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Authors: Eric Cantor;Paul Ryan;Kevin McCarthy

Young Guns : A New Generation of Conservative Leaders (21 page)

BOOK: Young Guns : A New Generation of Conservative Leaders
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Democrats and Democratic ideas in Washington have failed. The current majority has stopped listening to the
people. Democrats have been governing in spite of the American people, not on behalf of them. The result is that all of the indications so far this election—the polls, the caliber of candidates we’ve been able to recruit, the elections in Virginia, New Jersey, and Massachusetts—point toward a historic opportunity on behalf of commonsense American values in 2010. Americans are very frustrated with the arrogance they’re seeing in Washington. That doesn’t mean they’re happy with Republicans, but they’re ready for leadership that reflects their beliefs, not defies them. The election this year is about much more than health care, or energy policy, or even the security of our country. Will we repeal TARP and unwind the vast amounts of government spending and mandates that distorts the innovation and free enterprise in our financial services industry, our health-care system, our car companies, and our energy sector? Will we take meaningful steps to cut hundreds of billions of dollars in federal spending, so we can ratchet back the deficit spending and the ballooning $12 trillion national debt that we owe to creditors like China and the Middle East? What Democrats in Washington don’t understand is that when we vote no to their policies, it’s not because we are trying to obstruct. It’s because we are trying to protect what has worked through the history of our nation. It’s about America. It’s about the direction we’re headed. For over a year and a half—since we stood fast together around an alternative stimulus bill that would create twice the jobs at half the cost—Republicans led by a new generation of leadership
have been earning back the majority in Congress. And as of this spring, we have set forth an unprecedented engagement with the American people.

There really is nothing more powerful and inspirational than the common voice of the common man. Over the last year, we’ve heard those voices in town halls in every corner of this country. But under the current leadership in Washington, the voices and opinions of Americans all over the country have been ignored.

Republicans are putting an end to that. By launching America Speaking Out, we are lifting the Democratic gag rule that has been in place and instead using all the tools available—from the Internet to town hall meetings to phone apps—to empower Americans with opportunities to bring forward their concerns about America’s direction, and voice their solutions to help shape America’s future. Central to this project is the new innovative and interactive online forum that you can find at

The America Speaking Out project (which Republican Leader John Boehner appointed me to chair and which my good friend Rep. Peter Roskam from Illinois will be vice-chairing) will lead to a governing agenda that is a product of the American people. On jobs, national defense, and government transparency, this will replace the empty political rhetoric of the current majority. This is the voice of the people made concrete and quantifiable, and this will be the benchmark by which Americans can judge the actions of
House Republicans—we will stand for solutions based on American principles.

With that in mind, what follows is a quick look at some of the Young Guns candidates we believe are poised to do just that in 2010.


The American public is waking up to the fact that Washington continues to spend billions of dollars that it doesn’t have, raising the national debt to more than $12 trillion. There’s no bigger symbol of this out-of-control Washington spending than Wisconsin Rep. David Obey, the chairman of the House spending panel. Obey first set foot in Congress on April 1, 1969, before we landed on the moon and before Woodstock, and his 1960s views of big government spending haven’t changed since.

Sean Duffy knows that in order to preserve Wisconsin and America’s economic competitiveness, we must address the growing debt crisis that faces our nation. Sean was born and raised in Wisconsin, and currently serves as a prosecutor. Known to a generation of nationwide MTV viewers when he was cast on
The Real World
and later married fellow reality TV castmate Rachel Campos, he is better known locally as the District Attorney of Ashland County,
serving in his fourth term and aggressively and responsibly prosecuting crimes with a 90 percent trial success rate. He is also a world-champion lumberjack athlete, carrying on a Wisconsin family tradition.

Like many of the candidates I have met, Sean is very concerned about the out-of-control Washington spending, and how the trillions of dollars of Federal borrowing to pay for bailouts and failed “stimulus” legislation will affect the opportunities and success of his children’s generation. And he knows that he can do something to bring fiscal sanity back to Washington, since the architect of the failed “stimulus” bill and bloated spending bills over the past two years is currently his congressman.

Sometimes it takes an entire generation before a fiscally responsible fresh thinker can replace the status quo leader of big-government ideas of the past. Since David Obey first came into Congress in 1969, a generation has passed, and the real world of problems that our country faces cannot be solved by the fiscal philosophies of the 1960s. Sean Duffy provides the people of the 7th District of Wisconsin the opportunity to replace the author of Washington fiscal irresponsibility with a fresh voice who is willing to tackle the out-of-control spending and debt and put our country’s finances back on track.


A critical component of
back the majority is fielding quality candidates who can regain the trust of voters in Republican-leaning districts currently represented by Democrats. The GOP must convince voters that we have changed and that our candidates can be trusted.

Colorado’s 4th District is an area where we face this challenge and we believe Cory Gardner is the candidate poised to regain that trust and defeat freshman Democratic Rep. Betsy Markey.

Like many of our other candidates, Gardner is a recognized state leader, has deep roots in his state and has the work ethic to succeed. All while supporting the foundational principles of limited government, fiscal responsibility, and accountability.

Gardner is a fifth-generation Coloradan. In 1915 his great granddad, Bill Gardner, opened Gardner and Son’s hardware store. The business grew and changed over the years eventually becoming Farmers Implement Company (a farming equipment dealership). The dealership is still owned and operated by the Gardner family today and Cory spends several months each year working side by side with his father and grandfather.

In 2005, Gardner was appointed to represent the 63rd District in the Colorado House of Representatives after a legislative vacancy. He was elected to the seat the following year and chosen by his colleagues shortly after to serve
in leadership as minority whip. As a state representative Gardner has proven his leadership abilities and his commitment to innovative ideas that protect the taxpayer and grow the economy.

