk up to 10.25% fixed? It's a fantastic opportunity from our friends at Y refy. Check them out, invest, yrefy.com or give them a call at 888 y refy 24 and tell them Chuck and Sam sent you. All right, Congressman, before we went to break, we were talking a little bit about the issues with fentanyl, the border. And you mentioned that something I think a lot of people are becoming aware of is that the precursor chemicals for the fentanyl that we're seeing coming into the country for the meth, that is vastly more powerful than it was just a few years ago. That is coming into this country with the the tranq and other new designer drugs, the precursor chemicals are all coming to Mexico where they're turned into drugs. They're coming from China. What can we do to try to stop that pipeline?

Congressman Russell Fry: Well, I think I think you've got to have a realistic one. I think that there are and we we saw this a little bit with with the Trump administration in the early stages. But you've got to stop that flow. You've got to be able to sanction those companies, stop the flow, take, you know, and look, China needs to be a willing participant here, too. And that's the frustration that I have right now, is that there was a there was an op ed the other day talking about fentanyl from a Biden administration official, but they never mentioned China. Well, they have a big role here. These chemicals are manufactured over there and they're shipped across to the cartels who put it all together and make fentanyl. And so they've got to be a willing participant. But you've got to have an administration that actually wakes up and says, we know this is coming from our southern border. We know the chemicals are coming from China. And up to this point, they're not really talking about that. And I think that's the big that's the biggest frustration.

Sam Stone: You're asking Joe Biden to wake up. There's no evidence that's possible.

Chuck Warren: I mean, look, if you're China and you want to hurt your competitor, I won't say we're there. Amy, let's say were their number one competitor. What do you do? You flood their country with things that will cause devastation, Right? It's an unseen war that.

Sam Stone: Fentanyl, meth.

Chuck Warren: Tiktok, it's not the same as firing a missile, but it has the same effect. All due respect.

Congressman Russell Fry: Well, in a lot of these companies, too, I mean, they have multiple locations in different spots, right? I mean, they're just they're usually not just isolated in China. You know, these are big companies. And so they need to have some skin in the game. You need to be able to you need to be able to leverage influence there, maybe even tariff or sanction them. But at the end of the day, the flow, you know, China has a spot there. And you know what? Maybe there's there is a nefarious purpose behind this. I believe you're probably right about that. But there are ways to address it. And if they won't, then we need to there are other ways that we can force them to the table. And we need to we need to take a look at that. 300 Americans die every single day from this drug. I mean, it's just astronomical. And, you know, we've used the term poisoning because that's really what it is. It's not an overdose as much as it is fentanyl poisoning in our country. So pulling them to the table, even if they don't want to come, I think has got to be a priority of this administration.

Chuck Warren: With Congressman Russell Fry of South Carolina's seventh District, you can join and help us campaign at Russell Fry SC.com or visit him on Twitter. Russell Fry, SC. First, I have two questions. First, is it true you're the eighth grade ping pong champion?

Congressman Russell Fry: Oh, yeah. I still got the trophy. It wasn't it wasn't a participation trophy either. It was a real trophy.

Chuck Warren: And and and the person you you, you beat, is that person still bitter about that or has he given up? Given up?

Congressman Russell Fry: They probably given up. I don't know. Maybe they're bitter. I haven't talked to that person in a while.

Chuck Warren: But, you know, I think I think we need a social media post with that trophy.

Sam Stone: We'll be coming We'll be coming back with with more from from Congressman Gump here shortly.

Chuck Warren: Exactly. All right. We have Hunter Biden and, you know, the press, which is gives the ultimate cover to the Biden administration. First of the laptop two years later, they admit it. Now we have all these alias names, 5000 emails and archives. Tell our audience what on earth is going on. I saw a tweet this morning. I just replied, The easiest way for Biden to solve this just release all the emails if there's nothing there. Right? I mean, just transparency. So tell people a little bit about it and what House Republicans can do to flesh this out more since the press is going to do everything they can to protect President Biden and Hunter.

Congressman Russell Fry: Well, they're finally starting to pay attention. And I think that's maybe begrudgingly, maybe they don't want to pay attention, but they're finally starting to take notice of what's going on. But the new the new revelation, you know, look, Hunter Biden or Joe Biden had aliases that they used and that's what the Oversight Committee had subpoenaed. They used aliases, you know, Robin Wear and Robert Peters and, you know, different names that they would use. And so we subpoenaed anything that had to deal with those names or those email addresses. And again, it just shows a pattern of conduct with this family. You look at the text messages, you look at the emails, you look at the use of the term the big guy. You look at the 1023 that was released, you look at the the bank transactions and the money that flows from, at this point, four companies ultimately layered through kind of a series of money laundering actions and funneled into 20 LLCs that are all connected to multiple members of the Biden family. So this this again, just shows a course of conduct.

Chuck Warren: And what people, family and what people don't understand is I own several companies, so I have various LLCs for various things. Correct. It takes a lot of work to manage 20 LLCs. You get filings, you get taxes. I mean, so this wasn't done just. To be. I mean, it was done more to be clever and hide something. They don't seem done.

Sam Stone: Admittedly, they don't seem to have paid a lot of attention to the taxes part.

Chuck Warren: No, but would you agree with that? I mean, doing 20 LLCs. I mean, it takes a lot of work.

Congressman Russell Fry: Oh, it's a headache. And most of these LLCs were actually formed while Joe was vice president. That's that's kind of alarming. But to see and I think there was a quote in the 1023. You all have seen it. Your listeners have seen it as well. But it was toward the bottom. And the guy says it will take investigators ten years to figure out what's going on. And that's kind of proven true. I mean, we're on year I think, eight at this point, but it's taken that long because no one, DOJ and others didn't want to actually investigate this. But to when you're dealing with financial stuff, it's just so nebulous and it's hard to follow and it's hard to track and it's hard to keep people's attention. But there is enough smoke here that people realize what's going on. And I think that's why the work that we've done so far has been incredibly important on this and also why I think that this is headed toward an impeachment inquiry. It doesn't mean impeachment. You still have to do your homework and make sure you do your job. But at this point, there's just enough there. There's way more than enough to launch that process.

Chuck Warren: We have about 30s left with you. Tell our audience, tell your constituents why you have faith in America's future.

Congressman Russell Fry: Because I have faith in the American people and their resolve and their ability to take large amounts of information, synthesize them and make an opinion. We're seeing people wake up in a powerful way right now. And and it's not just Republicans. It's really everybody realizing what's going on. The people control this country. They always have. And they see what's going on is is, you know, shameful. But they're ready for for a better tomorrow.

Sam Stone: Fantastic. Thank you so much, Congressman. We very much appreciate your time today. Folks, you can follow him. Chuck, what was that?

Chuck Warren: You can follow him on Twitter, Russell Fry, SC, or you can also visit his website. Russell Frysc.com contribute, volunteer, get involved. He's doing the great work and help him out. Congressman, thank you.

Congressman Russell Fry: Thank you all.

Chuck Warren: Have a great weekend.

Sam Stone: Folks, more from breaking battlegrounds. We're back in just a moment. Welcome back to Breaking Battlegrounds with the host Chuck Warren and Sam Stone. Big thank you to our first guest up today, Congressman Russell Fry. Fantastic discussion with him. And now we're talking to someone. Frankly, Chuck, I think this is going to be one of the most important congressional races for for Republicans in the country in this coming year. It's going to be close. Well, if you.

Chuck Warren: Like honesty in public elections. Yes.

Sam Stone: Yeah, Well, some of us still do. Some some of us believe in truth telling, even even on the air here where almost everyone else wants to lie to you. But, folks, we're not doing that. And that's why we have today Kellen Curry, congressional candidate running against Jorge Santos for New York's third Congressional District. He is a graduate of the United States Air Force Academy, one of those places where they don't take liars lightly and spent eight years on active duty delivering critical cybersecurity technology for our country's military. After completing two tours in Afghanistan, Kaelin went on to work at J.P. Morgan's corporate and investment banking division in New York City. Kaelin Curry, welcome to the program.

Kellen Curry: Hey, how are you? Thanks so much for having me. I'm excited to be talking with you guys this afternoon.

Chuck Warren: So tell us, what did the Air Force do to prepare you to run for Congress and to serve in Congress eventually?

Kellen Curry: Absolutely. I think, you know, every every part of my experience in the Air Force was extremely positive. You know, the culture of serving the country, which, you know, is a culture that I come from my my you know, I'm a third generation veteran. My parents were public servants. Dad was a retired naval officer. Mom is a is a continues to be a decades long federal civil servant. And so just grew up watching them and and they both worked at Tinker Air Force Base right outside of Oklahoma City. And just, you know, I always wanted to have my own story of service. And so I think it was always in my future and going to the Air Force Academy and serving in the Air Force as an officer, you know, just the lessons of leadership, the lessons of of of being in a team and a group where you don't know who's who's a Republican or who's a Democrat, you just your mission focused. And that's the kind of perspective I bring to politics.

Sam Stone: Kellen Considering especially mission focus, one of the things I like about your background, your resume, is the experience in cybersecurity. There are a few people in Congress, in the Senate who are starting to become more aware of that issue. But it's not an area where there's a lot of elected expertise. You talk about mission focus. How much do you think you'll be able to make that your mission to help educate your colleagues about the various issues related to cybersecurity on both sides of the aisle?

Kellen Curry: Absolutely. I think the country has been going through and really all of society has really been going through a learning curve when it comes to cybersecurity. And it's really just a matter of how do we defend and safeguard the information that's that's on that's on our networks. And we're so we're such a networked people in in society today. And so, you know, the first and foremost is just, you know, your hygiene on the Internet. You know, when you use the same password for every website. I know some of us are guilty of that. I know I am sometimes, too. It seems like I'm.

