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INTERVIEW: AZ GOP Candidate Jim Lamon Talks China, Border Security, Marxism, And More

 In May, Jim Lamon, Founder and Chairman of DEPCOM Power, a solar energy company, entered the Republican race for Senate in Arizona. Lamon is competing against seven other candidates for the Republican nomination; the winner will face Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly in 2022.

This week, I had the opportunity to speak with Lamon about a variety of issues, including term limits, refusing PAC money, big tech, China, immigration, ending the Department of Education, and much more.

You can listen to the full interview using the SoundCloud embed, or read it via the transcript below.Q: Can you tell me a little bit about your background and why you decided to jump into politics now?

LAMON: Sure. Well, first, not a politician, and I wear that with a badge of honor. I’m a veteran, business guy, kind of the America first person. Not just in the political side, now that I’ve jumped into this arena this year, but also in business. I’m in the power industry, I’ve been fortunate to found a billion dollar company here in Arizona about eight years ago. And we’re very proud of things like we’re 22% veterans.

But also, we are involved. We have founded and paid for the largest private voter registration project in the country because we just feel like it’s that darn important. And the reason I jumped into this, by the way … is that I just looked at the field of who we were looking at running against, George Soros [and] Mark Kelly. And I just saw do-nothing politicians or guys that had not run a business before.

That’s why I decided to jump into this, and just pull myself back from my company. I’m still the chairman, but I just think we have a country to save, and I’m ready to jump in and be a part of making that happen.

Q: So arguably, the most prominent issue in Arizona is the border. It’s in crisis and the Biden administration won’t do anything about it, nor will many Republicans to be perfectly honest because it’s an easy vote-driving issue that they can use every election. Do you have any plans as a senator that would actually move the needle on both the border and illegal immigration? And how would you go about accomplishing those plans as a senator?

LAMON: I agree with you. It is the most prominent issue in our country, not just Arizona, because we are under an invasion. I mean, President Trump had it down to, on the illegal side, 125,000 per year, and we’re on a run rate for over two million this year. And we’re seeing it manifest itself all over our state and of course our country. Noteworthy, by the way, is the National Border Patrol Council — which is 21,000 agents, you know, those are the frontline guys keeping our country safe — and their union leader Brandon Judd have endorsed our campaign, and that is the earliest ever that they’ve endorsed. And it is noteworthy that we’re coordinating closely, and they’re bringing over a thousand volunteers to our campaign for south Arizona because they see it very much the same way I do, that this has gone beyond crisis and it’s now an invasion. My goal … is to do everything I can to tie up business in the Senate until that southern border is secure.

It’s that darn critical to our country. Now, working again with Brandon Judd as head of National Board Patrol Council, in order of priority: Remain in Mexico policy must be reinstated and enforced, complete the wall, the remaining 124 miles, mandatory E-Verify, which by the way we do in my company and it works out just fine, no sanctuary cities. And you really kind of get back to law and order in this country, removing the criminals, removing the gangs, being very tough to get our country and our border back.

Q: So, in the “issues” section of your website — and this relates to immigration — you say you want to zero out high-tech visas to communist Chinese. Can you expand on that?

LAMON: I just see China as an enemy that we must realize that’s their goal of taking over our country. You know, they’re doing it in very patient, subversive ways. This open border, I believe very directly from George Soros, Mark Kelly, Joe Biden, is there. This is not by accident. This border is wide open, and by the way, there are no arrests being made, right? These are being processed there. The Arizona Police Association, by the way, I do want to make a note there, have endorsed our campaign, and we are working very closely with them. I just believe there’s a coordinated effort at multiple levels with the Communist Chinese in order to move this country in their direction. And I intend to stand … kind of four square behind making sure that is not the case.

Q: And in sort of a connection to that on your website, you say you want to lessen Chinese influence on American universities and financial markets. What do you mean by that? And is that tied into the process of zeroing out high-tech visas?

