Read the Bills Act Coalition

Monday, December 3, 2007

A Letter from Eric Cantor

November 27, 2007

Dear Fellow Republican:
Our Party is at a crossroads. Our long march to majority status both nationally and in Virginia has stalled. We have lost consecutive elections. It’s time to lay aside the finger pointing and have an honest discussion about the direction our Party should take in the coming years. As a life long Republican and a Virginia Congressman I would like to add my thoughts to the discussion. First, our shared goal is not to just win elections and gain power for its own sake. Our goal should be to win elections so that we can give Virginia and America common sense conservative government. We want to strengthen families and keep our children safe. We want limited government and lower taxes because that brings more freedom and more prosperity. We want better schools because a good education is the key to success in the information age. And we want to foster and preserve the traditional moral values which made this country a beacon to the world. As a Party, we can do all this and more. To those who would say we have to abandon our principles and become more like the Democrats, I respectfully disagree. That violates the very reason we are active in politics and government. It is simply pursuing power for power’s sake. But, to those who say we need to harken back to the 80’s and early 90’s, I respectfully say that the world has changed and we must change with it. The American people want practical, common sense, solutions to the problems facing them in everyday life. The people want a smaller more frugal government which taxes them less, they want a quality education for their children, a good job, economic prosperity and retirement security. And, while people want access to affordable health care, they also want to control their own health care decisions. Our opponents in the Democrat Party are completely bankrupt of ideas. Lacking any positive agenda they run universally negative campaigns, and when they win elections they look to the European left as a model for how to govern. Consider for a moment what they are actually trying to do with their new found majorities:
• Expand government funded health insurance for “uninsured poor children” to include adults
making between $60,000 and $80,000 a year.
• Hammer small businesses with a massive tax increase, just as the economy is slowing.
• Demand that American taxpayers pay for abortions in foreign countries. The Democrat’s fascination with creating a European style welfare state presents a huge opportunity for conservatives to step forward with a strong message for America’s middle class. Our job as a Party is to apply our conservative principles to solving America’s problems. It’s time to advocate a dramatic reform agenda which will make Virginia and America a better place to live, work, and raise a family. Now, I certainly don’t have all the answers, in fact the best answers will come when Republicans stop fighting old battles and take up the challenge of creating tomorrow’s solutions.
But, I have some ideas:
1. Reclaim Fiscal Responsibility:
Have you noticed that here in Virginia every six or seven years we face a “budget crisis” and the Governor immediately announces that he is solving the crisis by instituting 10%- 15% across the board reductions in “Agency Budgets”. No one ever notices what is cut, no one is thrown off welfare and no colleges shut their doors. Then the economy turns around and we restore the cuts and add to the budgets for good measure. This ongoing process of cuts and restorations proves beyond any reasonable doubt that billions of taxpayer dollars are being spent unnecessarily. Republicans need to passionately object to billions of dollars in outright waste in government! We must earn back the trust of the people and demonstrate that we are the Party of accountability and that we have no tolerance for wasteful spending!
2. Education Reform:
Currently, Virginia spends nearly four out of ten education dollars on the bureaucracy while only six out of ten reaches the classroom for instruction. What could be more in keeping with our conservative philosophy and make more sense than requiring that 65% of all education dollars go directly to the classroom for instruction? Education spending should put a priority on things like teacher salaries, computers, books… the things that make a real difference in making sure our children get a world class education. This simple change would free up over $400,000,000 for education without raising taxes. In the past Virginia Republicans stopped Outcome Based Education and pioneered the standards movement with our very own Standards of Learning. And, Virginia’s children are better off because we stood our ground. Now, Republicans need to take up the banner of education reform and launch a new battle to give our children the opportunities they deserve.
3. Defend Freedom and Values at Home:
Have you noticed how quickly the Democrats have moved to silence opposition and fund the extreme left? In Washington, Nancy Pelosi wants to empower the I.R.S. to review the sermons being given in churches. Here in Virginia, Tim Kaine is defunding Abstinence Based Education while increasing funding for Planned Parenthood. While I am sure that the irony of his stand is lost on the Governor, what cannot be denied is that Pelosi and Kaine do not share our respect for traditional values. Republicans have to stand firm and defend the traditional values which have made America great. For if we do not, we will leave our children a country that is starkly different from the one we inherited from our parents. Certainly, this is not exhaustive of all the ideas we need to champion. But, it is a starting point to begin a discussion about the direction of our Party.
To help facilitate an ongoing discussion I have posted a “Solutions Factory” on my website at On this site I am inviting all Americans to offer solutions to the problems facing our country. At the Solutions Factory, you can also rate and comment on the solutions offered by others. I am eternally optimistic about our country and our Party. The United States of America truly is a shining city on the hill and a beacon of freedom and opportunity for the whole world. At our best, the Republican Party reflects the optimism and “can do” attitude of our country. Our temporary defeats should call all of us to action to redouble our efforts and develop an optimistic vision to move our state and our country forward. I look forward to working with you and other like-minded Republicans as we create the solutions of tomorrow.
Eric Cantor
United States Congressman
Virginia, 7th District
P.S. We should never forget that as Virginian’s we stand on the shoulders of the great leaders who risked all to form our country. We are the heirs to Jefferson, Madison, and Henry. Each generation is called to tackle its own problems with creativity and passion. I for one believe our best days lie ahead of us, not behind. I call on you to join the discussion as we move our party boldly into the future.
Paid for and authorized by Cantor for Congress

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