Back a few weeks ago I was saddened to learn of the passing of Howard Phillips. Phillips was a man of principle who was champion for of the Constitution against the rising tides of secularism and liberalism. One of the original founders of the Moral Majority, he was a vocal advocate of Christian Reconstructionism and a follower of R.J. Rushdoony. His faith in Christ was strong, articulate and contagious.
In 1992 Howard Phillips founded what would later become the Constitution Party. After having working relationships with Presidents Nixon and Reagan, Phillips was convinced the Republican Party would not support and defend the Constitution our forefathers handed down to us. Instead of merely going along to get along in order to secure more power, he left the party in order to fight for principle.
Howard Phillips was also the chairman of the Conservative Caucus and host of the Conservative Roundtable weekly television program.
When I ran for Congress in 2007, Howard drove all the way up from Virginia (on his own dime) to help and campaign for me. He knew I had little chance of winning, but wished to encourage me and instill within me some core values about what is really important. My time with Howard Phillips will be a time I will always cherish.
You learn more about Howard Phillips by reading his son Doug’s tribute to him at Vision Forum.
On this episode of the KevCast I will air an interview I conducted with Howard during my congressional campaign in 2007. Hear Howard talk about his early days in Boston politics, his decision start a new party and the challenges third party candidates face.
Howard Phillips Speaking at My Campaign Rally
This morning the few guys from my church and I were able to spend about 30 minutes in prayer for our newly elected city officials. Below is the hand-out I gave (slightly edited).
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. – I Timothy 2:1-2
How to Pray for our Leaders
- Give thanks for their willingness to sacrifice and serve the public.
- Wisdom and discernment in decision-making.
- Peace amidst public pressure, media scrutiny and life in the fish bowl.
- Well-being of their family and loved ones.
- Protection from temptations of corruption, pragmatism, political opportunism, cynicism, depression, and arrogance.
- Rockford families to be strengthened.
- An informed public.
- Revival in Rockford churches.
Lawrence Morrissey (I)
Ward 1 – Timothy Durkee (R)
Ward 2 – Jamie Getchius (R)
Ward 3 – Thomas McNamara (D)
Ward 6 – Vernon Hilton (D)
Ward 9 – Teena Newburg (I)
Ward 11 – Karen Elyea (D)
Ward 13 – Linda McNeely (D)
Rockford Township Supervisor
Michael Goral (D)
Rockford Township Clerk
Jeffery Holt, Jr. (D)
Rockford Park District Commissioner
Rockford School Board
#205-Subdistrict A – Lisa Jackson
#205-Subdistrict E – Michael Harner
#205-Subdistrict F – Michael Connor
#205-Subdistrict G – Laura Powers
Rock Valley College Board
To download this in a better-formatted pdf file, click here.
Last month, I contacted each of the candidates hoping to be elected mayor of Rockford on this Tuesday. Each candidate agreed to participate in my attempt to help inform voters by answer a series of six questions which I intended to feature in a voter’s guide. As of today, only one candidate answered my questions. At beginning it was never my intention to give any one candidate any more time or space than the other. I was not intending to make a public endorsement. Being new to Rockford, I wanted to inform myself and those who ask me for my advice as to which candidate to support. Each campaign was sent the exact same questions at the exact same time. Only one candidate responded so this is the only candidate this blog will feature (unless either Mayor Morissey or Mr. Hughes decides to send me their answers).
The only candidate to follow through with their commitment was Republican Michael Kleen. Ironically, I ran into Mr. Kleen while running some errands this afternoon. So, we had the chance to chat for just a few minutes. I found Mr. Kleen to be engaging and willing to chat with a crazy political stalker like me. He listened to what I had to say and made sure my questions were answered. He shared with me his desire to listen to his constituents and hear their needs. From my experiences with him, this seems to be genuine.
Below in bold are the questions I sent to each candidate. Mr. Kleen’s answers are in italics.
Forbes magazine recently rated Rockford among the most miserable cities in the United States. What is the other side to this story? What does Rockford have to offer those who may consider moving here and how would you seek to strengthen those positive aspects of our city?
