Home Mark Obenshain: Inauguration reflections

Mark Obenshain: Inauguration reflections


Well, here we are. It is inauguration weekend in Richmond, and we are going to witness the swearing in of three Democrats—for Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and attorney general. Bill and Hillary Clinton will be there. I hear that Vice President Biden will be in attendance. Undoubtedly, a coterie of Hollywood luminaries will show up for portions of the festivities.

obenshain2I’ll also be there, on the portico of the Capitol, to witness the event, and I encourage you to watch it—and to remember it.  As Republicans, we have our work cut out for us over the next four years.

For me, the occasion will be bittersweet, but it will fortify my commitment to work over the next four years to ensure that we have a very different situation onJanuary 15, 2018.

I congratulate Governor-elect McAuliffe, Lt. Governor-elect Northam, and Attorney General-elect Herring on their victories, and will look for opportunities to work together with them for the best interest of Virginians. There will be many such opportunities.

Unfortunately, however, the incoming Administration is one that is guided by a philosophical compass that is very different from yours and mine. We all know what to expect from the new Administration. But if nothing else, this will give Republicans the opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to mainstream Virginia values.

The fight for limited government, personal freedom and conservative principles that get results is not over.  We have to continue to fight together for policies that expand the realm of personal freedom and make Virginia a better place to live, work, and raise a family. And we have to continue to reach out to Republicans, Independents, and conservative Democrats to find common ground in pursuing that goal.

We need to continue to communicate that vision, and to do so in a way that connects the principles of fiscal responsibility, individual freedom, and personal responsibility to the day-to-day lives, hopes, and dreams of the people of Virginia.

Together, we need to work hard to make Virginia a better place to create jobs—good jobs—so we can give Virginians a hand up, not a handout.

We need to fight for educational choice, providing accountability and opportunity for communities where schools are failing their kids.

We have to work to see that Virginia is a good steward of taxpayer dollars, so that the people of Virginia can keep more of what they earn.

In short, we must continue to fight for conservative principles—mainstream principles—that get results for the people of Virginia.

With Democrats occupying all three statewide offices here in Virginia, having a strong and united voice from the Republican Party, guided by these principles, is more important than ever. And it’s not enough for us to be guided by these principles; we need to talk about how they will make a difference in the daily lives of our fellow Virginians.

In Washington, D.C., we are seeing the end result of big government arrogance and incompetence with this disastrous Obamacare rollout.  After three years and $640 million the federal government could not even build a working website. But even worse, despite the promises of President Obama and many Democrats, we’re now seeing hundreds of thousands of our fellow Americans losing health insurance they like and want to keep. This fall, we’re going to work together to make sure we hold senator mark warner accountable for being the decisive vote that gave us Obamacare.

But it’s not enough to oppose big government blunders and abuses. We have to be for something; we have to put our principles into practice working for the good of all Virginians.

That means working to create jobs, giving Virginians a hand up, not a hand out. It means working for educational choice, accountability, and opportunity for communities where schools are failing children. It means continuing to stand for the protection of innocent human life, and making the case for why individuals are better equipped than the government to decide how to spend their hard-earned resources. It means reaching out to entrepreneurs and small business owners in immigrant communities before it’s an election year to explain not just why the other side is mistaken, but how our policies will help them grow their businesses and create greater opportunity for their kids.

We’re frankly playing catch up in a lot of these communities. These are political mission fields, and we must start this work.

If we want to continue to have a voice in the direction our Commonwealth is headed, this work has to start. This weekend is a good time to begin.

Mark Obenshain is a Virginia state senator.



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