I hope and trust you and your family are well. All is good with the Frederick family, with one exception, and we’ve had a fruitful (and eventful) year. Grace and Isabel joined their first soccer teams; Michael is at the top of his swim class (probably aided by his buoyancy – he’s 20 months old and only one pound lighter than his 4 year old sister); Amy and her 60 Plus Association had unprecedented election year involvement; and I focused on the businesses and helped out where I could in the political space.
And, with one election year behind us, we in Virginia get to look forward to another just around the corner. Before we get much deeper into the campaigns, I wanted to share my thoughts with you on two of those races: Lieutenant Governor (LG) and Attorney General (AG).
For LG, Amy and I will be supporting our friend and (now) delegate Scott Lingamfelter. Scott and I served together in the House of Delegates where we were close allies. He was there for me in my tough re-election efforts, and in the early stages of my campaign for state party chairman, he offered his support without hesitation. Scott also was among the first people to encourage me to run for the state Senate last year. In that race, he went beyond the call of duty in helping me to lock up the nomination and was a true partner for the general election campaign. Additionally, it is worth mentioning that he served our nation in combat as an Army officer, retiring a Colonel. He is grounded by his wife Shelley, and is the father of three.
But in addition to all of that, Scott has a long and diverse voting record – and I can tell you it’s solid. During his time in elective office, he’s fought the right battles and has always stood strong for freedom and liberty. We can count on him to continue that fight as Lt. Governor, evidenced not simply because he says the right things now that he is seeking higher office, but rather because he’s got nearly 10 years of votes and sponsored legislation to prove it.
Finally, and importantly, for a guy who has spent his life in serving his Commonwealth and his country, having been awarded two titles of high honor (Delegate and Colonel), the titles he values most are husband and father. His service is rooted in faith and family. Period.
Learn more about Scott at his website, http://vote4scott.com/.
With respect to AG, we’re supporting Rob Bell, another former colleague of mine in the House of Delegates. I don’t think many would disagree that in his 5 terms in the House, Rob – a former state prosecutor – has distinguished himself as a top leader on judicial and criminal justice issues. There isn’t a property rights or criminal justice law passed over the last decade that didn’t have Rob’s fingerprints on it, and more likely, one that he wasn’t taking the lead on. Virginia is a safer place to live, work, and raise a family because of Rob’s work. Really. He is beyond qualified for the AG job.
Rob also has a solid voting record on all issues important to conservatives like me; he co-authored the Property Rights Amendment that just passed; is an Eagle Scout; and is married with two kids. Plus, Rob understands better than most that he works for the people who he represents and sets the standard for many in being responsive and accessible to his constituents. We often compared notes on that.
You can learn more about Rob at http://www.robbellforag.com/.
And, for both Scott and Rob, I’ve never seen either of them cast aside friends or principal in pursuit of some short term political opportunity. Which brings me to…
While I always prefer to be for someone than against someone, I’d be remiss if I wasn’t completely candid with you about serious doubts I have about a couple other candidates running for these offices.
During my time in public office I quickly learned that the real test of one’s character and commitment isn’t simply what they say. Talk is cheap. Rather it is how one conducts themselves — and more specifically, what they choose to do or not do when the heat is on. Are they consistent when the pressure is unbearable, or are they quick to sell out to relieve that pressure? Further, in this time when so many politicians say one thing and do another, I think it is instructive to take any and every opportunity to look beyond the rhetoric and try to determine who a candidate really is.
There are two people I’d like to warn you about.
I got to know Susan Stimpson (who is running for LG) during my time as RPV Chairman and in the period prior when I was seeking that job. I considered her a friend. Yet, she was a strong ally of Bill Howell (she owes her current elective office to his blessing in her seeking it). When she announced her candidacy for LG and in the subsequent time since, her rhetoric has reflected the exact opposite of the person I knew. Of course, she sounds great now (convenient as she pursues statewide office), but my experience is that she is a top-down establishment Republican who is more interested in position and power rather than her recent claims to be about people and principle. It is only because her public record is so brief that she has been so effective at leading others to believe she’s something she is not. And, I should mention that she was among the loudest voices in supporting the effort to reverse the will of the grassroots in removing me as state chairman.
Unlike Susan, Mark Obenshain (running for AG) does have a long voting record, and, in all honesty – it’s not bad. But for someone who I counted on as a friend and an ally in the legislature, I was shocked to find Mark’s name on a letter calling for my removal as RPV chairman. When I called him on it at the time, the best excuse he could muster was that he was now in the state senate party leadership and he had to go along with the other senate GOP leadership in coming out against me. Now, if he’s willing to compromise friends and principle because of some “leadership” position, it seems it wouldn’t take much for him to “go along” when something of real importance hangs in the balance — when politics dictates that doing so will further one’s ambitions — and especially for someone who is pursuing a position of even greater leadership.
I hesitated sharing this less-than-positive information with you, but putting aside any personal animosity I may have for these two people, there are few truly defining moments in political careers, particularly young careers. The battle – not for my chairmanship—but for our efforts to create a bottom-up, grassroots controlled, and effective Republican Party of Virginia was one of those watershed moments for our Party and these two people chose to stand with the status quo and the corrupt party establishment instead of the very grassroots they now claim to represent.
The nominations for these offices will be determined by a statewide Republican convention. If you’re interested in participating, please pay close attention to announcements from your local GOP unit committee on the process in becoming a delegate to the state convention. Generally, everyone/anyone who wants to go can, but you must participate in the process to get there – which will start not long after the new year. Feel free to reach out to any of the campaigns for further information – I’m certain they’d receive your interest enthusiastically. Of course, I’m happy to help however I can too.
All politics aside, as we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, we should keep in mind how very blessed we are all to live in a nation where our freedoms to worship, assemble, and speak our minds is protected and encouraged. I’m grateful for the so many ways Christ has blessed me and my family, including being able to count you as a friend.
Look forward to the latest edition of our family Christmas card, but until then, best wishes for health and prosperity in these closing weeks of 2012.
P.S. That exception I mentioned earlier: Amy’s dad Pat. He doesn’t have much time left with us, but we are blessed by each new day – especially those in which he does not suffer – that he remains on this earth. Please keep him in your prayers.