By Phil Russo
Back in February 2009 I had the honor of being one of 10-15 people in the country that was on the conference calls that planned the first round of tea party protests. There were only 50 cities and in Orlando, where I was organizing our rally, we only had about 100 people. From the beginning we developed a set of core values for the tea party that many groups ended up adopting. It was actually Justin from Cincinnati that came up with “fiscal responsibility, limited government, and free markets”. Many tea party web sites you visit will have those core values listed. I don’t know if the bayshore group uses the core values or not but it doesn’t matter if they do or not because those values become the core of the movement. How the bayshore group could so ignore these core values in their selection of endorsements astounds me.
The fact that they have decided to run against Declan O’Scanlon shows that they have different reasons for picking their endorsements. Our group in Orlando, and most tea party groups I know, encourage people to learn about all the candidates and talk to them. Ask them questions. Then decide. We avoided telling people who to vote for because that is the very thing that the establishment we hate so much does. Full disclosure: I worked for Declan for about 2 years in his legislative office. But I am not writing this article because I worked for Declan. In fact, it is quite the contrary. I worked for Declan because he is the kind of legislator about whom I would write such an article.
Declan O’Scanlon is the living embodiment of the tea party core values. He fights the Democrats in Trenton and their spending and taxing on a daily basis. Trying to say that Declan is not a fiscal conservative is a joke. The reason he ran against Mike Panter in the first place was because of Pantor and the Corzine democrats were taking NJ on a path to fiscal ruin. Declan fought for years to reform the public employees’ pension and health benefit system. Declan knew from his time as a councilman in Little Silver how much pension obligations were crushing municipalities.
One of Declan’s other big issues has been prevailing wage, because once again, he recognizes the impact prevailing wage has on towns and counties and that translates directly into fiscal impact on the people through property, sales, and income tax increases. I would like for Barbara Gonzalez or one of the other bayshore folks to explain to the voters of Monmouth County how Declan does not fit the tea party core value of fiscal responsibility. One more important note on fiscal responsibility; Declan is not just fiscally responsible and conservative in his political life, he is fiscally responsible in his personal life, too.
The next tea party core value is limited government, again, let us look at the evidence. Declan O’Scanlon has fought his entire adult life for less government intrusion into the lives of the people. When the state of NJ started mandating vaccines for school children Declan stood up and spoke out against it because it is a parents right to decide whether or not to vaccinate their children. Heck, Declan’s father is a doctor, so he might argue with you till he is blue in the face that you should get your kids vaccines but he recognizes that it is not the proper role of the state to force you to put something inside your child’s body that you do not want there. Similarly, Declan has been leading the fight against red light cameras which are not just an invasion of our privacy but all the data shows they do not prevent red light running. They just take tens of millions of dollars out of the pockets of hard working people and put them in the hands of greedy politicians and people like Dan Peters, the tea party candidate for Sheriff, who worked for Redflex, the red light camera company.
Instead of living within their means and cut spending municipalities have decided they would rather install cameras so they can make money off of people rolling through a right on red. This is big brother and big government at its worst. Time and time again Declan O’Scanlon stands up for limited government, yet the tea party doesn’t support him? Again I ask, what has Declan done to increase the size of government? What has he done that is inconsistent with the tea party core value of limited government? Yet, the tea party endorses a candidate for Sheriff who worked for Redflex.
So, the tea party candidate for Sheriff was a policeman, collecting a paycheck from the government. Now he is on disability (yet he can run a campaign and be sheriff. Too disabled to work but not too disabled to campaign, which is physically grueling) and on disability he is, again, collecting a check from the government. And then there is his time at Redflex, a company that’s sole source of revenue is a government enforced monopoly. A company that’s sole source of revenue is the hardworking people of NJ. The tea party candidate for Sheriff has spent his entire life collecting a check from the government, not to mention his disability fraud. That’s not fiscal responsibility. That’s not limited government. That’s not free market capitalism.
I am all for running against Shaun Golden but why would the tea party pick someone like this? He does not seem to embody one of their core values. Maybe he says the right things while campaigning but he doesn’t live them.
Speaking of free markets, Declan O’Scanlon is a small business owner and lives and breathes in the free market every day. He has also spent years fighting job-killing regulations and legislation that picks winners and losers in the market place. From his time as a councilman till today Declan has fought for capitalism and against attempts by the Corzine democrats to limit free markets with laws and regulations. One final time I ask, what has Declan ever done that says he is anything but a champion of free market capitalism? The answer is: nothing. And the tea party knows it.
So why would the tea party group be running candidates against Declan? You want to run against Kyrillos, fine. He is an empty suit and an establishment hack. You want to run against Shaun Golden, again, fine. But to run against Declan is ridiculous. To say that he is anything but a supporter of the tea party core values and the tea party’s causes is a flat out lie.