Competition produces better products

Twenty four states give easier ballot access (than Virginia) to its citizens via initiatives and referendum. One of the facts when doing my research, was the lower taxes and spending in the states allow for this easier access. More creative solutions to problems were found when you engage citizens in the process. Whether it is pizza or politics, real competition allows for a better outcome and a lower cost.

Once again, we are experiencing the political cowardice of the two major political parties in their attempts to exclude Cliff Hyra the Libertarian candidate for governor from the planned debates. Hyra is disadvantaged considering the fund raising capabilities of the two major parties, and the media advantage simply by their status of being major party candidates. To the satisfaction of many within their ranks, they cling to the obsolete notion that having two candidates is enough of a choice for voters. That point might hold water if there was any substantial difference between the two parties, I for one will passionately argue there is not. The facts of the last 60 years are on my side. I stand by a statement I have made repeatedly: " ... the only difference between the two parties is the platitudes and campaign slogans we listen to every election cycle."

After the election is over both parties return to business as usual, cynically concluding " we fooled em again." Having Hyra included in every debate benefits Virginia.

Conservatives have felt frustration for decades, having watched Republican majorities failing to accomplish anything of substance. Whether it be our broken health care system, the staggering debt, decline of our public schools or reform of a corrupted tax code — nothing of substance has been accomplished. Republican campaign pledges (seven years solemn promising to repeal ObamaCare) have amounted to the continuing con game the two parties run. We've only ourselves to blame for this, our tepid " hold their feet to the fire" rhetoric is empty threats; and they know it. It is time to insist on an agenda that forcefully takes on the pressing debt problems and entitlement reform. I remind readers of the age old axiom about the definition of insanity.

In 2013, I railed against the exclusion of James Carr, the Libertarian candidate in the race for the 7th District Congressional seat. I stated at an event for Rob Sarvis in his bid for Virginia Governor that "his opponents kept him off the stage for one very obvious reason, they would have been exposed for the intellectual midgets they are had Sarvis had a spot on that stage"

We face the same dilemma this election. We either allow this miscarriage of justice to live through another election cycle, we idly stand by listening to the same platitudes and campaign slogans, or we demand the inclusion of a man who has done the work of getting on the ballot and has some refreshing, intellectually honest solutions to problems neither of the two political parties have done a damn thing about.

The King William T.E.A Party had Cliff Hyra speak on April 27. Our group has the distinction of hard vetting candidates. We use tough questions and have moderators that take no prisoners if a candidate attempts to avoid a question or provide specifics on his/her proposed solutions.

In my opinion (speaking for solely myself) Hyra passed the test showing first his:

• Integrity: No one has their hooks in this guy.

• Intellect: Cliff Hyra is a person who understands these issues, and has the capacity to grasp the nuances surrounding the various solutions. Politics has plenty of empty suits, Hyra isn't one of them.

•Independence: Hyra took some positions he knew in advance would not sit well with our group, yet he stood his ground, an admirable quality.

Many object to supporting any candidate some feel doesn't have a chance to actually win, as well as the tired philosophy of voting for someone with an R next to their name so the D won't win. Advancing a principle must take precedent over treating something as serious as choosing our political leaders like it is an athletic contest.

We recognize that keeping such a bright, talented man from having a seat at these debates would be a disservice to all Virginians, regardless of political affiliation.

If one holds out hope for the restoration of the Republican principles then it is also good political strategy. Leverage in politics is a powerful tool.

Cliff Hyra has earned the respect and right to participate in every debate. (GOP candidate Ed) Gillespie and (Democratic candidate Ralph) Northam enhance their own stature by embracing Hyra and welcoming the competition in the exchange of ideas. Our Founders would agree.

Bob Shannon, Founder of the Mechanicsville & King William T.E.A Party Groups

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