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Goode outlines goals if elected president
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The Constitution Party's candidate for president, Virgil Goode, right, of Rocky Mount, shows Norm Biersbach where o sign a voter petition for him Tuesday at the Virginia Museum of Natural History. Goode spoke to the Martinsville Rotary Club at the dinner meeting. (Bulletin photo by Mike Wray)

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

By PAUL COLLINS - Bulletin Staff Writer

Presidential candidate Virgil Goode, speaking in Martinsville on Tuesday, cited the need for significant, across-the-board cuts in federal spending to balance the budget; congressional term limits; repeal of Obama health care reform; tougher immigration policies; and reigning in federal secondary education regulations.

Goode, the Constitution Party’s candidate for president, addressed the Martinsville Rotary Club at its dinner meeting at the Virginia Museum of Natural History. About 20 people attended.

Goode, 65, of Rocky Mount, was in Virginia’s Senate from 1973 to 1996. He then served six terms in Congress before he lost his seat to Democrat Tom Perriello in 2008. Perriello was defeated by current 5th District U.S. Rep. Robert Hurt, R-Chatham, two years later. A Democrat when he was first elected to Congress, Goode later became an independent and then a Republican.

Goode said the federal government needs “a balanced budget soon, not in five to 10 years.”

He said President Obama’s proposed budget, with a $1.3 trillion deficit, and the House Republicans’ budget plan by Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, with a deficit of more than $600 billion, both fall short of what this country needs.

“We’ve got to make hard choices. It’s difficult to do it,” Goode said of the need to cut spending and balance the budget.

“To get a balanced budget, you have to cut discretionary spending,” he said.

He noted the House GOP budget increases defense spending. But he said spending shouldn’t be increased in one area when the budget needs balancing; spending needs to be cut across the board. He noted he has been a supporter of defense spending in the past.

He added, though, he would not want to cut direct benefits to veterans or military pay.

Goode said the federal government should withdraw from “its over-reaching regulation of local school systems.” He added those regulations are tremendously expensive to local school systems and the state. He noted that he voted against No Child Left Behind legislation. His campaign website says he is opposed to national testing of public school students, he supports ending the federal Department of Education, and that local education decisions should be left the states and localities.

Among the other examples he listed where he thinks federal spending cuts are needed are foreign aid, agriculture, commerce and energy. “The list goes on and on,” Goode said.

He said term limits are needed in the U.S. House and Senate for a number of reasons. A major reason, he said, is that he thinks federal legislators are more interested in raising money to get re-elected and avoiding controversy so as to not make people or groups mad than they are about doing what’s right.

On immigration, he expressed opposition to what’s known as “anchor babies,” in which illegal immigrants come into this country, have a baby and the baby automatically becomes a U.S. citizen and is entitled to many benefits.

He also said it has been estimated that more than 64,000 illegal immigrants graduate from U.S. high schools every year. Using a conservative estimate of $10,000 a year to educate a student, that’s $640 million, according to figures Goode provided.

He said tougher immigration policies are needed.

His campaign website says he supports reducing legal immigration and stopping illegal immigration.

On a number of other issues, he said:

• He would give “zero” foreign aid to Pakistan.

• If Social Security benefits were extended to same-sex couples, the financial impact would be enormous.

“You’re talking billions,” he said.

Goode is opposed to gay marriages/civil unions and supports the federal Marriage Protection Amendment, according to his website.

• He said he thinks “it’s very unlikely” Obama health care reform will be repealed, even if presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney wins the election and Republicans have a majority in both houses of Congress — because of the vote margin required for repeal.

However, Goode said he favors repeal of “Obamacare.” He said he thinks such a repeal would benefit small businesses.

He said “we all want affordable health care,” but with the large federal deficit and federal debt, the country can’t afford Obama health care reform.

In an interview, he said “we’ve got a little over 4,000” of the signatures required to get on the Virginia ballot and are working to collect more. More than 10,000 signatures of registered voters — at least 400 from each congressional district — are required.

Enough signatures have been collected for Goode to be on the ballot in 17 states, he said.


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