My name is Mark Rees and I am a candidate for Congress in Iowa’s 3rd District. This Sunday evening, the Des Moines Tea Party will be holding a candidate debate. I have declined their invitation and feel it is important that I share my reasons with you as I believe they reflect the sentiments of a many Republicans and the voting public in general.
To begin, I want to make it clear that I do share the Des Moines Tea Party’s core principles of lower taxes and a limited government that respects our Constitution. Throughout this campaign I have spoken in support of these principles and reflect them further in the many policy proposals and positions that I have offered to voters for their consideration. Without question, these ideals must be at the core of any effort to regain control of our government and ensure that it is, in fact, of the people, by the people, and for the people.
My initial concerns with the debate are of fairness and credibility. Although the Des Moines Tea Party has said it will not officially endorse a candidate in the Primary, one of my opponents is widely known and commonly accepted to be, “the Tea Party candidate.” Furthermore, his campaign has been managed by a key organizer and leader of the Tea Party movement in Iowa. I believe these facts raise a large and legitimate red flag as to whether this debate will indeed provide a fair and level playing field for all of the candidates.
Next, recent news reports, along with my own interactions with Tea Party activists during this campaign, have left me deeply troubled by the tone, demeanor, and tactics of the movement.
I still believe that bipartisan cooperation is the best approach for securing our future prosperity and liberty. We will not realize any long-term benefit or achieve our common goals so long as the direction of our nation continues to shift wildly based on whichever party happens to be in power at that time. Democracy is imperiled when compromise becomes a dirty word.
For this belief, I have been called a RINO (Republican In Name Only), a Democrat in sheep’s clothing, and my favorite sentiment to date, “We need to send a combat marine to Washington — not a Boy Scout!” It violates Lincoln’s call for government “of the people” when a small but vocal minority insists on elevating political debate to the status of war and resorts to name-calling and intimidation to silence all those who offer an alternative approach.
It is not in the best interest of our nation to elect leaders intent on going to Washington to pick a fight with the opposing party. This hyper-partisan zealotry, from both sides of the political aisle, has produced Congressional approval ratings that are abysmally low – and continue to fall. A majority of the electorate no longer trusts that our leaders are as concerned about the common good as they are about their re-election.
Mark R. Rees (R-IA)
Iowa 3rd District Congressional Candidate
Photo by Dave Davidson
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