First, I want to thank all of you who have shared your thoughts, advice and counsel on my exploration process. The response has been overwhelmingly and extremely encouraging.
The same questions keep coming up in so many of my conversations, I wanted to take this opportunity to address as many as I could in an email that might help you better understand my thoughts and positions on the race.
Announcement: No formal announcement as of yet. I wrote an email describing my interest in running and have attached it below under the title “My thoughts on the US Senate Race”. I think it fairly points out my potential advantages and liabilities as a candidate, and the process I plan to undertake in my decision making.
On the Issues: I address some of the broader issues in my announcement email and I’ve put a list together at the bottom of this email of the most commonly asked questions I’ve received over the last few weeks.
Timing: I think we’ll have a much better idea of who is running and who might be the strongest candidate over the next few weeks. We traditionally kick off campaigns during the fall Mackinac Conference and I don’t see why we won’t have our candidates out in full force by them.
Polling: A poll is but a snap shot in time and this early in the process doesn’t mean a whole lot. Being one of those potential candidates who should barely show up in the polls, what else would you expect me to say? However, if I decide to run, I’m sure the press coverage and campaign we launch will quickly get us in par with any other candidate and by Labor Day of election year we’ll have polls that really matter. The good news is a name like “Saul” won’t be hard to remember.
Fundraising: I’m not a wealthy man and not a self-funder. If I run, I will have to raise 99.99% of all the funds necessary to launch a credible campaign. I raised some $29 million dollars as the GOP State Chairman, I know the finance community and most of Republican activists/donors in our state. I’m a good fundraiser who’s willing to do the work necessary to raise the funds. Much of this will depend on the rest of the field.
As I have told many of you “it takes two things to win an election, money and everything else”. As one of my better friends said in response “it sounds like you have two problems”J
Other Candidates: There are a number of strong candidates contemplating running. We each have our strengths and weaknesses. Primaries are good things and I hope several will emerge to allow Republicans to pick their best voice, their best candidate to put forward November 2014. I doubt there will be a “consensus” candidate, but political realities may determine the make-up of the field if folks are rationale and practical about winning. So give it some time and let your opinions be known. Encourage those you like and don’t be afraid to tell others “why not”. I’ve receive my fair share from both perspectives.
My initial Announcement Email:
My thoughts on the US Senate Race
I have been overwhelmed by the encouraging and kind calls, emails and online posts encouraging me to run for the Senate. I have to confess, I did not anticipate the kind of moral support from my friends from around the state, let alone from around the country.
As I said in one interview, I hope and expect some great candidates to emerge. My personal challenge maybe that I’m just too average and maybe a bit too conservative (and often quoted) to be the right candidate at this unique time in Michigan’s political history?
I come from an immigrant working class family that grew up in the city of Detroit. I worked as a Teamster, paying my way through the commuter campus of the University of Michigan in Dearborn. I spend my career as a staffer in the state legislature and a small businessman/entrepreneur over the last 25 years. Some of which could be considered successful and others that didn’t end up so successful. I’ve made some money and I’ve lost some money. I have a mortgage, carry credit card debt, struggle to help pay for my 4 sons way through college and yes, I cut my own lawn (kids help) and shovel our snow:) To paraphrase the old tv sports show, I’ve been part of and lived through the “joys of victory and the agony of defeat”.
No Harvard, no elected office, no big business successes and no unique, super cool stories that make me someone special. Rather, I’m a pretty average guy who’s been blessed with a great family and great life…having been through some of the best of times and some of the worst of times.
Having said that, this is a unique time in Michigan’s political history where we have a real opportunity to win this Senate seat for Republicans and a constitutional conservative. I am going to take a few weeks and seriously explore the opportunities, options and the kind of support I can put together. Given the initial response from so many of you, I owe it to myself to serious explore my options.
So why maybe me? My family found its share of the American Dream in an auto factory in Detroit. I believe in American Exceptionalism and believe that our best days are yet before us. I share in the concept of helping create an Opportunity Society of all, where we take the best the free market has to offer and encourage rather than guarantee the real pursuit of happiness.
I support an efficient, yet limited government that provides a safety net for those who can’t help themselves, but does not create a welfare society as a way of life.
I want to foster economic growth by limiting over burdensome rules and regulations, flattening, lowering and simplifying our tax code. I support moving towards a flat tax or fair tax – one that is fair, transparent and accountable.
I believe in peace through strength. We have a role and responsibility to defend our country and our way of life. We should deal with our enemies and their threats with everything we’ve got. But I oppose the concept of nation building or the idea that America should be the world’s policeman. If and when needed, we get in, do the job and get out. I believe in real Homeland security not long term international engagements.
Liberty and individual freedom are the foundations of our society and our country. I vehemently oppose President Obama’s policies that are attempting to create a “European social democratic” state or a “nanny state” that reminds me too much of Orwell’s great books. From Obamacare to the domestic use of drones, to over intrusive domestic spying and “random” pat downs of citizens in our airports, I believe our government has gone too far.
