Contributed Photo/Courtesy Chris Taylor: Chris Taylor relaxes at his home with his wife, Sarah, their daughter, Jordan, and newborn son, Spencer.
Op-ed by Chris Taylor – Candidate for U.S. House of Representatives CD-1
Hi, I am Safford City Councilman Chris Taylor. My family has been in Safford, which is in rural southeastern Arizona for 6 generations, in fact, my ancestors were part of the group who settled the Gila Valley. I live in Safford with my beautiful wife Sarah, our adorable 3-year-old daughter Jordan, and 2-month-old son Spencer. I’m a proud American Conservative, a Paratrooper, Combat Veteran of Afghanistan and a certified Firefighter. In my 33 years on this earth, I have come to know several things beyond a shadow of a doubt. First and foremost, is that we live in the greatest nation the world has ever known. Despite her many flaws, The United States of America is still, as Ronald Reagan declared, the shining city on a hill whose beacon light guides freedom-loving people everywhere.
Constitution is in peril
From the very beginning, even as our founding fathers were inspired by divine providence and raised up by our almighty God, the forces of evil have conspired to tear this nation apart by any means necessary. They have sought to destroy the constitution at every turn and used enemies both foreign and domestic to execute this sinister plan. They’ve used grand schemes and stratagems steeped in deception to divide this nation from within.
Nearly all the freedoms and protections plainly and preciously laid out in that divinely inspired document are under assault. Large numbers of Americans wish to limit or abolish the safeguards of liberty protected by the bill of rights. Freedom of religion, freedom of speech and freedom of the press are infringed upon daily. The most important freedom, the one that ensures all the others, the 2nd amendment which is the right to keep and bear arms is perhaps the one most seriously in peril. The 10th amendment which defines the balance of power between the states and the federal government and declares that the federal government has only those powers specifically granted by the constitution has been continuously ignored by those in power in Washington for years. Regular citizens like you and I suffer the consequences of sending selfish, elitist individuals to Washington who are in politics for all the wrong reasons; to gain power, prestige, and personal wealth even at the expense of the working class. It’s no secret that Washington is broken.
Our Veterans Deserve Better
Our veterans, who should be the most cherished group in this country, have been largely forgotten by the out of touch Washington insiders. This is why the VA is so grossly mismanaged. It sickens me to realize that nearly 20 of my fellow Veterans commit suicide every single day in this country, we have failed them. Too many Washington politicians never served a single day in the military, why should we expect them to understand the problem or even care about it? They weren’t the ones who were fighting communism and fighting for liberty in Vietnam. It sure wasn’t their sons and daughters that they sent to Iraq, Afghanistan and now Africa and Syria when freedom needed protection from Radical Islamic Extremists. No, it was us; the Sons and daughters from the shrinking middle class.
Our word is our bond, but in America, it hasn’t seemed to mean much. My Father served in the Special Forces at the end of the Vietnam War. After the debacle of the Fall of Saigon, one memory among many that will never leave him is the look in the eyes of the Vietnamese people who told him they had believed right up to the end that America would not abandon them. Not only did we abandon our Vietnamese allies, but we also abandoned the very men we sent to fight the war and we vowed as a nation to never let it happen again.
Yet four decades later after my second combat tour in Afghanistan with the Special Operations Forces, history repeated itself. My personal interpreter an Afghan national who provided an immeasurable service to the overall mission, shared fighting positions with us and even saved American lives, was told time after time that when his job was complete, he would be granted a special visa to come to America. After nearly 10 years of trying everything possible to secure that visa and after surviving multiple attempts on his life by Taliban militants, putting his young family in grave danger, he finally realized he and many like him were lied to. We would once again abandon helpless human beings who risked everything to benefit the United States, using them for our gain and then dumping them out with the trash.
And when I returned home to Arizona in 2011 and was experiencing symptoms of Post-traumatic stress, physically and mentally exhausted from over 16 months of extensive combat action, I sought help at the Phoenix VA, only to be put on the now infamous secret waiting list. For more than nine months, I was unable to even see a mental health professional, by the grace of My savior Jesus Christ I survived but so many of my friends have not. America can do better. We must do better.
If we can’t live up to the promises, we make while sending men and women to war then we shouldn’t send them at all. We need to start electing more representatives that served in the military particularly in the recent wars in the Middle East. It’s time for a new generation of veterans to rise up and fix what is so clearly broken. There has been a steady decline over recent decades in the number of lawmakers that have served in the military. Back in the early 1970s, nearly two-thirds of all members of Congress were veterans. Today, that number is down to below 20 percent. This is a clear reason Congress is currently in the mess that it’s in.
Out of Control Spending
Another sign of a fractured Washington is the out of control spending. The national debt has skyrocketed in recent years to over $22 Trillion today. The budget deficit is over $800 Billion, even those who profess to be fiscal conservatives waste taxpayer’s money like their lives depended on it. All of us must balance our household budgets year after year. State and local governments must do the same. Why should Washington be any different? We must reign in federal spending, keep taxes low, live within our means and balance the federal budget. I look into the eyes of my 3-year-old daughter and my infant son and wonder; what will this country look like when they have children of their own? We need to send more people to Congress who have a genuine vested interest in the future of this great nation.
