Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks talks presidential election, advice for Duke students
Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks wants to express his "sympathies" for Duke students voting in this presidential election.
Brooks graduated with a double major in political science and economics from Duke, where he was a member of the debate team and took public policy courses to supplement his undergraduate degree. Brooks served as a member of the Alabama House of Representatives from 1982 to 1992, and was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010. During his time as a politician, he has opposed allowing illegal immigrants to remain in the United States and is pro-life.
Brooks said he considers neither presidential candidate to be well-suited for the office, and added that choosing between Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump is a difficult decision for many American voters.
"You have to decide who is the lesser of the two evils, and then vote accordingly," he said.
Brooks recommended that students concentrate more on the down-ballot races.
“While people are focused on the presidential race, equally, if not more important, are the races for the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives,” he said.
Along with his advice on the election, Brooks also gave advice for students interested in political careers.
“Figure out what your own beliefs are and why you think those beliefs are best for your city, your county, your state or your country,” he said.
Brooks explained that politicians must be prepared for any opposing arguments, so liberals should understand the conservative viewpoints and vice versa.
Going to Duke prepared him for a career in politics by teaching him how to understand and communicate policy positions, he added.
“[Duke professors] were very, very bright people, and they challenged you to defend or advocate whatever position it was that you held," Brooks said.
Brooks cited the competitive nature of being a student at Duke as one key to success.
“You know you're up against top flight competition when you go to Duke University, [and] you’ve got a student body that by and large is extremely bright,” Brooks said. “All of those things keep you on your toes and prepare you for what you do in the future.”