Second of two parts
Pastor Glenn Plummer, a household name in the faith community, announced on Monday his run for Congress in the 13th Congressional District currently represented by Congresswoman Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick. But first Plummer sat down with Michigan Chronicle senior editor Bankole Thompson for an exclusive interview about the issues he plans to tackle head-on if elected. In the lengthy interview Plummer denies that he is a member of the Republican Party. Though he keynoted the Republican National Convention in 2004 in New York at the invitation of former GOP Congressman J.C. Watts, Plummer said he is a card-carrying member of the Democratic Party, laying out the principles that make him a Democrat. Among other issues Plummer said he is concerned about division along racial lines in Southeast Michigan.
MICHIGAN CHRONICLE: Why would the Republican Party pick you to address their convention if you are not a member of the GOP?
GLENN PLUMMER: Because I had a message to give. Maybe you’ve heard me speak. Have you?
MC: (Laughs) No, I have not.
GP: Let me say this. I have been asked to speak in Israel multiple times. I have spoken at embassies. I do that. When I was asked to speak for the Republicans I was most sensitive because it was in a political context. But it was a prayer breakfast. It was Pastor Plummer they asked to speak. And I was introduced as Pastor Plummer.
MC: Your company owes $500,000 in taxes to the IRS. Will you pay that money as you are edging to Congress?
GP: I certainly hope so. I’m not sure yet. The IRS has very interestingly said a few things to me. One is we want to help you. I have been talking to them for months and the reason why they filed those leins is to secure their position as I go forward in what my plan has been. So actually they have been helpful. I signed an agreement with a new network for my TV station. I think that will arguably shift my posture as it relates. Our station didn’t go digital. We are going digital this summer. So part of the agreement is that we are building a new digital station. Plus the IRS has offered a significant reduction in payoff If I’m willing to do that.
MC: But don’t you think voters will look at you and say if you are going to be a guardian of the publlic trough, you should be an example?
GP: And I think I have been an example. Let me share with you. Maybe you are aware but I’m not aware of many African Americans who own a television station in any major market. So let me tell you the example that I have been. I’m still on the air 24 hours a day. I’ve employed over the years — I don’t even know the number — but its got to be well over couple of hundred that have been both trained and equipped in this industry. Some are still with me and some have gone into a career path. So it depends on how you would define success. If you define success as someone who doesn’t own money....
MC: No, no. I understand what you are saying about helping a lot of peopple and building a company. I’m talking about public service here. You were involved in the private sector. Here is a candidate who is running for Congress that owes taxes. What does it say?
GP: I think it says that I understand what it feels like to owe money. Everyone doesn’t have that experience. But I will tell you that probably the greatest majority of Americans know what it feels like to owe. I don’t know how many people owe taxes, but there is a certain sensitivity I have for those who do owe and the experience that I’ve gone through in owing those taxes. I am not a person that has great wealth.
MC: So you are not wealthy?
GP: No, I would not define myself as wealthy. That’s a real subjective term.
MC: Wealthy economically?
GP: I don’t think so.
MC: What do you make of the Tea Party movement here in Michigan that is working together with Attorney General Mike Cox to opt out of the health care reform?
GP: Look, first of all the Tea Party is kind of an offshoot, in my opinion, of the Republican Party and those who are in the Republican camp. So its no suprise that there is going to be tactics, strategy to unravel what happened. I don’t think they will be successful.
MC: Was it a wise idea to bail out the auto industry?
GP: If the money is paid back I would say yes.
MC: If you were in Congress would you have supported the bailout of the auto industry?
GP: That’s a great question because really what they were saying was they were bailing out Detroit. And the fact they weren’t bailing out Detroit, that’s my issue. They weren’t saying we are bailing out the automobile industry. They were saying they are bailing out Detroit. What was needed in Congress was leadership defining the fact that you are not bailing out Detroit. You are bailing out the auto industry. But to bail out Detroit means a whole lot more. They didn’t bail out Detroit. Would I have supported it? Probably.
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