Sam Stone: Looking across at Chuck right now and laughing. Yeah.

Kellen Curry: Yeah, yeah. I think, you know, we live in a in a culture in a society where you got to have a password and login for like everything you touch. And so, you know, that's the first and foremost. And then the other thing is that I think from a national security standpoint is that we just have to invest, we have to invest, and we have to nurture innovation. One of the best things about America is our is our innovative economy, and that flows into our national security. I mean, to the extent that we can nurture that, that innovation in the private sector and then leverage it to use in military applications is what my time in the Air Force was all about. And so, you know, like you said, being able to educate, you know, our lawmakers on how to procure those those technologies, how to make sure that we don't pass regulation, that that stifles that technology is really the biggest thing.

Chuck Warren: What do we do about China? I mean, you were in the military, two tours in Afghanistan. What do we do about China? What do your colleagues you worked with, what what do people actually who defend this country think we should be doing with China? Yeah.

Kellen Curry: Yeah. Well, first and foremost, we have to not overreact. China for sure is a is a near-peer competitor, as we say, in the military. And so they absolutely should be taken serious. But they have a lot of issues and challenges, social challenges on their end, you know, so so it's not like we're going up against an adversary that we cannot be successful in. I think, you know, going back to the innovative economy that I mentioned earlier, we have to make sure that we remain an innovative and capitalistic economy that can produce technologies of the future. You know, you think about you think about China, so much of what they want to you know, how they want to. Place American superpower is, is really through AI and quantum computing and biotechnology and these other things. So we have to continue to make those investments. We also have to do things. For example, the Merchant Marine Academy is located here in my district. And so when you think about how do we sustain naval power in the South China Sea, the merchant Marines are on the front lines of making sure that we're able to do that because they transport so much equipment and personnel into the South China Sea. So those are just a few things, a couple of things I would say. And then maybe the last is that we have to reinvigorate our all volunteer military force, which is at an all time low in terms of our propensity for people to serve.

Sam Stone: And I want to talk more about that. And and the merchant Marine issue you brought up Kellen Curry. We're coming right back with more from him. He's running against Jorge Santos in New York's third Congressional District, breaking battlegrounds. Back in just a moment.

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Sam Stone: Welcome back to Breaking battlegrounds with your host, Chuck Moran. I'm Sam Stone. We're going to be continuing on in just a moment with more from Kellen Curry, congressional candidate running against Jorge Santos in New York's third Congressional District. But before we do, folks, how's that portfolio of yours doing? Are you making money in this stock market, this Biden economy working out for you? It doesn't seem to be working out for most people. That's why Chuck and I recommend you check out our friends and invest. Why refy.com Go to their website. Invest y refy.com Learn how you can earn up to 10.25% fixed rate of return. That's right up to 10.25% fixed. You can turn your monthly income on or off, compound it, whatever you choose. There's no penalty to your principal if you need to withdraw your money early. This is a fantastic opportunity. So check it out. Go to investyrefy.com or give them a call at 888 yrefy 24 and tell them Chuck and Sam sent you.

Chuck Warren: Well, we're with Kellen Curry here. He is running for Congress in New York, three against Jorge Santos. And you can learn more about him at Kellen Currycomb. Sam wants to follow up with some questions on the Merchant Marines.

Sam Stone: Go ahead, Sam. Yeah, so that's actually Kellen, thank you for bringing that up because that's actually something that hasn't come up here before. I know a little bit about it from a friend who went through the Merchant Marine Academy. But one of the big underlying issues to national security that I don't think most people understand is our ability to transport goods and troops in wartime crisis. And to do that, you need US flagged carriers and we don't have many of them. And that's a huge issue. And we don't have enough merchant marine sailors. And that's another huge issue.

Kellen Curry: Absolutely. I mean, if you if you think about it, over 90% of the ships that come in and out of American ports are, you know, our foreign crews. And so you could expect that in a conflict that China, they will do all they can to put pressure on those foreign crews and on those host governments not to make good on deliveries to our ports. And we saw what can happen with this during the pandemic. You know, when store shelves went bare and, you know, the American economy was crippled, supply chains became dislocated. So we have to be able to continue our economy even if we do get into, you know, a a hot war, if you will, in the South China Sea with with China. But, you know, to your other point, the vast majority of the military's equipment and personnel actually moves on sea. And so we have to have that capability. It has to be something that's real and that's a deterrent effect and that China understands that we can sustain ourselves in a in a naval, you know, in a naval conflict or just a naval operation in in the in that region, particularly in the South China Sea. And so, so much of this capacity over the last, you know, three or 4 or 5 decades has really left our country. And it's it's been outsourced. And so we have to work and think about how we bring more of that capability back to America. You know, we've seen industrial policy in the microchip space, and we're going to have to do a industrial policy to bring the merchant marine presence back to our country, increase the number of sealift officers, the number of merchant Marine officers, which the Merchant Marine Academy produces. And this is you know, this is one of the crown jewels of our district. It's one of the crown jewels of the nation. We need a strong federal partner for that academy. And I look forward to being that in Congress.

Sam Stone: You know, one of the things I think that's underreported also, we had a different congressman on our program. Hopefully you'll be joining him in office fairly soon. But one of the things he pointed out was China's aggressive efforts via both partnership and intimidation to essentially deny that chain of Pacific islands that the US used in World War Two to eventually get to Japan. But China realizes that that chain is is our ladder in a Pacific war with them, and they're really doing a lot to take it away. You talk about that ability to deliver equipment that becomes doubly critical in this situation where we can't count on our ability to fly troops and resources into those islands.

Kellen Curry: Absolutely. Absolutely. And so much of so much of how we posture to be successful against China is really going to depend on our allies in that region to make sure that we have basing options, that we have places where we can stage and host our troops and our and our equipment in a way that that China can't can't penetrate. And so it's positive that we recently had a trilateral at Camp David with some of the nations there, mainly Japan and South Korea and America. Of course, Japan and South Korea have been, you know, at odds for quite some time. And so our ability to bring those nations together is extremely important. The administration just you know, we did a big bill out of the House that eventually passed the Senate and was signed into law to. To deliver more aid to Taiwan in a way that we haven't done in the past. And so I think the administration just released about two. 2 billion or so to make sure we operationalize that that that that legislation. So that's that's a good thing. I mean, one thing about America that's unrivaled is our alliances around the world. I mean, it's a tremendous source of soft power, the ability of an American president to pick up the phone and call somebody anywhere in the world. And, you know, eight, nine times out of ten get a favorable response is is really, really important. It's going to be important against against the fight against China. So it's good that we have an administration that recognizes that. And that's one area that I do support this administration on.

Sam Stone: See, Chuck, I love it when we get congressional candidates and people running for office for the first time who can talk about this whole variety wide range of geopolitical issues, because that kind of knowledge. Kalen Curry that you're just displaying is is rare for people who are entering Congress. And folks, you need to check him out and follow him at Kellen Kellen underscore Curry on Twitter. You can go to his website. Kellen Curry.com Definitely go and check him out there and support this man because we need to bring we need to retain control of Congress. We need smart people there who can talk about issues like we've been talking about. And also we need to restore some integrity to this specific seat, because, quite frankly, Jorge Santos is an embarrassment to every Republican in this country.

Chuck Warren: He's a bad Saturday Night Live Saturday Night Live skit. Kellen, let me ask you this question. There's two reasons. There's a couple reasons why you said you were running for office besides obviously your service in the Air Force and your tours in Afghanistan. One was running against Jorge Santos because he's ineffective. But number two, you've cited Joe Biden's withdrawal from Afghanistan and you called it a disastrous withdrawal. Talk about it a little bit, what that meant to you and the people you served with over there.

Kellen Curry: Oh, yeah. Yeah, it was it was heart wrenching, you know, I mean, I spent two tours there. I worked, you know, actually I worked on an old Russian base we were embedded with with our Afghan allies working shoulder to shoulder. It was a very interesting unit. I was I was attached with, you know, we had actually bought about 30 helicopters from the Russians, actually when relations were good in the early 2000. And we were trying to outfit these with new armaments for what was essentially the Afghans, like 82nd Airborne helicopter unit. And so we were doing that work. My job was to do all we could to keep these things in the air and provide all the procurement necessary to do that and to teach the Afghans how to do that as well. And so, you know, you go through things like that. You travel the country doing that work, and then you turn on and you come home and you turn on CNN and you see, you know, people clinging from planes and just the chaos and certainly the 13 Marines that we lost. And there was just there was a better way to exit that country that did not leave, you know, America diminished on the global stage.

Kellen Curry: And I think watching that, certainly every veteran that spent time there watching that and then, of course, you know, by going to the Air Force Academy, I had friends that went there that unfortunately did not come back home. And, you know, you internalize all that and and it moves you, you know, emotionally. And then you look over and you see we have somebody here in Congress who's just wholly unfit. And the fact is that our veterans and the American people writ large, they deserve the best leadership that our country can provide so that we can avoid those situations, but also so we can have trust that the agenda that our elected representatives are pursuing is, is the agenda of the people and not their own personal agenda. And so, you know, all of those things, I think moved me to to think about how I could serve again. And and this was something that that that came up. And I did a lot of the research and asked a lot of the questions and eventually got to the point where I decided to go for it. And here I am.

Chuck Warren: Well, we certainly need more leaders like you in Congress and you've had some great life experiences. So, for example, you ran the 60m at the Air Force Academy. What did track and field teach you about leadership?

Kellen Curry: Yeah, you know, I've always been active in sports. And I think, you know, for me as an athlete, you know, you've got mom and dad there to, you know, to make you into the person that that you that you eventually become. But but something happens in that relationship with coaches and with athletes that's just special. And it enriches the life of a young person. You know, Track did that for me. High school football did that for me. I still stay in touch with coaches from high school. Wait, what.