Rockford has a number of positive things going for it, things like affordable housing, beautiful parks, quality museums, low traffic congestion, and a variety of independently owned shops and restaurants. Unfortunately, high tax rates, crime, crumbling roads, and under performing schools tend to overshadow those strengths.
In order to allow Rockford’s good qualities to shine through, the city needs to provide a clean and safe environment, well maintained roads and infrastructure, and easy to follow rules and regulations so entrepreneurs can thrive. Additionally, I will give our police department the manpower and resources they need to get tough on crime and change the perception of Rockford as a violent city.
By focusing on those fundamentals, we can make sure that visitors see all the great things our city has to offer.
Crime is certainly one of the biggest issues our city now faces. We have heard potential solutions tossed around such as geo-policing, number of street lights, and more cops on the beat. What steps are needed to keep our people safe?
I consider crime to be our number one issue, and the safety of our community is my number one concern. Geographic policing is a good idea, but only if we have enough police officers to do it correctly. Right now, the city’s police department is well below authorized strength. We need to fill those positions immediately. I will not wait three and a half years to suddenly become concerned about hiring more police officers. Here are some more ideas on how we can reduce crime in Rockford:
- Replace the current police chief. The police department should be overseen by someone who has the complete confidence of his or her fellow officers.
- Restrictions on loitering, panhandling, vagrancy, graffiti, and vandalism should be strengthened and more vigorously enforced.
- Every effort should be made to identify and concentrate policing on hot spots of crime. Police should maintain a visible presence in these areas, including the use of foot patrols. Increasing foot patrols downtown and around commercial districts will lead to a safer environment in those areas.
- Citizens should be empowered to better defend themselves, their families, and their property. Upstanding citizens should be recruited into a citywide program to teach them the skills they need to reduce crime in their own neighborhoods.
I do not support state sanctioned same sex marriage. Because the County Clerk issues marriage licenses, however, I do not know whether there is anything the City of Rockford could do in the event same sex marriage was legalized in Illinois.
As mayor, I will be an advocate for the people of Rockford, and I will use that office to promote the interests of all our citizens, not just a select and powerful few. The mayor is the top level manager of one of the largest employers in the city. I believe in collaborative management and will offer a consensus building approach to solve problems. I will work to maintain positive relationships with city departments, employees, and their representation. When the mayor has a good relationship with city staff, operations run more smoothly and services get where they are needed. I will work to implement a professional development program for current staff to help them continue to improve and provide even better city services.
If I am able to implement all my reforms, I hope to see a great deal of progress in fixing some of the fundamental problems that have plagued Rockford for the past thirty years. No one can honestly say they would be able to turn everything around in four years, but we can make a lot of progress by getting our priories straight. I want to see us dropped from Forbes’ list of “most miserable places to live.” By focusing on getting crime under control, fixing our roads, cutting government waste, and being more careful about how we spend our tax dollars, we can achieve this simple goal.
When voters find themselves in the booth, ballot in hand, what is it that you hope they remember about your campaign?
When they are in the voting booth, I hope voters will remember that I am a regular guy and a concerned citizen just like them. I don’t have any powerful friends or business connections. My only motivation is doing the right thing for the people of Rockford, and I will walk the walk. After four years, if I am unable to make any progress in fixing our city’s fundamental problems, I will step aside and let someone else try. All I ask is for voters to give me a chance to try things a different way, because what we have been doing for the past eight years has not been working.
You can learn more about the Kleen campaign, check out his website - www.citizensforkleen.org.
NBC News has a tournament of influential U.S. Senators spanning the history of our nation. Yes, I have a shot at predicting the winner of this bracket!
“The interactive contest works just like an NCAA tournament bracket. Over the next few weeks, you get to vote on each match up between individual senators, and the winners advance. Our brackets are divided into different eras: 19th Century, 20th Century, Modern Day (relatively), and All of the Above (a grab-bag from different eras).”
Click on the bracket to play.
1. Forbes magazine recently rated Rockford among the most miserable cities in the United States. What is the other side to this story? What does Rockford have to offer those who may consider moving here and how would you seek to strengthen those positive aspects of our city?
