Martinsville Bulletin, Inc.
P. O. Box 3711
204 Broad Street
Martinsville, Virginia 24115
Toll Free: 800-234-6575
Goode hopes public 'wakes up'
Monday, October 29, 2012
By DEBBIE HALL - Bulletin Staff Writer
Constitution Party presidential candidate Virgil H. Goode Jr. knows he is bucking the odds in his bid for the White House against two major party candidates.
“It’s a long shot to think I will carry any state, but if the general public wakes up and says, ‘we are not going to be controlled’” by the super PACs (Political Action Committees), there could be a change in the administration and in America, Goode said in a recent interview.
“Every vote I get will send the Democrats and the Republicans one huge message: ‘We are fed up with both of you,’” he added.
Goode, of Rocky Mount, served 24 years as a Virginia senator and then 12 years as a 5th District congressman as a Democrat, Independent and Republican before losing a re-election bid in 2008.
He is running for president under the Constitution Party in the Nov. 6 election. He is on the ballot in at least 36 states, including 10 as a write-in candidate.
Goode will be on the ballot in Virginia along with Democratic President Barack Obama; former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, a Republican; Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson, a former governor of New Mexico; and Green Party candidate Jill Stein, who ran against Romney for governor of Massachusetts.
If voters continue subscribing to messages from the super PACs and the major parties and think they must vote for a major party candidate, “you’re not going to get much change” on key issues such as balancing the budget now, job creation, energy and others, Goode said.
“We’ve had a really good reception in Nevada and Wyoming” and many other states, he said. “A lot of persons tell us ‘we just don’t like our choices.’”
However, the driving factor in his positive reception is voters’ contempt of feeling controlled by the super PACs or the “hundreds of millions of dollars spent” by the major campaigns, Goode said.
There are stark differences between himself, Romney and Obama, Goode said.
Neither Obama nor Romney “are really for jobs for American citizens,” he said, adding that both Obama and Romney favor legal immigration and a path for illegal immigrants to become legalized citizens.
“That ends up hurting the American worker,” Goode said. “You don’t bring people in from other countries” to take American jobs. “You have to help U.S. citizens first.”
His message to Martinsville and Henry County is concise.
Vote to “balance the budget now, keep jobs in America for American citizens, redo the trade agreements so they are fair, no more PACs (political action committees) and create term limits,” Goode said.
Unwillingness to make cuts has helped lead to a budget deficit, he said, recalling that during a recent Internet debate, a student asked about the possibility of more financial aid for college, including Pell grants and student loans.
Goode said increasing those areas while balancing a budget is not possible. Neither are plans outlined by Romney and his runningmate Paul Ryan “calling to not cut defense spending.”
The only areas Goode said he would spare are benefits to veterans, Medicare and Social Security, because all three are specially funded. He also would put measures in place to prevent Congress from shifting those funds to cover other expenses.
Goode said he is “agreeable to some tax” reform, but he does not believe “the maximum tax rate should be over 50 percent.” He explained that as it stands now, federal, state and local taxes combined sometimes exceed 50 percent on some products.
“I also don’t think you should have refundable tax credits” such as those for child care, the Earned Income Credit and other mainly business-related credits, he said.
“I think you should get back in excess of what you paid, but you should not in a particular year get a check in the mail” for refundable credits, Goode said.
He also does not favor decreasing tax rates across the board, but Goode said he thinks the Bush-era tax cuts that are in place are effective and should not be allowed to expire.
He has several ideas to drive job growth and jump-start the economy.
“First, I would have a moratorium on for green card workers in this country,” he said of the cards that are given to legal immigrants. “There are 1.2 million of them every year, (and three-fourths of them are) working-age persons.”
Although “big companies want those people in because it drives down wages, it makes no sense to me to issue more green cards until the unemployment rate” is less than 5 percent, Goode said.
To encourage small business growth, Goode said he would “do away with Obamacare,” the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act health care reform.
He does like some facets of the act — including pre-existing conditions coverage and allowing children on their parents’ insurance until the age of 26, Goode said.
“But having Obamacare has worried a lot of small businesses about what they have to do” to comply with new regulations, he said.
On the subject of federal regulations that hurt businesses, Goode said he would “have an EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) administrator that is pro-(business) and pro-growth.”
He was critical of EPA’s and the U.S. Corps of Engineers’ lack of approval of permits for grading at the Commonwealth Crossing Business Centre in Henry County. Local officials have said the corps does not like to approve permits for speculative projects.
Goode said that he is familiar with the Commonwealth Crossing development but he was not aware of the permitting holdup.
The decision to make such an investment “should be made by the localities, not the EPA, unless you’re crossing a navigable river, and certainly there is not one there that I know of,” Goode said.
Regulations are too broad, in some cases, and “too far reaching overall,” said Goode.
Goode said he has opposed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and other trade pacts because they only benefit mass retailers, but until there is “someone in the White House” to re-negotiate those agreements, “you’re not going to see much change.”
Under his leadership in the Oval Office, Goode said the U.S. would not have participated in air strikes in Libya, nor would an ambassador have been killed there.
“The situation there is totally fluid. Seemingly, they are now for us,” but that could change quickly, he said.
Even though the U.N. was involved, “we shouldn’t have done the air strikes in Libya” either, unless Congress made a declaration of war, Goode said. “The Constitution Party says follow the Constitution,” he said, adding that if he is elected commander-in-chief and “if Congress doesn’t declare (war), we’re not going.”
To end the gridlock in Washington, Goode said he would only serve one term and not “go after” either Republicans or Democrats. He feels he would effectively work with people in both major parties.
Term limits also would mean “less PAC influence and less focus on the next election” instead of what is best for the nation, Goode said.
He also would eliminate PAC donations and address the cost of Republican and Democratic conventions which, he said, is partially paid by taxpayers, Goode said.
He was not invited to the presidential debates between Romney and Obama but has attended debates with Johnson, Stein and Justice Party candidate Rocky Anderson, a former mayor of Salt Lake City.
One of the national debates he attended was held Tuesday in Chicago, organized by the Free and Equal Elections Foundation. Obama and Romney were invited but did not attend.