A Mobile native, McConnell received his Bachelor’s Degree from Auburn University before joining the United States Marine Corps, where he served as an Infantry Officer and completed tours in Iraq and on the Syrian border.
While pursuing his law degree from the University of Alabama, McConnell was inspired by the hijacking of Maersk Alabama by Somali pirates to form a private security company designed to defend ships in high-risk waters.
According to McConnell, his company Meridian Global Consulting, LLC is currently defending ships in Somalia, the Persian Gulf and “all over the world.”
“I didn’t want to get into politics,” McConnell said. “But this country is headed in the wrong direction.”
McConnell, as a business owner and former Marine, sees keenly the need for the United States to balance its budget and do more to protect against the threat of terrorism, at home and abroad.
Like the majority of the candidates running for Shelby’s long-time seat, the economy tops McConnell’s list of priorities.
“I don’t see anybody stepping up to do anything about it,” McConnell said. “We’ve got to get America back on track and that means fixing our economy.”
According to do McConnell, the most effective ways to address our current overspending and create revenue is to support tac reform, specifically the institution of a flat tax or fair tax and to cut regulations on small business.
Further, McConnell believes that by eliminating the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as “Obamacare,” which he says has “killed the middle class,” small business owners would be relieved of a huge and unnecessary burden.
McConnell also believes more should be done to fights terrorism and protect our own borders, two bullet points that he believes are one in the same.
“We’ve got to stop rewarding bad behavior by incentivizing people to come over here illegally,” McConnell said. “First and foremost, we’ve got to secure our borders. There is not other first-world country in the world that’s going to allow people to cross their borders unchecked.”
While these two issues top most of McConnell’s agenda, the Republican candidate noted that Shelby has failed to represent “Alabama values” through his approval of liberal Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Anthony Kennedy and Stephen Bryer, a vote McConnell says undermines the conservative values of Alabamians.
“I am 100 percent pro-life, I believe marriage is between a man and a woman and Obamacare has been one of the worst economic policies in the history of this country,” McConnell said. “Sen. Shelby has been a silent partner in undermining Alabama values.”
While the candidate wouldn’t open up about endorsements from state legislators, an announcement he says will be released soon, he has gained the endorsement of Citizens’ United, a conservative political action committee (PAC), and Special Operations Speaks, a PAC supporting candidates best representing veterans.
And while Shelby’s war chest is immense, McConnell believes it will take more than money to win this election.
“I don’t have to compete dollar for dollar with him,” McConnell said. “The establishment has the money in this race, but the people have the power and people are sick of Richard Shelby, all across Alabama. I don’t think money can win this election.”
Oddly, McConnell is looking forward to the possibility of a run-off, noting that if Shelby receives less than 50 percent of the vote it will only reinforce the assertion that his campaign is weak and people are ready for change.
“It’s our entire system that’s broken,” McConnell said. “I can’t think of a single thing the federal government does well, except spend money. We need change agents in Washington, D.C.”
This part is part of our ongoing “Get to know” series spotlighting the various candidates in the 2016 Senate race. Click here to get to know the other candidates we’ve highlighted thus far.