2. Crime is certainly one of the biggest issues our city now faces. We have heard potential solutions tossed around such as geo-policing, number of street lights, and more cops on the beat. What steps are needed to keep our people safe?
3. Most of those reading this voter guide would probably consider themselves to be social conservatives. The big social issue our state is debating concerns marriage equality. Would you support the legalization of same sex marriage and how might this effect Rockford?
4. What do you see as the fundamental role of the office of Mayor in our city?
5. Realistically, where do see the city of Rockford four years from now after your term in office?
6. When voters find themselves in the booth, ballot in hand, what is it that you hope they remember about your campaign?
One of the campaigns (who will remain nameless) asked me to limit this questionnaire to six questions. So, these are the six questions I wanted to ask. If there had been a seventh, it would have been about job and the poor state of the economy. I’m also interested in the candidates view on gun control and conceal carry laws. As a teacher, I want to know about views concerning education. Oh well, I’m sure there will be other opportunities for that… I’ll get better at this the longer I stay here in Rockford. And despite Forbes Magazine, I am planning to stay put right here in this city!
I thought this was pretty cool and helpful. Yes, I’m a nerd…
As I prepare to retire from Congress, I’d like to suggest a few New Year’s resolutions for my colleagues to consider. For the sake of liberty, peace, and prosperity I certainly hope more members of Congress consider the strict libertarian constitutional approach to government in 2013.
In just a few days, Congress will solemnly swear to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against ALL enemies, foreign and domestic. They should reread Article 1 Section 8 and the Bill of Rights before taking such a serious oath. Most legislation violates key provisions of the Constitution in very basic ways, and if members can’t bring themselves to say no in the face of pressure from special interests, they have broken trust with their constituents and violated their oaths. Congress does not exist to serve special interests, it exists to protect the rule of law.
I also urge my colleagues to end unconstitutional wars overseas. Stop the drone strikes; stop the covert activities and meddling in the internal affairs of other nations. Strive to observe “good faith and justice towards all Nations” as George Washington admonished. We are only making more enemies, wasting lives, and bankrupting ourselves with the neoconservative, interventionist mindset that endorses pre-emptive war that now dominates both parties.
All foreign aid should end because it is blatantly unconstitutional. While it may be a relatively small part of our federal budget, for many countries it is a large part of theirs–and it creates perverse incentives for both our friends and enemies. There is no way members of Congress can know or understand the political, economic, legal, and social realities in the many nations to which they send taxpayer dollars.
Congress needs to stop accumulating more debt. US debt, monetized by the Federal Reserve, is the true threat to our national security. Revisiting the parameters of Article 1 Section 8 would be a good start.
Congress should resolve to respect personal liberty and free markets. Learn more about the free market and how it regulates commerce and produces greater prosperity better than any legislation or regulation. Understand that economic freedom IS freedom. Resolve not to get in the way of voluntary contracts between consenting adults. Stop bailing out failed yet politically connected companies and industries. Stop forcing people to engage in commerce when they don’t want to, and stop prohibiting them from buying and selling when they do want to. Stop trying to legislate your ideas of fairness. Protect property rights. Protect the individual. That is enough.
There are many more resolutions I would like to see my colleagues in Congress adopt, but respect for the Constitution and the oath of office should be at the core of everything members of Congress do in 2013.
See the original post here.
We are just hours away from what seems to be the inevitable plunge into higher tax rates and massive spending cuts that is the fiscal cliff. Even right now eyes turn to the US Senate as the President and Majority Leader Harry Reid have something they’ve been cooking up. But, what are we really talking about here?
- What is this fiscal cliff?
- What does it mean to our economy?
- What does it mean to our own families?
- What can be done about all of this?
These are just some of the questions we posed to conservative activist Peter Theron. Peter hols degrees in math and statistics from Princeton University and the University of Wisconsin. He also has taught statistics, mathematics, and computer science at UW-Madison, UW-Whitewater, and Beloit College. In 2008 and 2010 Peter ran for Congress in Wisconsin’s second congressional district.
So, if you are looking to learn more about what all Washington is a buzz over, download this episode now!
Related Links Referenced on This Podcast: