Free markets have always been one of the things that have set our country’s economy apart from others. Unfortunately we’ve seen our country’s economic freedom index ranking decline with the increase of unnecessary and overly burdensome regulations from Washington DC. One of the things that we have the power to do in Richmond is to eliminate unnecessary and overly burdensom regulations on businesses and occupations here at the state level. Many current licensing regulations are unnecessary and have the effect of creating huge hurdles for those who can least afford to pay them, but could reap the largest benefits of being freed from those start-ups costs either as business owners or occupational specialists and professionals. These hurdles may represent irritating bumps in the road for individuals in the middle class, but they represent overwhelming walls for those in the lower class who have the most to gain from business ownership and occupational employment. The marketplace will determine winners and losers based on quality of service and as a party that embraces free markets, we should get Richmond out of the way and allow the markets to work. This is one of the largest things we can do to help those in the lower class gain a hand up, instead of a handout.
Additionally, I support the growing industrial hemp industry here in Virginia. This is one of the most exciting opportunities for Virginia farmers (and right here in the 22nd District) in quite some time. We have already put research programs into place in conjunction with our universities, and have seen many other states follow suit with an eye towards the federal government taking the overdue step of removing industrial hemp from the same classification as marijuana. This would be a major economic boon to Virginia on many fronts (including manufacturing, energy, and even food production) and I will be a strong advocate for that.
Civil liberties are one of the bedrocks of a free society. As an attorney, I’ve been defending your Constitutional Rights for over 28 years. Today, more than ever, your civil liberties are under attack. We’ve seen unfortunate cases of civil asset forfeiture abuse across the country where people have had their property seized by authorities without ever being charged with a crime. We must require that a person be convicted of crime before the state seizes their property and it’s such an important issue that the Tea Party and the ACLU have joined forces here in Virginia to accomplish much needed civil asset forfeiture reform. This is a basic 4th Amendment right to protection from search and seizure, and a basic 5th Amendment right to due process. As your senator I will continue to defend your Constitutional Rights in Richmond by being a solid vote for civil asset forfeiture reform.
Taxes are the means of funding the core services of government, but excessive taxes are both a disincentive for individual productivity, as well as business investment and economic growth. Nine other states have eliminated their income taxes from wages and it’s no surprise that their economies have benefitted as a result. New people are moving to those states and creating more demand for the products and services sold there. Likewise, six states have eliminated their business income taxes and new businesses are relocating there as a result. Five of those states (Texas, Nevada, South Dakota, Washington, and Wyoming) have no corporate or personal income taxes. It’s not surprise that we’ve seen Virginia steadily slip from being ranked by Forbes as one of the top two states for business every year from 2007 to 2013, down to being ranked 13th this year. I support cutting and then eliminating corporate and personal income taxes in order to encourage new businesses and citizens to move to our state and help us regain our previous ranking as one of the most business-friendly states in the country.
I have watched Martha Boneta’s heroic fight against property rights grabbing elites in government. It is apparent from these elites’ use of zoning definitions in multiple attempts to restrict her rights on her own property that action is needed at the state level to protect farmers and land owners engaged in agricultural activity. I fully support the Farm and Food Freedom act that will give farmers and consumers the ability to engage in transactions with each other just like our grandparents used to do. Being able to buy your food directly from the farmer who grew it, if you so wish, is not only a proud American tradition, but is also your right as a human being and consumer.
I will support efforts to make government more accountable and transparent. We all watched with incredulous eyes as Governor McAuliffe gave away $1.4M of taxpayer dollars right here in our district to a Chinese company that never existed. Not only was that a terrible violation of any and all free market principles, and likely had Frederic Bastiat spinning in his grave, but it was also just one of the many ways that our taxpayer dollars are wasted and our state government is allowed to take action without oversight, transparency, or accountability. One of the little known secrets in Richmond is that every year the budget actually helps fund the ability of political subdivisions of the state to use your public tax dollars to hire lobbyists for the purpose of then lobbying for more power and more of your tax dollars. That is something that is wholly outside the spectrum of good and transparent government, and I will fight to put an end to it. State entities that are supposed to be subject to the decisions of your representatives, should not be able to use your tax dollars as a way of gaining themselves more influence with your elected officials than you have.
As a father of five, I know first-hand some of the difficult tests of faith that can happen during pregnancy. When my wife, Lila, and I were told that that our quadruplets were a high-risk pregnancy and that certain dangers existed in potentially carrying all of our children to full-term, we were advised to make a choice. We knew, based on our steadfast belief in the sanctity of life and our unborn children’s God-given right to exist, that the only option was for us to carry all of our children to full-term. Defending life is not simply a policy position to me, it is an integral part of our family and you can count on me to continue to defend life in Richmond, just as Lila and I did for our own children nearly two decades ago.
The right to bear arms was enshrined in the Constitution and ardently advocated for and defended by our Virginian forefathers like Madison, Jefferson, and Mason. Our Second Amendment is the physical mechanism by which we are able to protect our persons and property from all who would seek to violate our rights to life, liberty, and property. While many think of hunting as a reason for the right to bear arms, the truth is that the right to keep and bear arms was intended specifically as a defense against both public and private tyranny. Not only was I given the highest rating possible by the VCDL for my positions on your right to bear arms, but as a VCDL member and your state senator, that is a God-given right that I will both defend, and work to expand, including through Constitutional Carry and Castle Doctrine.
I support the right of parents to choose the best education for their children, whether that be public, private, or homeschool education, and will work to create competition in the marketplace of education. Additionally, where public education is the best choice for a child, I support returning as much control as possible to the local school system, and away from centralized control in Richmond and Washington. No child learns the same, and every parent has the right to make the best decision for themselves and for their children in education just like in other areas of life, and I will work hard to provide the best options for them to do that.