LAMON: Yes … it is. They’re all kind of tied together, in that we just do not need those high-tech visas coming from outside of our country. As I said earlier, in my own company — which we’re more than 1,700 strong across this beautiful country. Again, I sign the front of that many paychecks every week — and we hire 10 engineers a month. We probably have four or five applicants for each job. We have those engineers in this country and no one’s going to convince me otherwise because I live this life, right?

I’m in the power industry. So I know what we have. This is basically just a sellout, one of several to big tech to bring this wage pressure down into our country, and we’re paying for it because of the theft — back to the Communist Chinese party. So I just see that, again, if you look at the stock market, for example, they do not have to play by the same rules that American companies play by.

Look at the imports. They do not have to play by the same rules that we make our own American companies play by: pollution controls, safety in the workplace, reasonable wages, Social Security, things of that nature that we, as a civilized society have said, these are the right things to do. And, by and large American business, including myself, agree with that. But to bring in product that does not comply with it and just allow it to be sold on the open market is extremely unfair to the American worker and the taxpayer.

So, I don’t believe we need more Chinese high-tech or low-tech into our country. We need to put this on a basis of a level playing field for the American worker.

Q: You also say that you want to bring critical mining, processing, and manufacturing back to the United States. What does that look like legislation-wise, and also, what are your thoughts on a broader divestment from China for American companies?

LAMON: Sure. With the critical ores that we need to ensure our economy moves, as well as our national defense, those must be mined and processed in the U.S. I’ll just give you a brief example … we’re blessed with bountiful copper supplies in the Western U.S., and particularly in Arizona, Utah, Colorado. We mine 80% of the copper we need, we have bountiful supplies that are untapped at present. Why is that? EPA, Forest Service, they put impediments in the way, and year after year of endless reviews. We know the laws that need to be lived by. I do this in my business, right? We design and build large scale power plants — originally coal and gas, and today, solar. It’s not difficult to comply [with] the laws, we do that. It’s the burdensome regulations that come with it [and] the continuous oversight by people, who quite frankly, aren’t skilled to do it, to begin with.

We need to mine our ores, my goal would be 120% of our supply. Why do I say that? Well, our economy is constantly changing.

We’re moving to a more high-tech, maybe even a greener economy, that will include more electric vehicles, almost twice the copper in an EV as it is a typical combustive engine. So I just use copper as one example. Rare earth materials, same thing. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t be mining 120% of those ores here and processing them here. We do it much more responsibly when we use processing here in our own country. For example, that 80% of copper that we mine in the U.S., only 50% is processed here.

The other 30% goes all the way to Indonesia and back. The pollution control standards there are much less intense than they are in the U.S. Makes no sense. Let’s get it back to America; we can do it responsibly. It’s great American jobs, and we’re not going to have the leverage that a big Chinese Navy that’s being built will one day be used to keep those ores from processing, [and] returning to our country.

So yes, in a broader aspect, I believe China has a hundred-year plan, which they make public, that they’re [ahead] of it. And they intend to use every aspect that they can to ensure that they’re the dominant global force. One of those critical ways of us not allowing that to happen is to do our own mining and processing and manufacturing of our critical infrastructure and needs here in our own country.

Q: And that would include presumably defending Taiwan, as they are not only our ally, but they are the number one producer of chips for all of our devices in the United States. Do you agree with that?

LAMON: Well, in the big aspect of Taiwan, first, Biden and Mark Kelly made us the laughingstock in China, right?

I believe they own Biden, and there’s a large play I think they made with Mark Kelly as well, if you look at the investors in his company and the way that he’s voted. Afghanistan is just an absolute disaster, which China, as we all know, takes very close notice of. I believe we need to have a lethal military, one that is so strong that no force, China or otherwise, would ever want to threaten the U.S. And we’ve got work to do there, obviously, based on what we’ve seen with Milley and Austin and other people.

