We live in a world where it has become acceptable to adopt any identity that suits us despite evidence to the contrary. Recently a candidate adopted the label of conservative for the first time. I was intrigued. Is conservativism like beauty, in the eye of the beholder? When candidates refer to themselves as conservative, how do voters really know what they are getting?
I cannot speak for other candidates, but I can tell you the meaning of conservative values in my life. Growing up in modest circumstances in a small Texas town, we did not have much money but we had love, faith, moral code and strong worth ethic. This shaped my conservative viewpoint.
Faith teaches love, compassion and the importance of service. I care about protecting lives created by God. This imposes a duty to protect these rights, not only to live, but to live safely in our community. This requires keeping dangerous criminals off the streets and supporting rather than attacking law enforcement.
Our Constitutional rights are very important, but we should never confuse rights with entitlements. Like most conservatives, I was raised to believe that no one owes us anything. We learned very early in life to work for the things we wanted. My “business” career started with selling vegetables from our garden, mowing lawns and babysitting until I was old enough to be hired by an employer. That work ethic has carried throughout adulthood, leading me to working three jobs at one point to get through college. When you work hard for your money as many of us do, you do not want to see it wasted by others.
While conservatives believe in service and giving back, they want government to show respect for their labor by spending their earnings as wisely as they would spend the fruits of their own labor. Elected leaders and judges should always view themselves as public servants. This means listening to people, working alongside them and working hard to do jobs well. Our Constitutional rights are inalienable, but respect is earned. No elected official should expect the support of voters unless that official has a demonstrated history of public services and a belief in protecting society.
An understanding of a candidate’s values should always be a priority in an election. We entrust leaders with the power to change our lives. We do not have to look far to see the tragedy resulting when power is entrusted to someone who abuses it. When we vote, how do we truly know who we are choosing? Candidates should tell you about their values and show a willingness to answer questions. We should also fact check those statements by studying a candidate’s history of service and conduct both before running for office and during their candidacy. The best predictor of future behavior is past conduct.
Conservatives are passionate about their values. We may not agree on every single issue, but our core beliefs are always the same: protecting life, respecting rights, protecting the Constitution and our laws as written, public safety, hard work, responsible spending and a heart for service. These are, and have always been, my values. If you elect me on May 24th, I will bring these values to the bench and never waver. I would be honored to receive your vote.