Text of speech delivered via phone from Bahrain to the "Patriots in the Park" event sponsored by 104.1/1260 KSGF in Springfield
First of all, greetings from the Kingdom of Bahrain, in the heart of the Persian Gulf. I am proud of my service to the United States here in the Middle East this summer, supporting the Navy's Fifth Fleet. I look forward to returning home in September, seeing and speaking to all of you again in person, while shifting my campaign into high gear. While I've been on active duty orders this summer, my staff has been diligently working to ensure that the Wisdom for Congress campaign continually stands up for the conservative ideals important to all of you.
I have no doubt that one question on everyone's mind is, “Why would Jeff Wisdom run for Congress?” What motivated me to enter the race is the same thing that led me to obligate myself for military service six years ago at age 33...a call to serve, to do my small part in supporting the country I love. A cornerstone of my campaign is personal responsibility. We must all seek ways make our communities and our nation stronger. We should all accept and embrace this basic responsibility. As citizens of this great county, we must realize that none of us are entitled to ANYTHING that we do not work hard to obtain. Even an icon of the Democrat party, President John F. Kennedy, said in his 1961 inaugural address that we must all ask what we can do for our country...not what our country can do for us. If we continually turn to government to solve our problems, be it health care, poverty, or education of our children, we surrender our basic freedoms and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution. We can no longer allow ourselves to be enslaved by government. Democratic change through the electoral process can instead set us free from the bonds inflicted by the constraints of government entitlements. The first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution, commonly known to all of us as the Bill of Rights, were not written to grant more power to the federal government. In fact, these amendments restricted the powers the federal government could exercise over the states and the people. If anyone doubts me, read them for yourself.
Our country and our district are facing a monumental election in 2010, perhaps the most important in recent memory. So many changes are quickly befalling the nation. We are hastily moving from democratic capitalism to socialistic autocracy, governed by czars and executive orders. Many critics of capitalism refer to free markets and entrepreneurship as unfair or greedy. However, free markets, coupled with economic incentives, have provided us the standard of living we enjoy today and the opportunities that abound for those willing to sacrifice and engage in hard work.
In just one short year, all of you, the constituents of Missouri's seventh congressional district, will select the Republican nominee to succeed Rep. Roy Blunt in Washington, DC. Given the history of the district, this nominee will have a solid chance of becoming the next member of Congress from Southwest Missouri. Each one of you, as voters, is now examining those of us seeking the nomination. When you look over the list of candidates, what sets me apart from the field? There are several factors...I am not a career politician, I am not wealthy with deep pockets, I don't hold high-dollar fund raisers, I don't have well-connected campaign consultants on my payroll, and I'm not afraid to take a tough conservative stance on the issues. I am proud to be the first candidate in the race to take a definitive stand on earmarks. In a newspaper article from the Springfield News-Leader in early June, I was the only candidate that said a resounding "NO" to earmarks...period. The other candidates have recently adopted my stance. I point to this as but one example of the conservative leadership I can provide on the issues. While the talk of the race this summer has been: who has gotten which endorsement, who has raised the most money, or who has hired a famous name as a consultant, I've focused on a different mission...serving my country...and I pledge to do the same for you in Congress. The other candidates talk the talk, but can we truly expect different results if the campaigns are run the same-old, same-old way? I firmly believe that, as a candidate runs, so will he or she serve in Washington, DC. For precisely this reason, I plan to run a different kind of campaign in this election...one that is focused on the people, run by the people, and stands up for the people.
All of us must find and display our political courage. No matter what the odds, we must stand up for our beliefs. We are not obliged to support politicians just because of who they are or what position they hold. They are servants of the people and fully accountable for their performance in office. Too many in elected positions - federal, state, and local - have forgotten what public service means. It's not about them, their status, or their power. Rather, it's about us. I pledge that I will never forget where I came from, or why I'm there, if you elect me as your voice in Congress.
What are my key issues?
First, like every good conservative I support limited government in all aspects of life - political, economic, and social. As my political mentor, President Ronald Reagan, once pointed out – government is not the solution, government is the problem. In most cases, our nation would be more civil and productive if government would simply get out of the way rather than becoming an obstacle to advancement. This is precisely why I fully support elimination of the federal income tax and implementation of the fair tax. The fair tax would enable people to make better financial decisions. It would foster economic growth and it would reduce government waste and overhead costs created by the IRS. I say let people keep the money they work hard for...let them decide what to buy, where to buy it, and how much to pay. Giving people - not government - this power will be the greatest catalyst for economic growth our nation has ever seen!
Second, I support state's rights. Under the Tenth Amendment, states are granted authority and responsibility over any area not relegated specifically to the federal government. I firmly believe that issues such as education should be state issues in which the federal government has essentially no functional role whatsoever. Overall student performance nationwide in areas such as science and mathematics has significantly declined as the federal government has implemented such policy initiatives as No Child Left Behind. I ask you...who should make key decisions concerning the education of our children: a classroom teacher in Southwest Missouri, or some highly-paid bureaucrat in Washington, DC? It's clear to me that localized control over education is more effective and produces significant improvement in test results. Charter schools are a shining example of what can be achieved at the local level.
Third, I am opposed to the economic expansion of government. Bailing out failed companies that made poor management choices, forcing one individual to pay for another individual's health care, establishing taxpayer-mandated ownership in insurance companies, banks, or automakers, or perhaps worse - doubling the national debt in a matter of less than two years - all defy the underlying premise of free market choice and democracy that enabled the U.S. to become the economic envy of the world!
Finally, many of you may ask, "Why should I support Jeff Wisdom for Congress?" I'm a real person who works hard every day just like all of you. I worked my way through college - both undergraduate and graduate school. I know what it's like to grow up in a middle class family. I'm proud that, including my grandfather, my father, my two uncles, and myself, my immediate family has served in every major conflict of the past century from World War I to Operation Iraqi Freedom and the War on Terrorism...and, I assure you, it IS a War on Terrorism; no matter what politicians on the left decide to call it. I have studied and/or taught basic economic principles to college students for the better part of twenty years. There is no candidate running for this nomination that understands how the economy works better than I do. No one in Congress, especially Nancy Pelosi and Barney Frank, can intimidate me into voting for bad economic policy. I stood face-to-face with insurgents and detainees in Iraq just one year ago, so I have experience standing up to others. Therefore, I will not cower...I will not back down from my principles...I will not sell out...NEVER, NO WAY, NO HOW!!
I anxiously await the campaign that lies ahead for all of us. I relish being the David going up against several Goliaths in this campaign...and we all know how that story turned out. I am in this race to win...to prove that it's not all about the money, who you know, or who you rub shoulders with. It's about all of you. It's about our future and that of our children. I wish the best to all the candidates in this race. May God give each of us the courage and fortitude to stand up for basic conservative principles and common values. I appreciate the opportunity to speak from halfway around the world today. I ask that, in just one year, you place your faith and trust in me to represent you and the issues you care about as you vote WISDOM FOR CONGRESS. May God bless our country, our district, our families, and all of us in this endeavor to take our country back! Thank you all very much!!