The Franklin News-Post|
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
Virgil H. Goode Jr.
Monday, February 20, 2012
By DEBBIE HALL - Martinsville Bulletin
Former 5th District U.S. Rep. Virgil Goode hopes to become the Constitution Party's candidate for president.
"It's a very, very long shot, but it is the right course of action if you believe what I believe -- in a balanced budget now, limited government, stopping illegal immigration and reducing legal immigration to protect our borders and term limits in Congress," Goode said Saturday.
"We are campaigning hard," he said. "This is the first stage, trying to get the nomination" of the party at its April convention in Nashville.
Last spring, the national executive committee of the Constitution Party, based in Lancaster, Pa., passed a resolution encouraging Goode to seek the nomination, according to Jim Clymer, the national committee chairman. In June, Clymer called Goode the front-runner for the nomination.
Goode, 65, who served six terms in Congress, also was in the Virginia Senate from 1973 until he was elected to Congress in 1996.
The Associated Press reported Saturday that Goode acknowledges his likelihood of winning is small, but he says his campaign is more about a message than winning.
"The national front-runners for the GOP nomination are not addressing these issues, and Obama certainly isn't," Goode said. "Maybe, at least, we can focus attention on these issues at the national level."
Among the issues he stressed in a Martinsville Bulletin interview on Saturday is the "need to address balancing our budget now rather than in the future."
President Barack Obama said the budget will be balanced in a decade, Goode said. Republican contenders also have discussed various time frames, but none are soon enough, he added.
The budget must be balanced now, and although the "cuts will be painful, they are needed," he said.
Also, "we have an enormous cost associated with illegal and legal immigration," said Goode, who frequently talked about the immigration issue during the 2007 campaign.
Goode said he supports a moratorium on immigration, but he added he also supports a few exceptions to the restriction, "such as a fiancee's visa or very close family member."
Currently, there are 1.2 million green card (legal) immigrants coming to America each year, Goode said.
Of that total, "about 800,000 are eligible to enter the workforce. It's absurd to allow this when unemployment is at 8 or 9 percent. Give those jobs to Americans first," Goode said.
He explained that Democrats want immigrants to come to America because "they expect that once they get here and get to be citizens, they will be voting" for Democrats, he said.
Republicans also support immigration to keep down the cost of doing business, he said.
"I am and have been the candidate that will stand up for the average citizen in this country," Goode said.
Goode said he also continues to support term limits for members of Congress, as he did when he was serving in the House.
But supporters never were able to get the two-thirds majority vote needed to pass such legislation, he said. "It was tough even getting it to the floor," he said.
Term limits would mean less emphasis on fundraising, he said.
"I know when I was there, I was as guilty as the rest" of concentrating on fundraising for upcoming elections, Goode said. The focus should be on serving, not fundraising, he added.
Goode also said former members of Congress should not be allowed to work as lobbyists.
If he wins the Constitution Party's bid in April, Goode said he will not accept any contributions of more than $200 from the general public and he will accept no contributions from union PACs (Political Action Committee) or corporate PACs.
"I have some campaign funds left over from the House race. I will use those" and will accept larger contributions from his immediate family, Goode said.
"But from the general public, $200 is the maximum," he said, and added that grassroots fundraising is necessary for candidates not affiliated with a major party. "The problem with the national candidates is there is too much focus on big fundraisers."
According to his online campaign site at www.goodeforpresident2012.com, Goode's bid for the nomination also is focused on energy independence.
He said he believes the U.S. must develop its own resources and alternative fuel sources and end its dependence on foreign fossil fuel.
"Hydrogen, biodiesel and other alternative energy sources have potential in making us less dependent on foreign fossil fuels," his website states. Goode supports using nuclear power, expanding drilling opportunities for natural gas and oil, and drilling in Alaska and the continental U.S.
"If president, I would support the drilling off our coasts where it can be done safely and where the states, such as Virginia, have passed legislation requesting offshore drilling," the website states.
Planks in his platform also include tort reform to combat the high cost of malpractice insurance, protecting Social Security and leaving decisions about education to the states and localities, according to the website.
"I am opposed to national testing of public school students and voted against 'No Child Left Behind' with its new mandates and new tests that must comply with national standards," Goode stated on the site. He also said he supports dissolution of the federal Department of Education.
In a 2008 interview with the Martinsville Bulletin, Goode's list of accomplishments while in Congress included helping to achieve a buyout settlement that Goode said resulted in about $492 million being distributed among tobacco growers and quota holders, and established a refundable tax credit to help people who lost jobs and received Trade Act benefits pay for health insurance.
The Constitution Party traces its roots to the U.S. Taxpayers Party, which formed in 1992, according to its website. The group's name was changed to the Constitution Party in 1999 and in 2008 it was on the ballot in 37 states. Its presidential candidate, Chuck Baldwin, and vice presidential candidate, Darrell Castle, received 199,314 votes.
There are 367,000 registered Constitution Party voters, the website states.
If Goode receives the nomination in April, he will begin gathering signatures from each Congressional District to get on the ballot in Virginia, he said.