Several articulate and qualified candidates are running in Georgia’s May 20 primary to be the Republican senatorial nominee who hopes to succeed the retiring Saxby Chambliss. The focus of this column is not an endorsement. It is simply an acknowledgement that the GOP candidates are emphasizing that Americans deserve better leadership—and that one congressman in the pack has unveiled an especially compelling legislative/policy initiative.

Congressman Jack Kingston, who represents Georgia’s coastal district, has released an updated American Renewal Initiative designed to serve as a unifying vision not only for Republicans in all parts of the country but also what he believes is the large majority of Americans. Its six priorities provide a legislative path for Congress.

The six planks are:

  • Restoring National Security: Peace Through Strength.
  • Boosting Private Sector Job Creation.
  • Reducing Our National Debt.
  • Achieving Energy Independence.
  • Enabling Work Over Welfare.
  • Simplifying the Tax Code.

The first priority, ensuring that our armed forces are second to none, should not be a controversial issue. It is simply a plank backing legislation and ideas to provide adequate funding for military training, needed equipment and research for technological superiority– even as conservatives seek to aggressively cut overall federal spending. It is essentially a renewal of former President Ronald Reagan’s “peace through strength” policy that has been undermined by the Obama administration.

Instead of expanding the federal government’s doles, Kingston emphasizes job creation, by fostering an environment that promotes business stability and private sector job creation. His initiative calls for Congress to roll back costly and unnecessary federal business regulations. (The congressman, to foster this approach, is sponsoring legislation mandating a more rigorous regulatory, cost-benefit assessment before the implementation of any federal rules— as well as regular look-back reviews to ensure that older regulations are still needed and cost-effective.)

The third plank addresses the nation’s unsustainable $17 trillion national debt. For every dollar the federal government spends, 42 cents is borrowed. Washington must not keep spending while Americans cut back their family budgets. That’s why Kingston proposes limiting spending through hard caps based on our country’s economic health to bring our budget quickly into balance. His legislation would also tie congressional pay to deficit reduction, requiring pay cuts if deficits aren’t reduced.

The next priority is energy independence. New technology and discoveries have opened up vast energy resources, and America must safely develop them. Furthermore, virtually every Republican backs construction of the Canada-to-Texas Keystone oil pipeline project, which would ultimately provide for approximately 20,000 jobs. Approving the 1,700-mile pipeline is supported by a growing number of Democrats and even major unions.  Those liberals like Democrat senatorial candidate Michelle Nunn who dare defend Obama’s five-year Keystone delay will be on the wrong side of many voters.

The fifth plank re-emphasizes the traditional American work ethic. “Too many government policies are teaching the next generation that you don’t have to work for a living,” Kingston says. “We must turn this around and can begin with returning the reins of education to the states to better foster a reliable, work-ready workforce.” That’s why the Savannah congressman seeks to reform unemployment compensation to ensure beneficiaries are prepared to re-enter the workforce.

The final priority is tax simplification. Taxpayers must navigate 72,500-pages of a complex tax code. Many Republicans support the fair tax; others seek a flatter income tax. In any event, Republicans should foster a national dialogue about simplification. It would put added pressure on Congress to implement a better system where participants pay their fair share.

A growing number of voters don’t trust the Obama administration— after all, the biggest political lie of 2013 was the president’s Obamacare pledge that if you like your insurance or doctor you could “keep them.” So by uniting behind the type of initiative that Kingston touts, Republicans of all stripes — maybe even some Tea Partyers! — can show voters they are addressing serious problems while seeking to restore trust.

Georgia’s Republican senatorial primary candidates at least have serious ideas about the nation’s future. But Kingston, in the view of this writer, is to be especially commended for his unifying American Renewal Initiative contribution.





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