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Public Statements

Issue Position: Eminent Domain

Issue Position

Location: Unknown

Of the three great rights, Life is the most fundamental. It is through Life that all other rights begin. And so we guard the right to Life jealously. The next great right, that of Liberty, is what gives meaning to Life. If we are not free, then being alive has little value. We are therefore ready to fight, and even die, to defend our Liberty.

The last of the three great rights is often not given the importance we assign to the first two. We sometimes take Property for granted. We sometimes feel that we can give up our Property because we can protect our Life if we do not stand and fight to defend our right to Property. But in doing so, we give up our true measure of Liberty. By denying the importance of Property, we devalue Liberty, and Life itself.

We acquire Property most fairly if we labor to get it. Whether we are harvesting grain from a field, or putting our wages we have earned in the bank, it is the sweat of our brow that adds value to our lives. Some people have more, and some work harder to get theirs. But when we work, we get to own what we have strived to achieve. If that were not the case, we would not work unless forced to do so.

When we work and enjoy the fruits of our labor, then we are truly free. But when we work and someone else gets to enjoy the end product, we are slaves. This is how we measure Liberty, by how much we can earn and how much we can keep. If you don't believe this, I want you to send me a signed blank check. Don't worry about the amount, since you don't care what you keep. As for me, I want to live my Life free, so I will fight for what I have earned. And I will fight to make sure you keep what you have earned.

Eminent Domain is the power of a government to take private property for public use. There is no question that "public use" can be compelling. Especially when its use ensures our common defense and general welfare. But we have to be careful about taking someone else's property. We may make it easier to build a road, or establish a park, but what about the cost? What about the value of another man's Liberty? It is easy to be cavalier about something that belongs to someone else. But if we don't stand for that person's rights, our rights are just as vulnerable.

Look at what happened in New London, Connecticut. The Kelo Supreme Court case surprised everyone. Prior to Kelo there were many cases where property was taken, but in all of those cases that came to trial, the eventual owner was the government. The acceptable uses were roads and public use. In the Kelo case, the property was taken by the city then transferred to a private developer. The reasoning was that newer condos would generate more taxes for the city, and therefore were deemed to be acceptable public use, in spite of the fact that the developer stood to profit as well. The Suzette Kelo's property was taken for private use. Although the owner was compensated, the property was essentially stolen from her.

For this reason and more, I hold each person's property to be their sacred right. I stand for your right to keep the fruits of your labor. And I will fight the use of Eminent Domain except in cases of dire need where the public's safety or welfare is threatened. We must be secure in our homes and our Liberty, and our property must be protected. That is the function of government, above all others.

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