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Jeannemarie Davis

Jeannemarie Davis

This morning, I met with Jeannmarie Davis, one of the seven candidates seeking the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor, at the local Panara Bread in Harrisonburg.  We spoke for about 40 minutes or so, discussing policy issues, Virginia politics, and, of course, the most pressing topic, the race for lieutenant governor.  Our conversation was one of several stops for her on her busy campaign schedule today.

Speaking with Mrs. Davis in person was a welcome opportunity, a chance to talk without all of the hype and frenzy associated with debates, 30-second ad spots, and the legions of opinionated activists who have already chosen their political camps.  After brief introductions, we delved into the heart of the matter, why she is running for this office, her political principles, and what she can bring to the table through her skills and knowledge.

One unique perspective that Jeannmarie Davis offers comes from her time as a member of Governor McDonnell’s cabinet.  Several of the candidates have experience serving in the General Assembly, including Mrs. Davis herself, while others currently head local government, are business entrepreneurs, or are leaders in their communities.  However, one can certainly make the point that her familiarity with the executive branch of the state government could prove quite valuable as our next lieutenant governor.

An opinion that Mrs. Davis stressed is that the Republican Party needs to nominate the candidate who is the most conservative possible, while still being electable.  As she mentioned, despite the Democratic slant of both her former House of Delegates and state Senate districts, she still achieved electoral success while remaining solidly pro-life.  Jeannmarie continued by remarking that, given the shifting demographics, if a statewide candidate is unable to run a competitive race in northern Virginia, it is almost certain that he or she will be unable to capture a large enough percentage of the vote in the rest of the state to garner victory.  It is certainly a valid argument; purity is relatively meaningless when faced with the harsh reality of electoral failure.

As an aside, as I’ve written previously, at the end of the day I will support whichever candidate I believe is the most conservative/pro-liberty, who also has a competent campaign indicating that he or she has at least a reasonable chance at winning.  It is too easy for new activists to fall into the trap of the Sir Galahad theory of politics, “I will win because my heart is pure.”

In addition, she mentioned that the Republican Party has done a particularly poor job in reaching out to many of the ethnic communities and that the party will enjoy very limited success if they simply concede these voters to the Democrats.  By comparison, she stated that her campaign is actively courting these voters, not just for the Republican convention, but to also bolster the statewide totals in November.

When it comes to the issue of neglecting certain demographics, I added that the GOP has done a particularly poor job in reaching out to the newest generation of voters, the high school and college students.  Drawing on a personal example, when I attended my first local Republican meeting at the age of 15, I was, not surprisingly, the youngest person in attendance.  However, at the January gathering of our local GOP, almost 18 years later, regrettably I still had the distinction of being the youngest person there.  As was the case at this weekend’s ISFLC, far too many leaders in the Republican Party seem to have forgotten about minorities, the youth, and the cause of liberty, another important factor that has contributed to the party’s decline in recent years.

Given that this issue has not made too much of an appearance in the forums thus far, I was somewhat surprised to hear about Mrs. Davis’ support of federalism and the 10th Amendment, a position that she mentioned has only solidified further during her time working in the Virginia Liaison Office in D.C.

Let me close by thanking Jeannemarie Davis and her staff for the opportunity to speak with her this morning.  We certainly have areas where we agree as well as issues in which we don’t, but, as I’ve stressed time and time again, it is critically important for each delegate to the RPV convention to possess a strong understanding of all seven of the lieutenant governor candidates so that he or she can make a rational and informed decision, not merely on the first ballot, but on the second, third, and however many ballots that we end up casting so that we will nominate a candidate who will strongly articulate our values in Richmond for the next four years.  Therefore, I encourage you to check out Jeannemarie’s website and record, compare it to everyone else who is running, and decide for yourself your first, second, and even third choice.

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Here in Virginia we are gearing up for another session of the General Assembly, the legislative body of the state government.  Delegates and senators have begun to showcase the bills they hope to pass in the upcoming year and there is one that should be of particular interest to any person who seeks to curtail the power of the federal government.

The purpose of bill, House Joint Resolution Number 130, is in “memorializing the Congress of the United States to honor state sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.”  This resolution has attracted a good number of sponsors, currently including: Delegates Randy Minchew of Loudoun County, Dave Albo of Fairfax County, Rob Bell of Albemarle County, Mark Cole of Fredericksburg, Chris Head of Roanoke, Keith Hodges of Middlesex County, Jimme Massie of Henrico County, Rick Morris of Isle of Wight County, Israel O’Quinn of Bristol, and David Ramadan of Loudoun County.

