Before I get into the actual meat of my contract with conservatives, I want to share that I have quite a long history as a conservative.
I have been a registered independent for about a decade.
Before that, I was actually registered as a Republican. My parents were Republican, and raised me with conservative social values. After I turned 18, I voted for George W. Bush twice, and even spent some time in 2004 actively campaigning for him, because I felt that he provided strong leadership in the War on Terror. The issue that forced me to break ranks with the Republican party officially was that of torture. I just couldn’t get on board with it, and couldn’t officially be a member of a party that thought it was justified at the time.
In 2008, I really wanted to vote for McCain. Of course, the fact that he’s from my home state and that I’d voted for him as a Senator previously built an affinity, even though those should be irrelevant factors when choosing a President. I also perceived McCain to be somewhat independent, frequently crossing party lines to do the right thing. One of the biggest factors that made him lose my vote was the fact that he picked Palin, who struck me as a complete idiot. Another important factor was that his demeanor seemed to me to be irrationally angry or grumpy.
So I come from a conservative background, and though I consider myself a moderate, conservatism is still strong with me. I’ve started businesses of my own and run businesses started by others. I understand the financial realities of the world and the fact that the government cannot magically provide unlimited services.
I also believe that the government should not generally inhibit people’s ability to pursue happiness as they see fit. Sometimes, people may know better than the government and should be free to pursue a path that government doesn’t understand. Other times, the government might know what the right choice is, but a person might want to make a suboptimal choice. Yes, I think people ought to be free to make bad choices, within reason.
The point of all this is to say that while I’m running as an independent, and while some hyper-conservatives may mock my moderate positions, I’m a genuine conservative on the issues that matter most to conservatives. I’m proud to say that I expect many conservative leaning independents, as well as Republicans, will be excited to vote for me due to the following positions.
The Right to Bear Arms
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. – 2nd Amendment
The Constitution is clear that the people have a right to bear arms. I support this right. I support the right of Arizonans to use guns for any lawful purpose, including hunting, shooting at the range, and personal protection. Though I am admittedly not a gun enthusiast, many of my friends and family members own guns and use them responsibly for the above purposes. I support them and people like them 100%.
The 2nd Amendment is also clear that its purpose is to empower the state militia. The Arizona National Guard is the militia of our state. Currently, involvement with the Guard is only available through major commitments that many casual gun owners cannot be expected to take advantage of. I support creating new levels of Guard enrollment that offer gun owners the opportunity to be a part of our state militia, increasing the sense of community and responsibility amongst our gun owners, while also allowing them to maintain their private lives.
Freedom of Speech
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. – 1st Amendment
Many conservatives, especially Christians, are concerned that “liberals” want to silence their speech, and want to prohibit them from living their religion. I promise that I will stand up for the right of conservative Christians to live their religion and to express themselves politically.
- People who are concerned about Roe v. Wade ought to be able to take political action to change the law.
- People who are concerned about gay marriage ought to be able to take action to change the law.
- People who think it is good for there to be prayer in public schools ought to be able to take action to change the law.
While I do not personally agree with any of these specific positions, I absolutely support your right to use the political process and the freedom of expression to make your case and petition to change society so that the laws of the land reflect what you think a healthy society should look like, or what you think God wants for society.
You can trust that I will honor this commitment because most of my family and hundreds of my friends are socially conservative Christians. My own children attend church and therefore receive formal Christian teachings when they are with their mother. I was raised as a Christian myself, and recognize the value of many of the teachings I received, and of the organized way that moral subjects were introduced to me. I promise, while I don’t agree with you on many political issues, I know conservative Christians are generally good people who want to do right by society and by God, and I support them in that intention.
Of course, I extend this promise to people of all organized religions, those who profess spirituality without belonging to a particular sect, and those who are not inclined to believe in God. Everyone ought to be free to lawfully follow their conscience, express themselves, and take political action according to their convictions.
The state collects and rebates taxes in an unnecessarily complicated structure. It seems like the government is charging fees at every turn, offering deductions to incredibly narrow special interests, and otherwise creating a tax structure that is overly complicated and often unfair.
There are sales taxes, income taxes, lottery and gambling taxes, vice taxes, licensing fees, etc., etc. And the rebate and deductions are even more convoluted and complicated.
My uncle was telling me the other day about a $2 real estate tax that really annoys him. I’m sure it’s not the $2 that bother him, it’s the fact that he has to pay a real estate tax on top of his real estate tax.
My approach to taxes is simple.
- Tax collection should be streamlined. I would support a system with just one or two taxes. Here are some possibilities for that tax system. At this point, I am just introducing them, and in future posts I will elaborate on how each might work. Again, ideally, only one of these taxes would be implemented, and it would be the ONLY source of state tax revenue. My first choices for this tax would be a transfer tax. When you move money from one account to another, for any reason, even between your own accounts, a flat tax is assessed. I do not support a flat sales tax for this purpose, because that penalizes people who have to spend more of their income to get buy vs. those who are able to save. My second choice would be a wealth tax, where at the end of the year, everyone pays a percentage of their net worth. My last choice would be an income tax, in which capital gains would taxed at least as heavily as earned income.
- The very notion of tax deductions, credits, and rebates should be eliminated. Policies favoring certain industries and activities, if such policies should exist at all, should be handled on the expenditure side, not the revenue side.
- Currently, the wealthy pay less as a percentage of their income in state taxes than the poor. This is because the poor have to spend more of their money, resulting in a higher percentage of their income in sales tax. It’s also because the rich are better able to take advantage of tax credits and deductions. At the very least, the rich should be the same percentage as the poor. (Full disclosure, I actually believe they probably ought to pay a little higher percentage than the poor).
Government debt is an immoral tax on the next generation. I will oppose any budget that does not rapidly pay down state debt. – Noah Dyer
The state needs money to provide services, and I believe the people of Arizona are willing to pay sufficient taxes to support the educational, social, healthcare, public safety, and other needs of our citizens. But in the event that tax revenue is not sufficient to adequately fund all the programs I support, I promise I will not use state debt to fund those programs. As Governor, I will pay down state debt with every budget I approve. Period.
Fighting Back Against Big Brother
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. – 4th Amendment
Because of my own willingness to be transparent, some people may say I want to take away your privacy. Nothing could be further from the truth. I want to balance the scales of privacy. Right now, the government has too much privacy. It does much of its business in the shadows, or perhaps the sewers. Alternatively, the Federal government has been in the practice of invading our citizens’ privacy for years. Phrased differently, the Federal government has implemented standing policies that unreasonably seize our persons, houses, papers, and effects at unprecedented and unconstitutional levels.
Individually, fighting against this unconstitutional invasion of privacy is daunting and not incredibly effective. But as a state, especially in league with other states, we can turn the tide and create a more transparent government that respects the rights of its citizens. I promise you I will lead that charge.
Let’s Make Arizona Better Together
There are a lot of things that I agree with conservatives on. If you are a historical Republican voter with conservative leanings, I hope you’ll vote for me. Arizona will be better for it, I promise.
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