Elections approach

With the presidential election quickly approaching, the candidates are continuing to persuade undecided voters to join their cause.

Gov. Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama are traveling the country in hopes of gaining votes. Third-party candidates from the Green, Constitution and Libertarian Parties are also pursuing votes.

This week, the Champion questioned the presidential candidates on student loan concerns, priorities for stimulating the economy and health care and social issues, among others.

Mitt Romney prepares to reform

Presidential nominees Romney (R) and Constitution Party nominee Virgil Goode provided answers to the Champion’s questions. Incumbent President Obama, Green Party nominee Jill Stein and Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson failed to respond.

Virgil Goode bids for presidency

Constitutional party nominee plans to boost employment rates, repeal Obamacare and defend religious liberty

Virgil Goode, a former six-term U.S. congressman from Virginia, has positioned himself as a true conservative, running as the Constitution Party candidate in the 2012 presidential race.

Goode was born in Richmond, Va. Oct. 17, 1946.

According to the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, he graduated from Franklin County High School in Rocky Mount, Va., in 1965. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Richmond in 1969.

Goode. Photo provided

Goode attended the University of Virginia School of Law immediately following his
undergraduate career and graduated in 1973, according to his website. Goode also gained military experience as a member of the Army National Guard from 1969 to 1975.

According to his website, Goode worked as a lawyer with his own private practice from 1973 to 1977 while also serving as a member of the Virginia state senate. He was unsuccessful in his candidacy for nomination as a United States senator in 1982 and 1994. However, he was elected as a Democrat to the 105th Congress and to the succeeding Congress.

According to the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, Goode changed his party affiliation from Democratic to Independent Jan. 27, 2000. He was elected to the 107th Congress as an Independent but again changed his party affiliation to Republican Aug. 1, 2002. As a Republican, Goode was elected to the 108th Congress and the two succeeding Congresses. All in all, Goode served in Congress from Jan. 3, 1997 to Jan. 3, 2009. He ran unsuccessfully for re-election to the 111th Congress in 2008.

Goode highlights three issues in his presidential campaign in a USA Today article. He defines marriage as a union of one man and one woman, and he claims to be the only candidate to establish a moratorium on green card admissions to the United States.

Finally, he limits campaign donations to $200 to make a point about what he sees as a problem with the involvement of Political Action Committees (PACs) and Super PACs in partisan politics.

According to his website, Goode qualified for the ballot in Virginia despite a petition-fraud investigation by the Republican state attorney general. He has qualified to appear on the ballot in 26 states but could appear on as many as 42 state’s ballots as a write-in. Prior to his presidential campaign, Goode had been out of politics since his unsuccessful campaign for re-election to Congress in 2009.

Goode and his wife, Lucy, have one daughter, Catherine, who is grown.

1. According to finaid.org, the current total student loan debt is at over $1 trillion. What is your plan to help students obtain the quality education they need in order to help them better compete in the job market?

Until the budget is balanced as outlined in the following question, new subsidized student loans will likely be halted or significantly reduced.

2. What will be your top three priorities for getting the economy moving?

Under the Obama administration, unemployment has soared to over eight percent. Our debt has increased by more than $4 trillion under the Obama presidency, which has also given us trillion-dollar deficits.

The United States cannot borrow its way to prosperity. It is incumbent on our next president to propose a balanced budget upon taking office and not 10 years down the road. There will be pain, but the old saying that one will not get out of the hole by digging the hole deeper is accurate.

Nearly every department and agency will face significant cuts and some will face elimination. Veterans’ benefits is an example that will not be cut.

Examples of programs to be eliminated include the National Endowment for the Arts, No Child Left Behind and Foreign Aid, etc.

Reducing regulations and becoming energy-independent will also mean more jobs for America. The Canada to Texas pipeline needs to be built and operational expeditiously and not delayed or stopped as the current administration is doing.

Another way to reduce unemployment, reduce the deficit, and provide more jobs for U.S. citizens is to reduce legal immigration. In recent years, about 1.2 million green cards have been issued annually, and more than 60 percent go to foreigners who come to the United States and take jobs from American citizens. I have proposed a moratorium, with a few minor exceptions, on issuing green cards until our unemployment rate is under five percent. America has one of the most liberal immigration policies in the world, and it is time for the citizens of this country to be at the head of the line for jobs. We also need to totally end diversity visas (50,000 per year), reduce chain migration and dramatically reduce asylees and refugees and their costs to the U.S. taxpayer.

