Podium Headquarters is located in the 6th Congressional District, where (for the first time since 1998), Incumbent Bob Goodlatte faces a major party challenge in Democratic candidate Sam Rasoul, a self-proclaimed "Blue Dog" and small-business owner. Also running a fairly visible campaign is independent Janice Lee Allen. Without further ado, let's get to the candidates...
Goodlatte has never received less than 60% of the vote in any election since he won this seat back in 1992, and has only been faced with a serious campaign challenge 3 times during his 8 previous elections...each time, he received 60%, 67%, and 67%. However, he is also faced with the fact that the 6th Congressional District has received a small increase of Democratic voters in the Roanoke and Harrisonburg areas. Goodlatte's campaign has been free of negativity and has focused on a positive approach.
Goodlatte is generally a fiscal conservative who supports tax cuts for all income brackets. He also believes in a simplified tax code that would eventually eliminate income tax and most of the IRS and has encouraged debate on alternative tax programs, such as the FairTax or a flat tax. He is pro-business, with an emphasis on small businesses, and is pro-agricultural growth as well. Goodlatte also supports the War on Terror, and does not believe in a set timetable for withdrawing the troops in Iraq. He did not support the federal bailout bill.
He is a strong social conservative, with solidly anti-abortion and anti-gay marriage stances. He supports offshore and ANWR oil drilling, and supports a goal of 25% renewable energy by the year 2025 as part of the initiative to end American dependence on foreign oil. Goodlatte supports strong border enforcement to stem the flow of illegal immigration and the drug trade across the Mexican/American border, and also supports more efficient port security as well.
Rasoul is a small business owner from Roanoke. He has run an energetic campaign in a district that is heavily Republican overall. He should get a bigger base of support than previous candidates from the increased number of Democrats and liberal-leaning independents in the area, as well as the coattails of Mark Warner, whom Rasoul has made every attempt to connect himself with. Rasoul has also managed to run a fairly positive campaign, much like his Republican counterpart.
Rasoul does fashion himself as a "blue dog", promoting fiscal responsibility. He believes in a flattened tax system that places no tax burden on individuals making less than $50,000 a year, and any individual making over $150,000 pays no more than 35%. Rasoul also has a pro-business stance, being a businessman himself, and supports earmark reform and eliminating pork-barrel spending. He also supports a phased withdrawal of Iraq beginning immediately, with a timetable for final withdrawal.
He supports alternative energy sources, but does not approve of any new exploration or drilling outside of the current federally-leased lands to oil and gas companies. Rasoul supports nationalized healthcare. Rasoul supports universal pre-K, but also believes in increased vocational training to provide alternatives to those who are not necessarily college material.
Janice Lee Allen
Allen is a conservative independent who has the distinction of being the only candidate who was born and raised completely within this district, as she is a native of Harrisonburg. Allen is a well-educated person who holds 4 Masters Degrees and a PhD. A former Urban Planner for Fairfax City, Fairfax County, and Rockingham County, Allen is running on a conservative pacifist/reformer platform with a populist bent to it.
She is against the Iraq War and supports a phased withdrawal of our troops on a specific timetable. She is a staunch advocate against No Child Left Behind, and believes in a revamping of public schools. Allen supports nationalized health care. She also supports a simplification of the tax code to allow possibilities such as the FairTax to eventually become the national tax system.
Allen believes in increased federal investment into medical research and infrastructure improvement. She believes in increased anti-Global Warming investments and environmental protectionism. Allen also holds to the belief that America should remain a pacifist nation, and never consider war as an option to resolve foreign conflicts. She believes that reduced federal spending on the military will provide a smaller federal budget to go along with increased job and business growth spurred by tax cuts, which she believes will create economic growth.
Synopsis and Podium Opinion
First, I'm not much of a fan of Allen, to be honest. While she wants to cut the budget, I think she's cutting too much in one place to spend it somewhere else. This limits the effectiveness of her ability to reign in spending, as medical and scientific research are areas where pork can be stuffed left and right. Also, I'm not a big fan of war, but I think she takes too much of a pacifist approach, but that is my opinion.
I actually like Rasoul's tax plan, although the fact that everyone must file individually no matter their marital status does eliminate many tax breaks for everyone. Sam has some good policy initiatives, such as the increased vocational training for non-college bound students, but any enthusiasm I have for him is dampened heavily by his support for nationalized health care and narrow focus on how to achieve American energy independence.
I also differ with Congressman Goodlatte on some issues, mainly ones of a social nature, as I believe that abortion is solely a states rights issue, and there should NOT be a constitutional amendment defining marriage.
However, I am a man of pragmatic prioritizing, and Goodlatte's support for both increased drilling AND a goal for increased renewable energy, combined with his support for finishing the Iraq War with a victory (which we should achieve in the same amount of time as a timetable withdrawal at the current rate), this is why the Podium endorses Rep. Bob Goodlatte for Congress.