By George Allen
The America many of us grew up in was full of optimism. We looked to the future with a sense of confidence, believing that our ability to achieve the American Dream was limited only by our imagination, ingenuity and hard work.
Unfortunately, many people in today's America have already seen their dreams lowered or diminished.
For others, that sense of future optimism has faded, with real concerns about whether our children and grandchildren will enjoy the same opportunities we had growing up.
I firmly believe the fight for America's future has not been lost. That is why I am running for Virginia's U.S. Senate seat, to accomplish what must be done to restore the promise of the American Dream.
In 300 days we will be casting our vote in the pivotal 2012 elections. These are crucial elections that will determine the trajectory of our country -- whether we continue to decline, or begin ascending again.
It's time for America's comeback! A comeback that starts with a positive, pro-growth agenda based on our foundational principles of freedom, opportunity for all and personal responsibility.
We must reinvigorate the entrepreneurial spirit of America by putting a priority on positive tax, reasonable regulatory, productive energy and empowering education policies that will give Americans a competitive advantage for jobs, investment and prosperity.
I have heard similar sentiments from the families of Virginia while traveling in all regions of the commonwealth sharing ideas and listening to people.
Many people would like to envision a better future for themselves and their families, but are frustrated and fearful that Washington will continue to stand in the way.
It won't be easy to change the ways of Washington, but the stakes are too high not to try. Even in the face of continued strife and gridlock, I know we can take positive steps to get our country back on track.
When I was elected governor of Virginia, the Democrats controlled the legislature and we worked together to cut taxes by more than $600 million; make neighborhoods safer with abolition of the dishonest, lenient parole system; enact historic welfare reforms; reduce the size of government and grow the economy -- creating more than 300,000 net new private sector jobs in those four years alone.
The resulting economic growth allowed us to invest in key priorities of transportation, building up the state's rainy day fund, education -- which included freezing tuition rates at Virginia universities and colleges -- and public safety.
We had disagreements along the way, but ultimately we resolved the differences to get tangible results for Virginia instead of scoring political points.
Like most Virginians, I believe the way to get America creating jobs again is to adopt pro-growth policies that will give America a competitive advantage for jobs and investment, unleash our energy resources and creativity and rein in our overreaching, overspending federal government.
We need to send the message to the world that "America is Open for Business Again!"
We would send that message with one policy change. Last June, I released my Blueprint for America's Comeback, a pro-growth plan of action. In it, I called for reducing the tax on job creators from 35 percent -- second worst in the world -- to a competitive 20 percent. That change alone is projected to create more than 500,000 private sector jobs annually -- more than 5 million new jobs for Americans in the next 10 years.
A lot of leaders in Washington -- Republicans and Democrats -- have discussed various plans to reduce this tax. Some have called for smaller or larger reductions to the rate than what I propose, but we clearly have the building blocks for achieving positive results.
Our country has been mired in over 30 straight months of unemployment above 8 percent with employment among young adults at the lowest rate since the end of World War II.
The urgency is here, as is the opportunity for constructive action that would help to spur economic growth thereby creating American jobs.
Other parts of my Blueprint may be tougher to enact, but are no less important. For example, unleashing our American energy resources and creativity promotes jobs and economic competitiveness, national security, and more affordable gasoline and electricity that would benefit Virginia's small business owners and families.
Many state leaders from both sides of the aisle understand the benefits of allowing Virginia to produce natural gas and oil off our coast and using the royalties that come with it for roads and transportation. Unfortunately, the White House remains the biggest impediment to making this a reality -- recently again saying "no" to Virginia's request to explore for these valuable resources.
By removing the self-imposed barriers to producing energy, we have the potential to create more than a million good-paying American jobs, provide more affordable fuel and electricity, improve competitiveness and national security and generate $2.1 trillion in new revenue without raising taxes. And, rather than being vulnerable to hostile outside interests, we would keep our money in the U.S.A.!
My opponent and I offer two very different visions for America going forward. I believe that difference will ultimately lead to one clear choice by Election Day.
I know Tim Kaine shares my love for Virginia and America. It's just how we chart our country's future where we disagree.
Ultimately, 2012 will be our generation's Rendezvous with Destiny! Where together, we meet the serious challenges of tomorrow head on. We can spark a genuine comeback for America with empowering tax, regulatory and energy policies that help us recapture the promise of the American Dream for future generations and ourselves.
Allen, a former Virginia governor and U.S. senator, is seeking the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate seat in 2012.