3. Health care is an important issue for college students, especially given the Affordable Health Care plan that extends coverage for these students — even those who are married and attending a university. What other issues of the health care program will impact college students now and in the future?

I support the repeal of the Affordable Health Care Plan but would support requiring coverage of students on a parent’s policy until that student reaches age 26.

4. What focus would your administration give to social issues where public policies go against strict religious beliefs, such as abortions, marriage amendments and religious liberty?

I oppose abortion. National Right to Life commended me on my 100 percent voting record during my years in Congress. I favor and co-sponsored legislation and constitutional amendments to define marriage as being between one man and one woman. I fully support religious liberty and the right to pray and to assemble.

5. Many students have enlisted in a branch of the military in order to pay for college. With the recent defense cuts and force reduction, how are you planning on protecting student veterans, National Guard members and ROTC cadets?

Such programs can not be expanded until the budget is balanced.

6. Why should a college student vote for you?

I am the only candidate with the courage to make the cuts necessary to balance the budget now and to start reducing the debt so today’s students will not face calamity in future years.

Mitt Romney prepares to reform

Republican presidential nominee hopes for new job creation, tax breaks and reduced stress on the military

Republican presidential candidate and successful businessman Mitt Romney was born to humble beginnings in Detroit, March 12, 1947.

According to Gov. Romney’s website, his father, George Romney, apprenticed as a lath and plaster carpenter and sold aluminum paint before beginning a career that led him to become the head of American Motors and, eventually, the governor of Michigan. Mitt Romney learned from his father’s hard work.

Romney. Google

Romney married his wife, Ann, in 1969. The two were acquaintances in elementary school but met years later at a friend’s house and began a long-lasting relationship.

According to his website, Romney graduated from Brigham Young University in 1971 and went on to earn degrees from Harvard Law and Harvard Business School. He began working as a business consultant before he co-founded the investment firm Bain Capital in 1984. According to mittromneycentral.com, Bain Capital has helped to launch or rebuild more than 100 companies, including Staples, Bright Horizons and The Sports Authority.

With the Salt Lake City Olympics on the verge of collapse in 1999, Romney was asked to take over because of his exceptional business background. According to his website, the games had been involved in a bid-rigging scandal, sponsors were fleeing, and the budget was in the red. The attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 created a security nightmare and had some officials questioning whether to even hold the Olympics in the United States.

Romney set out to straighten things out. According to his website, he revamped the organization’s leadership, trimmed the budget and restored public confidence. He also oversaw an unprecedented security mobilization to assure the safety of the athletes and the millions of visitors.

Romney was elected Governor of Massachusetts in 2002, according to his website. The state was in disarray, its budget was out of balance, spending was soaring, and taxpayers were paying more in taxes for diminishing services. According to mittromenycentral.com, with the state economy in a tailspin and businesses closing or cutting back on investments, Romney brought state spending under control, restructuring and consolidating government programs. Facing a state legislature dominated by Democrats, Romney vetoed more than 800 bills in an attempt to bring conservative principles to the state government. He was able to eliminate a $3 billion deficit without borrowing or raising taxes.

According to his website, the financial discipline provided under Romney’s leadership was essential for an economic recovery in Massachusetts. During his term, which ended in 2007, the state unemployment rate fell from 5.6 to 4.7 percent, and Massachusetts gained tens of thousands of new jobs.

According to his website, Romney and his wife have five sons, all of whom are grown men. They also have 18 grandchildren.

1. According to finaid.org, the current total student loan debt is at over $1 trillion. What is your plan to help students obtain the quality education they need in order to help them compete better in the job market?

America’s traditional community and four-year colleges are the heart of our nation’s higher education system. However, a flood of federal dollars is driving up tuition and burdening too many young Americans with substantial debt and too few opportunities. Meanwhile, other models of advanced skills training are becoming ever more important to success in the American economy, and new educational institutions will be required to fill those roles. Mitt Romney’s proposed reforms will spur the access, affordability, innovation and transparency needed to address all of these challenges.