Sam Stone: Position did you play? We got to we got to get the important stuff in here.

Kellen Curry: Yeah, I was a I was a defensive back. I didn't have any hands, so I couldn't catch anything. So they put me on that side of the ball. But. But yeah, man, I enjoyed sports of all kind and just the relationship building. Being in the team building and in the lessons that you learn from those experiences, they just make you a well rounded person and and enjoy traveling the country and running track at the Air Force Academy. It was a real highlight for me.

Sam Stone: All right. So so now we know you were a DB. So the important question becomes, are you a Deion Sanders DB or are you covering everybody, locking them up or are you Troy Polamalu? You're coming in there to knock their head off?

Kellen Curry: I'm covering them up, man.

Chuck Warren: Yeah, Yeah. You're a blanket.

Kellen Curry: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I was only like £160 soaking wet, so there wasn't a whole lot of hitting I could do, but. But I could run and I could run and chase and cover folks. And so, so really enjoyed the ups and downs of what you learn in that sport and just in sports in general. So really enjoyed competing.

Chuck Warren: You worked in investment banking after the Air Force One issue you're going to have to deal with when you're elected is our deficit in national debt are it's just not a path we can continue. What do you propose we do on it? How do we pay down our debt? How do we get our finances in order?

Kellen Curry: Yeah, I think the first thing we have to do is we have to be honest with the American people about where we are. I mean, the fact is we're not going to cut our way out of this hole. We're not going to, you know, grow our way out of the hole in terms of, you know, achieving, you know, astronomical GDP growth rates year over year. I think in order to bend the curve on the debt, we're going to have to get away from annual deficit spending at some point. And and listen, we are transitioning right now from a low interest rate environment to a high interest rate environment. So the interest on the debt is going to become more material than what we've seen in the past, and it's going to create more pain. So, you know, some of the first things that I think we're going to have to do is we're going to have to get our arms around how do we make our entitlement programs more solvent. We know that Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid, these programs are going to become insolvent here in the next ten, 15, 20 years. And so we've got to get serious about how do we restructure these things and do it in a way where Democrats aren't going to go out and say, oh, here comes the Republicans again. They're going to end these programs as you know it and all that. So so we have we need presidential leadership on this issue to move the country in this direction and get serious about it, because it will become something that that begins to crowd out what we can do in the defense space, the investments that we have to make there, and certainly the investments that we have to make on the domestic side as well. But but the entitlement programs is something that's going to be a forcing a forcing function that makes us get real about how we spend and how we allocate money. We definitely need more members of Congress who are going to hold the line on spending as we go forward here in the next several decades.

Sam Stone: Kellen, we have only about two minutes left here before we let you go. What has been the initial response from folks on the ground there in the third Congressional District in New York? You know, as they're learning about you and that you're taking on Santos in this race.

Kellen Curry: You know, it's been tremendously positive. I think a lot of a lot of what was in the trajectory of the Santos story, I think at this point here, you know, people on the ground are just kind of sick and tired of hearing about the guy.

Chuck Warren: So.

Kellen Curry: You know, they they are they are hungry for what comes next. We are the first campaign that's been out there on doorsteps and the reaction has been positive. They want to know who the candidates are, what they're talking about, what their ideas are for moving the district forward. And they're ready for the stain of of of Mr. Santos to be removed. And so I think at this point, we've all kind of learned our lesson, that we have to wake up and make sure we're paying attention in these elections, that we get out and vote and that we know who we're voting for. And so I think you're going to see a lot of people who are just excited about about doing that work as citizens and taking responsibility to make sure that they get to know the candidates. They're getting to know me. I think they like what they hear and what they see, and I think we're going to be successful here.

Sam Stone: I love that folks. Thank you so much, Kellen Curry. We really appreciate having you on the program today. Folks. You can follow him at Kellen underscore Curry on Twitter at Kellen Currycomb. Make sure you tune in to breaking battlegrounds next week when we're back on the air. But in the meantime, we always have a little extra segment for our podcast listeners. Go to all your favorite podcast places, download us subscribe, and we'll see you next week.

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Sam Stone: All right, Welcome to the podcast. Only segment of breaking battlegrounds. Folks. Thank you for tuning in as always. And special thanks to Congressman Russell Fry and Kellen Curry for their appearances today. Fantastic discussions from them. But now we're continuing on with somebody that, frankly, Chuck, I always loved talking to him more than almost any of our guests, friend of the program and repeat returning guest Henry Olsen, Washington Post columnist and senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. Henry, thank you so much, as always, for joining us.

Henry Olsen: Well, thank you, as always for having me back.

Chuck Warren: Henry, Tell us about your new podcast, by the way. Let's get a plug for it. Tell us about it. Sure.

Henry Olsen: My new podcast is called Beyond the Polls, and I interview leading election analysts and poll analysts every two weeks. And we talk about all things political. We talk about the Republican race and we talk about where Biden is. And I always have somebody from one of the key swing states in my segment called State of Play, where the person who's on the ground knows the state best can give you the lowdown. So it's every two weeks you can find it on all the podcast formulas.

Chuck Warren: So since you've been doing that, tell us something that has stood out to you, talking to your guests, a little nugget that has stood out to you.

Henry Olsen: The importance of what I'm calling the double doubters, that if you go back to 2016, the reason the polls were upended is that 18% of Americans didn't like Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, and they switched in the last week from being undecided or third party voters to backing Trump over 20%. My pollsters, analysts are telling me, are double doubters with respect to Biden and Trump. And that's before the mudslinging between them really starts in earnest. That sounds to me like if we do get the rematch that the polls suggest, we're going to get the same sort of late break that may confound the experts.

Chuck Warren: So that perfect segue into your your column this week. Trump might have the lead in Iowa, but he has one big weakness. What is that weakness?

Henry Olsen: That weakness is churchgoing evangelicals, that they are the group that has swung behind one candidate and propelled them to victory in each of the last three caucuses. Actually, the last four. They gave George W Bush a narrow plurality in 2000. And I spent a week there. And the polls say he's got a lot of support among evangelicals, but the people on the ground may be willing to back him, but they're looking around. They want to see is there somebody better, somebody who supports our values, supports our issues and doesn't have the baggage? Iowa evangelicals historically break late. They wait until the last few months to make a decision. So it's not saying Trump isn't going to win, but don't be surprised if you see them switch to somebody who they think can give them 80% of the fight with 10% of the baggage.

Sam Stone: Now, is it just the baggage or are there specific policies that Trump is weak with them on? The one that popped to my mind was Covid and allowing the closure of churches. Is there something like that that's playing?

Henry Olsen: I'll tell you, I was surprised in my conversations at the lack of policy disagreements. I would have expected more of the evangelicals to note things like that, but also note his backing away from a strongly pro-life stance, saying that the whole point of overturning Roe was to negotiate without saying what he actually stands for. I did not get that from anybody. I really got a question of that. His long standing concerns about his character remain. And the question of is this guy so tied down by his character and legal problems that he can't effectively beat Joe Biden. And they're really scared of Joe Biden.

Chuck Warren: They should be. They should be. Let's do a little switch here and let's talk about the Hunter Biden stuff. Do you feel look, you're in D.C.. You're a columnist for The Washington Post. Do you feel what people call the legacy media is really starting to pay attention to this issue or are they still trying to just sweep it under the floor mat?

Henry Olsen: You know, I would say it's between and it depends on which legacy media outlet you're talking about. There's beginning to be enough there, there. Right. You know, in the sense that you just can't ignore some of the things that are now being said under oath as opposed to things that were being speculated about or which relied on, you know, on emails, copies of emails found on laptops. And so I think we're only 1 or 2 revelations away. If those revelations exist of the legacy media actually having to pay much more attention to it. I think they're no longer in the sweep under the rug. They hope that it goes away. But if it doesn't, I think there's been enough there that they actually will have to turn their attention to it.

Chuck Warren: Do you find any reasonable explanation why he would have 5000 emails under an alias?

Henry Olsen: A reasonable explanation? Yeah.

Chuck Warren: I mean, look, I mean, the easy way to handle this is just release them all. If there's nothing there, there's nothing there. Just make it transparency and embarrass the Republicans. That's an easy way to handle this, right? If there's nothing there.

Henry Olsen: Yeah, well, I never want to get into the argument that stereotypically is offered by autocratic police departments. If you have nothing to fear, you have nothing to hide.

Sam Stone: Guys, guys, I don't know this. I've got to say, this is like going when you've got this. This is like going to the ATM after 3 a.m. Nothing good is going to come from this. When you have fake email addresses and you're in office, nothing good is ever going to come from that.

Henry Olsen: Yeah.

Henry Olsen: You know, the thing is, I can imagine reasons you would want to do it like evade, you know.

Sam Stone: Like did you see Gretchen Whitmer's guy communicating with her in Greek alphabet letters?

Chuck Warren: Oh, that's cool.

Sam Stone: To avoid FOIA.

Henry Olsen: Yeah. No, I hadn't. I hadn't heard about that one. You know, just goes to show they all should have been watching Bill and Ted because I.

Chuck Warren: Think there's.

Henry Olsen: Greek alphabets when Bill interviewed Socrates. But.

Henry Olsen: You know.

Henry Olsen: I can imagine good reasons for 5000 emails under multiple aliases, depending who he's communicating with. But again, the thing is, at some point, we're going to find out at least some of them. And if they aren't benign, you know, like personal stuff, that you just don't want to have somebody you know, somebody who's you're concerned about hacking and they'll looking for the words Joe Biden. I could imagine that if you were a foreign government and you might want to have malware placed on Joe Biden's personal friends and anything that says Joe Biden gets sent to Beijing. Yeah, I can imagine that as a vice president and wanting to avoid things like that. But again, we'll see whether eventually some of these will be produced. May not be 5000, may be 200, maybe 500. And we'll see what they say.

