Another primary season is wrapping up and numerous questions are circulating in my brain as my email and mailbox are daily filled with campaign literature. So should any candidate happen to read this piece, here are but a few of those random thoughts and if you are a voter, perhaps they will encourage you to take time to ask questions of your own before June 3rd.
If you are a candidate running as a Republican, I already know that you are a “conservative, Christian, love President Reagan and the Second Amendment, hate Obamacare, and have family values.” But what I really need is for you to venture beyond the campaign sound bites and provide answers that show me that you are more conservative or qualified than the incumbent, or, if the Republican incumbent, what you accomplished while serving in that office that truly sets you apart from the competition.
When you tell me that you believe in the principles of limited government, how does that square with the current trend of legislating for economic development? I find myself at odds with many who support this concept of incentivizing one industry over another as it is not indicative of a true free market system. Yes, it does bring jobs to Alabama, but at what cost? Is this not simply corporate welfare and crony capitalism? And what is your opinion regarding the numerous economic development junkets available to elected officials? Those trips can leave a bitter taste for Alabamians who find it harder by the day to afford even a weekend trip to the beach.
I am absolutely not a single-issue voter but I do need to know where you stand on the Common Core issue. If you support Common Core or subscribe to the corporate education reform talking points of a state-led initiative, I have serious doubts that you really understand the danger in the further expansion of government. Beware the Trojan Horse – I was one of those naïve Americans who thought the Patriot Act didn’t pose issues for law-abiding citizens but we now know how it opened that slippery slope to all sorts of privacy concerns.
Remember that if you campaign on reducing taxes, yet support the implementation of increased or even new fees, putting lipstick on a pig is always a very poor attempt of disguising the pig.
If you are running for a seat in the Alabama Legislature, what will guide you in your voting? Are you willing to lead the charge of slowing down the flurry of legislation in order to fully understand the purpose and consequence of the bills introduced? Or, will you succumb to the pressure and cast hasty votes because of outside (financial) pressure that is not from the constituency that you were elected to represent?
What is your current means of employment, especially if seeking a legislative seat? Your answer matters to me because too many of our public servants have found lucrative contracts for themselves or members of their family after being elected and I find those to be serious ethics issues which violate the public trust.
Regarding your campaign, how are you using your campaign funds? That’s becoming an issue of major importance to voters as we learn of more and more abuse of those funds as well as the sources behind the funding and the various attack ads. I am becoming far more perceptive than ever when it comes to the nasty mailers and innuendos spread by so-called media sources. Openness and transparency are of vital importance and that extends to funding at all levels of the political spectrum.
As candidates make numerous campaign pledges during the primary season that I truly hope are sincere, I want to share that I have made a pledge of my own – to become a more informed voter than ever before. I admit to being fooled more than once by a “conservative” candidate, but I believe those hard-learned lessons have only made me more discerning. I also pledge to share what I learn with family and friends because of the most important and valuable lesson learned over the last few years – the political ruling class thrives on an uninformed voter.
Marcia Chambliss is the Alabama State Coordinator of Smart Girl Politics, a 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to the education and training of activists and candidates, and Smart Girl Politics Action, http://sgpaction.com/, a 501(c)(4) which focuses on conservative issues. She can be reached at: Marcia@sgpaction.com. Her views do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Smart Girl Politics Action.