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Do Your Homework Before Voting

Topic: Do Your Homework Before Voting

I have been spending as much time as possible at the early polling places this week, and it has indeed been eye-opening. First of all, the citizens I have met and chatted with have been wonderful. The voters arrive in various states of preparedness. Many are engaged and have very insightful questions regarding their concerns. Some come already prepared, having done their research, and quickly pass inside to vote. And some come having already-completed their absentee ballot and are just there to drop it off.

But two groups of voters concern me:

1.) Those who show up not even knowing the races they will vote on or any of the candidates—they grab a Republican or Democrat sample ballot and walk right into the building.

2.) Voters who come very aware of who the candidates are but feeling undecided because they haven’t had the opportunity to meet and talk with them enough about issues important to them.

The entire premise of our representative form of government is an engaged and informed electorate willing to hold those who represent them accountable, so I find it discouraging that many voters don’t come as prepared as I’m sure they’d like to be.

Throughout the summer and fall, I have met nearly all the local candidates, and there are many true public servants in all the groups—Republicans, Democrats and Independents. I do find it interesting the number of Independent candidates in the elections across Chesterfield County: 3 supervisor races and the commonwealth attorney. I think there are a growing number of people, like myself, who may lean one way or another but don’t truly feel either party represents them well. Let’s face it, the majority of the decisions made locally regarding spending, taxing, and land use are non-partisan issues anyway—probably why party affiliation is not listed on the ballot.

If you have not voted already, I encourage you to resist the urge to rely on a last-minute sheet of paper handed to you in the parking lot. Investigate all the candidates, see if there’s a way to meet them in person (or over the phone) to discuss your concerns, and vote confidently for who you feel will represent you best.

The last group of folks I’m concerned about are those who base their vote on what they are whispered at the polls or rumors they have heard. I am going to list a few of the crazy lies about me that people have heard/shared:

Lie #1: Chip will work to seize all guns in Chesterfield. If you follow me at all, you know I am a firm believer in the Constitution, which would include the Second Amendment. I have not mentioned nor do I have any plans to infringe on Second Amendment rights. Any suggestion otherwise is a lie. If you would care to do your own research to verify this, check out the Virginia Citizens Defense League candidate surveys.

Lie #2: Chip will cut all spending by 10%, including funding for teachers, firefighters and police. That’s another flat-out lie. What I have said is that if elected I would challenge every department to identify 10% savings that could be used on the priorities of the voters: school construction, roads, teacher, fire, and police pay. I have consistently-suggested that Chesterfield County does not have a revenue problem, but they do have a spending problem. Any catching up that was done recently is being quickly-eroded by inflation, so the county needs to tighten its belt and focus on priorities. I am not at all ashamed to say it. Older folks probably remember the Ronald Reagan quote: “The problem is not that people are taxed too little; the problem is that government spends too much.” Incredibly, republicans have attacked me for being too much like Ronald Regan.

Lie #3: Chip is not a true conservative. I am not sure the Republican Party in Chesterfield can define a conservative, but I will share with you my definition: I believe in limited government, fiscal responsibility, and fully-transparent representation, all of which are conservative principles. I have been very open about my beliefs (I wrote an entire blog post about why I decided to run as an independent), and I will continue to refuse to be defined by a party label nor be swayed by loyalty to party or donors. My only loyalty will be to the citizens I serve.

So I strongly encourage voters to do their homework before they vote. Decide who will represent YOU best before you leave home. Stride confidently to the polls, ignoring the gauntlet of signs and politicians. Vote your conscience. I will continue to have faith that the voters in Matoaca will see through the lies and vote for who they believe will best represent them.

God bless America, the Commonwealth of Virginia, Chesterfield County, and the good citizens of Matoaca!


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