Economic Prosperity and Job Creation
As a businessman, I know that government can’t create jobs, but it can foster a climate to make it easier for the private sector to prosper. That’s why I’ll continue to fight against tax increases that hurt businesses and families and why I’ll work to hold the line on state spending. There is also a continuing need to maintain a common sense regulatory environment that does not create unnecessary obstacles to starting or growing a business. If a regulation does not directly affect the health, welfare, or quality of life of citizens, then serious consideration should be given to removing that obstacle to growth. Additionally, I am a firm supporter of our strong “right-to-work” laws that give employees the freedom to choose whether or not to join a labor union.
During my time in the legislature I have supported an agenda that I believe strengthens our stature as the best state in which to do business. From my legislation to require that we prioritize spending in our budgetary process, sponsorship of efforts to strengthen our right-to-work laws, and recent opposition to the massive transportation tax increases, I have strived to create an environment for the best possible opportunity for growth in the private sector.
I am a firm believer in a free market system. Every citizen deserves the opportunity to pursue his or her dreams. Every worker should have the freedom to demand a higher wage; every business should have the freedom to demand the highest price for its product; every consumer should have the freedom to demand the lowest cost on a product or service. However, no government should mandate these desires or guarantee success for one group of individuals or businesses to the detriment of another group.
Ensuring a Quality Education for all Virginians
The Commonwealth consistently has one of the top ranked public education systems in the United States. However, in today’s competitive global marketplace we not only need to have the best schools in the nation, but in the world. The world is changing dramatically and our education system must adapt with it. Pouring more money into school systems is not necessarily always the answer. All options and avenues must be utilized to improve the educational opportunities for children across the Commonwealth. I have supported initiatives that work to ensure that regardless of your zip code or income level, your child can receive a quality education. These include measures to create a scholarship program for disadvantaged kids to attend private schools, the expansion of charter schools and virtual schools in Virginia, directing more of our existing dollars directly into the classroom, and efforts to reward our best and brightest teachers with additional compensation.
One of the biggest challenges I face as a state legislator is finding the appropriate balance between holding our educators and students accountable, while recognizing that the school system cannot be expected to pick up all of the slack if parents or students are failing to hold up their end of the bargain. The public schools cannot be expected to be “babysitters” for our children. For this reason, I chose to carry legislation in 2011 and 2012 which delayed the implementation of new requirements on school systems to allow them to focus on their core responsibilities. This was necessary at the time, given that schools resources were still stretched thin because of the recent recession.
I believe it is necessary to provide law enforcement with the tools they need to bring criminals to justice. It’s also absolutely essential to look out for the safety and the well-being of victims. This is why I have patroned several measures to protect victims and make our communities a safer place to live. Among these are initiatives to expand the Address Confidentiality Program which helps protect victims of domestic violence, the creation of a presumption against granting bail for defendants who threaten a witness, and a measure to make it a crime for bail bondsmen to exploit defendants seeking bond. I have also patroned measures which increase the penalty for soliciting a minor for prostitution, strengthen our texting while driving laws, and ensure defendants that commit heinous crimes post sufficient bond to guarantee they appear in court.
Defending the Second Amendment
As a lifelong sportsman and concealed carry permit holder, I am a strong supporter of our 2nd Amendment rights to keep and bear arms. I have fought attempts to restrict the rights of law-abiding citizens to use firearms for self-defense or for sporting purposes, and I will always support the rights of innocent citizens to defend themselves and their families from those who would seek to do harm. I have had the opportunity to support measures which eliminate unnecessary firearm restrictions and further expand the rights of lawful gun owners. I will continue to support such measures.
The Right to Life
I am firmly pro-life. I will continue to do everything in my power to prevent our tax money from providing abortions. In cases where a mother chooses to have an abortion, I have and will continue to support efforts that ensure that she is fully aware of the decision she is making and all of the alternative options available to her. I also supported and signed on as a co-patron to the measure which ensures that when abortions are performed, they are performed in a safe, clean environment with all of the proper equipment available.
While there is a need for a safety net to protect the economically disadvantaged from falling into dire conditions, in most cases such entitlement programs should be designed as temporary assistance, rather than long term, which undoubtedly creates a culture of dependence. Furthermore, I support efforts which crack down on abuse, fraud, and unnecessary waste in these programs. I successfully carried a measure which prohibits TANF (welfare) recipients from purchasing inappropriate items with taxpayer dollars, such as alcohol and tobacco products. I intend to continue to pursue reforms such as this that ensure tax dollars are being used for their intended purpose.