But what exactly does this resolution say?  Well, it begins by quoting the 10th Amendment.  “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.”  It further notes, “The Tenth Amendment defines the total scope of federal power as being that specifically granted by the Constitution of the United States and no more”.

The resolution goes on to boldly claim that “many federal laws are directly in violation of the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States” and “that Congress may not simply commandeer the legislative and regulatory processes of the states”.

The resolution concludes with the following assertion: “The Commonwealth of Virginia hereby claims sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States over all powers not otherwise enumerated and granted to the federal government by the Constitution of the United States. The Commonwealth by this resolution serves notice to the federal government, as its agent, to cease and desist, effective immediately, mandates that are beyond the scope of these constitutionally delegated powers. Further, the Commonwealth urges that all compulsory federal legislation that directs states to comply under threat of civil or criminal penalties or sanctions or requires states to pass legislation or lose federal funding shall be prohibited or repealed.”

The full text of Resolution 130 can be found here.

It has become clear that most of the legislators in Congress, the president, the courts, and the federal bureaucracy have little interest in restraining their powers to those specifically enumerated in the Constitution.  Therefore, in order to restore some sense of federalism, it is up to the states and the people to claim the authority that is rightfully theirs.

But lingering questions remain.  Will the delegates and senators in Richmond have the political courage to pass this resolution?  And if they do, are they willing to chart a course that will enforce the federal limitations found in the Constitution and the 10th Amendment?  After all, it would mean an end to federal control of many facets of life including, but limited to: education, healthcare, retirement, and the modern welfare state.

Conservatives, libertarians, and constitutionalists all across Virginia should support House Joint Resolution 130 and ought to write his or her legislators and encourage them to do likewise.  It’s time to make a stand!

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We all know that the federal government’s takeover of healthcare is unquestionably unconstitutional.  Now I know that some liberals out there disagree, therefore I ask you to show me where this authority is spelled out in the enumerated powers.  If you cannot do so, then Obamacare must be repealed.  After all we must always remember that, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”  Oh, that darn pesky 10th Amendment.

Nevertheless, as we wait for the multitude of state lawsuits to proceed through the judicial system, we should take a bit of time to understand what Obamacare means and how it could impact our lives.  Fortunately, our friends at Americans For Limited Government are taking the time to wade through the impact of Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (the official name of Obamacare).  They’ve recently created a new website http://obamacarewatcher.org/ to uncover many of the pitfalls hidden within this liberal feel good legislation.

Despite the claims of some big government Republicans, nationalized healthcare doesn’t need to be replaced or reformed, but repealed completely and the idea thrown on the ash heap of history.  This ridiculous folly mocks the concept of liberty, the notion of individualism, and ultimately undermines the true spirit of America.  As we work toward this goal, I strongly encourage reading more on Obamacare Watcher so that you can learn the truth for yourself.

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I can’t tell you how many times recently people have said to me either via email or in person that our country would be heading on the right track if only President Obama was out of office.  Unfortunately, such a viewpoint is not only overly simplistic, it is also quite wrong.  President Obama is a problem, yes, but the issue runs far deeper.  Even if we were to broaden our scope and remove Congressional leaders like Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, our government would still be in a bad shape.  Some people have the mistaken impression that our government is a type of monarchy whereby one person, or a select few people, runs the nation.  Although from all public appearances we seem to be trending in that direction, there are still many people in Washington D.C. who can influence policy.  Just disregarding the cabinet members, advisors, and legions of bureaucrats, we still have the power to elect our president and the four hundred and thirty five members of Congress.  You must remember that the President cannot make laws, that power is reserved for the Congress. So let’s turn our focus there.

How did Nancy Pelosi become Speaker of the House?  How did Harry Reid become Majority Leader?  Was it merely by chance or was it some sort of electoral free-for-all?  No, of course not.  With the Democrats in power, they selected two of their Congressional leaders to take charge in the House and Senate.  Don’t like the actions of Reid or Pelosi?  Blame the Democrats in Congress who gave them power.  What about the Republicans?  Can they be held responsible for massive increases in the growth of the federal government?  Absolutely.  While some of them outright supported unacceptable legislation, some of the others stood silent, merely watching from the sideline.  As all spending bills must originate in the House, House members must claim the courage to vote against unconstitutional acts and wasteful spending.  But our Senators are guilty too.  In the Senate, a dedicated minority can use the filibuster to stall business in order to kill or delay bad laws.  They must not be afraid to use this tool whenever the rights of the constituents are being trampled.  The simple rule we must follow is that Representatives and Senators who either actively or passively ignore the Constitution must be removed.  Although we rarely take advantage of the opportunity, we have that chance every two (or six) years.

