Wednesday, November 2, 2005

Next week’s gubernatorial election results will determine the principal direction of our state government in the near future.

We will either continue to grow the government with increased taxes and spending, along with more state control over the lives of individuals, or we will change course by reining in taxes and spending, and protecting personal rights and freedoms.

All concerned Virginians, but most particularly conservatives, should vote for Jerry Kilgore for governor on Tuesday.

There are conservative Republicans, Democrats and independents in Virginia. The conservative philosophy transcends party lines because it focuses on issues, not parties. Conservatives believe in the sanctity of human life, smaller government and lower taxes, protection of the rights to property and to bear arms and, wherever practical, conservatives rely on the free market rather than big government to address our many challenges. As measured on these issues, Republican Jerry Kilgore far outclasses Democrat Tim Kaine.

As our Founding Fathers noted in the Declaration of Independence, the first right is the unalienable right to life. Without it, all of the other rights are meaningless. As attorney general, Jerry fought for the ban on the grisly partial-birth abortion procedure that Gov. Mark Warner vetoed. Jerry supported parental notification and parental consent, as well as “Conner’s Law,” making the murder of a pregnant woman a double murder. And while Jerry has committed to supporting common-sense pro-life legislation, like requiring abortion clinics to be subject to health and safety standards, Mr. Kaine has committed to vetoing such pro-life legislation. The choice for pro-lifers must be Jerry Kilgore.

After Mr. Warner broke (in spectacular fashion) his major campaign promise, namely, not to raise our taxes, the issue of taxes has become the premier issue in Virginia politics. Mr. Kilgore has vowed to veto further tax increases while Mr. Kaine says “we still need more.” Mr. Kilgore opposed the 2004 tax increases while Mr. Kaine supported them. Three days after the vote for higher taxes, Mr. Warner revealed for the first time that Virginia had a surplus of more than $1 billion — the same amount that Virginia taxes had just been raised. Jerry has also laid out a plan to rein in runaway property taxes. The choice for those who oppose tax increases must be a vote for Jerry Kilgore.

In the area of preserving constitutional rights, Jerry has always been an advocate of the Second Amendment, thereby garnering an “A” grade from the NRA versus Mr. Kaine’s “F.” During the last 10 years, Mr. Kaine has regularly supported anti-second amendment efforts. Now he has added the beleaguered Fifth Amendment (property rights) to his hit list.

As a desperate last-ditch effort to win the governor’s race, Mr. Kaine has proposed restricting property owners’ current ability to use their own land in order to curry favor with environmentalists and others. Frankly, our property rights have been taking such a beating in recent years, that Mr. Kaine’s promises to continue that assault should motivate every conservative to vote for Jerry Kilgore.

While Mr. Kaine intends to rely on tax increases to address our pressing transportation needs, Jerry is an advocate of relying on the private sector to help address our traffic problems. Critically for us in Northern Virginia, Jerry is the only candidate with the courage to propose widening I-66 inside the Beltway in both directions.

In recent days we have seen the tremendous benefits that private-sector competition can bring to addressing traffic in our area, specifically, we now have three different private proposals to address traffic in the Dulles corridor, with at least one of those proposals including building additional lanes on Route 28 and I-66 all the way to Washington. Jerry’s reliance on the private sector instead of government is another reason for conservatives to support him.

Recently, we have been confronted with the prospect of our tax dollars being spent to build day-labor centers that even their advocates concede will be serving the illegal immigrant population. As a strong law enforcement attorney general and candidate for governor, Jerry understands the word “illegal,” and he has opposed spending taxpayer funds for the benefit of illegal aliens. Mr. Kaine dismissively calls Jerry’s position “mean spirited,” a traditional liberal attack.

Jerry knows that such spending is unfair to those who come to America legally and it will only encourage more illegal immigrants to come to Virginia. Jerry also opposed allowing illegal immigrants to receive in-state tuition, while Mr. Kaine supports this subsidization of illegal immigration. For Virginians who believe that we should welcome our legal immigrants and do everything we can to discourage illegal immigration, Jerry Kilgore is your candidate.

When one looks at the candidates one issue at a time, it’s clear that the choice for conservatives must be Jerry Kilgore, and that if Tim Kaine does prevail, he will be one of the most liberal governors in Virginia history.

Ken Cuccinelli is a Republican state senator from Virginia.

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