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Will Allen run again? 'Perhaps,' he says
Former senator and governor George Allen answers questions Tuesday at the Virginia Museum of Natural History. (Bulletin photo)
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
By GINNY WRAY - Bulletin Staff Writer
Former governor and senator George Allen said Tuesday that he is leaving his options open for another run for public office.
If he does run, it would be for a job in the nation's capital, rather than the state's, he said.
"We'll see," Allen said Tuesday at the Virginia Museum of Natural History, when asked if he plans to run for public office again.
"A lot of people have encouraged" him to get back into politics, he said. "Perhaps."�
The issues he is advocating now - energy, the economy and others - "are all decided in D.C., many by one vote," Allen said. "That's where most people are encouraging" him to run.
Allen would not comment further on his own political plans. Rather, he said, he is working to get "common-sense conservatives" elected this year.
Allen, a Republican, served in the U.S. Senate from Jan. 3, 2001, to Jan. 3, 2007. He was defeated for re-election by Democrat Jim Webb, formerly Secretary of the Navy.
Allen served as Virginia's governor from 1994 to 1998; as the 7th Congressional District representative in the House from 1991 to 1993; and in the Virginia House of Delegates from 1982 to 1991.
Now, he is promoting a book he has written, "What Washington Can Learn from the World of Sports"�; running a consulting firm; and working for the American Energy Freedom Center, which he created. It deals with issues related to energy independence, including education, information and common sense, he said, adding that it also works against what he called bad ideas, such as the cap and trade legislation.
"Everything coming out of Washington is working against us," Allen said, citing the rising national debt, increased spending, energy legislation, health care legislation and other issues.
The nation's debt levels are dangerous, he said, bemoaning the fact that China owns more of the United States' debt than Americans do.
He warned that the debt will create things such as inflation and tax increases, and "none of them will encourage competition, jobs and investment."�
Instead of the new health care reform legislation, Allen said he advocates expanded Health Savings Accounts, in which a person owns an account that is not tied to the government or a particular employer, so the person can take it with him if he changes jobs. People can make tax free contributions to their accounts.
Allen said the accounts would be more affordable than the reform bill approved by Congress and cover major medical expenses.
Allen was in Martinsville to address about 100 people at a dinner organized by The Family Foundation of Virginia. Its president, Victoria Cobb, said the foundation is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that follows about 100 bills in each legislative session to determine if they fit core principles of the group, such as pro-life issues.
Allen said he has worked with the foundation throughout its 25-year history, including when he was governor on issues such as parental notification, welfare reform, education initiatives, abolishment of parole and truth in sentencing.
Before the meeting, Allen greeted Clarence Elliott of Martinsville, a World War II Navy veteran who turned 84 on June 8. As they talked, Allen realized Elliott would have been part of the forces that liberated his mother in North Africa during the war.
Henrietta Allen was raised as a Jew in the North African nation of Tunisia before moving to the United States, according to published reports.
"With gratitude for your strong stand for freedom and for liberating my mother," Allen wrote in a copy of his book for Elliott. "You are a fantastic, inspirational leader."�
Allen also said he was glad to be back at the Virginia Museum of Natural History, which he said was a priority for him as governor. He still has a shark's tooth, given to him by the museum during that time, in his bathroom where he sees it every day and thinks of the museum each time, he said.