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home : columnists : john pickerill February 26, 2015

5/19/2014 2:00:00 AM
Why do we have political parties?
John Pickerill is the chairman of the Montgomery County Republican Party. His column appears this week in The Paper's Monday space allocated for public officials.

By John Pickerill
Montgomery County GOP Party Chair

A political party is a group of voters who organize to support a certain set of core beliefs and public policies. The goal of a political party is to elect officials who will try to carry out the party's policies. As a result, political parties provide a way for voters to easily identify a candidate's position.

For the Republican Party, its core beliefs are defending the Constitution, fiscal responsibility, federalism, freedom of religion, strong family structures, individual responsibility, personal liberty, free and fair elections, volunteerism, limited government, and reducing taxes & regulations on individuals and businesses. The Republican Party supports freedom from government intrusion in the economy, in education, in healthcare, and in our personal lives.

The goal of the Republican Party, and the duty of its officers, is to elect officials who will try to support the Party's core values. But it's a little-known fact that anyone can designate himself a Republican candidate even if he intends to contradict the Party's core beliefs and public policies in a significant way. This has been a problem in Montgomery County for quite some time. And current election law doesn't really provide a way for the Party leadership to stop this from happening.

Each candidate for public office should be free to run on his own independent beliefs on what he thinks are the best policies for his constituents. That is his right. But with that right comes responsibility, the responsibility to be honest with the voters on his ideology. After all, it's his ideology that will guide his decisions once he is in office. If a candidate intends to follow public policy that is out-of-step with Republican ideology, he should have the honesty to run as an Independent, a Democrat, or a Third-Party candidate. Because Montgomery County voters lean heavily Republican, we have a big problem with candidates claiming the Republican label for election purposes only.

Because political parties provide a way for voters to easily identify a candidate's position, to use the Republican label merely to gain votes is essentially false advertising and borderline fraud. It is an insult to the Republican voters of this county.

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