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Joe Mann Speech

Joe Mann Speech
May 22, 1995
Becky Norton Dunlop

Thank you for allowing me to participate at this event for Joe Mann, I know that you are all keeping hectic schedules as we head into the election season. Time is a scarce commodity during a campaign, but it is always useful to make time to refocus on the fundamental principles that bind us together as a party and as citizens of this Commonwealth.

As a party we have presented our common goals by our demonstrated allegiance to the Republican Party. But when it comes to the many small decisions we make each day that constitute public policy, we Republicans sometimes find that the seemingly insignificant decisions we make, or positions we take, lead us somewhere we never intended to go.

It is, therefore, vital that we remain true to our goals, and the principles of limited government, to which we subscribe. In the public policy arena we must continue to ask ourselves if the decisions we make, no matter how insignificant they may seem, are true to the principles we espouse. We must not be swayed by the temptations of political expediency. We’ve got to keep our eyes on the ball.

As we head into this year’s important election season, we must be united in purpose. As Governor Allen recently said, “We want to do better than the tired, old status quo in Richmond. We want to bring about new ideas, fresh thinking and positive leadership for the hard-working, taxpaying, law-abiding, common sense people of Virginia.”

I don’t need to tell this group how important it is that we end the majority party’s entrenched control of the House of Delegates and State Senate this November!

Last November the citizens of America purged Washington of the tired ideas and arrogant individuals that haunted the halls of the US Congress. This year our focus is on matters closer to home.

I believe that 100 years of a Democrat-controlled General Assembly is quite enough -arguably too much-, and if there was ever doubt in anyone’s mind about that, certainly this last session replete with its ill manners, rudeness, ad hominem venom, and railroading of partisan agencies removed all remaining questions.

Never has there been a Virginia General Assembly more desperate to hang on to power for power’s sake. Never has any General Assembly gone to further lengths to avoid taking an honest vote on a Governor’s budget proposal. And never before has the General Assembly employed more shameful, sneaky tactics to avoid honest debate, honest discussions and honest change. But with the hard work and dedication of this group and others, never again will the citizens of Virginia be subjected to such a spectacle.

Amazingly though, despite the efforts of the majority party in the General Assembly, Governor Allen made great strides toward fulfillment of the promises he made to Virginians when they elected him. Of course, these successes wouldn’t have come without the efforts of our great Republican legislators who were willing to stand up for what was right!

I’d like to take a few moments to talk with you about the philosophy, goals and principles of Governor Allen and also to discuss some of the progress we’ve made. 

Federalism

Let me first touch on Federalism Constitutional liberty is a key underlying principle guiding all our actions.

Governor Allen appointed me as co-chair of The Governor’s Council on Federalism and Self-determination. It has been rewarding and challenging position for me, and it is with great enthusiasm that I am participating in the work of this council. Our charge is to advise the Governor and theExecutive agencies and officials on State-federal relations and reforms.

His Executive Order establishing the Council also establishes the policy of the Commonwealth regarding the State-federal relationship in several other ways, including reform initiatives and proposed constitutional changes to reinvigorate federalism and empower the States. One of the ideas we are discussing is a Constitutional amendment providing 2/3 of the states with power to reject a federal law or regulation. Not easy, but an important safety valve.

President Reagan predicted that the 21st Century would be the “Century of the States,” and his optimism makes me optimistic. With a Congress of unusual vision now operating in Washington, I feel certain that great progress will be made as states reclaim their constitutional rights. So it is with great hope and enthusiasm that I serve Governor Allen, and all Virginians in this capacity.

Jobs and the Environment

    First and foremost, Governor Allen promised to strengthen economic development and create more job opportunities. And certainly, the Governor has worked hard to accomplish this task. There is no question that this has been the number one claim on his time.

The Governor’s economic development efforts resulted in a record $1.9 billion of direct capital investment in 1994. That is the most investment ever in Virginia in a single year. Additionally, 87,200 new jobs were created last year for Virginians.

But when we talk about a prospering economy we are really referring to a whole range of resulting benefits. The number of jobs or the dollars invested are only a couple of measurements of the benefits to our citizens. As Secretary of Natural Resources, I know, and the Governor knows, that an improving environment and a prospering economy are mutually dependent. This is a fundamental principle proven by years of empirical evidence from the world-over. 

That a growing economy and an improving environment are mutually dependent is a fact that has been well known to some for a long time and its acceptance is apparently gaining momentum among the political corrections crowd. You’ll see what I mean.

Try to guess who said this: “More than ever we must work to advance the twin goals of environmental protection and economic growth.”

•    If you guessed my former boss, President Reagan...you’re wrong.

•   If you guessed Speaker Newt Gingrich...you’re wrong.

•   If you guessed Governor Allen...you are wrong again.

It was Vice President Al Gore.

I’ll give you another chance. See if you can pin this statement on the right donkey (that’s a hint!): “We can throw out tons of old regulations without sacrificing an ounce of real protection. And if regulators and the people they regulate can become partners with the same goal -clean air, for example -then we get results in place of red tape.”

This is a nearly impossible guess...It was Vice President (Mr. Environment) Al Gore again.

So you can see, our message of truth is being heard and copied, but it remains to be seen if it has been understood. And that is why Governor Allen’s leadership on a national level is so critical. In the context of the new Congress, we need to make sure that the words we now hear at the federal level turn into policy that doesn’t flip-flop with the change of winds in Washington.