First, he would work to strengthen and simplify the financial aid system by consolidating duplicative and overly complex programs within the Department of Education, and he would focus the Department on giving students and families with financial need the appropriate information about completion and persistence, loan repayment rates, future earnings and other indicators. This will help families intelligently weigh the risks and benefits of the many options available to them, rather than limiting choices through punitive regulations. Second, he would welcome private-sector participation instead of pushing it away, and third, he would replace burdensome regulation with innovation and competition. This will encourage market entry by innovative new education models, emphasize skill attainment instead of time spent in the classroom, and support research and development. We must repeal confusing and unnecessary regulations that primarily serve to drive costs higher and replace them with common-sense reforms that ensure appropriate student outcomes.

2. What will be your top three priorities for getting the economy moving?

The first priority of a Romney administration will be to strengthen the middle class by creating 12 million new jobs and getting our economy going again. Mitt Romney will rebuild the foundations of the American economy on the principles of free enterprise, hard work and innovation. His plan seeks to reduce taxes, spending, unnecessary regulation and ineffective government programs. It seeks to increase trade, energy production, human capital and labor flexibility. It empowers states instead of claiming that the federal government has the solution to every problem.

Any American living through this economic crisis will immediately recognize the severity of the break that Mitt Romney proposes from our current course. He is calling for a fundamental change in Washington’s view of how economic growth and prosperity are achieved, how jobs are created and how government can support these endeavors. It is at once a deeply conservative return to policies that have served our nation well and a highly ambitious departure from the policies of our current leadership. In short, it is a plan to get America back to work.

3. Health care is an important issue for college students, especially given the Affordable Health Care plan that extends coverage for these students — even those who are married and attending a university. What other issues of the health care program will impact college students now and in the future?

President Obama enacted a $2 trillion federal takeover of our nation’s health care system, driving up costs, lowering quality and reducing access. The law imposes massive tax increases on middle class families, slashes reimbursements for doctors and hospitals and limits choices for patients. Expansive federal mandates and costly government regulations will force millions of Americans out of their health coverage while enrolling millions more in a crumbling Medicaid program.

Ultimately, the law fails because it is built on the idea that Washington politicians can more compassionately and efficiently manage health care decisions than can patients, families and doctors. Gov. Romney rejects this bureaucratic, Washington-knows-best approach, and he is committed to repealing the president’s health care law beginning on his first day in office.

But that is not enough. The challenges facing our nation’s health care system will exist even after Obamacare has been repealed. That is why Gov. Romney has put forward a plan to replace the president’s fundamentally flawed law. His plan focuses on greater patient choice and control, lower costs and better access for every American.

His plan empowers patients and families and reforms insurance markets to emphasize fair competition and strong consumers. Our health care challenges can be fixed without a federal takeover of the entire system. Gov. Romney’s plan preserves what is working while reforming the areas that are broken.

4. What focus would your administration give to social issues where public policies go against strict religious beliefs, such as abortions, marriage amendments and religious liberty?

Limited government is fundamental to individual freedom. Time and time again, however, President Obama has shown a blatant disregard for the rights of religious institutions to act in accordance with their convictions and issued regulations that violate these institutions’ religious freedom. For example, the Obama administration actually said that it had the power to tell a church whom it had to accept as a minister and that it could second-guess a church’s reasons for deciding someone was not qualified to be a minister. This was so outrageous that the Supreme Court voted unanimously against the president’s position, 9-0. And President Obama has issued Obamacare rules that force religious institutions to pay for contraception and the morning-after pill, which violate the tenets of their faith.

President Obama has also forced millions of Americans who have deeply-held religious objections to abortion to subsidize abortion providers and advocates — both in America and overseas.

As president, Mitt Romney will work to repeal Obamacare and, in the interim, revoke Obamacare’s mandates on religious institutions. He will also, by executive order, reinstate the Mexico City Policy and end federal funding for Planned Parenthood. Mitt Romney will bring America back to the constitutional ideal of a limited federal government that does not intrude on individuals religious freedoms.

5. Many students have enlisted in a branch of the military in order to pay for college. With the recent defense cuts and force reduction, how are you planning on protecting student veterans, National Guard members and ROTC cadets?

