By Andy Schmookler
The dishonesty in our politics has become so bad, with lies so often defeating the truth, that I figure now's the time that truth-telling needs its champions. That's why I'm running against Bob Goodlatte to represent our District in the U.S. Congress. I promise to tell you the truth, and I keep my promises.
Let me speak to those who say, "I'm a conservative, and everybody knows conservatives should vote Republican." If these were normal times, that might be true. But they aren't, and in a most fundamental way, voting for me in this election is the best way to serve your conservative values.
If it's conservative to uphold America's political traditions - and not trample them - then you ought to vote for me, Andy Schmookler.
If it's a conservative virtue to put the good of the country ahead of political ambition, then conservatives ought to vote for me and not the 20-year incumbent, Bob Goodlatte.
If it's a conservative value to want a government "for the people and by the people" - and not just a powerful elite - then conservatives ought to vote for me, Andy Schmookler.
You may never have thought of voting for someone running as a Democrat. But this year, you owe it to your conservative principles to check me out.
I am not speaking as a partisan. When I sought the Democratic nomination, I traveled the district telling Democrats about ways their party failed the nation in recent years. I didn't know how that would be received. Some Democrats didn't like what I had to say, but enough did that here I am, the nominee of the party.
And it's as a truth-teller, not as a partisan, that I say: Something's gone very wrong with the Republican Party. This isn't the party of Dwight Eisenhower, because it lacks his decency. It isn't the party of Barry Goldwater, because it lacks his integrity. And it isn't the party of Ronald Reagan, because it offers no positive vision for America.
But above all, it lacks honesty.
How could today's Republican Party be honest with the good people who give it their support when it's working to take wealth and power away from average Americans and give to those who already have the most wealth and power?
Even though we have more income inequality in America now than in living memory, Republican plans would widen that gap even more.
Take the Ryan Budget, which would gut Medicare, making America's senior citizens pay an extra $6,500 a year, on average, to get the health care they need. That plan would also strangle other programs that serve average Americans. And for what? Not to reduce our deficit or our national debt - it would actually make those worse. But to give another tax cut to the richest of the rich, who are already paying at their lowest rate in 80 years.
That's just immoral. And my opponent voted for it - twice.
I want an America where people who work hard can make the most of their God-given gifts, can get a decent job paying a decent wage, and become part of a strong middle class.
Here's my second promise - and as I said, I keep my promises: I will consider the well-being of every American as important as that of the richest
I'm running because I want to help restore some of the virtues of the America I grew up in. Back then, our government helped to build a vibrant middle class - in part, by providing educational opportunities for returning war veterans and creating a level playing field for workers and the big corporations that employ them. By helping average Americans, government can again be an instrument for the people, and America can be a land of opportunity for all.
In the America I grew up in, political leaders, liberals and conservatives alike, could work together, on the basis of the values that we Americans share, to achieve our common purposes. We can again have a political system that practices civility and compromise, and does the people's business.
America can be that way again, if people of goodwill - on both sides of our political divide - come together to make it so. With your help, we can use my candidacy for Congress to take an important step in that direction.
Andy Schmookler is running for Virginia's 6th Congressional District seat.