I support Taiwan with selling them military hardware. We’ve got the best in the world, [with our] American engineers, but they must pay for it; Taiwan’s a rich nation. I would also, from a missile standpoint, be very supportive of Taiwan. Yes, the semiconductor industry today, a large portion of it, offshore from the U.S., is located in Taiwan. Large infrastructure from that industry is being moved, or let’s say additional infrastructure being built right here in Arizona. And I’m a huge proponent of that, as well, bringing manufacturing back to the U.S., including semiconductors.

Q: Back to the domestic policy: COVID 19 vaccine mandates are stalled in the courts as of this interview in the private sector. What is your position on vaccine mandates, and what would you do about them as a senator, or what would you propose doing, assuming they continue into 2023?

LAMON: Surely, well, first, I’m an America first guy, I’ve run our company that way. In our company of 1,700 Americans … it’s their choice, from the vaccine standpoint. Yes, we’ve done things, more social distancing, even on our job sites. We do more frequent testing, we make that available to our employees at no cost, things of that nature. But it is not the federal government’s place to be mandating these type of measures, you know, this is America. Also again, going to the big picture and the U.S. Senate version of this, I believe this is about governmental control, not help.

I give you the southern border as the perfect example. If this were truly about medical purposes of protecting our society in America, we would not have an open southern border, where people from around the world and stuff can cross the border and be processed and moved all over our country in a few days … this would not be occurring if this were truly about the health of our citizens.

Q: You’ve seen firsthand, via your military experience, what Communist oppression looks like. Do you see similarities between what you saw when you were overseas and things that are happening in the United States today?

LAMON: I do. We are moving at a pace that I’ve not seen in my lifetime, more recently toward curtailing American freedom. I think we’re a unique country in that we are citizens of America. We’ve been a great blend of people from around the world. We’ve built a great country that’s got a Constitution and a Bill of Rights that other countries do not have. And quite frankly, people are very much, in many cases, trying to do something else, and well, we’ve seen how that turned out. You’ve got Venezuela, you had Eastern Europe, we’ve got 98 million Communist Chinese oppressing 1.6 billion. So, there are greater forces at work here in order to try to subvert the American freedom that we’ve enjoyed over these years. And I, for one, am standing up with everything I have to put myself into this arena and say that — Arizona, I believe, wants a fighter who will go and protect that American dream, get the government streamlined and out of their day-to-day business, put America first again, and as we talked earlier, close that southern border.

Q: Now on big tech, we’ve heard a lot over the last several years with increasing frequency about the potential dangers of big tech and tech monopolies. There are some people who want to eliminate Section 230, others who want to strengthen and refine it, and others who believe that anti-trust is actually the answer. What are your plans, or what would be your plans as a senator to address big tech, perhaps in a way that would be more effective than what’s been currently going on with the hearings and whatnot?

LAMON: Well, [regarding] Section 230 and others, I think we need to eliminate any social media preferences that were given to the companies that were these original survivors of the initial foundation of social media a few decades ago.

It’s kind of like China today is still viewed as a “developing country” with its preferences at the world bank. That kind of same, bad mentality that’s just allowed itself to persist over these years, needs to be done away with. It’s a very mature industry at this point; there just cannot be any more of these preferences given relative to Section [230]. The core of it … is that there’s a First Amendment this country’s founded on. It’s very obvious that some of those preferential treatments have given way to muting the conservative voice.

And I would be arguing the same if it were on the other side. We need a robust discussion in the American arena to keep these freedoms that we have; it can’t be one way. Fortunately, there is competition, and some of this is emerging, but it’s a tough road to get to, given that the original companies have such a preference — the way that they were established, and the way that they were given exemptions — that I don’t believe should exist today.

Q: Can you talk about “politics as usual,” which is something you’ve talked about on your website, specifically term limits and refusing PAC donations. Would you refuse PAC funds if you were to win the primary?

