I supported Trey Gowdy over Bob Inglis in 2010. I have been a donor to the Senate Conservatives Fund to help elect strong conservatives like Marco Rubio in Florida, Ted Cruz in Texas, and Rand Paul in Kentucky. I’m opposed to nation building, I oppose domestic drone usage, and I’m for the SC Fair Tax Act. I’m for registration by party and a Republican Primary that’s limited to Republican voters. I cannot stand the establishment elitism that has held our state back, and hindered critical reforms like school choice and government restructuring, while picking winners and losers in our state’s economy.
I’m a reform –minded Republican, who is also an inclusive conservative.
That’s why, over the past several months, I’ve been confused as few detractors around our state have questioned my conservative credentials while attempting to paint me as a moderate sell-out. These accusations are as unfounded as they are outright untrue. I’ve spend my entire adult life as a conservative in the fight, and I want to see our state live up to its potential with a truly efficient government that works for all the people, not for some special interests. Additionally, I have great fear and trepidation over the soaring federal debt, consolidation of governmental authority at the national level and a seemingly systematic effort to undermine our founding values, namely our historic belief that our rights come from God, not from government.
In thinking through these unfounded allegations against me, I think I have isolated the two primary points of contention that some have attempted to leverage against me: 1.) My position on the Republican Primary and 2.) My stance on comprehensive immigration reform. Allow me to address each clearly and succinctly. I oppose the nomination of Republican candidates by the GOP convention, but not for the reasons some have stated. I don’t support maintaining a primary election process because I want to protect special interests or a few well connected politicos. Instead, I support it because I want conservative South Carolinians who are busy raising families and putting food on the table to have a voice in the selection of Republican candidates for office, regardless if they attend precinct reorganization. This, however, doesn’t mean that I believe we should leave our primary open to Democrats voting for Republican nominees. That’s why I have consistently, unwaveringly, supported registration by party and a closed primary process wherein only registered Republicans can vote in the GOP primary. This registration by party concept just makes common sense for both major political parties to pursue.
With regard to the issue of immigration, I have maintained a clear position of being committed to both 1.) the rule of law and 2.) our nation’s heritage of being a nation of immigrants. These are not mutually exclusive goals by any stretch. Our current immigration system is fundamentally broken, and our current immigration laws are contradictory and incoherent. For these reasons, I believe in a comprehensive approach to a wholesale revamping of our nation’s immigration policy. The word “comprehensive” isn’t code for amnesty, nor is it a four-letter word; instead, it is the recognition that a wholesale reform is needed in this instance. I believe that any comprehensive bill should include border security, thus ensuring operational control of all US borders (land and sea). At the same time, I also recognize the tremendous advantage to America of millions of new immigrants bringing their talents, gifts and abilities to the table in our country. Immigrants have always enriched the American experience, not taken from it. In fact, the Cato Institute, a pro-free-market think tank, has completed study after study confirming the economic advantage that comes with immigrants coming to our country. Read more about their conclusions here: http://www.cato.org/blog/heritage-immigration-study-fatally-flawed.
With regard to undocumented immigrants currently in our country, I understand the emotion on both sides. There are millions who believe that anyone who came to America illegally should have to return to their home country and reapply for admission. I also understand, however, how millions of new immigrants have made their homes in America, in many cases being brought to our country as minors, and know no other home. Deporting such individuals would be unfair and, in my view, unnecessary. My belief is that we should support a solution that ensures no third wave of illegal immigration comes into America illegally, while ensuring that millions of people who are already here are treated with humanity. This means that anyone who wishes to stay in America, who came here illegally, ought to pay a fine, pay back taxes, learn English, pass a citizenship exam and apply for citizenship at the back of the line – behind those who have already applied for US Citizenship legally.
We cannot simply blame undocumented immigrants for a problem created on both sides of the border. I have heard it said that, here in America, we have long had two signs at our borders: one that reads “Help Wanted,” and the other that reads “Keep the Hell Out.” Obviously, these are contradictory messages, which have contributed to our present circumstance. The immigration confusion our country is currently in has been a long time coming, and there is no one group of people to blame. What I’ve advocated doing is living up to our national values with regard to the rule of law, and being a nation of immigrants, at the same time. I understand that this is a controversial debate, but I believe in the rightness of treating people with dignity, while also upholding the rule of law. I don’t support a no-consequences approach to those who have come to America illegally, nor do I support mass deportations of people who have made their home in America. There is a better way.
Finally, my overall approach to conservative politics is one of inclusiveness. I believe that pro-faith, pro-family, pro-free-market policies are positive for all people, of all colors, backgrounds, ages and both genders. I believe in the universality of freedom. For all of these reasons, I want to see conservatives engage with all communities in our state and country, bringing people who are Black, White, Latino, Asian, Jew and Gentile together around the table of brotherhood to stand-up for natural marriage between a man and a woman, the protection of precious life in the womb, the nucleic family and free-market enterprise. With inclusiveness in mind, this dream can be realized and South Carolina will be the stronger for it and American the greater for it.
To those who would accuse me of abandoning my convictions, I would answer you by saying that I’m trying to spread the message of freedom so that others might share our convictions. I have never wavered in remaining, in the words of Mike Pence, a “Christian, Conservative, Republican,” and that is exactly why I want to include more of our brothers and sisters in the fight for human freedom, not less.