I have been asked by many people, "What makes you a conservative?" It is a excellent question because the term is used in many different ways. My practical policy positions are guided by several principles that have formed the foundation of American government and economics since the writing of the Constitution. I expand on a few of these key philosophical perspectives below.
Politicians in Washington are addicted to spending, resulting in an annual budget deficit of over $3.5 trillion that continues to add to our national debt, which currently stands at nearly $25 trillion. Americans generally trust Republicans more than Democrats when it comes to handling our finances and the economy, but even Republicans are often too quick to spend when they control the levers of power. I believe in promoting a balanced budget accomplished through prioritizing those programs and services most in our nation's interests and cutting wasteful spending. I oppose raising taxes as it hurts our economy, especially small businesses and the middle class. It is time for politicians in Washington to make smarter and more responsible fiscal decisions instead of asking Americans to pay more.
Limited Government and Personal Responsibility:
We must bring back a focus on personal responsibility as the primary mechanism through which people can improve their lives, with mutual aid from their communities being the first line of assistance, followed by one's state government. The political apparatus in Washington is the farthest removed from any one individual and policies developed at a national level often face difficulty being implemented in diverse communities across the country. I believe the federal government should be limited in its scope and place greater faith in the ability of Americans to make their own decisions.
Rule of Law:
We are a nation of laws, and those laws must be enforced. While it is tempting to view this as a simple issue, the reality is quite complex. Law enforcement is not an easy job and those tasked with carrying it out deserve our utmost respect and support. Adequate funding must be guaranteed so that police officers, border patrol agents, and other members of law enforcement have the tools and training necessary to perform their duties. We can further support the rule of law by reversing the trend that expects law enforcement officers to function as social workers, mental health therapists, and substance use counselors. In addition, it is important to remember that laws are written by people and, to the extent that laws or their enforcement differentially impact an identifiable group of Americans, revisions should be considered. This is the task of legislators, not law enforcement officers. By ensuring that laws are equitable and just, legislators can help law enforcement officers be more effective in their jobs.
Strong National Defense:
Our brave fighting men and women are one of the greatest assets of our country. They safeguard our freedoms, promote our ideals, and serve as a force for good around the globe. Unfortunately, in the past decade we have seen the military budget repeatedly used as a bargaining chip and constantly hear of Democrats' desires to cut defense spending in preference to social welfare programs. Our service members are asked to live in substandard housing on bases, active duty personnel and veterans are experiencing record high levels of suicide, and financial stress wreaks havoc on loved ones. This situation is disgraceful and unacceptable. I will advocate for appropriately funding our military and Veterans Affairs facilities and programs to make sure our men and women in uniform have the tools to accomplish their missions, care for their families, and receive the help they deserve. This includes spending allocated funds more wisely by listening to the recommendations of generals and admirals and not funding programs based on political motives and self-interests.
There was a time when Republicans were fond of discussing the importance of traditional family values, such as personal responsibility, respect for oneself and others, protecting the vulnerable, and ensuring the optimal growth of our children. Over the past decades, many in the Republican Party used the principle of "family values" as a justification for their views on issues such as same-sex marriage and gender equality. As public opinion on these issues shifted drastically and a number of Republican leaders made repulsive comments about women and sexual minorities, Republicans shied away from discussing "family values." I have been married to my wife Kristen for over 12 years and have two wonderful daughters, in whom I am instilling a strong work ethic, a sense of personal responsibility, a desire to support those in need, and respect for all people. I believe that strengthening families and instilling these values in our children is good for America and will lead us all to a better place.
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