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Times Dispatch - Cuccinelli: Making New Jobs, Quality Education Accessible

Op-Ed

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By Ken Cuccinelli

As we near Election Day, I've had the opportunity to listen to what's important to Virginia voters: growing the economy, limiting government, more and higher-paying jobs, the chance to achieve and the promise of a better future for their children and grandchildren.

Last month, Virginia topped Forbes' list for the best states for business. In developing its rankings, Forbes put the most emphasis on business costs related to taxes, energy and labor. In all three of these critical areas, I have advanced policies and positions that will encourage job creation, while my opponent has policies or positions that will raise taxes and energy costs and bring forced unionism to Virginia.

That is why the election on Nov. 5 is critical to the future of Virginia and our children. We will either stay on a path of freedom, positive growth and opportunity for all Virginians and reasonable tax burdens, or we will turn toward higher taxes, less freedom and opportunity and more incompetent government interference with our health decisions and our economy.

At the top of the list of wrong choices is the job-crushing behemoth known as Obamacare. I've met several hundred job creators, and I've been overwhelmed by the frequency with which Obamacare comes up as a reason they're not hiring.

I was the first attorney general in the nation to sue to stop Obamacare because I believed the law was unconstitutional and contrary to the very principles of individual liberty upon which our nation was founded. It's important to remember that my opponent not only supported Obamacare, he also advocated for the public option.

Over the course of this campaign, I've laid out policy plans that were developed in recognition of the challenges and opportunities we face. I believe that one of the most important keys to leadership is to approach issues honestly. Unlike Washington, where my opponent is used to doing business, we have to pay for the initiatives we put forward.

My opponent's endless promises and the $1,700 in new taxes they would cost the average Virginia family are a path to job destruction because of the money taken from the private sector to grow government even more.

My jobs plan, which has been independently rated to create 58,000 new jobs, recognizes the rising competition we face with other states. It would stimulate Virginia's economy by lowering the individual and business income-tax rates, easing tax burdens for middle-class families by putting a reasonable cap on government spending, and eliminating wasteful and ineffective tax breaks and loopholes for special interests.

My K-12 and higher-education plans recognize that we need to make quality education more accessible for more students and give parents more control over their children's educational futures. My K-12 plan will allow even the poorest parents to move their children from failing schools to the schools of their choice, so their children aren't condemned to failure just because of where they live. I've rolled out an all-of-the-above energy plan that protects our coal jobs and keeps energy prices low, while my opponent has said he wants to kill the coal industry on which so many Virginians rely for jobs and energy.

I'm the only candidate in this race who has the experience, leadership background and a record of fighting for the people. As a young attorney, I represented patients with mental illnesses during involuntary commitment hearings. As a state senator, I pushed meaningful mental health reforms through the General Assembly on a bipartisan basis, and I led the effort to protect your property rights. And as attorney general, my office has made historic firsts in fighting human trafficking and rescuing victims, we've stopped more Medicaid fraud in four years than in the previous 26, we've increased convictions of Internet child predators by 77 percent, and we've helped reduce gang violence across the commonwealth.

The differences between my opponent and me couldn't be starker. I view government as protecting all people regardless of class or economic status. I say that government must follow the rule of law. My opponent views government as a favor factory for friends and allies. He is willing to let government ignore the rule of law.

We don't need the special interest politics of Washington, where what you get depends on who you know. That's what my opponent would bring to Virginia and, along with it, the high taxes, greater regulation and dysfunction of big government.

Virginians want competent, fair government that abides by the rule of law. They want the freedom to achieve without job-killing regulation and high taxes.

As governor, I will work hard to ensure Virginia remains a wonderful place to live, work and raise a family. Along the way, you may not agree with me on everything, but you will always know where I stand.

I humbly ask for your consideration and vote on Nov. 5.

Ken Cuccinelli is the attorney general of the Commonwealth of Virginia and Republican candidate for governor.


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