Story by Chris Graham
Taxes and spending have been a central issue for 24th Senate District Republican Party nomination candidates Emmett Hanger and Scott Sayre.
The New Dominion asked the candidates in interviews for our Internet radio podcast about a divide that seems to be in place between the two on their positions on fiscal issues – specifically over what it means to be a fiscal conservative and fiscally responsible.
“Actually, it started more in Northern Virginia as far as Virginia – and some in the Tidewater. It’s been sport in the party in Northern Virginia for some time – in fact, some of us from rural areas had somewhat joked, because they have a tendency up there to knock off each other, that if they ever got their act together up there, and stayed behind a candidate, so that they could have a little bit of seniority, then we’d have trouble. Because they have more votes than we do – but they have a tendency to be fighting amongst themselves all the time rather than being able to align all their votes against those of us that represent rural areas. So for those of us in rural areas, obviously that’s a good thing.”
“There are degrees of being a Republican – and certainly I have I think unquestioned Republican credentials, because I go back for over 25 years being a member of the Republican Party and helping to build the Republican Party here in the Valley. Fiscal conservatism, specifically, or fiscal responsibility, to me, has to do with much more than being for or against any particular tax. It has to do with balancing budgets and being fiscally responsible.”
“I won’t call it a fad, but it’s almost that within the Republican Party, and it wasn’t generated here in Virginia, it basically has been something that’s been pushed at the federal level by a group primarily started by Grover Norquist, Americans for Tax Reform, and there are probably at least half a dozen other groups that are trying to emulate what he’s done.”
“At the federal level they have banded together to exercise a lot of influence, by requiring people to sign a pledge, and then really giving them a rough time if they violated that pledge – and they had a game plan then of working down at the state level, and that’s what they’ve done across the nation, with varying levels of success or lack of success in some states.”
“We speak to limited government – it’s one of the planks in the creed of the Republican Party, which I’ve basically used as my guideline for political philosophy ever since I joined. It became a plank in the Republican Party back in 1975 – really when the party was somewhat drifting. Prior to that, the Democrats were actually here in the Valley very conservative and in control, and the Republican Party nationwide was reeling in the aftermath of the Watergate scandal. And in 1975, a group of people got together and just delineated what the party stood for – and it’s stood the test of time.”
“It’s a good statement of philosophy – but what I find now is there are a lot of people that want to interpret it in a very narrow fashion rather than the broad implications of what fiscal responsibility or fiscal conservatism really means.”
“Three things compelled me to run for this Senate seat. Number one, seemingly unending tax increases. Number two, an elected official who seems to be out of touch with his constituents. And number three, wasteful spending.”
“Fiscal responsibility and budgetary restraint are the tenet of the Republican Creed – and in order to stick to the Republican Creed, what we need to do is go back and find out how do you spend the money that you have, and where do you spend that? So while I believe in taxes to support our core services in the government, what’s out of control right now is spending – and whenever you have a lust for spending, you’re trying to find revenues to satisfy that lust. And you’ll never satisfy it as long as you have no restraint in your budgetary practices.”