Chuck Warren: Interesting. If we wrap up here, anything you think we should be looking for here in news the next month or two? Something that's going to pop up that you feel we should keep our eyes on?

Henry Olsen: You know, I think there's the usual, you know, who knows what's going to happen in the counteroffensive in Ukraine? Who knows what's going to happen with the Chinese economy. I would say, though, that, you know, the second debate is going to take place at the end of the month, September 27th, out at the Reagan Library. And it's going to be make or break time for some of these people. You know that the one in Milwaukee was really kind of first impression, kind of like speed dating. The second one is going to find out whether anybody wants to return the phone call. And so I think you're going to see a little bit more fire, a little bit more opposition. And it could be that somebody breaks out or somebody crashes to the earth.

Sam Stone: I would like to see a couple more people drop out before then. I would narrow it to 4 or 5 maybe.

Chuck Warren: I think what's really impressive is the cultural references Henry's used today speed dating and Bill and Ted. That's the most amazing thing of this aspect today. One last question. One last question, Henry. I think Republicans have a really good chance of taking the Senate. What are your thoughts?

Henry Olsen: Absolutely. I think they should be the favorites. Even if Biden wins re-election. That has to do with the math. Yes. You know, so poll came out today or yesterday from a respected pollster showed Jon Tester only getting 43% against either of his opponents, Sherrod Brown. There's been polls show that Brown's in a neck and neck race. But the important thing is where is the longtime incumbent? And he's sitting at 45%, which is roughly around where a Democrat should get flip those two seats. The Republicans control the Senate. And then you've got all the other seats. This is a map that heavily favors Republicans. Joe Manchin haven't even mentioned him. You know, these are three states that Trump carried by between 6 and 30 something points. It's just hard to see where Republicans don't get those 2 or 3 seats. And then it's very hard to see how they would lose other seats that they hold given what are up to throw control back to the Democrats?

Chuck Warren: Well, being a Republican, I have complete faith my party can blow it one way or another. So amen.

Sam Stone: Amen. Our skills are legendary.

Chuck Warren: Henry Olsen, thanks a million for visiting with us today.

Henry Olsen: Thanks for having me on.

Chuck Warren: Folks. This is breaking battlegrounds. We hope you've enjoyed this week's show and we'll be back next week. And if you can visit us at Breaking Battlegrounds or anywhere you find your podcasts. Have a great weekend.

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In this episode, we've lined up a trio of compelling guests to keep you informed. First, Congressman Russell Fry, representing South Carolina's 7th District, joins us to discuss critical topics, including the border crisis, Hurricane Idalia's impact on his district, and his bipartisan bill, the Fentanyl Crisis Research and Evaluation Act. Plus, we'll explore the latest developments in the Biden family investigations.

Then, we'll shift our focus to New York's 3rd Congressional District with congressional candidate Kellen Curry where he discusses his bid to unseat incumbent George Santos.

Lastly, friend of the show, Henry Olsen, a Washington Post columnist and senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, will provide insights into the ever-evolving political landscape, including his recent analysis of Trump.

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Congressman Russell Fry is proud to serve the Grand Strand and Pee Dee as their Representative for South Carolina’s Seventh Congressional District.Russell is a true believer in the American Dream. Growing up he watched his parents work hard for every penny they earned, and since then Russell has been doing the same. He put himself through his undergraduate education at the University of South Carolina and law school at the Charleston School of Law, where he served as president of the Student Bar Association, helped the school achieve its American Bar Association accreditation, and also received the prestigious Civility Award. After this, he practiced law along the Grand Strand for over a decade.As an Eagle Scout, Russell shares the sentiment that “you should leave your campsite better than you found it.” Every day he strives towards a goal that “we should leave our country better than we found it.” Growing up, he saw first-hand how government’s actions directly affect families living paycheck to paycheck, and he is committed to fighting for those who don’t always have a voice.Russell is a public servant and active member of his community. Prior to this role, he represented State House District 106 (Horry County) in South Carolina’s General Assembly for seven years. He served as Chief Majority Whip, where he fought for lower taxes, less government, pro-Second Amendment legislation, and pro-life legislation. Russell also chaired the House Opioid Abuse Prevention Study Committee, which resulted in 18 policy initiatives being signed into law and record funding for opioid prevention, education, and treatment.Russell is a loving husband to his wife, Bronwen, and dedicated father to their son, James. The family lives in Murrells Inlet with their chocolate lab, Jasper.

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Kellen Curry

As a graduate of the United States Air Force Academy Kellen spent eight years on active duty delivering critical cyber security technology for our country’s military and completed two tours of duty in Afghanistan. After completing his Master of Business Administration degree at George Washington University, Kellen went on to work at J.P. Morgan’s Corporate and Investment Banking Division in New York City. Kellen believes his extensive experience working in national security and in our national economy will serve him well in his bid for Congress. Kellen continues to serve our nation in the Air Force Reserves and is a student at Columbia University pursuing a Master of Science in Sports Management where he also volunteers with Positive Coaching Alliance, a non-profit organization which strives to create a positive youth sports environment in communities across the country.In his campaign, Kellen will be focusing on core issues including national defense in the face of rising global threats, economic insecurity due to persistently high inflation, increasing affordability on Long Island and raising the accountability bar in D.C. through ethics reforms.He will also be working to achieve what he calls ‘the gold standard of constituency services’ which has been absent but is critical to improving the lives of NY-3 residents.

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Henry Olsen is a Washington Post columnist and senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. He was the Thomas W. Smith distinguished scholar in residence at Arizona State University for the winter/spring 2023 semester. Olsen began his career as a political consultant at the California firm of Hoffenblum-Mollrich. After three years working for the California Assembly Republican Caucus, he returned to school to become a lawyer. Following law school he clerked for the Honorable Danny J. Boggs on the United States Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals and as an associate in the Philadelphia office of Dechert, Price & Rhoads. He then joined the think tank world where he spent the next eighteen years as an executive at a variety of institutions, serving as the President of the Commonwealth Foundation, a Vice President at the Manhattan Institute, and as Vice President and Director, National Research Initiative, at the American Enterprise Institute. He left AEI in 2013 to pursue a career in political analysis and writing at EPPC. During that time his work has appeared in variety of leading publications in America and the United Kingdom. He is the author or co-author of two books, “The Working Class Republican: Ronald Reagan and the Return of Blue-Collar Conservatism” and (with Dante J. Scala) “The Four Faces of the Republican Party”. His biennial election predictions have been widely praised for the uncanny accuracy, and he is a frequent guest on television and radio programs. Olsen regularly speaks about American political trends and global populism in the United State, Europe, and Australia.

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TRANSCRIPTION

Sam Stone: Welcome to another episode of Breaking Battlegrounds with your host, Chuck Warren. I'm Sam Stone. Our first guest up today, Congressman Russell Fry, represents South Carolina's seventh District. Prior to going to the US Congress, he represented the state House in South Carolina's General Assembly for seven years, served as chief majority whip. And Chuck, we always love Congress members and senators who have served in their local, state house or local government because you just get a perspective that Washington does not offer. So we're very excited to talk with him. He is a fighter for lower taxes, less government, pro-Second Amendment legislation and pro-life legislation. Chuck, if you're pro-life today, you've got to be fighting this fentanyl epidemic, this crisis that is tearing the country apart.

Chuck Warren: 100%. Congressman, you have introduced a bipartisan bill called the Fentanyl Crisis Research and Evaluation Act to learn more about how the fentanyl crisis is impacting America in South Carolina in 2021, you had 1494 deaths due to fentanyl. I mean, that's we can multiply that by 1020 because of the family members it affects, right? Their loved ones, things of that nature. What do we need to do to turn the tide back against this fentanyl crisis?

Congressman Russell Fry: Oh, gosh, there's just a lot. And quite honestly, I don't even know that we have enough time in this segment, but we'll try. The first thing I think is and the first thing is you've got to stop the flow that's at the border. You've got to stop that. You've got to address that. But beyond that, what you have to realize is you need access to care. You need the ability of families to get the resources and the help they need. You need to strengthen law enforcement. And what frustrates me is this is the biggest one of the biggest health care problems that we have in this country. But beyond that, Congress doesn't know a lot about the impact on the economy, on the labor market, on housing, the impact on the Treasury, I mean, all these different things. And the fact that we don't know those frustrates me. I just got there. I'm like, wait a second, y'all don't know these data points that would help dictate good policy. So you got to stop the flow. But beyond that, you need to give lanes for recovery so that people can get back on their feet and get back to work, get back to being normal people. And fentanyl just I mean, we see it every day. 70% of the overdoses in this state are associated with fentanyl alone. And it's similar like that across the country. It's just sad to see.

Chuck Warren: Well, what's so frustrating about this fentanyl crisis is a there is a role for government closing the border, finding out what these data points are, the things you're trying to investigate.

Sam Stone: And pushing people into treatment.

Chuck Warren: Pushing people in treatment. But what's also frustrating for me is just don't take drugs. I mean, you know, I mean, it's that's what's hard about it. Right? And so there's you know, the government has a role in this. And I don't want to pretend it does not law enforcement has a role in this. But there's also a lot of personal responsibility. And I think that's something the communities and churches I mean, the old Nancy Reagan slogan, just say no, which was mocked. I don't know. Maybe we need a campaign like that again.

Congressman Russell Fry: Well, maybe. Look, and I do know that prevention for every dollar that you invest in prevention, you save, I think, $4 in health care costs and $7 in criminal justice costs. So the messaging, the PSA that people put out there, that that education component is just so big. And what's crazy look, I'm 38 years old and we all know people who partake in a little bit of marijuana or whatever. People just do that. And and in some states, it's allowed. Some states it's not. But you know what's crazy? They lived to tell the tale until recently. I mean, it's laced in everything. And that's the that's the crazy people don't go out and seek, you know, let me get some fentanyl. It's usually added into other things. And you hear about West Point cadets, you hear about students, you hear about just really everybody in all walks of life that have to deal with this. And they never live to tell the tale to get back on the recovery. So the prevention side, which you just talked about, that's critical to this.

