In Virginia, the Republican Party has a creed, a statement of values that Republican federal, state and local officials strive to follow in service to their constituents and communities. The creed is essential to our elected officials because it creates a baseline of consistency built on principle, and not political emotions, or decisions based on cronyism.

The Creed includes the numbered items below, with my comments following each one:

1.The free enterprise system is the most productive supplier of human needs and economic justice.

The first responsibility of the elected official is to promote a true, free enterprise system which creates an atmosphere for economic development. Economic development is hindered when elected officials vote to increase taxes and regulations on individuals and businesses. Free markets suffer when government creates carveouts for some businesses and not others. Those carve outs include tax subsidies or any other manipulation of taxes that picks winners and losers. These carveouts create an uneven market on the backs of taxpayers. Free markets thrive when everyone’s taxes are low, and regulations are not burdensome.

2. All individuals are entitled to equal rights, justice, and opportunities and should assume their responsibilities as citizens in a free society.

Equal opportunities are essential to what it means to be a Republican. Equality of opportunities means that everyone has the same chance to progress and succeed because everyone is given good “tools” by their community. Equal opportunities, however, do not equate to equal outcomes. Ultimately, whether a person succeeds or fails is up to that person’s effort.

Equal protection under the law is a guarantee that we are all afforded the opportunities that come with the abilities we have been given; the sanctity of human life is right in the middle of all that. How can we define justice if people don’t have a basic right to live? And how can we define equality if the life of an unborn citizen is somehow different than the life of a grown citizen?

3. Fiscal responsibility and budgetary restraints must be exercised at all levels of government.

On the federal level, both political parties have lost their way on this point. It is important for us to lead at the state and local level, to model fiscal restraint. A consistent budget that is not given to large spending swings creates a good business environment and produces order in how local government consistently provides services.

4. Federal government must preserve individual liberty by observing constitutional limitations.

Individual liberty must be preserved by elected officials at every level of government to ensure our republic’s future. When the federal government and states operate as equals and local governments as creations of the state properly fulfill their duties, individual liberties are first and foremost on the minds of lawmakers.

5.Peace is best preserved through a strong national defense.

Our military must be strong and battle-ready before any other obligation of the federal government is fulfilled. Without a strong military we do not have a nation. A strong national defense includes homeland security, immigration enforcement and local law enforcement. These are the pillars that uphold our communities and help keep order, distinguishing a civilized society from chaos.

6. Faith in God, as recognized by our Founding Fathers, is essential to the moral fiber of the nation.

America was founded by Christian forefathers. Part of that Christian ethic is allowing everyone to peacefully practice whatever faith they wish or have no faith at all. Once any one faith or persons with no faith force another to stop practicing their faith publicly, we cease to embody the faith of the founding fathers. We have a long history of opening meetings of Congress, House of Delegates, Board of Commissioners and Town Council with prayer. These prayers are important to keep our focus on a Creator that is greater than ourselves.

The Virginia Republican Creed is what our candidates and elected officials believe and how they should govern. In the coming election, Culpeper residents will have a choice to elect Republican candidates who have these core values or elect candidates who have chosen not to have these values as their guiding principle.

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Jon Russell has served on the Culpeper Town Council for two terms and chairs the Culpeper Republican Committee. His opinions represent his personal views only.