These words – penned by a Virginia entrepreneur – just kind of nailed it, didn’t they? Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness was a pretty big idea then, and now 236 years later, Pete believes that these words are more relevant than ever.
And that is why Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness will serve as the guiding principle for Pete and this start-up campaign, as we fight to protect our liberties and create a better future for our country and Commonwealth.
Isn’t it odd that even though the stakes have never been higher, for some, the politics and ideas in the arena only seem to get smaller? That’s why this campaign is based on BIG IDEAS.
The Lieutenant Governor of Virginia is an incredibly important position, particularly now when it has the responsibility to cast key tie-breaking votes for at least the next two years. We aren’t just electing a part time Lieutenant Governor, we are electing the pivotal tie breaking vote in the Senate, and we need a conservative leader we can trust to cast those crucial votes.
America is changing. That is true. And no movement has been growing more rapidly over the past 20 years — across all demographics –than the Culture of Life. Due to both principle and science, more hearts and minds have been changed on the issue of life over the past two decades than on nearly any other issue. Pete is pro-life and firmly believes life is God’s precious gift, created in His image. Pete will work hard to ensure that the Culture of Life continues to grow and that we never stop trying to change hearts and minds across the country and around the world.
There was a pretty exceptional leader — whom we conservatives remember quite fondly, who stated: “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.” Pete knows Ronald Reagan’s warning is as true today as it has ever been. The rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights are under assault — whether it be our religious freedom or our Second Amendment rights.
Pete believes that individual liberty is not a concept that can be parceled up. You either believe in liberty or you do not; you cannot pick and choose. This principle must apply not only to economic freedom, but to personal freedom as well. The most basic thing we can demand from our government is fidelity to liberty and respect for its own governing documents. It is well past time we had representation in Richmond committed to that very notion.
Pete believes in the free market. It is a system that has driven more prosperity around the world than any other (by a long shot) and also happens to be the most just and fair economic system.
Yet increasingly, we have abandoned a respect for markets and economic freedom.
Government spending, higher taxes, and punitive regulations have created an environment where entrepreneurship and risk taking are discouraged, and growth stalls.
Pete opposes restrictions on the voluntary exchange of goods and services in the free market. Instead, Pete favors a low, fair tax code with spending priorities that focus on the essential functions of government.
We cannot have a free society if our citizens cannot choose for themselves their own economic destiny and thus provide for their own families. Pete is committed to reversing the erosion of our economic rights and re-establishing our respect for markets and limited government.
Our personal freedoms are under assault by Washington and the Obama Administration. Our religious liberties and our Second Amendment rights are being targeted and systematically attacked by the liberals and the bureaucrats.
Pete understands that the Second Amendment clearly provides for an INDIVIDUAL right to keep and bear arms.
We need to fight to uphold the principles of Federalism. The Founders amended the Constitution to protect the rights of the people and the states, not to expand the powers of the federal government. They would be astonished at current attempts by the federal government to limit those liberties. Washington should not be in control of our lives; we should.
Pete will be a champion for these well-established rights of all Virginians.
The Pursuit of Happiness
Wouldn’t it be great if Life and Liberty weren’t under assault and we could focus 100% of our efforts on The Pursuit of Happiness? Well, sorry, as the saying goes, anything worth having in this world is hard to get and hard to keep, so we better fight to hang onto it. That’s ok, we can multi-task.
Virginians will have a lot of different ideas on how to Pursue Happiness, and that is one of the many reasons why this country of ours is so incredible. That said, Pete will boil it down to three BIG IDEAS and go after them like a pitbull: Education Reform, Ending Runaway Government Spending and Firing Up Virginia’s Economy.
Pete’s Plan to Reform Education: Making VA #1 in Education Again
If you look at Virginia’s Education laws, you’d think the Teachers’ Unions wrote them.
That’s right. Virginia has some of the worst and weakest education laws in the country. Destructive laws that make the Teachers’ Unions very happy, but don’t necessarily favor our parents and students or reward our hardest working and most innovative teachers. In fact, they discourage our best and brightest in favor of those who’ve simply been around.
