WINNEMUCCA — Hoping to represent his party in September’s Special Election, Kirk Lippold went before Humboldt County GOP faithfuls to make the case he’s the best conservative candidate.
Lippold spoke at a reception held for him by the Humboldt County Republican Central Committee on Thursday (June 2).
Lippold is a graduate of the US Naval Academy who retired from the Navy in 2007 after 26 years of service. He has since written a book (not yet out in print) and worked with Military Families United.
Lippold is perhaps best known as the man in command of the USS Cole on October 12, 2000 when the ship was attacked by Al Qaeda suicide bombers. He praised the response of his crew following the bombing and credited their actions with saving the lives of US service personnel.
What is less well-known is following the attack on the Cole, Lippold went to work for the Joint Chiefs of Staff – War on Terrorism Division and helped craft the policy governing the US detention center at Guantanamo Bay.
Lippold has been an outspoken advocate for the detention center as the means of acquiring information from terrorists to help the US understand how Al-Qaeda operates, which he sees as instrumental to fighting the war on terrorism.
Lippold told those assembled when he heard the news the Obama administration planned to close the detention center his reaction was disbelief.
He commented, “We’re going to give this up because European allies thought we were violating human rights?”
He later added, “What about the rights of the Americans killed on 9/11?”
Lippold said he personally opposed the Obama administration’s plan to close the detention center, and he counts it as a personal victory the center remains in place.
Lippold was also critical of Attorney General Eric Holder, whom he calls the most dangerous man in America and alleged the AG picks and chooses the laws he’s going to follow.
Holder had attempted to halt military commissions at Guantanamo Bay in an effort to have five suspected terrorists involved in 9/11moved to the US for trial in federal courts. That move faced widespread criticism, and Holder announced in April the five will be tried by military commissions.
Lippold championed such a move and was opposed to civilian trials on US soil.
While Lippold’s national security experience may be stellar, he acknowledged he has no legislative experience.
Lippold pointed out for attendees he does have executive leadership experience and a sense of service “a mile wide”. Additionally, he noted he brings integrity and needed ethics to the position.
He pointed out representing the State of Nevada in Congress was a 24-hour/7-day a week job, much like his military service, and intends to devote himself to the work.
Promoting conservative values, Lippold expressed his concern over the 14 trillion debt and listed the reduction of that debt as one of his top priorities.
He said there were ways to reduce the budget without raising taxes and pointed to the thousands and thousands of dollars that are lost every year in deductions from taxes.
He also listed reducing government as an important step in reducing budget expenditures that would lead to a reduction in debt.
To that end, he said reductions in military spending was not off the table, and he argued the military budget could be examined for reductions along with the money being spent on the war on terrorism.
He commented, “We’re throwing money at the problem. We need to understand it to fight it.”
Lippold stumbled a bit on the topic of entitlement programs, which he listed as Social Security, Medicaide and Medicare.
Those in attendance were primarily retirees, one of whom balked at calling Social Security an entitlement program since participants pay into it their entire lives, so the benefits they receive are really the benefits they earned.
Lippold agreed and later said it was Congress who saw the program as their entitelment to raid for extra funding whenever needed.
Lippold now makes his home in Carson City where he grew up. He said as someone who grew up here he understands the land-use issues faced by Nevadans.
A 1st Judicial District Court decision determined each major party will nominate a candidate for the Special Election, as opposed to a free-for-all ballot, though that decision is on appeal to the Nevada Supreme Court.