LAMON: Already, I have signed the two-term limit pledge. I have stated I will not take lobbyist dollars or PAC dollars. I believe that … a very corrupting force of our politicians is that those donations that are given come with strings. I am fortunate that with the American people, in particular, the people of Arizona, that 90% of the funds received to date, as reported on our financial filings, have come from here in Arizona. Yes, a large portion of that is mine because I believe in this country, and I’m going to Washington to be the America First lobbyist. In other words, I’m there for the people.

I don’t need to be tied to those who’ve given contributions [in a] given interest via the lobbyist or the PAC. I’m for the taxpayer, and I’m for the American citizen, and fortunately, I can be pure in doing that when I’m there without having those strings attached.

Q: Something interesting on your website, that you don’t see a lot of politicians talking about — when you talk about the department of education, you say that you would sign on to any legislation that would eliminate that department. Can you talk about that?

LAMON: I am very pro-student; it starts there, right? That’s the product that needs to be focused on as a child, their education, not their indoctrination. Not the political agenda that they need to learn, not the pronouns that we’ve come up with lately, and racism. This is not a racist country; we’re not perfect, but this is a beautiful American model of success that needs to be taught. And I’ve asked in over 90 presentations that we made here in our first six months to tens of thousands of Arizonians, and not a single hand has gone up when I’ve asked, is there something good that you believe that the Department of Education is doing? I’m all for the dollars following the student, the parents’ choice, basically of what school to attend. I’m a product of public education, and we didn’t have a Department of Education then, and I had great teachers, and I would much rather be putting the money to work in the classroom than a big department in Washington.

This is not rocket science; we need to focus on education. Our kids, in many cases, in particularly the inner cities, are just not getting the education they need to get out of the zip code that they’re in and be all they can be in this country. So, I just view the Department of Education as an impediment and not a force multiplier for those kids, and I am all about those kids getting every opportunity they can have to live the American dream that I’ve been fortunate to live.

Q: What do you see as the United States’ greatest existential threat?

LAMON: Well today, and this is relatively new in the last decade or so, and that’s Marxism being perpetuated, in my view, by the CCP, Communist Chinese Party, [and] many of the Americans that have basically, they are agents that have sold out. And that includes politicians, federal agencies, even media, etc. The American way of life, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the freedoms that we’ve so enjoyed in this country for so long, over 200 years, and have proven to be some of the greatest abilities for humble people like myself to be able to live that dream, are being threatened. … We talked earlier about big tech, same type of thing. So, I just believe that Marxism is working its way patiently into every facet of American life. And it must be dealt with; it must be called the enemy that it is; it must be pushed back and pushed back hard.

Q: Is there anything that we haven’t touched on in this interview that you would want Daily Wire listeners/readers to know about your campaign?

LAMON: Again, as I said at the beginning … non-politician. I’ve never thought I would do this — [I’ve] supported conservative politicians and principles, things of that nature. But my humble beginnings in my childhood of just living the American dream, putting myself through college, being a Paratrooper Engineer in the military, and working my way up in field construction as a civil engineer to build the second largest coal and gas [power] company in the country, and then build my own company, move over into new technology and solar and being a conservative and kind of a unicorn, being in a renewable industry, but driving [the] cost down of solar to half the price of gas today, and the industry’s only 12 years old. The team that I’ve been fortunate to put together has been a big part of that.

I’m going to be a fighter for the America First Agenda, and for the working people of this country that hasn’t been seen in a while. That’s my goal. Already, certainly the largest endorsements in Arizona that have been given with the National Border Patrol Council, Arizona Police Association, the Tea Party, Republican leaders, mayors, legislators, you name it. I mean, there’s a large number of endorsers, almost all have come to this campaign.

And I just am very moved to help my country. I’m the least arrogant person you’re [going to meet] — it’s not about me, right? It’s about our country, and I’m very concerned for it, but I, for one, am rising up, and I’m going do what’s necessary and I’m going to work as hard as it takes, raise as much capital as it takes to ensure that we defeat Marxism here in Arizona and go to the Senate and be a big, big voice for the American people that want to live their American dream by the Constitution and not another version that’s being pushed upon us.

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