Dear Virginia Libertarians:
Hi, this is Wes Benedict, former executive director of the Libertarian Party. I'm recruiting a team of candidates to run for Virginia House of Delegates this year and I'd like to talk to you about it. I'd like you to be a candidate. I'm running a PAC that will help you with every aspect of the campaign. We'll make a website, help with paperwork, and signs and stickers and write up issues for you. I'll make it very easy on you and I guarantee you'll have a little fun without taking much time. Please call me at 512-659-8896 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. We could really use your help.
Around six Libertarians have already decided they are probably going to run for Delegate in Virginia. I'd like to add a few more before the filing deadline in June, but you need to act fast so we can file your paperwork, collect 125 valid petition signatures, and get the LP to nominate you.
If this help sounds too good to be true, it almost is. Most Libertarian candidates beg for help and report not receiving nearly as much help as they had hoped for by election day.
But this is not too good to be true. We've done this before. In 2013, the Libertarian Booster PAC provided similar help for six Virginia candidates for Delegate plus Robert Sarvis for Governor. I personally flew to Virginia and helped candidates get the remaining petition signatures they needed just before the deadline.
In 2012, for 34 Texas Libertarian candidates, we provided 34 websites, 2,890 yard signs, 3,445 bumper stickers, and 2,200 business cards. Most of those materials were provided at no cost to the candidates, although some candidates chose to contribute for extra campaign materials.
For 2019, we analyzed the votes of the incumbents and rated all 100 Delegates and 40 Senators based on their votes on key bills in the General Assembly from 2018-2019.
Look up what district you're in (click here), then view our Scorecard to see how your opponent voted.
All but one legislator scored below 50% on our scorecard. Obviously, it would help to have some Libertarians in the legislature to help move policy in a more Libertarian direction. However, simply by running for office, you help to bring attention to critical issues that are already close to passing in the legislature. Your campaign for delegate might just help to push one more Republican or Democrat incumbent to support decriminalizing marijuana, or reforming civil asset forfeiture in Virginia. Laws are changing for the better in other states, and Virginia is likely to follow--sooner with your help.
We’ve researched and written position statements on nine important issues, complete with examples of recent legislation.
Take jobs, for example. Your talking points will practically write themselves. “Delegate ____ voted for HB ####, a subsidy for energy companies. Vote for me and I’ll vote against corporate welfare bills that come before the House.”
Win or lose an election, your campaign helps change public policy for the better.
We've listed all of the filing steps and paperwork for you. We'll help with the paperwork. Please call or write to me as soon as possible! We need to get the filing process started right away.
Founder & President
Libertarian Booster PAC
The Libertarian Booster PAC is pleased to present our ratings of the members of the 2018-2019 Virginia state legislature, the General Assembly, based on their votes on various bills.
With average ratings of 16% in the Senate and 18% in the House of Delegates, it’s abundantly clear that the incumbents rarely vote to move public policy in a peaceful and productive direction and any differences between Democrats and Republicans are minor in the big picture. The Virginia legislature is almost equally divided between Republicans and Democrats, with no Libertarians serving.
Libertarians generally favor maximum freedom and a much smaller government, with lower taxes, less government spending, fewer regulations, and fewer restrictions on personal behavior and lifestyles.
People have a variety of preferences and priorities when it comes to religion, education, lifestyles, behavior, finances, and charity. Libertarians embrace diversity and think you should be able to do whatever you want as long as you aren’t infringing on the rights of others.
Much of the conflict in our society is the result of one group of people forcing other groups to do things they don’t want to do.
(continued in report below)
As Libertarians, we believe that government should not force people to pay for other people’s education. Our proposals here are much more limited: they are improvements that we think have some chance in the General Assembly.
Government spending on K-12 education has risen dramatically with no real improvement in outcomes. Libertarian-oriented policies will reduce the burden on taxpayers while improving service for students.
We support increased use of private schools and homeschooling, and expanded school choice for the students attending tax-funded public schools. Currently, education spending is about one-third of Virginia's state budget. We want to reduce state spending on education and to cut taxes accordingly. It’s up to the legislature to impose limits on spending for public schools, and not just pander to every cry for more spending “for the children.”
Most public school revenue comes from local taxes. If the state government’s K-12 budget is cut 10%, that will mean an average K-12 spending cut of about 4%. We recognize that a small cut will require some small sacrifices: slightly lower spending on facilities and sports, slightly lower total compensation for teachers and administrators, and slightly larger class sizes. No one ever likes to give up a penny, but we think a small cut will be easy to handle. If a school simply can’t handle it, it probably should be shut down or converted to a charter school.
Tax Credits and Vouchers
Currently, Virginia has an "Education Improvement Scholarships Tax Credits Program." This program helps a small number of lower-income students, but it is limited to $25 million per year, which is less than 0.2 percent of Virginia’s public school expenditures. It’s far too little.
Tax credits and vouchers will make private school attendance affordable for more families, and will also reduce the burden on public schools. Tax credits and vouchers both reduce the burden on the state’s education budget, because the amount redirected to private schools per student is less than the current public school spending per student. (Private schools have a significantly lower expense per student than public schools.) More competition will reduce costs, foster innovation, and lead to schools that better satisfy students, teachers and parents.
Around 10% of students in Virginia already attend private schools.
Although we support tax credits and vouchers, we oppose using them as an excuse to increase government regulations on private schools. Some private schools and charter schools will have problems, just like many public schools do. Perfection is impossible, but private schools have the benefit of competition. Unlike most public schools, if a private school is serving a student badly, the student’s parents can choose a different one.
Different parents want their children to learn different things, in different ways. Government’s one-size-fits-all system causes fights over which textbooks to use, how much to focus on science and math versus arts and humanities, or whether to give religious instruction. We should expand school choice so parents can send their children to the schools that best reflect their values and priorities, and to allow students to escape from the worst teachers.
We support a 10% cut to state spending on colleges and universities.
We recognize that this will result in some sacrifices: sports and amenities budgets may have to be reduced slightly, academic compensation may have to be reduced slightly, and tuitions may have to be increased slightly.
In 2018, the Virginia Senate committee on Education and Health narrowly approved Senate Bill 516 to expand charter schools, but the bill died in the Finance committee. Virginia legislators have not shown much interest in allowing greater school choice. According to Ballotpedia, only 1,200 students attended charter schools in Virginia in 2016, compared to 82,000 in North Carolina. Charter schools are not ideal from a Libertarian perspective, but they generally lower the burden on taxpayers, and they usually perform better than standard public schools.
John Stossel: Private School Success Around the World
Cato: U.S. Charter Schools Produce a Bigger Bang with Fewer Bucks
BallotPedia: School Choice in Virginia
Virginia Institute for Public Policy: The Public Education Tax Credit: Expanding Educational Opportunity in Virginia
Mercatus Center: Government Policy and Tuition in Higher Education