But the blame goes beyond the corrupt cesspool of Washington.  Should our national leaders fail us, which most have repeatedly, we must look to Richmond, and related capitals for redress.  After all, under the authority of the 10th Amendment, power not specifically granted to the federal government is reserved for the states and the people.  As a result of this nationalized health care scheme, some states, like ours, have sued the federal government.  It is a step in the right direction, of course, but they must press other issues as well where D.C. has overstepped its bounds.  Unfortunately, such a course of action requires a political will and determination that few statesmen possess.  The majority of politicians do not chart this course, and so they are at fault as well.

But blame goes further than the White House, Congress, and the State House.  What about the average citizen?  Does he or she blindly go through his or her day rarely reflecting on the mischief of Obama and his associates?  When we vote, do we really consider the issues and stances of the potential leaders in question, or are we duped by the hollow promise of “hope” and “change”?  Educated and active voters are key components of a healthy nation.  In America though, our base is largely apathetic and ignorant, drawn to the tiny details of the relatively empty lives of celebrities rather than actions of our supposed representative delegates.  We cannot complain about the whims of Washington, and the power-grabbing nature of our leaders when we refuse to get involved.  How can you hold politicians accountable when you remain unaware of their activities?  Thus the greatest culpability for people like Obama along with the greatest hope for their removal rests with a single person.  Surely you know the individual.  After all, you see that person in the mirror every morning.  So, now that we all share the blame, only one question remains.  What are you prepared to do?

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For the last several months, I have receiving emails from the office of Representative J. Randy Forbes (VA-4).  Although I don’t recall ever signing up on one of his lists, I have appreciated the opportunity to learn more about Congressman Forbes, his priorities, and his legislation.  I must say, the more I read the more I like.

He is currently cosponsoring H.R. 450, commonly known as the Enumerated Powers Act.  In short, this legislation would require Congress to demonstrate its specific Constitutional authority to enact new laws.  Along with Forbes, 62 other Representatives are either sponsoring or cosponsoring this bill including several from Virginia:  Cantor (VA-7), Goodlatte (VA-6), and Wittman (VA-1), and many conservative/liberty minded folks: Broun (GA-10), Garrett (NJ-5), and Paul (TX-14) to name just a few.

Here is Representative Forbes to explain a bit about the resolution:

The 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution reads, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

Increasingly over the past year, many of you have written to me to express your concern for what many view to be the expanding and abusive authority exercised by the federal government. For too long, the federal government has operated without constitutional restraint. In doing so, it has created or proposed ineffective and costly programs, large burdensome healthcare mandates, massive deficits year after year, and a staggering national debt.

I’ve recently signed onto legislation called the Enumerated Powers Act, H.R. 450. The legislation mandates that all bills introduced in the U.S. Congress include a statement setting forth the specific constitutional authority under which that law would be enacted. This measure is intended to force a continual re-examination of the role of the national government and to begin to focus legislators on thoughtfully addressing the expanding reach of the federal government.

Our Founding Fathers believed that granting narrow and specific legislative power to the national government would be a powerful mechanism to protect individual freedoms. I believe H.R. 450 would take a first step in encouraging Congress to abide by the principles embodied in the Constitution.

I’d like to hear what you think of this legislation. Please e-mail me your thoughts. If you would like more information on my work on this issue or others, you may visit my Web site at forbes.house.gov.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours in service,

Randy Forbes

Member of Congress

What a novel concept huh?  Legislating according to the Constitution.  Unfortunately, I doubt the Democrats would allow such a law to pass, as it would hinder so much of their grand schemes like nationalized health care.  Hopefully once the Republicans regain control of Congress they will not forget the 10th Amendment and will advocate a return to a constitutional, limited government.  Therefore, I strongly encourage you to write to your Representative and Senators to insist they pass a law like H.R. 450.  Yes, we must enact drastic cuts in the size and scope of the federal government, but we must also curb its future growth.  H.R. 450 is an important step in the right direction.

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Individual states ought to have more power and control over both the lives of the citizens residing and visiting within it, as well as territory under their control, than the federal government.  The purpose of our national government is to accomplish tasks that state government is either unable to provide, offer large-scale benefits to all states, or restrain the states in certain aspects.  For example, it only makes sense for the national government to have the sole power to declare war, defend the states from invasion, and create and maintain a national currency.  Despite what some might say, the powers and limitations of the federal government are pretty clearly defined in the Constitution and its amendments.  I assure you that the 10th Amendment is in there for a reason!