He has focused much of his time in the Colorado legislature on the critical issues of economic development, health care, and energy. He has won numerous awards including Legislator of the Year from a variety of organizations and the Guardian of the Taxpayer award from the Colorado Union of Taxpayers in 2009.

The race in the 4th District is a critical one. Despite the conservative nature and values of the district, freshman Democrat Betsy Markey has chosen to side with the liberal leadership of Speaker Nancy Pelosi on issue after issue. She voted for the failed stimulus, the job-killing cap-and-trade bill, and the recently passed government takeover of health care. All of these policies will lead to a future of crushing debt and fewer jobs for Coloradans.

In contrast, Gardner is running on a platform of spending restraint and limited government; accountability and transparency; creating jobs and powering the future through private sector growth; real health-care solutions; and a strong national defense.

Cory Gardner represents the commonsense conservatism we need more of in Washington.


Hawaii isn’t the first state that rolls off the tip of the tongue when asked about competitive Republican seats. The state’s native son, Barack Obama, won the presidency in 2008 with 72 percent of the state’s vote. The two Senate seats have been held by Democrats for more than thirty years, and both House seats have been held by Democrats since statehood, with the exception of a Republican congressman in the first congressional district in Hawaii, who served two terms until 1991. Charles Djou is aiming to make that exception the rule.

Djou was born and raised in Hawaii, and currently serves on the Honolulu City Council. This Army Reserve officer and former floor leader in the Hawaii State House is running for Congress in Hawaii’s 1st District.

The reasons why our country is moving in the wrong direction are the same reasons why Charles is running for Congress. He has never voted to raise taxes and wants to make Washington more accountable on spending because, as he says, he knows that every dollar that the government spends comes from hardworking American families. Independent minded, Djou understands how important the public trust is, and has been a leader on major ethics reforms by voting to increase penalties and crack down on corrupt city agencies.

A district whose voters gave 47 percent of the vote to President Bush in 2004, the 1st District wants a representative
who reflects its values and represents its interests in Washington. And in Washington, we have seen a Congress move so far to the left and become so disconnected from the people that even the people of Massachusetts said enough, and voted for a Republican to fill the Senate seat vacated after the passing of Ted Kennedy.

In politics, every state and every election are different. But Charles Djou’s leadership and ideas to make Hawaii and America stronger have been resonating, and he is eager to help us bring fiscal responsibility and government accountability to Washington.


Martha Roby, who is running in Alabama’s 2nd District, brings a perspective different from those of many candidates who run for Congress. While she too believes that Federal spending and the national debt has grown too large, her desire to bring her conservative ideas and principles to Washington comes from the fact that she wants to help
problems, not

And her service in the Montgomery City Council affords her the experience to listen to the people, identify problems, and reach toward commonsense solutions. She believes in limited government and fiscal responsibility, and has used those principles to fight against five job-killing tax
increases and ease the burdens on Montgomery families through local sales tax holidays. As a public servant, she understands the needs in her community and has a track record of focusing solutions on the priorities of the day, rather than partisanship just for the sake of being partisan. Her results-oriented work ethic has been clearly rewarded by the people she serves: she was reelected to the city council in 2007 with an overwhelming 82 percent of the vote.

In a district where Bush received 67 percent of the vote in 2004, and McCain received 63 percent of the vote in 2008, the 2nd District of Alabama currently is represented by freshman Democrat Bobby Bright, who continues to support a Pelosi-led liberal agenda that has added trillions of dollars in debt to current and future generations and created a huge new trillion-dollar government takeover of health care. While Martha has pursued listening to her constituents to solve problems and get results, Bright has allowed the wrong results to win out in Washington, putting our country further in the red.

Alabama needs more representatives willing to fight for their values, and Washington needs more problem solvers willing to stick to their principles and provide commonsense solutions to get our country back on track. The people of the 2nd District of Alabama will find that if they elect Martha Roby, they will have both.


Heeding the call to public service at a young age has become a pattern in Illinois (see Aaron Schock), and it has definitely been a hallmark characteristic of Adam Kinzinger.

When Adam was a twenty-year-old sophomore in college, he felt a disconnect between the local government and the people it was supposed to serve, and decided to do something about it. He challenged a twelve-year Democratic incumbent on the McLean County (Illinois) Board and went on to defeat him by promising to listen to the people and fight for commonsense solutions.

Later, after 9/11, Adam heard the call to defend our country and joined the United States Air Force in 2003. Captain Kinzinger served in the Air Force Special Ops, Air Combat Command, Air Mobility Command, and Air National Guard during Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

But the call he heard on a Milwaukee street while still serving in the Air National Guard was perhaps the most unexpected. It was the scream of a woman who was bleeding from her throat, being chased by a man with a knife. Unarmed, Kinzinger sprang into action, fought the knife away from the man, and pinned him to the ground along with another person until local police arrived. His act of courage earned him Hero of the Year by the American Red Cross in southeastern Wisconsin.

Now, at the age of thirty-two, after watching what
many Americans have seen in Washington over the past year, Adam is running for the 11th District of Illinois to bring fiscal sanity and accountability back to Washington. He won a five-person Republican primary with almost 64 percent of the vote, and will face Rep. Debbie Halvorson, a freshman Democrat who has supported the job-killing and budget-busting policies of Nancy Pelosi, including the health-care takeover, cap and trade, and the trillion-dollar stimulus bill.

BOOK: Young Guns : A New Generation of Conservative Leaders
13.29Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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