Story by Chris Graham
Gil Davis views the campaign for the Republican Party lieutenant-governor nomination in stark black-and-white terms.
“We’re in a fight for the soul of the Republican Party that will determine whether we are the tax-and-spend party in Virginia or we are the party that aims to be fiscally responsible to the people of this great state,” the Fairfax attorney told The Augusta Free Press on Wednesday.
Davis is competing for the party nod in a crowded four-candidate primary that also features Mechanicsville Sen. Bill Bolling, Prince William County Board of Supervisors chair Sean Connaughton and Mount Solon Sen. Emmett Hanger.
One point about all three, Davis said, is that “they have all raised taxes” – despite their protestations on the campaign trail and elsewhere that they are fiscal conservatives.
Noting the role of lieutenant governor as presiding officer of the Virginia Senate, Davis lashed out at Bolling and Hanger and their GOP colleagues in the senior chamber of the state legislature for “not keeping their end of the bargain on the matter of the principle of limited government and accountability for government spending and making sure that taxes are not burdensome on the people who pay them.”
“No one is saying that the reason to run for this job, except for me, is to bring common sense to the job of being the presiding officer of the Virginia Senate,” Davis said. “As presiding officer, I’m not going to sit still for people making promises to the public about taxes and spending and then getting in there and breaking those promises. I don’t come to bring peace there. I come to bring a sword if necessary. That’s just my history. I’m a fighter.”
Davis said he will fight to make sure that the Commonwealth does right by its public-safety officers.
“The very reason that we have government is that people got together so that they could defend themselves from attack,” said Davis, who proposes taking steps to ensure that law-enforcement officers are paid commensurate to their value to society and to beef up their numbers in the wake of the demands that have been placed on them in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.
He promises as well to work toward solutions to transportation problems that make travel in Northern Virginia a daily nightmare.
“We have to do something on this soon, because if we don’t address those issues soon, we risk choking off the economic growth that is the engine that drives the economy of our Commonwealth,” Davis said.
“In Northern Virginia, people are net taxpayers. Which is important for the rest of the state, because that’s where a lot of money goes to help out communities that otherwise couldn’t afford the best schools and the best law enforcement that they can have at their disposal,” Davis said.
What the race will come down to eventually, though, is the tax issue.
“We all know that government doesn’t create anything. It spends money. And there are some things that it needs to spend money on, that the people can’t do for themselves, like public safety. But leaving the money in the hands of the taxpayers, as much as is possible, allows the private market to create jobs and wealth,” Davis said.
“It always sort of amazes me that you hear talk of a public sector and a private sector as if they’re two economic sectors. But there would not be a public sector if there wasn’t a private sector in America. There is no economic engine that government raises wealth from. It’s the ability of the private sector, private enterprise, to create jobs and innovations and all sorts of other things that sets the parameters for everything else,” Davis said.