Allen stumps in Valley for re-election
Story by Chris Graham
It was somebody on the dais that first brought up the words White House.
U.S. Sen. George Allen, for his part, is focused on the task at hand – namely, what could prove to be a tough Senate re-election battle.
“I don’t know what the future will hold. All I do know is what I can focus on now – and that is doing the job and also getting re-elected this year,” Allen told The Augusta Free Press after an event in Harrisonburg earlier today in which he announced his candidacy for re-election to the United States Senate.
“My father, the football coach, would say, ‘The future is now.’ It’s very hard to predict the future – but the future right now is running for re-election,” Allen said.
Allen, a Republican who was elected to the Senate in 2000 and served as governor of Virginia from 1994 to 1998, will face former Reagan administration Navy secretary James Webb or Northern Virginia businessman Harris Miller in November.
A Wall Street Journal poll released last month shows a potential Allen-Webb race being tighter than Virginia Republicans might be comfortable with – Allen came in at 48.9 percent in the survey conducted March 22-27, with Webb registering 41.7 percent in the polling.
Speaking to more than 200 local Republicans in downtown Harrisonburg this morning, Allen played to his political strengths.
“Ever since I held Mr. Jefferson’s seat across the mountain in Albemarle County, I’ve defined myself as a common-sense, Jeffersonian conservative. That means I trust free people and free enterprise. I don’t like limits, I don’t like restrictions or dictates from a nanny government,” Allen told the gathering.
Allen defended the ongoing war on terror – “We all know since 9/11 our world has changed,” he said. “We’re down the front lines in many cases in homeland security. Our own Virginia was hit in Arlington County at the Pentagon. We need to make sure that American families are safe and secure in these challenging, dangerous times.”
“This is going to be a long war – a long war on global terrorism. It is one, though, where we have to have a strategy of we win, they lose – and there is no substitute for victory,” Allen said.
The senator also touched on the issue that has been the subject of much debate across the country in recent weeks – immigration.
“Securing our homeland also means securing our borders,” Allen said, to cheers. “We are a land and a nation of immigrants. My mother is an immigrant – who came to this country after World War II. Immigration and immigrants from the founding of this country have been part of the fabric and the settlement and the building of this country. We are also, though, a nation of laws – and one of the first responsibilities of government is to secure our borders. A country that cannot secure its own borders cannot control its own destiny.”
Allen said the federal government needs to “make a much better concerted effort in an area that’s been long neglected – to secure our borders with actual fences, virtual fences, more personnel and detention centers on the borders.”
“And as we work to adjust and create a legal temporary-worker system, which is important for our economy, we should not reward illegal behavior with amnesty. That would only encourage more illegal behavior,” Allen said.
Allen also pledged to work hard to continue tax policies enacted in recent years that he said “makes it conducive for people to take a risk, invest and create jobs.”
“When I came into the Senate in 2001, the economy was slowing down – and we saw the need to reinvigorate our economy. Jobs were being lost. I was proud to cosponsor three rounds of tax cuts that reduce taxes on families and individuals and small-business owners. And in fact we did reduce taxes – income, capital gains, dividends taxes, even the tax on death,” Allen said.
“All of these tax cuts have helped spur our economy,” Allen said. “There have well over 5.2 million new jobs created in the last several years. But with the strange way that they do things up in Washington, all of these tax cuts expire in the next one to four years. Which means that our goal should be to prevent tax increases. Tax increases will stifle our economy.”