The Board of Republican Liberty Caucus of Colorado has created the Goldwater award to recognize the state legislator who most consistently acts in defense of liberty and limited government in the state house. On October 17th, we will recognize Representative Justin Everett for commitment to the principles of the RLC in his voting record.
While running for President in 1964, Barry Goldwater wrote in his book, The Conscience of a Conservative, that America’s march into concentrated power and unlimited government could be reversed. He wrote the that the turn would come when men and women in communities all over the country vote into office candidates who viewed their first priority as divesting themselves of the power they had just been given. They would seek to extend freedom by repealing laws and canceling programs that “do violence” to the constitution. This new kind of politician would first ask if a piece of legislation in constitutionally permissible before asking if it is needed.
It is this kind of principled thinking that forms the basis of the “Liberty Compact” which the Republican Liberty Caucus asks candidates to offer their constituents when being considered for an endorsement.
That compact reads “I, pledge to the citizens of the State of Colorado and to the American people, that as their elected representative I will work to: restore liberty, not restrict it; shrink government, not expand it; reduce taxes, not raise them; abolish programs, not create them; promote the freedom and independence of citizens, not the interference of government in their lives; and observe the limited, enumerated powers of our Constitution, not ignore them.”
The democratic majority in both houses provided ample opportunity to grow government in ways big and small. Most readers are aware of the big ways; new infringements on basic 2nd amendment rights, two major tax initiatives, and of course a major assault on elections integrity itself. Most Republicans easily got on the right side of these issues.
But there were many small intrusions as well. Such as an affront to federalism in giving federal law enforcement more power to enforce local laws. Or the creation of special tax credits in certain industries called “jobs” bills. Or the creation of special privileges based on one’s time spent in government, law enforcement or the military.
This is not a reward for using “liberty” rhetoric. The most important lesson an activist can learn is to pay attention to a politician’s votes rather than the words they use. It takes a principled and diligent legislator to work through this myriad of bad legislation and ensure that he votes consistently for liberty. In 2013, no one more fulfilled the vision of Barry Goldwater or the words of our Liberty Compact than Representative Justin Everett.
If you ask around you will learn that Justin commits long hours outside of the legislative day to understand these bills. He serves as a resource for others, both in the chamber and in the public, who want to understand a particular bill. In this way he is more than one vote in favor of our a principles, he is a leader on their behalf.
Thank You Representative Everett.
We will recognize Representative Everett and present him with the award at our monthly social on October 17, at 7pm at Woody’s Woodfired Tavern in Denver. Details and RSVP here.
Technical note: In assessing the record of state legislators, the RLCCO board made use of the tools provided by Rich Bratten at Principles of Liberty. We made a thorough review of POLs assessment against our own criteria as well as considering factors relating to pieces of legislation where our board took a position. The outcome of this analysis was a slight re-weighting of the POL individual category scores but the results for overall rankings are unchanged at the top. Principles of Liberty is a tremendous and highly recommended resource for the citizen activist wishing to engage the legislative process.