One of the principles that guide public policy in my secretariat is that excessive regulation is injurious to the environment. The agencies of my secretariat have begun a regulatory review process to make sure that all regulations on the books have a firm basis in sound science and encourage innovation and an improving environment.

The Allen Administration believes that government’s proper role is to help - not hinder - businesses in the private sector - to unleash the energy and creativity of the entrepreneurial spirit that creates jobs and overcomes challenges. The Allen Administration has championed positive tax and regulatory policies in all areas that have made Virginia conducive to investment, innovation, risk-taking, business growth, job creation and an improving environment.

And while Virginians prosper, it is this Administration’s intent to let them keep more of what they earn -Because people know better than government how best to spend their hard-earned money. This is a fundamental principle of government that we need always bare in mind.

But to let Virginians keep more of their hard-earned dollars in their own pocketbooks, we need new faces in the General Assembly – hearts and minds that share our commitment to economic growth and job creation!

Parole

Last year Governor Allen brought historic change to Virginia’s criminal justice system. The Governor abolished - once and for all – the lenient and deceitful parole system to put a stop to the violent acts of crime against Virginians by repeat offenders out on parole. He restored the principles of honesty, accountability and individual responsibility to our Commonwealth’s system of justice.

But abolishing parole and passing laws to make violent criminals stay behind bars longer will not work, unless there is space behind bars to keep the prisoners out of our neighborhoods and communities.

It is the height of hypocrisy and arrogance to vote for no parole, truth in sentencing, three strikes and then vote against prison construction.

As we saw in the recent Session, the current Assembly majority does not want to build prisons. They approved less than half of the prison construction proposed by the Governor.

In the Allen Administration, we believe all Virginians deserve better. We need people in the General Assembly who understand that public safety is the first obligation of state government.

Education

Our Governor also knows that education is the indispensable link between the abstract ideal of freedom and the tangible promise of opportunity and is another primary responsibility of state government. During his campaign, the Governor promised to reform and strengthen Virginia’s public schools.

Thomas Jefferson wrote, “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free…, it expects what never was and what never will be.”

The Governor is committed to true education reform that stresses high academic standards, accountability, and local, parental control as well as discipline in our schools and restructuring of our Commonwealth’s quality institutions of higher learning.

In the recent General Assembly Session, the Democrat majority distorted and rejected the Governor’s proposals to strengthen and reform public education, offering no new ideas of their own.

We tried to raise academic standards by putting teeth in the Standards of Learning, but the Democrat majority said no to higher standards.

We tried to make schools safer and help school teachers and administrators regain control of their classrooms. Schools need to be safe places of learning. Unfortunately, school officials often have to break up a fight or other classroom disturbances. And when they do, they are sometimes hit with frivolous lawsuits. We wanted to protect teachers, but the Democrats said no.

We tried to empower local communities and parents by putting more resources and more control at the local level. But Democrats said no to returning $300 million in lottery profits to localities for such local priorities as education. This would have been additional money to communities. The Democrats said no again.

They even said noto letting local communities decide about sex education programs, and noto requiring parental approval for sex education or psychological counseling. They even said no to requiring that a parent or guardian at least be notified when their minor daughter goes through the trauma of an abortion.

The Governor also put a lid on the cost of a college education, which was skyrocketing in previous administrations. To keep higher education affordable for working families, the Governor capped tuition increases for Virginia students at the rate of inflation.

The challenge in higher education is to preserve all that is good in our two- and four-year colleges and universities; improve our system of higher education; and keep it affordable for every Virginian who has the ability and determination to benefit from it.

That is why the Governor has insisted on restructuring and streamlining at our state colleges and universities. We want money to go where it is needed most - high-priority academic programs and course offerings.

These issues bring to light some of the most fundamental differences between the parties: one philosophy proceeds from the notion that people should be trusted to make the right decisions for themselves, their communities and their children; the other philosophy places the rights and responsibilities for guiding this Commonwealth’s future firmly in the hands of government bureaucrats.

We are moving in the right direction. But we must give our Governor more legislators in the General Assembly who share his philosophy and determination to improve Virginia!

Welfare

             Creating job opportunities is important. So is reforming our current welfare system, which has failed recipients and taxpayers alike. The Governor has kept that promise as well.

In March, the Governor signed into law one of the toughest, most sweeping, principled and pro-family welfare reform measures in the entire nation!

Wasteful Spending

           The Governor has also fought hard to restrain the growth in State government spending, which has tripled in just the last 15 years under the Democrat-controlled General Assembly.

We want to reduce the size, reach and cost of State government. We want to make it leaner and more efficient for Virginia’s taxpayers.

But when the Governor tried to cut wasteful spending by three percent - and even as little as one percent - out of a $32 billion State budget, the Democrats said no.

This is yet another reason why we need a new General Assembly -one that shares our commitment to ensure that the tax-paying people of Virginia are getting their money’s worth.

Despite embarrassingly blatant efforts by some in the General Assembly, the Governor stopped $20 million worth of wasteful spending on a new lottery building, and we succeeded in getting permission to sell the State yacht. 

The Allen Administration has come a long way, baby. And we have much more to accomplish for the citizens of Virginia. Imagine the progress that could be made with a strong-minded Republican majority at the helm. The Democrats have fought desperately to preserve their hold on power. We moved forward in spite of them, but there is much more to do. So let’s work hard this summer and fall to elect a Republican majority to the General Assembly.

George Allen has put Virginia and Virginians first with his campaign for honest change. Now, it’s time we all put Virginians first and continue this exciting reform campaign for honest change by sending help to the Governor - principled Republicans like Joe Mann to the General Assembly!