Education Reform is sweeping the nation, but in Virginia, a lot of the Teachers’ Union’s sacred cows still stand. Last In, First Out – still how things operate in our schools. Teacher Tenure – alive and well in Virginia.
A recent study grades Virginia’s Education Standards a “D+” and our Charter School Law received an “F.” It’s little wonder that Virginia is ranked 26th nationally on Education Reform.
Now, mind you – as a product of Virginia’s public higher education system – Pete has a lot of pride in Virginia’s schools. His alma mater, the College of William and Mary (where Pete now is an active member of The Board of Visitors), was the first college chartered in the New World way back in 1693. Virginia has a long, storied and successful history of leading in education. Many of our schools remain excellent, but far too many others are failing, trapping generations of students into a cycle of despair.
And Pete will fight to make sure Virginia’s schools lead the nation again. After all, Virginia cannot continue to be #1 in business, if its education system is sliding downwards. That’s why he has a comprehensive plan to REFORM and TRANSFORM Virginia’s education system and return it to greatness by making sure that schools are accountable to parents and the taxpayers:
- Virginia Needs to Promote More Competition and Excellence in our Education system. Pete will work to build a grassroots coalition of parents, teachers, education officials, community and business leaders to pass a Constitutional Amendment to allow for more Charter Schools. Virginia has some of the fewest charter schools in the country with some of the weakest charter laws. In order to lead in the future, Virginia needs real reform now.
- Eliminate Teacher Tenure as we know it. Pete supports a performance based system that not only increases salaries for our best teachers and principals but offers targeted bonuses for specific achievements, such as improved SOL scores and graduation rates. As an entrepreneur and a conservative with real world experience, Pete knows first-hand that free markets have a way of incentivizing performance and creating a culture of success. That is why Pete wants to strip out 10% of the waste and bureaucracy in our education administration and put that right into the paychecks and hands of our very best teachers.
- Fight for Legislation that Allows Us to Rescue our Students that are Trapped in Failing Schools. We need to push an aggressive education agenda that will give us the ability to address local school systems that fail to achieve accreditation as a result of failing Standard of Learning scores.
Pete’s Plan to Fire Up Virginia’s Economy
Can we have a serious talk about the economic challenges facing our country and the Commonwealth?
It’s undeniable that the Commonwealth is among the most powerful economic engines in the country. Thanks to strong conservative leadership and the fact that we are a Right to Work state, we take a lot of pride that Virginia is doing better than much of the rest of our ailing nation. But when you dig a bit deeper, it quickly becomes clear we face some real challenges ahead. Much more so, it’s crystal clear that we have a ton of unrealized potential waiting to be unleashed right here at home.
As Southwest Virginia native son Delegate Israel O’Quinn stated, “No one in this race has a background better to turn Virginia’s economy around than Pete Snyder. That is why he needs to be our next Lt. Governor.”
As an entrepreneur and a small business owner, Pete not only has firsthand experience in the private sector, but he built his own business and created hundreds of high-tech Virginia jobs. No stranger to struggle, Pete was down to his last $100 just before his technology company turned a corner and found its footing. Things were so tight that his wife Burson used to have to foot the bill for tacos when they were dating.
Pete knows what it’s like to struggle – but he also knows what it takes to get our economy going again. There are too many parts of our Commonwealth that are still struggling, with unemployment well into the double digits. Pete’s a true innovator who can help all of Virginia fire on all cylinders.
