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Op-Ed: To Change Washington, More Leaders Like Massie Needed

The following op-ed is written by State Rep. Savannah Maddox (R-Dry Ridge)

As the election season is rapidly approaching and once again beginning to dominate the headlines, one cannot help but notice a few all-too-familiar themes within the rhetoric. Narratives of rampant corruption, endless abuse and fraud, and a political class more out of touch with the electorate than ever before have begun to make their rounds through our daily consumption of television and social media.

Offered up to us as a panacea to address all of this are empty promises that — unlike the last election — the candidates running for office this go-around will be the ones to finally overturn the status quo and usher in the strong, principled leadership that voters thought they were getting the last twenty election cycles. My time in politics has made me acutely aware of this trend, as starry-eyed political hopefuls have stumped their way to public office only to become absorbed into the never-ending leviathan of backroom deals and special interests just as quickly as they came in. It seldom fails.

One person whom I have learned can be counted on to stand on principle and defy this trend, no matter the consequences, is Congressman Thomas Massie. He stood boldly with Kentucky’s farmers in an effort to legalize hemp production by introducing the Industrial Hemp Farming Act, which became the amendment to the 2014 farm bill allowing the Hemp industry to exist in Kentucky. Moreover, Congressman Massie has been an ardent champion of our Second Amendment rights, and has used his time in Washington to fight back against wasteful government spending. He has been a consistent enemy of corruption and waste as much as he has been a personal role model of mine. Congressman Massie has set the standard for principled, conservative leadership and has proven himself an unyielding defender of the Constitution who will fight for the citizens of Kentucky’s 4th Congressional District.

I noticed this about him long before I first ran for office and was elected in 2018 — the same year Congressman Massie reintroduced the Senior Citizens Tax Elimination Act, a bill eliminating double-taxation on Social Security benefits (benefits that seniors have worked hard and paid into for decades). Fast forward to May 2019, and the nation saw him working across party lines to reintroduce the PRIME (Processing Revival and Intrastate Meat Exemption) Act, giving individual states the freedom to oversee “intrastate distribution of custom-slaughtered meat”. Just days ago, Congressman Massie stood up to the recent onslaught of  anti-Second Amendment hysteria by introducing the SAFER Voter Act. H.R. 5176, the Second Amendment For Every Registrable Voter Act, would repeal the federal law that currently prohibits 18-20 year-olds from purchasing a handgun at retail from a federally licensed dealer. 

These are just a few among many reasons that Congressman Massie continues to serve as an example of rock-solid leadership worth emulating by myself and any conservative elected official. The choice before the Commonwealth’s 4th Congressional District could not be much clearer: If we are serious about ensuring that freedom maintains a voice in Washington, men and women like Congressman Massie cannot be the exception. We the People must make them the norm. 

Already, Washington is saturated with counterfeit conservatives who campaign as champions of smaller government only to legislate like Democrats once they get into office. The consequences of this? A $23 trillion national debt, record-breaking trillion-dollar deficits, enough federal agencies to effectively constitute a de facto fourth branch of government, a broken education system, a foreign policy determined by nothing more than whatever benefits the interests of the military industrial complex at any given time, and historically low levels of public trust in our government (just to name a few).

Washington will never voluntarily shrink itself. It will always be up to everyday people to keep the government’s most diabolical tendencies in check. In a political climate dominated by “Yes Men” and “Yes Women”, Washington needs a true conservative who will analyze every piece of legislation by asking these questions: Does this increase spending? Does this expand or limit the role of government? Does this violate the Constitution? Does this infringe upon individual liberty? Congressman Massie has proven that he is unyielding in his persistence to ask and answer those questions through his voting record, and he is precisely the person we need to represent Kentucky’s 4th Congressional District.

Photo by the Legislative Research Commission (LRC)