President Obama’s massive defense cuts have hit the Armed Forces hard. The cuts affect everyone who is in uniform or has worn the uniform, including students, National Guard and Reserves and veterans. Mitt Romney will reverse the president’s defense cuts and add 100,000 troops to the military. That will help ease the strain on those groups in some important ways. First, it reduces stress on the National Guard and Reserves, which have frequently been called to service during the past 10 years. It allows guardsmen and reservists more time at home with their families and to continue their careers and education. It allows those cadets in the ROTC with better opportunities to commission in the military and earn ROTC scholarships. Most importantly, stopping the president’s defense cuts will prevent massive troop layoffs, which would harm all three of those groups and especially strain a Department of Veterans Affairs that is already buckling under an influx of new VA (Veteran Affairs) “customers.”

6. Why should a college student vote for you?

President Obama wishes we would forget about the last four years and the toll they have taken on everyday Americans. It is no wonder — his four years in office have been a disappointment for all of us, and they have been a catastrophe for some of us. Mitt Romney believes in America. He believes that liberty, opportunity and free enterprise have led to prosperity and strength before and will do so again. America, however, must take decisive action to roll back the misguided policies of the last four years, empower our citizens and restore the foundations of our nation’s strength.

The foundations of our nation’s strength are a love of liberty and a pioneering spirit of innovation and creativity. These values — inherited from our founders and embodied by all who came to our shores seeking opportunity — have made the United States the most powerful nation in the history of the world. These are the values Mitt Romney believes will restore our nation to prosperity.

Editor’s Note:
These answers were prepared by Mitt Romney’s Election Committee.

Obama seeks re-election

Editor’s Note: All five presidential candidates on Virginia’s ballot, including President Obama, were sent the same questions and given an opportunity to answer. Had they responded, their answers would have been featured. Because he is the current president, we have included a brief biography of Barack Obama. The biographies of the third party candidates can be found online at libertychampion.com.

President Barack Obama, the incumbent Democratic candidate for president, was born in Hawaii Aug. 4, 1961.


According to his biography, “Dreams from My Father,” Obama’s mother, Ann Dunham, grew up in Wichita, Kansas but moved to Hawaii after her father served in World War II. His father, Barack Obama Sr., was born in Kenya. He grew up herding goats in Africa but eventually earned a scholarship that allowed him to pursue his dream of attending college in Hawaii.

President Obama did not have a relationship with his father as a child. According to “Dreams from My Father,” his parents were divorced when he was 2, and his father returned to Kenya. His mother remarried to Lolo Soetoro, an East-West Center student from Indonesia, and the family moved to his home country. When he was 10, Obama was sent back to Hawaii to live with his maternal grandparents because his mother feared for his safety.

According to his website, Obama worked his way through college with the help of scholarships and student loans. He studied at Occidental College in Los Angeles for two years before transferring to Columbia University, where he graduated in 1983 with a degree in political science. After college, he moved to Chicago, where he worked as an organizer to help rebuild communities that had been devastated by the closure of local steel plants.

He went on to Harvard Law School in 1988, where he became the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review. While there, he met Michelle Robinson, an associate at the Chicago law firm of Sidley Austin. He graduated from Harvard, magna cum laude, in 1991.

After graduating, Obama took a job as a constitutional law professor at the University of Chicago. According to his website, he also remained active in his community, leading a drive that registered more than 150,000 voters in Illinois leading up to the 1992 election.

Obama was first elected to the Illinois State Senate in 1996. According to his website, he was able to pass the first major ethics reform in 25 years, cut taxes for working families, and expand health care for both children and adults during his time as a state senator in Springfield.

He was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2004. According to his website, he reached across the aisle to pass the farthest-reaching lobbyist reform in a generation, locked up the world’s most dangerous weapons, and brought transparency to government by tracking federal spending online.

In February 2007, Obama made headlines when he announced his candidacy for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination. He defeated U.S. senator Hilary Clinton for the Democratic nomination and defeated Republican presidential nominee John McCain Nov. 4, 2008 to become the 44th president of the United States. He became the first African-American to hold the office of the president.

According to his website, in his first 100 days of office, Obama expanded health care insurance for children, provided legal protection for women seeking equal pay, passed a $787 billion stimulus bill meant to promote short-term economic growth, and completed an overhaul of America’s foreign policy. He has also signed his health-care reform plan, known as the Affordable Care Act, into law in 2010. As he did in 2008, Obama has focused much of his effort in this campaign on grassroots initiatives.
Obama and his wife have two daughters, Malia, 14, and Sasha, 11.

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