On Saturday, after the meeting of the College Republican Federation of Virginia here in Harrisonburg, I had the opportunity to speak with Pete Snyder, one of the seven candidates seeking Republican nomination for lieutenant governor. Mr. Snyder is an entrepreneur from northern Virginia who recently served as chairman for the 2012 Virginia Victory campaign.
Although we planned to get together at the local Starbucks, due to overcrowding, we had to relocate to the Jimmy Johns located several doors down. This particular discussion was pretty open-ended, in which I was able to ask a number of questions about Mr. Snyder’s political principles and his campaign. Armed with a trusty, new recorder, we began.
What I thought was the most important issue of the day concerned the matter of liberty and how Pete Snyder would reach out and connect to the tea party and Ron Paul activists, a growing segment within the Republican Party in Virginia. His answer was fairly simple and straightforward stating that he is a solid constitutionalist, who offers a consistent message to every group, emphasizing, “I think anyone who is liberty-minded would hopefully want someone in office who…thinks about how we protect our civil liberties.” When it comes to our government in Richmond, he added he that he would like to “have the entire state government dust off the Virginia State Constitution…and figure out what business we were supposed to be in and what business we are in now, what mission creep went on there and reign it back in.” If elected, he declared that he would base his decisions upon three criteria: First, “Is it moral?” Second, “Does it add to or chip away our civil liberties?” Lastly, “Does it strengthen or weaken the free market?”
I did ask Pete Snyder about a potentially sore subject, his time as Virginia Victory Chairman. As you may recall, in the past election neither Mitt Romney nor George Allen, the GOP Senate candidate, were able to win the state. Mr. Snyder mentioned that he was honored to be asked to volunteer as the chairman and stated that he was quite successful at his primary task, raising money for these Republican candidates. Regarding this matter, one lingering question that was sent to me recently is, if Pete Snyder spent so much time promoting Romney and Allen last year, how do we know that, if elected, he will not emulate the big government policies either advocated by these two, or Governor McDonnell who appointed him to this position? It is an important consideration, especially coming on the back of Virginia’s transportation tax increase, which is viewed by many conservatives as a massive betrayal perpetrated by Republican Governor Bob McDonnell and the Republican-controlled General Assembly. The Snyder campaign has answered this question over the weekend, in part, by issuing statements on Facebook praising the legislators who opposed these measures. Today, they stepped up the rhetoric releasing a statement adding, “The career politicians and big government crowd in our party have to go.”
Over the last several weeks, I have spoken to Pete Snyder more than any of the other candidates running statewide. Personally, he does seem to be a friendly and likeable guy and I appreciate the fact that he has made it a point to talk with me after several recent events. We share a somewhat unusual commonality, as we are both graduates of the College of William & Mary with a degree in government. I should add, in all fairness, after I heard his story about how be met his future wife while she was on a date with another guy, I asked him about his experience, hoping for some wisdom, given that I found myself in a similar situation.
Regardless of your opinion of Pete Snyder, one must admit that he is persistent and not one to give up easily. For example, each time we conclude one of our conversations he always ends by asking for my support. As I’ve mentioned previously, I am still in the process of learning about all of our choices for lieutenant governor before reaching any premature conclusions. Nevertheless, on Saturday he gave me one of his bumper stickers should the time come that I would be in need of it.
As with my previous piece on the lieutenant governor’s race, I’d like to thank Pete Snyder and his staff for the opportunity to meet with him one-on-one. Although a conflicting event will prevent him from speaking at the Harrisonburg Tea Party this coming Thursday, a member of his campaign team should be on hand.
Lastly, let me encourage the readers of the Virginia Conservative to learn more about Pete Snyder and the six other individuals running to be our next lieutenant governor. We have an important decision to make in May; properly informed delegates are indispensable if liberty-minded conservatives hope to reclaim the government of the Commonwealth.