Democracy is a full-time job, and one that we cannot merely leave to a single vote in November.
Primaries are open in Virginia, anyone can vote in any party’s primary. The persons running for the Republican nomination in the Second District hope to challenge Congressman Nye in the fall, and there are many reasons you should be involved, no matter your politics. Democrats, Republicans, and Independents all have good reason to care about this primary. There are more than just two sides to the political spectrum, despite how it may seem. Primaries give us a chance to help shape a platform and incorporate more voices and solutions into the stew pot of government policy. Until we fully engage our democracy our democracy will never fully engage us. So, without further ado, a discussion with Mr. Scott Taylor.
Scott Taylor is a local small business owner and former Navy Seal. He served in the Iraq war, and has been a vocal supporter of the Navy Seals accused of mistreating a prisoner in their custody, appearing on Fox News and national radio programs, to speak on the topic. He has received the support of popular radio personality Mancow. This is his second run for office, his first being a run for mayor in Virginia Beach.
If you want to know more, check out his website – scotttaylorforcongress.com.
Mr. Taylor kindly agreed to sit down with me, answer a couple of my questions, and introduce himself to the Hampton Roads.
This is your second run for office, what is drawing you to serve in public office?
I feel drawn to service in general. I spent a number of years serving the country as a soldier and then I started to get involved in local politics and felt like people were not being served properly, which compelled me to run for mayor. This race for me is a lot larger, it’s bigger than us, and it’s bigger than Virginia Beach. It’s for the country. I am compelled to do something about the direction of his this country. I feel like we are on this path where we are not being represented properly, and Congress is a servant leadership position, not the other way around.
Ok let’s get serious…
Let’s do it.
Who is the best rock band of all time in your opinion?
The Rolling Stones.
Are you sure about that? May lose you some votes.
Which of their songs represents you best?
What is your favorite place in the 2nd district?
My favorite place in the Second District is Beckett’s café.
The economy is obviously at the top of many people’s agendas right now. Your website talks about tax cuts for small businesses, and keeping the naval carriers in the region as steps you would take. I have no doubt that your opponents in the primary would agree to each of these. Are there more specific measures that make your candidacy unique?
First of all I would rescind the stimulus package and put that money back towards the deficit. Suspend capital gain tax, lower taxes on businesses that operate overseas but bring the money back to the States. I would also work for a comprehensive energy plan that includes all available energy supplies, including offshore wind.
Would you support incentives to support green jobs specifically? Things like tax breaks to make green technologies more affordable to the American consumer?
I don’t necessarily want to subsidize green jobs, but I would, like the governor’s doing, support some of them.
You support offshore drilling here in Virginia, yet you also want to keep the Navy here in Hampton Roads. DOD has indicated–as well as NASA at Wallops Island–that they are opposed to offshore drilling, as both groups operate in the proposed drilling zone. How do you reconcile these two goals?
That depends who you talk to. Let me say first and foremost that I support offshore drilling as well as wind, and here in Virginia Beach we can plug our wind-generated power directly into the grid. I believe these (offshore drilling) efforts would not conflict with ongoing Naval, and NASA operations in the region. I am confident we can come up with a solution.
Also, I would like to add that I would propose a 37.5 percent royalty fee for Virginia for offshore drilling revenues, as there is precedence for that in the Gulf states.
There was precedence in the Gulf states, but this was the exception to the rule, given to the states whose economies and infrastructure were devastated by Hurricane Katrina, as a way for them to help rebuild. Congressman Moran wrote a letter to Governor McDonnell on this very topic, pointing out that the last time revenue sharing of federal oil reserve money came up for a vote, it was defeated 37-60 in the Senate. There seems to be bipartisan support for the fact that offshore drilling revenue is federal money, and not to be funneled into individual states.
I understand what he is saying, but I disagree with him. There are technologies now that prevent disaster; there are even technologies now to drill under the surface. I mean, there are ways to get around the National Security issue, as well as the environmental, and there will of course be environmental impact studies conducted before any of this can be done.
Let’s say you win the primary and it’s you and Nye in the fall. Nye has voted with Republicans on a number of key measures–including, most recently, health care. Where will you draw a distinction between yourself and Congressmen Nye? Which of his votes would you have made differently?
First, the stimulus package. I think it was ridiculous; it was a complete failure, and a waste of tax payers’ dollars. Now on the health care votes, both times Congressman Nye was on the fence officially to the day of the vote and then he went down and voted “No.” I don’t think that is leadership, you will always know where I stand. I think that was a completely political move.
Given the fact the legislation was being considered for major changes until zero hour, do you think it would have been good representation to have your mind made up before the legislation was completed?
I disagree that there were substantial changes to the legislation at the zero hour. Most of the things that changed were backroom deals. This bill was out there for months.
One of the major Republican objections was that this bill was so massive there was no time to read the bill, let alone consider it. What you are saying seems to contradict that notion.
Well, leading up to this vote, his office was blowing up with phone calls and emails. Congressman Nye had one town hall and it went out to a Democratic mailing list only. I think that is poor representation. I think he failed tremendously to listen to the people.
If elected would you make yourself available to an open admission town hall on a regular schedule?
I would like to have a town hall at least every quarter, and more often if there is legislation coming up that is especially significant. I’ll be here every week. I am not the type of person who, once elected, you will never see again.
You are heavily involved with the ongoing Navy Seal case right now, and global security issues in general. Care to share some thoughts on the case?
I think we have to support our troops a lot more. We need to give them what they need and not politicize or criminalize the war. If we have enemy combatants they need to be labeled as such and not given the same rights as you or I.
What should the process be then for processing enemy combatants with grievances if the culpability is not with the soldiers?
You can’t handle terrorists with kiddies’ gloves. If you are at war, you are at war. Right now, the rules of engagement are really tight, to the point where their lives are in jeopardy. If I come to get you in the middle of the night, there should be an element of surprise, you should not know I am coming. There are things–rules of engagement-wise–that are putting our soldier’s lives in danger.
If you are going to send soldiers into harm’s way, you need to have rules of engagement that are loose enough to let them do their job–where they are not questioning whether they can take a shot or not–because if you are at that point you are putting our soldiers’ lives in danger. Whether or not the war is right or not is a different question. When you send them out to do a mission, you need to give them loose enough rules of engagement to operate.
You indicate you think that marriage should be between a man and a woman. Would you oppose legislation extending the right to marry to same-sex couples?
I would oppose it. I do believe marriage is between a man and a woman. However, I don’t want anyone to be discriminated against.
Would you support civil unions?
Do you support light rail from Norfolk to the Beach?
I think the concept is wonderful, but I support putting it up for referendum.
Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me. Is there anything else the voters should know about you?
Yes. I like Reese’s Pieces, and reruns of Seinfeld.