By contrast, states have far more latitude.  Unlike the national government, assuming their constitutions allow it, they can create a statewide health care system, legalize all sorts of drugs, or modify the drinking age (assuming the federal government didn’t mettle by withholding highway funding).  Now I’m not saying that I advocate these plans, but, as “laboratories of democracy”, it is far better for a state to tinker with such modifications than Washington D.C.  Once a plan is proven successful in a state or, better yet, several states, and assuming it is constitutional, only then should it be considered on a national scale.  This largely forgotten theory was one of founding principles of our nation.  You want state run health care?  Then move to Boston.  You want to smoke marijuana?  Then migrate to Los Angeles.  Otherwise lobby your state and not the federal government.   Let’s agree to keep such plans out of the hands of D.C. bureaucrats.  If you want Virginia health care, or the freedom to use recreational drugs in Danville, then I recommend talking to the folks in Richmond.  Just know that I have the right to argue for the other side.

You say that the constitution is outdated and states rights are a thing of the past.  Assuming you are right (I sure hope you aren’t by the way), consider this fact.  If I want to contact my State Senator or one of his representatives in person, I need only to drive a couple minutes to downtown.  Conversely, if I’d like to meet someone from my U.S. Senator’s office, I’d have to travel about 2 hours to go to either Richmond or Roanoke.  Furthermore, State Senators have approximately 1/40th of the constituents that our national Senators have.  Who do you think is more responsive to a citizen’s concerns?  I often get letters, emails, and cards in response to my inquiries with Senator Obenshain.  Guess what I have gotten from Senators Webb and Warner…that’s right, nothing!  One of them knows me; the other has a territory too large for any sort of personal relationship.  Now tell me, which one represents me better?  Which is better suited to make policy decisions regarding your city, town or county?  Is it the one who lives in your community or the one who, like a distant relative, visits once or twice a year?  If for no other reason than proximity, increased devolution just makes sense.  Unfortunately, if we leave it up to the politicians in the D.C., we will continue the slow march toward a unitary state.

For additional information on this topic, I encourage you to read a recent article written by Josh Eboch, State Chapter Coordinator for the Virginia Tenth Amendment Center regarding the tension between libertarians and constitutional conservatives over the 10th Amendment.  I hope you find it as worthwhile as I did.

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With each passing day, America slips further and further into the grip of socialism.  I expect that both the House of Representatives and Senate will soon reach an agreement on the latest attack on our liberty, national health care.  Although I’d like to think that Senator Webb and Warner would uphold their vows to our Constitution and vote against the bill, in the end, it is highly likely that both will toe the Democratic Party line.  Sigh.  I suppose that at some point our government must have been pretty decent.  Then again, the Supreme Court finding a supposed right to privacy that allows you to kill your own children through abortion but doesn’t protect you from the intrusion of the government through the excesses of the Patriot Act makes just about as much sense in today’s society.  It’s amazing what you can get away with when you interpret the phrase “general welfare” as liberally as possible while ignoring the 10th Amendment.

I have a confession to make.  Like millions of Americans, I don’t have health insurance.  Why don’t I, you may ask?  The answer is simple.  I cannot afford it.  Although I have had health insurance in the past and will likely do so again in the future, my budget doesn’t allow it at the present.  Well then, should I look to the government for assistance?  Should I insist that the government take money out of your pocket and give it to me so that I too can enjoy the benefits of health insurance?  Is that scheme unfortunately becoming the new “American way”?  While we are on the subject, I have to wonder why we need health insurance for routine doctor visits.  My understanding is that originally health insurance was used for major things like surgery, hospital stays, and the like.  Using insurance for any health related issue under the sun makes about as much sense as requiring auto insurance for oil changes.  As a result, this increased reliance on insurance has greatly spiked the health care costs in this country.  Take it from me; to now seek medical assistance without it is tantamount to financial suicide.  And when this legislation passes, if you choose to go without insurance, then the federal government can fine you?  I’m starting to wonder, which side won the Cold War, liberty or statism?  To borrow a phrase from Yakov Smirnoff, in Soviet Russia, insurance chooses you!

Now we can scream foul at the top of our lungs, but will our elected representatives hear our cry?  Sure, some statesmen like Delegate Bob Marshall, Senator Mark Obenshain, and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli are actively fighting for your rights, but the vast majority of politicians simply don’t care.  After all, Washington insiders know what’s best for you and are more than happy to dictate policy.  You agree, yes?  Remember, Napoleon Obama is always right.  Anyone who supports federalized insurance must be voted out of office and I encourage you to read Senator Obenshain’s recent article on the subject found in the Washington Times.  Not only does socialism promote bad medicine through expanded bureaucracy and inflated costs, it also spawns bad governance.

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