Republican Representation

I spoke at the York County Republican Committee meeting last week. My message to the grassroots committee folks was that their District (America’s First) Committee and the State Central Committee had not stuttered in their opposition to tax increases in ’04 or now in ’06. This opposition to new taxes for transportation was warmly received at the meeting. One of Republican Sen. Marty Williams’ aides was there. She said she was surprised (Shocked! Shocked, I tell you!) that so many were against new taxes because they have not heard from constituents opposing the tax. That is interesting in several regards.

How can any politician get elected to public office in Virginia, and especially in Tidewater, and not know the political culture that put them in office? Virginians, and especially Tidewater folks, have a special respect and trust for elected officials – because they are expected to keep their campaign promises and do what is right. It’s not gentlemanly and ladylike to nag politicians on every issue. Once elected, a politician – Democrat or Republican – becomes ‘our’ representative and has a pretty good chance to hold on to office for as long as they don’t abuse power. Exceptions prove the rule.

So, apparently, a Republican elected to the State Senate has to be told by his constituents to not raise their taxes – or he will just listen to the squeaky wheel of those special interests who profit from government spending. This begs more questions.

Does a State Senator represent those who nominate him from one political party, and the wider electorate that elected him for his campaign of lower taxes, limited government, etc., or just those who contact him during the legislative session?

Does a State Senator ignore the Republican Party of Virginia creed – which he hears or repeats at every GOP gathering – because special interests activists want him to do so?

Does a State Senator not understand the principles of the Party – and the underlying reasons (Like taxes kill jobs. Lower taxes limit government. Taxes, opportunity and individual freedom are cojoined…) so he has to be reminded for every vote?

It seems that Republican representation requires Republicans to remind some Republican legislators what the Republican principles and positions are on issues. What a bore to have to do that. Yet, I guess it’s necessary.

Okay, Republicans across the Commonwealth, please contact your State legislators and remind them to not forget to vote AGAINST new, extra taxes. While you are at, you might remind them that we, Republicans, are for Motherhood and apple pie.


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10 responses to “Republican Representation”

  1. Anonymous Avatar

    Who paid for the pie? Was it free? I can assure you every other person in any given state senator’s door begging for this program or that tax credit or an increase in salary or better Medicaid payments to doctors….is a Republican.

    Maybe not a member of those sainted local party committees, they who have no real lives, but rank and file Bush and Reagan voters. You should have seen Senate Finance yesterday — a room full of uniformed sheriff’s deputies asking for higher pension benefits which of course increase the required payments into the VRS. Could any of those sheriff’s been….Republicans? You betcha. And all over the offices upstairs? White coated physicians by the score.

    We have met the enemy and it is us.

  2. Virginia Centrist Avatar
    Virginia Centrist

    I dunno. Maybe people just don’t care about new taxes.

  3. Rtwng Extrmst Avatar
    Rtwng Extrmst

    Of course the other possibility is some Senators only care about the constituents that elected them when they are in an election campaign.

    I contacted my Senator’s office (he shall remain nameless, but fancies himself an “independent Republican”) two days ago to find out if he plans to have any public meetings to discuss legislation or garner input from his constituents. I have yet yo get any response at all. Not even a “thank you for contacting us, we will get back to you shortly”. These people don’t care about real Leadership, only what feeds their egos.

  4. James Atticus Bowden Avatar
    James Atticus Bowden

    Anon: I have no doubt that the majority of lobbyists in a majority Republican state are Republican. My focus was on the elected official, and Party member, being lobbied, not on the lobbyist.

    Good point, though. Who isn’t self-serving?

  5. Anonymous Avatar

    Rtwng Extrmst –

    I have read several of your posts over the past few months and you seem very knowledgeable about the GA and how it operates.

    That said, you should know that trying to contact your representative while he/she is in session is in is next to impossible. That’s why people show up in groups and hire lobbyists. All of the sheriff’s and doctors being there at once did not happen by coincidence.

    It’s just the nature of the beast. Regular citizens who want to participate in the legislative process are really overshadowed by larger groups of people. It’s sad but true.

    Given your knowledge of how the system works I am surprised you even thought you would get a response. I have been in a State Senator’s office when session is in and seen first hand the hundreds of e-mail’s and letters that arrive each day.

    It’s truly not possible to respond to each inquiry. There is simply too much to do in such a short period of time.

    Of course, we could hire more Legislative Assistants but that would require more money, which would ultimately mean higher taxes. You can’t have it both ways.

  6. I dunno either, James. I kind of expect elected representatives to be engaged and thinking about the actual situation they are faced with at any given moment, not just acting like wind-up toys. Conditions do change, and people do have disagreements over the exact scope of phrases like “individual freedom,” you know.

    It seems a little petulant to complain that they might pay attention to the concerns of those constituents who actually bother to contact them. Do you just not want to have to go to all that trouble?

  7. Anonymous Avatar

    Elected officials tend to pay attention to people or groups who make the most noise most effectively. Relatively small groups who very much want specific things (higher pensions for law enforcement officials) are often far more forceful – and therefore successful – than a much larger group who may prefer the opposite (lower taxes and therefore lower benefits) but who are not nearly as affected by the issue as the first group is. Each individual taxpayer will be only slightly affected by higher pensions for state law enforcement employees; however, each law enforcement employee will be greatly affected by higher pensions and so have an incentive to lobby harder for it.

  8. Rtwng Extrmst Avatar
    Rtwng Extrmst

    Anon,

    I understand your point about lobbyists, but I do not agree on the benfits issue. Budgets and revenues go up every year based on existing taxes. Why should there be a need to greatly increase taxes except to greatly increase spending as well? There should be plenty of growth already built into the system to adequately cover things like Sheriffs’ pay and benefits, etc.

    And if you are the same Anon that answered with regard to my Senator:

    I disagree. It takes no staff to set-up a response so that at least I know he got the email. That is of course unless he is not interested in me knowing that he received it. Also, other Senators have responded to me specifically, I don’t see why he cannot. My Delegate answers my emails very promptly as well. Finally, I know of some Senators who schedule regular town meetings with their constituents during the session. This appears to me to be more than just “being too busy” on his part.

  9. Anonymous Avatar

    The economy is good right now.

    We need to get all the taxes we can and invest the money as well as possible.

    When the next slump comes, THEN we can cut taxes, and know that we have done the best we can to provide for future needs.

    It is a lot better than doing nothing and then trying to catch up on 20 years of do-nothing.

  10. Jim Bacon Avatar

    Anonymous 1:16, “20 years of do nothing?” In Virginia? Surely you jest. Just how much money does state government need, and how much does the budget have to outstrip the growth in inflation and population, in order to meet your definition of “doing something”?

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