Sam Stone: Well, and and, Congressman, this is Sam. One of the things that so I've worked a lot with the city of Phoenix. And one of the things that that we know that I don't think the public is fully aware of yet is that Narcan loses effectiveness after a person has had to use it a couple of times. So the more the more someone has overdosed. And right now, we're keeping a lot of these folks alive by having Narcan everywhere. But there are limitations on that. And that's going to result in a increased death toll over time.

Congressman Russell Fry: I'm right. Right. And you know what's frustrating to to that point, we just did this pilot program in South Carolina that I think other places can do. But say you say you overdose, you go to the hospital, you're recovered, you revive, you come around again, and you know what? You have this moment of clarity. At that point. A lot of people do, and they go, I need to get help. And so then they try to go get into a place to get help. And guess what? You got to wait two, three, four weeks to get into a place. Well, guess what? By that time, that addiction has already started to pull you back in and you're back doing the same thing you are again. What we've done in South Carolina, at least here locally, is fast track those people. So when these things happen. But that's one of those barriers to access that just when there's that clarity because everyone hits that point, when there's that clarity and you go, I need to get help, I need help, you got to wait around for 4 or 5, six weeks. If you can even get in somewhere.

Sam Stone: You have to have help available right then and there, right?

Congressman Russell Fry: So you need it. And if you don't have that peer to peer help, if you don't have, you know, medication assisted treatment or whatever, whatever options are out there, if that's not available to you, you're doing the same thing again. And you might not get a second, third and fourth chance in the future. You might overdose and pass away. And that's what we're seeing right now.

Chuck Warren: With Congressman Russell Fry. He represents South Carolina's seventh district. You can catch this interview this weekend in Florence, South Carolina, on Am 1400 and of course, nationwide on other outlets. Congressman, have you talked to local law enforcement about this issue? And what are their what's their feedback to you?

Congressman Russell Fry: Well, I have and unfortunately, in your listening area in Florence, there's a sheriff whose daughter just recently passed away from a fentanyl overdose. And so, again, it affects everybody, but they're seeing just the dramatic growth in it. Their officers are equipped with Narcan. They're seeing it. They're seeing the growth of this drug in rural communities, in urban centers, really everywhere. And it's and it's worse than it's ever been. So they feel frustrated. South Carolina did fortunately pass a law last year. I had when I was in the General Assembly, I was had brought it up. And sometimes these things take a couple of years to get done. But in this one, it just gives tools to law enforcement to be able to crack down on this, to be able to, you know, to unwind some of these some of these drug rings that are that are around. And so that's a big component to this, too. But they're feeling it and they see it every day. And they have to train their officers on how to deal with it because it's a dangerous substance that if it gets on your skin, one of their own might go down.

Sam Stone: Yeah, we've seen that across the country with police officers who have been overdosed from from very minor exposure to fentanyl during their interactions with the public. So it's a huge issue. But Congressman, one of the things and I know you've been a big fighter for a secure border, but it seems like this is not a problem we're going to be able to address unless we start getting control of the border. And the data that just come out shows that not only are we not doing anything realistically to get control of the border, the problem is worse than it's ever been. Over 90,000 people detained by Border Patrol last month, you know, beating a May 2019 record.

Chuck Warren: And that's who they.

Sam Stone: Caught and that's who they caught. The fentanyl dealers are not the ones those are the ones who are turning themselves over to Border Patrol to begin the asylum process. The people were not catching are the fentanyl traffickers, the dealers, the cartel members. Right. How do we address this unless we start really securing our border?

Congressman Russell Fry: Well, you can't. And that's been my message even before I got to Congress. And just doing dealing with opioids in the state level, you cannot begin to address the issue until you shut off the hose, until you shut off the flow. And it doesn't mean you can't start start trying and keep trying. South Carolina's always going to do that. Local governments are always going to keep trying to address it, but they're not in the position that the federal government is to deal with the flow. And when you have the administration touts the record amount of fentanyl that they've seized, that's great. But there's so much more that's coming through the border. We know that. We know the precursors, the chemicals are coming from China. We know that they're being manufactured. And just south we know that the cartels are shipping them up and they're not dummies. They will flood an area with 100 200 migrants and then two miles up the road, they'll sneak a you know, they'll sneak fentanyl across the border or, you know, human smuggling or human trafficking. They'll do that because all the resources are dealing with the 200 people that are just sitting there in this section of Yuma or wherever they might be. It's obscene.

Chuck Warren: Well, with Congressman Russell Fry, you can get him on Twitter at Russell Fry, SC. Congressman, you you're your district was just hit by the hurricane. How is everybody doing? How's everybody coping out there?

Congressman Russell Fry: I think okay. I mean, we were very fortunate. I mean, there was some tornadic activity up in the Cherry Grove section along the coast. And so you had some homes that were damaged. You have a road that that looks like it took some damage. But I would say overall, we were very fortunate. I think the storm, you know, there's never a. A great time for a storm to hit. But when it's low tide and the storm arrives, you don't have the storm surge. It was moving very quickly, so it didn't stay here long. You know, it rained five and a half, six inches, which is a lot. But it was able we were able to largely absorb it. So I think overall, we were very blessed in dealing with it. And so some some things to recover from, but not as bad as Florida and not as bad as prior storms in our area.

Sam Stone: Congressman, we have just about two minutes before we go to break. And folks, we're going to be coming back with more from congressman here in just a moment. But one of the things I kind of Chuck and I have been kind of talking about these last couple of days watching this hurricane is that I think the almost every American citizen would would give thanks to God that this did not end up being a worse situation than it was, that it was not the catastrophe that was predicted. But what is kind of disconcerting to me is that it seems like the corporate media, the left media, even some Democrat officials, there was almost a palpable sense of disappointment that these two hurricanes that we've just had, the one on the West Coast and this one neither delivered the kind of catastrophe that that they almost seem to be hoping for.

Congressman Russell Fry: No, it's it's it's wild. And they drive clicks and they spin up fear. We actually had some and I won't tell you who, but we had some news interviews that were canceled. And I just have to assume that it was it wasn't it wasn't chaotic enough for them. But regardless, I think I think you're right. And and it's sad to see people get spun up. We've been dealing with storms since forever. And in 1957, we had Hurricane Hazel that wreaked havoc. It was way before my time. But you talk to people, it was, I think, a Category 4 or 5 that hit this area directly. These storms are you know, they they are problematic. But what makes it worse is just the the doomsday scenarios from the media. People just need to be prepared. They need to listen to their, you know, their local local officials and state officials on how to deal with this. But then that's when FEMA comes in on the back end, is to help the recovery.

Sam Stone: Yeah, absolutely. Breaking is going to be back in just a moment with more from Congressman Russell Fry.

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Sam Stone: Welcome back to Breaking battlegrounds with your host, Chuck Warren. I'm Sam Stone. We're going to be continuing on in just a moment with more from Congressman Russell Fry of South Carolina's seventh District. But first, folks, how's your portfolio doing? Been an up and down, another up and down week in the Biden stock market. What if you could earn up to a 10.25% fixed rate of return instead of taking all that risk up to 10.25% fixed? It's a fantastic opportunity from our friends at Y refy. Check them out, invest, yrefy.com or give them a call at 888 y refy 24 and tell them Chuck and Sam sent you. All right, Congressman, before we went to break, we were talking a little bit about the issues with fentanyl, the border. And you mentioned that something I think a lot of people are becoming aware of is that the precursor chemicals for the fentanyl that we're seeing coming into the country for the meth, that is vastly more powerful than it was just a few years ago. That is coming into this country with the the tranq and other new designer drugs, the precursor chemicals are all coming to Mexico where they're turned into drugs. They're coming from China. What can we do to try to stop that pipeline?

Congressman Russell Fry: Well, I think I think you've got to have a realistic one. I think that there are and we we saw this a little bit with with the Trump administration in the early stages. But you've got to stop that flow. You've got to be able to sanction those companies, stop the flow, take, you know, and look, China needs to be a willing participant here, too. And that's the frustration that I have right now, is that there was a there was an op ed the other day talking about fentanyl from a Biden administration official, but they never mentioned China. Well, they have a big role here. These chemicals are manufactured over there and they're shipped across to the cartels who put it all together and make fentanyl. And so they've got to be a willing participant. But you've got to have an administration that actually wakes up and says, we know this is coming from our southern border. We know the chemicals are coming from China. And up to this point, they're not really talking about that. And I think that's the big that's the biggest frustration.

Sam Stone: You're asking Joe Biden to wake up. There's no evidence that's possible.

Chuck Warren: I mean, look, if you're China and you want to hurt your competitor, I won't say we're there. Amy, let's say were their number one competitor. What do you do? You flood their country with things that will cause devastation, Right? It's an unseen war that.

Sam Stone: Fentanyl, meth.

Chuck Warren: Tiktok, it's not the same as firing a missile, but it has the same effect. All due respect.

Congressman Russell Fry: Well, in a lot of these companies, too, I mean, they have multiple locations in different spots, right? I mean, they're just they're usually not just isolated in China. You know, these are big companies. And so they need to have some skin in the game. You need to be able to you need to be able to leverage influence there, maybe even tariff or sanction them. But at the end of the day, the flow, you know, China has a spot there. And you know what? Maybe there's there is a nefarious purpose behind this. I believe you're probably right about that. But there are ways to address it. And if they won't, then we need to there are other ways that we can force them to the table. And we need to we need to take a look at that. 300 Americans die every single day from this drug. I mean, it's just astronomical. And, you know, we've used the term poisoning because that's really what it is. It's not an overdose as much as it is fentanyl poisoning in our country. So pulling them to the table, even if they don't want to come, I think has got to be a priority of this administration.