Virginia needs to get back up on top as the Best State in the Nation for Business, but it also needs to be the best place to start a business. After all, Virginia was founded by some of the greatest entrepreneurs in history – it’s time we get back to our start-up roots:
- We Need Government to Be More Fiscally Responsible. We need to finish the job on meaningful pension reform to cut Virginia’s unfunded liabilities
- A Comprehensive Virginia Energy Policy: We need to push forward with an “All of the Above and Below” energy policy for the Commonwealth. Pete understands that more energy means more jobs. He supports Governor McDonnell’s goal of making Virginia the energy capital of the East Coast and as Lt. Governor, will strongly support an all of the above approach to energy production and development in Virginia, including:
- Offshore Drilling for Oil and Natural Gas: Pete wants Virginia to be the first state on the East Coast to explore and drill for oil and natural gas offshore. An Old Dominion University study estimated that natural gas production alone could, over a 10-year period, create nearly 3,000 new jobs, capital investment of nearly $8 billion, and result in $300 million a year in state and local tax revenue.
- Coal: The economic impact of the coal mining industry in Virginia is more than $2 billion, accounting for more than 10,000 jobs in the state. Pete will support the development of new coal plants and the jobs that come with them.
- A strong supporter of Virginia’s Clean Coal industry, Pete will fight against the Obama Administration “War on Coal” that seeks to bankrupt Virginia’s leading energy companies and decimate jobs in Southwest Virginia.
- Nuclear: Nuclear power currently provides 20 percent of Virginia’s electricity, more than 1,000 jobs, and $700 million a year in economic benefit to the state. Pete supports speeding up permitting for new nuclear facilities.
- Alternatives: From biomass in Southside to offshore wind and solar, Virginia is blessed with multiple forms of energy. Pete believes an all of the above approach should take advantage of all of our God-given energy resources including wind, solar, and biomass.
- Transportation: As a longtime resident of Northern Virginia, Pete understands the traffic problems we face every day trying to get to work, the grocery store, and the soccer game on time. As a business owner, he understands that to bring new businesses to Virginia and create new jobs, we must make it easier for folks to get to work and for employers to ship their products quickly and without traffic hurdles.
- Pete supports innovative solutions like public private partnerships, additional HOT lanes, and dedicating a portion of all future budget surpluses to fund our transportation needs.
- Pete supports dedicating a portion of the existing sales tax to transportation. Building and maintaining roads, bridges and railways are core functions of government. We don’t need to raise taxes; we need to spend our existing tax dollars more wisely. Just like families make tough decisions and live within their means, so too must state government.
- A Growth Agenda: In an increasingly competitive global economy, Virginia needs to do all it can to strengthen its competitive edge. As a small business owner, Pete believes its time we eliminate the corporate income tax and open Virginia up to small business and innovation.
These are just a few of Pete’s Big Ideas to Fire Up Virginia’s Economy.
Pete’s economic plan for Virginia builds on many of our state’s strengths while rolling up our sleeves to fix the challenges that have left too many parts of Virginia behind.
Get to meet Pete and learn more about his plan to Fire Up Virginia’s Economy as he travels the Commonwealth in the days and weeks ahead.
Pete’s Plan to End Runaway Spending and Put Richmond on a Spending Diet
Over the past 20 years, spending in Richmond has increased exponentially. This has wasted more of your hard earned tax dollars every year, necessitating taxes that are higher than they need to be, in order to pay for things we don’t need. That makes it harder to get by for the average Virginia family.
The career politicians need to go on a spending diet. That is why we need to pursue a 10% cut in total spending in Richmond.
That is why Pete wants government to come up with clear goals and focus on core functions and cut back on the pet projects and “nice to haves”.
Career politicians are threatening to raise taxes on small businesses, middle-class Virginians, and fuel or food. Enough is enough. The solution to challenging times is not to raise taxes on families, but to reform our government to be more efficient, more responsive and more effective. The problem isn’t that taxes aren’t high enough; it’s that government spends too much. In tough times, government needs to do its part too.
Over the past year, Pete asked over 50 elected and state government officials if they could find 10% more efficiency in their budgets and in their departments. Every single one agreed that they could. This will save us money, and will ensure that Virginia’s families are protected from run-away spending and soaring taxes.
If you don’t think Richmond could be 10% more efficient, you don’t belong in leadership or government.
These are just a few of Pete’s Big Ideas for Virginia. We look forward to seeing you and hearing from you about how together we can defend liberty and save both our country and Commonwealth.