We are a constitutional Republic, with certain inalienable rights that our Founders spelled out in our Constitutions, Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights. A foundation where we the people, lend our God given rights and authority to our government and our representatives to form and oversee a more perfect union. These “First Principles” as they have often been called are much maligned and forgotten by too many who seek and currently do represent us.
It might sound quaint, but I draw a lot of inspiration from my time as a Boy Scout, from cub-scout to troop leader, and still hold to this simple truth: a good life is one based on serving God, family, country and community.
To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, what we have to do is fairly simple but not necessarily easy. So I will humbly go forward to see if there is any reasonable opportunity for me to do my part to help restore the American Dream.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
ON THE ISSUES
Let me attempt to be as direct and short as possible in laying out my general position on the issues. Please don’t interpret my omission or inclusion of any issue as anything more than trying to address questions that have been raised. As always, feel free to write or call me and I’ll let you know where I stand on any issue.
My parents passed on and instilled a work ethic that served me well starting a small business, serving as State Chairman and raising a family. I hope to take advantage of those values in this next quest.
I want to be a voice for the average American family, I want my kids to have a shot at the American Dream just like I did, and I want every family to be able to earn a good living, build a nice life for themselves, and live free– that’s the way America should be.
National Security: I believe in “peace through strength”. I think America is in a unique position in the world and should play a leadership role. However, I don’t believe we should serve as the world’s “policemen” nor do I feel we have an obligation for “nation building”. The other countries of the world have an obligation to pay their fair share of any joint defense and unless it serves our defensive strategic interests, we should stay out of every disagreement around the world.
Taxes: I support a move towards a consumption tax that would replace all other forms of income and corporate taxes. The “Fair Tax” proposal offers a realistic road map towards getting to a more transparent and fairer tax system across the board.
As an interim step, I would support a flatter and lower tax rate across the board that allow Americans to keep more of what they make. I believe EVERY American should pay something and have “skin in the game”. I would support a cap of some $25,000 annually for all deductions to insure tax shelters and other tax loopholes aren’t used to allow some not to pay their fair share.
Jobs: I’m a proponent of lowering the tax rates, reducing over burdensome regulation and allowing America’s entrepreneurial spirit to flourish. A simpler and fairer tax code, a rationale regulatory system, a Right to Work environment and fair trade policies would allow American job providers to invest the trillions that are sitting on the side lines, waiting for sound government policies.
Too big to fail means they are too big. Government has a role and in certain circumstances can provide critical assistance. But you can’t have capitalism and free markets on the way up and socialism on the way down.
Bailing out Wall Street at the expense of Main Street is bad policy. Crony Capitalism as exemplified by the Obama Administration is wrong.
Healthcare: I support the repeal of Obamacare. We need a patient based, market oriented healthcare system that allows the patient and the doctor to make the right choices under each circumstance. Allow insurance companies to compete across state lines, Health Care Savings Accounts, Tort Reform and transparency in costs and services are critical.
Social Issues: I am pro-life. I support traditional marriage. I do believe we have to be more tolerant of those who have chosen an alternative lifestyle that we may not agree with or believe is contrary to our faith or beliefs. I also believe we need to respect the right of every American to practice their religion and therefore the respect for Traditional Marriage, exceptions from Obamacare and other mandates due to religious objections should be respected and protected.
Energy: I believe in an “All the Above” policy where we take advantage of EVERY source of energy that is available to us. There is no reason that America can’t become energy self-sufficient or at least drastically less reliant on some of the friendlier places in the world for our energy needs. Too much of our foreign policy is dictated by our energy policy and too many of our children have died for a barrel of oil. We have the technology and resources right here, in our hemisphere.
I support eliminating subsidies, leveling the regulatory rules and regulations, creating a level playing field for all energy producers in our tax code and encouraging innovation and research for more renewable and cleaner energy.
National Popular Vote: There appears to be a tremendous amount of confusion on this proposal. It does not eliminate the Electoral College, rather it replaces the current winner take all system by state to a national popular vote to determine how electors from each state shall be chosen for the Electoral College.
This insures that every vote, in every state counts. Today, only battle ground or swing state matter under the current rules, making states like Ohio and Florida relevant and 4 out of 5 voters “fly over” spectators in the process. Simply put, I want our votes to count, I want every vote to count equally.
Domestic Spying & Drones: I oppose the over-reaching efforts of our government to spy on our citizens without a warrant, probably cause or due process. The idea that a drone could be used to kill an American citizen, without a trial of his or her peers is outrageous and unacceptable.
10th Amendment Project: I would like to see us undertake a project in Washington to give back all the rights and responsibilities NOT granted under the Constitution back to the state to administer. State and local governments are closer to the people and tend to be more responsive and responsible to its citizens.
I would support any program that is given back to the states with block grant funding of federal funds to reduce the size of our federal government.