Chuck Warren: With Congressman Russell Fry of South Carolina's seventh District, you can join and help us campaign at Russell Fry SC.com or visit him on Twitter. Russell Fry, SC. First, I have two questions. First, is it true you're the eighth grade ping pong champion?

Congressman Russell Fry: Oh, yeah. I still got the trophy. It wasn't it wasn't a participation trophy either. It was a real trophy.

Chuck Warren: And and and the person you you, you beat, is that person still bitter about that or has he given up? Given up?

Congressman Russell Fry: They probably given up. I don't know. Maybe they're bitter. I haven't talked to that person in a while.

Chuck Warren: But, you know, I think I think we need a social media post with that trophy.

Sam Stone: We'll be coming We'll be coming back with with more from from Congressman Gump here shortly.

Chuck Warren: Exactly. All right. We have Hunter Biden and, you know, the press, which is gives the ultimate cover to the Biden administration. First of the laptop two years later, they admit it. Now we have all these alias names, 5000 emails and archives. Tell our audience what on earth is going on. I saw a tweet this morning. I just replied, The easiest way for Biden to solve this just release all the emails if there's nothing there. Right? I mean, just transparency. So tell people a little bit about it and what House Republicans can do to flesh this out more since the press is going to do everything they can to protect President Biden and Hunter.

Congressman Russell Fry: Well, they're finally starting to pay attention. And I think that's maybe begrudgingly, maybe they don't want to pay attention, but they're finally starting to take notice of what's going on. But the new the new revelation, you know, look, Hunter Biden or Joe Biden had aliases that they used and that's what the Oversight Committee had subpoenaed. They used aliases, you know, Robin Wear and Robert Peters and, you know, different names that they would use. And so we subpoenaed anything that had to deal with those names or those email addresses. And again, it just shows a pattern of conduct with this family. You look at the text messages, you look at the emails, you look at the use of the term the big guy. You look at the 1023 that was released, you look at the the bank transactions and the money that flows from, at this point, four companies ultimately layered through kind of a series of money laundering actions and funneled into 20 LLCs that are all connected to multiple members of the Biden family. So this this again, just shows a course of conduct.

Chuck Warren: And what people, family and what people don't understand is I own several companies, so I have various LLCs for various things. Correct. It takes a lot of work to manage 20 LLCs. You get filings, you get taxes. I mean, so this wasn't done just. To be. I mean, it was done more to be clever and hide something. They don't seem done.

Sam Stone: Admittedly, they don't seem to have paid a lot of attention to the taxes part.

Chuck Warren: No, but would you agree with that? I mean, doing 20 LLCs. I mean, it takes a lot of work.

Congressman Russell Fry: Oh, it's a headache. And most of these LLCs were actually formed while Joe was vice president. That's that's kind of alarming. But to see and I think there was a quote in the 1023. You all have seen it. Your listeners have seen it as well. But it was toward the bottom. And the guy says it will take investigators ten years to figure out what's going on. And that's kind of proven true. I mean, we're on year I think, eight at this point, but it's taken that long because no one, DOJ and others didn't want to actually investigate this. But to when you're dealing with financial stuff, it's just so nebulous and it's hard to follow and it's hard to track and it's hard to keep people's attention. But there is enough smoke here that people realize what's going on. And I think that's why the work that we've done so far has been incredibly important on this and also why I think that this is headed toward an impeachment inquiry. It doesn't mean impeachment. You still have to do your homework and make sure you do your job. But at this point, there's just enough there. There's way more than enough to launch that process.

Chuck Warren: We have about 30s left with you. Tell our audience, tell your constituents why you have faith in America's future.

Congressman Russell Fry: Because I have faith in the American people and their resolve and their ability to take large amounts of information, synthesize them and make an opinion. We're seeing people wake up in a powerful way right now. And and it's not just Republicans. It's really everybody realizing what's going on. The people control this country. They always have. And they see what's going on is is, you know, shameful. But they're ready for for a better tomorrow.

Sam Stone: Fantastic. Thank you so much, Congressman. We very much appreciate your time today. Folks, you can follow him. Chuck, what was that?

Chuck Warren: You can follow him on Twitter, Russell Fry, SC, or you can also visit his website. Russell Frysc.com contribute, volunteer, get involved. He's doing the great work and help him out. Congressman, thank you.

Congressman Russell Fry: Thank you all.

Chuck Warren: Have a great weekend.

Sam Stone: Folks, more from breaking battlegrounds. We're back in just a moment. Welcome back to Breaking Battlegrounds with the host Chuck Warren and Sam Stone. Big thank you to our first guest up today, Congressman Russell Fry. Fantastic discussion with him. And now we're talking to someone. Frankly, Chuck, I think this is going to be one of the most important congressional races for for Republicans in the country in this coming year. It's going to be close. Well, if you.

Chuck Warren: Like honesty in public elections. Yes.

Sam Stone: Yeah, Well, some of us still do. Some some of us believe in truth telling, even even on the air here where almost everyone else wants to lie to you. But, folks, we're not doing that. And that's why we have today Kellen Curry, congressional candidate running against Jorge Santos for New York's third Congressional District. He is a graduate of the United States Air Force Academy, one of those places where they don't take liars lightly and spent eight years on active duty delivering critical cybersecurity technology for our country's military. After completing two tours in Afghanistan, Kaelin went on to work at J.P. Morgan's corporate and investment banking division in New York City. Kaelin Curry, welcome to the program.

Kellen Curry: Hey, how are you? Thanks so much for having me. I'm excited to be talking with you guys this afternoon.

Chuck Warren: So tell us, what did the Air Force do to prepare you to run for Congress and to serve in Congress eventually?

Kellen Curry: Absolutely. I think, you know, every every part of my experience in the Air Force was extremely positive. You know, the culture of serving the country, which, you know, is a culture that I come from my my you know, I'm a third generation veteran. My parents were public servants. Dad was a retired naval officer. Mom is a is a continues to be a decades long federal civil servant. And so just grew up watching them and and they both worked at Tinker Air Force Base right outside of Oklahoma City. And just, you know, I always wanted to have my own story of service. And so I think it was always in my future and going to the Air Force Academy and serving in the Air Force as an officer, you know, just the lessons of leadership, the lessons of of of being in a team and a group where you don't know who's who's a Republican or who's a Democrat, you just your mission focused. And that's the kind of perspective I bring to politics.

Sam Stone: Kellen Considering especially mission focus, one of the things I like about your background, your resume, is the experience in cybersecurity. There are a few people in Congress, in the Senate who are starting to become more aware of that issue. But it's not an area where there's a lot of elected expertise. You talk about mission focus. How much do you think you'll be able to make that your mission to help educate your colleagues about the various issues related to cybersecurity on both sides of the aisle?

Kellen Curry: Absolutely. I think the country has been going through and really all of society has really been going through a learning curve when it comes to cybersecurity. And it's really just a matter of how do we defend and safeguard the information that's that's on that's on our networks. And we're so we're such a networked people in in society today. And so, you know, the first and foremost is just, you know, your hygiene on the Internet. You know, when you use the same password for every website. I know some of us are guilty of that. I know I am sometimes, too. It seems like I'm.

Sam Stone: Looking across at Chuck right now and laughing. Yeah.

Kellen Curry: Yeah, yeah. I think, you know, we live in a in a culture in a society where you got to have a password and login for like everything you touch. And so, you know, that's the first and foremost. And then the other thing is that I think from a national security standpoint is that we just have to invest, we have to invest, and we have to nurture innovation. One of the best things about America is our is our innovative economy, and that flows into our national security. I mean, to the extent that we can nurture that, that innovation in the private sector and then leverage it to use in military applications is what my time in the Air Force was all about. And so, you know, like you said, being able to educate, you know, our lawmakers on how to procure those those technologies, how to make sure that we don't pass regulation, that that stifles that technology is really the biggest thing.

Chuck Warren: What do we do about China? I mean, you were in the military, two tours in Afghanistan. What do we do about China? What do your colleagues you worked with, what what do people actually who defend this country think we should be doing with China? Yeah.

Kellen Curry: Yeah. Well, first and foremost, we have to not overreact. China for sure is a is a near-peer competitor, as we say, in the military. And so they absolutely should be taken serious. But they have a lot of issues and challenges, social challenges on their end, you know, so so it's not like we're going up against an adversary that we cannot be successful in. I think, you know, going back to the innovative economy that I mentioned earlier, we have to make sure that we remain an innovative and capitalistic economy that can produce technologies of the future. You know, you think about you think about China, so much of what they want to you know, how they want to. Place American superpower is, is really through AI and quantum computing and biotechnology and these other things. So we have to continue to make those investments. We also have to do things. For example, the Merchant Marine Academy is located here in my district. And so when you think about how do we sustain naval power in the South China Sea, the merchant Marines are on the front lines of making sure that we're able to do that because they transport so much equipment and personnel into the South China Sea. So those are just a few things, a couple of things I would say. And then maybe the last is that we have to reinvigorate our all volunteer military force, which is at an all time low in terms of our propensity for people to serve.

Sam Stone: And I want to talk more about that. And and the merchant Marine issue you brought up Kellen Curry. We're coming right back with more from him. He's running against Jorge Santos in New York's third Congressional District, breaking battlegrounds. Back in just a moment.