We must continue the free market practices and mutually beneficial trade deals that have been put in place by the Trump Administration. These economic policies have caused our economy to roar back to life. Producing jobs and low unemployment figures that were thought to be impossible under liberal leadership. I support focused tariffs that penalize cheating nations and other policies that will bring trade partners to the table in order to negotiate better deals for America.
A strong education system is vital in rural Arizona, yet our schools face a critical and worsening teacher shortage, schools in dire need of repair, and continued cuts to important extracurricular activities like sports and the arts. Without increased support, our rural students will continue to be at a disadvantage compared to their urban counterparts. To maintain an educated workforce, we must invest more in education, and find new and innovative ways to support our rural students, teachers, and schools. My entire family has benefited greatly from Arizona’s public education system, my grandmother was the first in her family to graduate from high school. Education unlocks potential, and our students deserve every chance at success.
Broken Immigration System
We are a nation of laws, but it seems we pick and choose which ones to enforce, Illegal immigration has been problematic for decades but today it has reached a crisis level, we cannot even begin to talk about immigration reform until we secure the border period. As harsh as it may sound, we must take care of our own citizens, especially our veterans before we can begin to take care of refugees from other nations.
I sympathize and even empathize with the hundreds of thousands of citizens suffering from the opioid epidemic. My heart breaks for the thousands of families crippled by the evil scourge of drug addiction. A whole generation is being wiped out because of ineffective policies and our inability to stop the heroin and fentanyl from flowing across the southern border like a raging river. Like most problems, Government programs are not the answer, but federal grant dollars should be strategically placed into the private sector and with nonprofit charitable organizations who are best equipped to employ best practices to combat this issue.
We should also crack down on the for-profit addiction treatment industry to stop those who engage in predatory behavior, preying on families during the worst crisis of their lives. Those scheming organizations that charge an exorbitant price for a 30- or 60-day treatment program with little to no success actually treating addiction. This must end. Access to affordable scientific based treatment programs must be expanded, and we must do better partnering with Mexico to shut down the drug cartels who seem to operate with near full impunity. It’s absolutely imperative that we stop the flow of drugs flooding our communities by securing our borders. Enough is enough.
National Security and Foreign Policy
The biggest deterrence to war is a strong military. We need to ensure that our men and women in uniform have everything they need to effectively defend our homeland and our interests around the world. We must continue to lead the world in defense spending to always stay steps ahead of our geopolitical foes such as Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran and be ready to answer the call to come to the aid of freedom loving people anywhere on Earth. We must continue hunting down terrorists wherever they enjoy safe haven so that we will never have to face them on a battlefield in America.
We need to crack down on the waste, fraud, and abuse that I witnessed firsthand in the Department of Defense. Those precious resources that are wasted could be spent on much-needed programs that would further our military might. We must promote our core values of freedom, democracy, and free enterprise through diplomacy, economic ties, and other alliances. Our closest allies in Europe and elsewhere need to know that when an enemy threatens them, they are threatening the United States of America. We must reward those nations that have never wavered in their alliance with us.
I’m often reminded of the following statement attributed to Edmund Burke, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” For all of these reasons and many more, and because I have a sincere desire to continue to serve my country and to stand for righteous principles. I am proud to announce my candidacy for the United States Congress in Arizona’s 1st Congressional district. To take on Democrat Tom O’Halleran. It’s time for a new generation of leadership. I’m running because this country needs leaders, not politicians, I sacrificed much on the battlefields of Afghanistan because I know the importance of service above self.
Hyper-Partisanship is Destroying This Nation
I believe in bringing civility back to politics and our national discourse. I still believe that Americans on the left and the right have more things that unite us than divide us. It just takes real leaders on both sides to remind the nation of that often. We all want much of the same things such as security and prosperity, better education and better healthcare. More jobs and a better economy. Better infrastructure and more opportunities for our children. We can fervently disagree on how to best achieve those things while still respecting the ideas of the other side.
I will never waver in my conservative values and principles. I will consistently and intelligently articulate true conservative positions and tirelessly defend conservative causes but I will never endorse personal attacks on my opponents and will never disseminate false or misleading messages or ads hoping to capitalize on citizen’s worst fears for shock value. I’m running because I believe I have a better vision for America and would do a better job representing the citizens of Arizona than Tom O’Halleran. I’m also in the best position of any Republican candidate to beat him. But I need your help. Let’s take back our country and take back the House of Representatives. Will you stand with me? In order to effectively take the fight to the liberals, we need to raise the necessary funds. I need you to donate any amount you can afford to my campaign. I promise those dollars will be spent wisely. I can beat Democrat Tom O’Halleran and by extension the dangerous liberal agenda of Nancy Pelosi. But only with your help! Let’s Roll!!