Over the past several weeks, I have been asked, “Jason, what does it mean to be a “Conservative”?  Since it is a question that I am asked to answer so frequently, I decide to commit my answer to writing.

To begin with, I believe that the Conservative vision of government is outlined in the following phrases from the Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men. . .”

Clearly, this important statement articulates a view of Government that is limited in power and in purpose, to wit, the purpose of our Government to a Conservative should always be to secure three God given rights: (1) the right to life; (2) the right to liberty; and (3) the right to pursue happiness. Further, the Constitution expands upon what this means and how Government is supposed to provide such security.

For a Conservative like me, I think it is imperative that we are committed to the principle that the words in the Constitution and Amendments Related thereto mean exactly what they say and that they should not be interpreted or applied in a manner that was not originally contemplated by the drafters. If people believe the Constitution should be amended in some way, they should engage in the Constitutional process for making such changes.

In accordance with the foregoing, I believe a Conservative should be committed to the following political positions on the issues facing our State and our Country:

The Right to Life

  • Human life begins at conception. Abortion is the killing of a human being. An unborn baby, as a living human being, has separate rights from those of the mother.
  • Oppose taxpayer-funded abortion. Taxpayer dollars should not be used for the government to provide abortions.
  • Relatedly, support the use of adult and umbilical cord stem cells only for research. It is morally and ethically wrong for the government to fund embryonic stem cell research. Human life begins at conception. The extraction of stem cells from an embryo requires its destruction. In other words, it requires that a human life be killed. Adult stem cells have already been used to treat spinal cord injuries, Leukemia, and even Parkinson’s disease. Adult stem cells are derived from umbilical cords, placentas, amniotic fluid, various tissues and organ systems like skin and the liver, and even fat obtained from liposuction. Embryonic stem cells have not been successfully used to help cure disease.
  • Neither euthanasia nor physician-assisted suicide should be legalized. It is immoral and unethical to deliberately end the life of a terminally ill person (euthanasia), or enable another person to end their own life (assisted suicide). The goal should be compassionate care and easing the suffering of terminally ill people. Legalizing euthanasia could lead to doctor-assisted suicides of non-critical patients. If euthanasia were legalized, insurance companies could pressure doctors to withhold life-saving treatment for dying patients. Many religions prohibit suicide and euthanasia. These practices devalue human life.
  • Securing the Right to Life includes the responsibility of Government to provide for the National Defense to protect the lives our our citizens.  Presently, terrorism poses one of the greatest external threats to the lives of US Citizens. The world toward which the militant Islamists strive cannot peacefully co-exist with the Western world. In the last decade, militant Islamists have repeatedly attacked Americans and American interests here and abroad. Terrorists must be stopped and destroyed. The use of intelligence-gathering and military force are the best ways to defeat terrorism around the world. Captured terrorists should be treated as enemy combatants and tried in military courts.

The Right to Liberty

  • The phrase “separation of church and state” is not in the Constitution. The First Amendment to the Constitution states “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” This prevents the government from establishing a national church/denomination.  However, it does not prohibit God from being acknowledged in schools and government buildings.  Symbols of Christian heritage should not be removed from public and government spaces (eg., the Ten Commandments should continue to be displayed in Federal buildings). Government should not interfere with religion and religious freedom.
  • Respect ownership and private property rights. Eminent domain (seizure of private property by the government–with compensation to the owner) in most cases is wrong. Eminent domain should not be used for private development.
  • The Second Amendment guarentees that citizens shall have the right to keep and bear arms. Individuals have the right to defend themselves. There are too many gun control laws – additional laws will not lower gun crime rates. What is needed is enforcement of current laws. Gun control laws do not prevent criminals from obtaining guns.

The Right to Pursue Happiness

  • Lower taxes and a smaller government with limited power will improve the standard of living for all. Support lower taxes and a smaller government. Lower taxes create more incentive for people to work, save, invest, and engage in entrepreneurial endeavors.
  • The free market system, competitive capitalism, and private enterprise create the greatest opportunity and the highest standard of living for all. Free markets produce more economic growth, more jobs and higher standards of living than those systems burdened by excessive government regulation.
  • Oppose long-term welfare. Opportunities should be provided to make it possible for those in need to become self-reliant. It is far more compassionate and effective to encourage people to become self-reliant, rather than allowing them to remain dependent on the government for provisions.
  • Support legal immigration only. Oppose amnesty for those who enter the U.S. illegally (illegal immigrants). Those who break the law by entering the U.S. illegally do not have the same rights as those who obey the law and enter legally. The borders should be secured before addressing the problem of the illegal immigrants currently in the country. The Federal Government should secure the borders and enforce current immigration law.
  • Support competitive, free market health care system. All Americans have access to health care. The debate is about who should pay for it. Free and low-cost government-run programs (socialized medicine) result in higher costs and everyone receiving the same poor-quality health care.  Health care should remain privatized. The problem of uninsured individuals should be addressed and solved within the free market healthcare system – the government should not control healthcare.
  • Education is an issue that should be addressed by State and Local Governments, not the Federal Government.  The public education system is broken. New approaches to education must be deployed and the old system of education should be defunded. One alternative to traditional public education is to give parents and students choices regarding their children’s education.  School vouchers create competition and therefore encourage schools to improve performance. Vouchers will give all parents the right to choose good schools for their children, not just those who can afford private schools. Likewise, Charter Schools serve as incubators of education innovation and serve as an important tool to infusing competition into our education system.

I am committed to the foregoing Conservative principles of government.  If elected to the Nevada Assembly, I work to implement law and policy that promote my understanding of what it means to be a “Conservative.”