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Sam Stone: Welcome back to Breaking battlegrounds with your host, Chuck Moran. I'm Sam Stone. We're going to be continuing on in just a moment with more from Kellen Curry, congressional candidate running against Jorge Santos in New York's third Congressional District. But before we do, folks, how's that portfolio of yours doing? Are you making money in this stock market, this Biden economy working out for you? It doesn't seem to be working out for most people. That's why Chuck and I recommend you check out our friends and invest. Why refy.com Go to their website. Invest y refy.com Learn how you can earn up to 10.25% fixed rate of return. That's right up to 10.25% fixed. You can turn your monthly income on or off, compound it, whatever you choose. There's no penalty to your principal if you need to withdraw your money early. This is a fantastic opportunity. So check it out. Go to investyrefy.com or give them a call at 888 yrefy 24 and tell them Chuck and Sam sent you.

Chuck Warren: Well, we're with Kellen Curry here. He is running for Congress in New York, three against Jorge Santos. And you can learn more about him at Kellen Currycomb. Sam wants to follow up with some questions on the Merchant Marines.

Sam Stone: Go ahead, Sam. Yeah, so that's actually Kellen, thank you for bringing that up because that's actually something that hasn't come up here before. I know a little bit about it from a friend who went through the Merchant Marine Academy. But one of the big underlying issues to national security that I don't think most people understand is our ability to transport goods and troops in wartime crisis. And to do that, you need US flagged carriers and we don't have many of them. And that's a huge issue. And we don't have enough merchant marine sailors. And that's another huge issue.

Kellen Curry: Absolutely. I mean, if you if you think about it, over 90% of the ships that come in and out of American ports are, you know, our foreign crews. And so you could expect that in a conflict that China, they will do all they can to put pressure on those foreign crews and on those host governments not to make good on deliveries to our ports. And we saw what can happen with this during the pandemic. You know, when store shelves went bare and, you know, the American economy was crippled, supply chains became dislocated. So we have to be able to continue our economy even if we do get into, you know, a a hot war, if you will, in the South China Sea with with China. But, you know, to your other point, the vast majority of the military's equipment and personnel actually moves on sea. And so we have to have that capability. It has to be something that's real and that's a deterrent effect and that China understands that we can sustain ourselves in a in a naval, you know, in a naval conflict or just a naval operation in in the in that region, particularly in the South China Sea. And so, so much of this capacity over the last, you know, three or 4 or 5 decades has really left our country. And it's it's been outsourced. And so we have to work and think about how we bring more of that capability back to America. You know, we've seen industrial policy in the microchip space, and we're going to have to do a industrial policy to bring the merchant marine presence back to our country, increase the number of sealift officers, the number of merchant Marine officers, which the Merchant Marine Academy produces. And this is you know, this is one of the crown jewels of our district. It's one of the crown jewels of the nation. We need a strong federal partner for that academy. And I look forward to being that in Congress.

Sam Stone: You know, one of the things I think that's underreported also, we had a different congressman on our program. Hopefully you'll be joining him in office fairly soon. But one of the things he pointed out was China's aggressive efforts via both partnership and intimidation to essentially deny that chain of Pacific islands that the US used in World War Two to eventually get to Japan. But China realizes that that chain is is our ladder in a Pacific war with them, and they're really doing a lot to take it away. You talk about that ability to deliver equipment that becomes doubly critical in this situation where we can't count on our ability to fly troops and resources into those islands.

Kellen Curry: Absolutely. Absolutely. And so much of so much of how we posture to be successful against China is really going to depend on our allies in that region to make sure that we have basing options, that we have places where we can stage and host our troops and our and our equipment in a way that that China can't can't penetrate. And so it's positive that we recently had a trilateral at Camp David with some of the nations there, mainly Japan and South Korea and America. Of course, Japan and South Korea have been, you know, at odds for quite some time. And so our ability to bring those nations together is extremely important. The administration just you know, we did a big bill out of the House that eventually passed the Senate and was signed into law to. To deliver more aid to Taiwan in a way that we haven't done in the past. And so I think the administration just released about two. 2 billion or so to make sure we operationalize that that that that legislation. So that's that's a good thing. I mean, one thing about America that's unrivaled is our alliances around the world. I mean, it's a tremendous source of soft power, the ability of an American president to pick up the phone and call somebody anywhere in the world. And, you know, eight, nine times out of ten get a favorable response is is really, really important. It's going to be important against against the fight against China. So it's good that we have an administration that recognizes that. And that's one area that I do support this administration on.

Sam Stone: See, Chuck, I love it when we get congressional candidates and people running for office for the first time who can talk about this whole variety wide range of geopolitical issues, because that kind of knowledge. Kalen Curry that you're just displaying is is rare for people who are entering Congress. And folks, you need to check him out and follow him at Kellen Kellen underscore Curry on Twitter. You can go to his website. Kellen Curry.com Definitely go and check him out there and support this man because we need to bring we need to retain control of Congress. We need smart people there who can talk about issues like we've been talking about. And also we need to restore some integrity to this specific seat, because, quite frankly, Jorge Santos is an embarrassment to every Republican in this country.

Chuck Warren: He's a bad Saturday Night Live Saturday Night Live skit. Kellen, let me ask you this question. There's two reasons. There's a couple reasons why you said you were running for office besides obviously your service in the Air Force and your tours in Afghanistan. One was running against Jorge Santos because he's ineffective. But number two, you've cited Joe Biden's withdrawal from Afghanistan and you called it a disastrous withdrawal. Talk about it a little bit, what that meant to you and the people you served with over there.

Kellen Curry: Oh, yeah. Yeah, it was it was heart wrenching, you know, I mean, I spent two tours there. I worked, you know, actually I worked on an old Russian base we were embedded with with our Afghan allies working shoulder to shoulder. It was a very interesting unit. I was I was attached with, you know, we had actually bought about 30 helicopters from the Russians, actually when relations were good in the early 2000. And we were trying to outfit these with new armaments for what was essentially the Afghans, like 82nd Airborne helicopter unit. And so we were doing that work. My job was to do all we could to keep these things in the air and provide all the procurement necessary to do that and to teach the Afghans how to do that as well. And so, you know, you go through things like that. You travel the country doing that work, and then you turn on and you come home and you turn on CNN and you see, you know, people clinging from planes and just the chaos and certainly the 13 Marines that we lost. And there was just there was a better way to exit that country that did not leave, you know, America diminished on the global stage.

Kellen Curry: And I think watching that, certainly every veteran that spent time there watching that and then, of course, you know, by going to the Air Force Academy, I had friends that went there that unfortunately did not come back home. And, you know, you internalize all that and and it moves you, you know, emotionally. And then you look over and you see we have somebody here in Congress who's just wholly unfit. And the fact is that our veterans and the American people writ large, they deserve the best leadership that our country can provide so that we can avoid those situations, but also so we can have trust that the agenda that our elected representatives are pursuing is, is the agenda of the people and not their own personal agenda. And so, you know, all of those things, I think moved me to to think about how I could serve again. And and this was something that that that came up. And I did a lot of the research and asked a lot of the questions and eventually got to the point where I decided to go for it. And here I am.

Chuck Warren: Well, we certainly need more leaders like you in Congress and you've had some great life experiences. So, for example, you ran the 60m at the Air Force Academy. What did track and field teach you about leadership?

Kellen Curry: Yeah, you know, I've always been active in sports. And I think, you know, for me as an athlete, you know, you've got mom and dad there to, you know, to make you into the person that that you that you eventually become. But but something happens in that relationship with coaches and with athletes that's just special. And it enriches the life of a young person. You know, Track did that for me. High school football did that for me. I still stay in touch with coaches from high school. Wait, what.

Sam Stone: Position did you play? We got to we got to get the important stuff in here.

Kellen Curry: Yeah, I was a I was a defensive back. I didn't have any hands, so I couldn't catch anything. So they put me on that side of the ball. But. But yeah, man, I enjoyed sports of all kind and just the relationship building. Being in the team building and in the lessons that you learn from those experiences, they just make you a well rounded person and and enjoy traveling the country and running track at the Air Force Academy. It was a real highlight for me.

Sam Stone: All right. So so now we know you were a DB. So the important question becomes, are you a Deion Sanders DB or are you covering everybody, locking them up or are you Troy Polamalu? You're coming in there to knock their head off?

Kellen Curry: I'm covering them up, man.

Chuck Warren: Yeah, Yeah. You're a blanket.

Kellen Curry: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I was only like £160 soaking wet, so there wasn't a whole lot of hitting I could do, but. But I could run and I could run and chase and cover folks. And so, so really enjoyed the ups and downs of what you learn in that sport and just in sports in general. So really enjoyed competing.

Chuck Warren: You worked in investment banking after the Air Force One issue you're going to have to deal with when you're elected is our deficit in national debt are it's just not a path we can continue. What do you propose we do on it? How do we pay down our debt? How do we get our finances in order?

Kellen Curry: Yeah, I think the first thing we have to do is we have to be honest with the American people about where we are. I mean, the fact is we're not going to cut our way out of this hole. We're not going to, you know, grow our way out of the hole in terms of, you know, achieving, you know, astronomical GDP growth rates year over year. I think in order to bend the curve on the debt, we're going to have to get away from annual deficit spending at some point. And and listen, we are transitioning right now from a low interest rate environment to a high interest rate environment. So the interest on the debt is going to become more material than what we've seen in the past, and it's going to create more pain. So, you know, some of the first things that I think we're going to have to do is we're going to have to get our arms around how do we make our entitlement programs more solvent. We know that Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid, these programs are going to become insolvent here in the next ten, 15, 20 years. And so we've got to get serious about how do we restructure these things and do it in a way where Democrats aren't going to go out and say, oh, here comes the Republicans again. They're going to end these programs as you know it and all that. So so we have we need presidential leadership on this issue to move the country in this direction and get serious about it, because it will become something that that begins to crowd out what we can do in the defense space, the investments that we have to make there, and certainly the investments that we have to make on the domestic side as well. But but the entitlement programs is something that's going to be a forcing a forcing function that makes us get real about how we spend and how we allocate money. We definitely need more members of Congress who are going to hold the line on spending as we go forward here in the next several decades.

Sam Stone: Kellen, we have only about two minutes left here before we let you go. What has been the initial response from folks on the ground there in the third Congressional District in New York? You know, as they're learning about you and that you're taking on Santos in this race.

Kellen Curry: You know, it's been tremendously positive. I think a lot of a lot of what was in the trajectory of the Santos story, I think at this point here, you know, people on the ground are just kind of sick and tired of hearing about the guy.

Chuck Warren: So.

Kellen Curry: You know, they they are they are hungry for what comes next. We are the first campaign that's been out there on doorsteps and the reaction has been positive. They want to know who the candidates are, what they're talking about, what their ideas are for moving the district forward. And they're ready for the stain of of of Mr. Santos to be removed. And so I think at this point, we've all kind of learned our lesson, that we have to wake up and make sure we're paying attention in these elections, that we get out and vote and that we know who we're voting for. And so I think you're going to see a lot of people who are just excited about about doing that work as citizens and taking responsibility to make sure that they get to know the candidates. They're getting to know me. I think they like what they hear and what they see, and I think we're going to be successful here.

Sam Stone: I love that folks. Thank you so much, Kellen Curry. We really appreciate having you on the program today. Folks. You can follow him at Kellen underscore Curry on Twitter at Kellen Currycomb. Make sure you tune in to breaking battlegrounds next week when we're back on the air. But in the meantime, we always have a little extra segment for our podcast listeners. Go to all your favorite podcast places, download us subscribe, and we'll see you next week.

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Sam Stone: All right, Welcome to the podcast. Only segment of breaking battlegrounds. Folks. Thank you for tuning in as always. And special thanks to Congressman Russell Fry and Kellen Curry for their appearances today. Fantastic discussions from them. But now we're continuing on with somebody that, frankly, Chuck, I always loved talking to him more than almost any of our guests, friend of the program and repeat returning guest Henry Olsen, Washington Post columnist and senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. Henry, thank you so much, as always, for joining us.

Henry Olsen: Well, thank you, as always for having me back.

Chuck Warren: Henry, Tell us about your new podcast, by the way. Let's get a plug for it. Tell us about it. Sure.

Henry Olsen: My new podcast is called Beyond the Polls, and I interview leading election analysts and poll analysts every two weeks. And we talk about all things political. We talk about the Republican race and we talk about where Biden is. And I always have somebody from one of the key swing states in my segment called State of Play, where the person who's on the ground knows the state best can give you the lowdown. So it's every two weeks you can find it on all the podcast formulas.

Chuck Warren: So since you've been doing that, tell us something that has stood out to you, talking to your guests, a little nugget that has stood out to you.

Henry Olsen: The importance of what I'm calling the double doubters, that if you go back to 2016, the reason the polls were upended is that 18% of Americans didn't like Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, and they switched in the last week from being undecided or third party voters to backing Trump over 20%. My pollsters, analysts are telling me, are double doubters with respect to Biden and Trump. And that's before the mudslinging between them really starts in earnest. That sounds to me like if we do get the rematch that the polls suggest, we're going to get the same sort of late break that may confound the experts.

Chuck Warren: So that perfect segue into your your column this week. Trump might have the lead in Iowa, but he has one big weakness. What is that weakness?

Henry Olsen: That weakness is churchgoing evangelicals, that they are the group that has swung behind one candidate and propelled them to victory in each of the last three caucuses. Actually, the last four. They gave George W Bush a narrow plurality in 2000. And I spent a week there. And the polls say he's got a lot of support among evangelicals, but the people on the ground may be willing to back him, but they're looking around. They want to see is there somebody better, somebody who supports our values, supports our issues and doesn't have the baggage? Iowa evangelicals historically break late. They wait until the last few months to make a decision. So it's not saying Trump isn't going to win, but don't be surprised if you see them switch to somebody who they think can give them 80% of the fight with 10% of the baggage.

Sam Stone: Now, is it just the baggage or are there specific policies that Trump is weak with them on? The one that popped to my mind was Covid and allowing the closure of churches. Is there something like that that's playing?

Henry Olsen: I'll tell you, I was surprised in my conversations at the lack of policy disagreements. I would have expected more of the evangelicals to note things like that, but also note his backing away from a strongly pro-life stance, saying that the whole point of overturning Roe was to negotiate without saying what he actually stands for. I did not get that from anybody. I really got a question of that. His long standing concerns about his character remain. And the question of is this guy so tied down by his character and legal problems that he can't effectively beat Joe Biden. And they're really scared of Joe Biden.

Chuck Warren: They should be. They should be. Let's do a little switch here and let's talk about the Hunter Biden stuff. Do you feel look, you're in D.C.. You're a columnist for The Washington Post. Do you feel what people call the legacy media is really starting to pay attention to this issue or are they still trying to just sweep it under the floor mat?

Henry Olsen: You know, I would say it's between and it depends on which legacy media outlet you're talking about. There's beginning to be enough there, there. Right. You know, in the sense that you just can't ignore some of the things that are now being said under oath as opposed to things that were being speculated about or which relied on, you know, on emails, copies of emails found on laptops. And so I think we're only 1 or 2 revelations away. If those revelations exist of the legacy media actually having to pay much more attention to it. I think they're no longer in the sweep under the rug. They hope that it goes away. But if it doesn't, I think there's been enough there that they actually will have to turn their attention to it.

Chuck Warren: Do you find any reasonable explanation why he would have 5000 emails under an alias?

Henry Olsen: A reasonable explanation? Yeah.

Chuck Warren: I mean, look, I mean, the easy way to handle this is just release them all. If there's nothing there, there's nothing there. Just make it transparency and embarrass the Republicans. That's an easy way to handle this, right? If there's nothing there.

Henry Olsen: Yeah, well, I never want to get into the argument that stereotypically is offered by autocratic police departments. If you have nothing to fear, you have nothing to hide.

Sam Stone: Guys, guys, I don't know this. I've got to say, this is like going when you've got this. This is like going to the ATM after 3 a.m. Nothing good is going to come from this. When you have fake email addresses and you're in office, nothing good is ever going to come from that.

Henry Olsen: Yeah.

Henry Olsen: You know, the thing is, I can imagine reasons you would want to do it like evade, you know.

Sam Stone: Like did you see Gretchen Whitmer's guy communicating with her in Greek alphabet letters?

Chuck Warren: Oh, that's cool.

Sam Stone: To avoid FOIA.

Henry Olsen: Yeah. No, I hadn't. I hadn't heard about that one. You know, just goes to show they all should have been watching Bill and Ted because I.

Chuck Warren: Think there's.

Henry Olsen: Greek alphabets when Bill interviewed Socrates. But.

Henry Olsen: You know.

Henry Olsen: I can imagine good reasons for 5000 emails under multiple aliases, depending who he's communicating with. But again, the thing is, at some point, we're going to find out at least some of them. And if they aren't benign, you know, like personal stuff, that you just don't want to have somebody you know, somebody who's you're concerned about hacking and they'll looking for the words Joe Biden. I could imagine that if you were a foreign government and you might want to have malware placed on Joe Biden's personal friends and anything that says Joe Biden gets sent to Beijing. Yeah, I can imagine that as a vice president and wanting to avoid things like that. But again, we'll see whether eventually some of these will be produced. May not be 5000, may be 200, maybe 500. And we'll see what they say.

Chuck Warren: Interesting. If we wrap up here, anything you think we should be looking for here in news the next month or two? Something that's going to pop up that you feel we should keep our eyes on?

Henry Olsen: You know, I think there's the usual, you know, who knows what's going to happen in the counteroffensive in Ukraine? Who knows what's going to happen with the Chinese economy. I would say, though, that, you know, the second debate is going to take place at the end of the month, September 27th, out at the Reagan Library. And it's going to be make or break time for some of these people. You know that the one in Milwaukee was really kind of first impression, kind of like speed dating. The second one is going to find out whether anybody wants to return the phone call. And so I think you're going to see a little bit more fire, a little bit more opposition. And it could be that somebody breaks out or somebody crashes to the earth.

Sam Stone: I would like to see a couple more people drop out before then. I would narrow it to 4 or 5 maybe.

Chuck Warren: I think what's really impressive is the cultural references Henry's used today speed dating and Bill and Ted. That's the most amazing thing of this aspect today. One last question. One last question, Henry. I think Republicans have a really good chance of taking the Senate. What are your thoughts?

Henry Olsen: Absolutely. I think they should be the favorites. Even if Biden wins re-election. That has to do with the math. Yes. You know, so poll came out today or yesterday from a respected pollster showed Jon Tester only getting 43% against either of his opponents, Sherrod Brown. There's been polls show that Brown's in a neck and neck race. But the important thing is where is the longtime incumbent? And he's sitting at 45%, which is roughly around where a Democrat should get flip those two seats. The Republicans control the Senate. And then you've got all the other seats. This is a map that heavily favors Republicans. Joe Manchin haven't even mentioned him. You know, these are three states that Trump carried by between 6 and 30 something points. It's just hard to see where Republicans don't get those 2 or 3 seats. And then it's very hard to see how they would lose other seats that they hold given what are up to throw control back to the Democrats?

Chuck Warren: Well, being a Republican, I have complete faith my party can blow it one way or another. So amen.

Sam Stone: Amen. Our skills are legendary.

Chuck Warren: Henry Olsen, thanks a million for visiting with us today.

Henry Olsen: Thanks for having me on.

Chuck Warren: Folks. This is breaking battlegrounds. We hope you've enjoyed this week's show and we'll be back next week. And if you can visit us at Breaking Battlegrounds or anywhere you find your podcasts. Have a great weekend.

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