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10 Questions For U.S. Senate Candidate Thomas Ravenel
Jimmy Moore
April 5, 2004

South Carolina GOPUSA Exclusive reprinted here by permission.

Each of the candidates running in the Republican primary for the U.S. Senate on June 8th will be answering the following ten questions in a series of published interviews.

The first candidate featured in this series of exclusive interviews with the U.S. Senate candidates is Charleston real estate developer Thomas Ravenel.

Candidate: Thomas Ravenel Marital Status: Single Age: 41 Career Achievement: Has created more than 10,000 jobs by employing construction workers to build over 100 retail stores through his real estate business throughout the Southeast Political Experience: First major run for office.  Previously ran for the state House.

10 Questions For Thomas Ravenel

SC GOPUSA: Tell Republican voters in South Carolina why they should vote for you instead of the other excellent candidates running for the GOP nomination for the U.S. Senate.

RAVENEL: We have an excellent field of competitors. They would all do a much better job then Mrs. [Inez] Tenenbaum could do on her best day. Although, I think I would be the best because I am a successful businessman. Most of my competitors in this race are career politicians, attorneys, or both. In the U.S. Senate right now two-thirds of the Senators are attorneys. I think that is plenty of attorneys. I think we need to send someone to Washington with good business sense. Someone who knows how to get things done.

SC GOPUSA: What do you consider your strongest personal asset?

RAVENEL: My best asset is that I will not compromise my principles for political gain. I have a strong philosophical commitment to limited government.

I've not taken one penny of PAC money. I'm beholden to no one. I will always be frank and candid and tell it like it is. And I'll always work for the general interest of America and South Carolina, not for any narrow special interest.

SC GOPUSA: What qualities make up the ideal U.S. Senator?

RAVENEL: The qualities that make up an ideal U.S. Senator are common sense, straight talk and consistency that people can trust. I dislike it when politicians give you the run around. Or when they talk on both sides of the issue. You can count on me to say what I mean and mean what I say.

SC GOPUSA: A recent report by the trustees of both Social Security and Medicare shockingly revealed these programs will completely run out of funds in 15 years. What options will you support to fix or replace these programs if you are elected to serve in the U.S. Senate?

RAVENEL: I want to fix this problem by giving younger workers the opportunity--on a voluntary basis--to place a portion of the payroll taxes they are currently paying into personal investment accounts which the individual worker would own and control. These accounts would grow into very substantial savings over the 40-plus years the average person works and they would provide a far more generous retirement benefit than Social Security currently promises--and can't deliver. The accounts would be professionally managed by government-approved financial institutions that the individual worker could select. The accounts would be diversified by asset class as well as by sector, industry and company. Best of all, since individual workers would own their own accounts, no politician could ever spend that money on anything else. Additionally, unlike the current system, workers would also be free to pass on some or all of their savings to their children.

The reforms I will advocate would have no affect on those nearing, or already retired. People who played by the rules and paid into the system their whole working lives simply must get all the benefits they were promised--no ifs, ands, or buts.

SC GOPUSA: On the issue of President George W. Bush's temporary worker program, do you agree with the president's decision to allow illegal aliens access to American jobs?

RAVENEL: The two positions that are being proffered on immigration are (1) launch massive roundups to arrest and deport close to nine million people, or (2) President Bush's approach, define the problem away through legalization. The first way is politically impossible and disruptive. The second way would only encourage more illegal immigration.

My solution is a common-sense position in between the two extremes. I propose to increase the number of people leaving the illegal population and reduce the number of new illegal settlers.

Government must vigorously enforce the immigration laws on the books. We should get the Justice Department off the backs of employers, who threaten lawsuits for discrimination if the employer looks too hard at the employee's documentation. The INS, not the employer, needs to develop a system of verifying the legal status of workers. Politicians need to quit diluting the immigration laws. Because of some Senators and Governors, who complain when there are massive roundups and raids of illegals, the INS has all but abandoned enforcing the hiring ban.

Illegal immigrants do not just wake up one day and say "I am going to America." They have support networks here in the States of family and friends. People who tell them for example, "They are not enforcing the immigration laws here. Come on in." By strongly enforcing the law, the word will spread to others you should not come to the USA. We have to also create "choke points" in our system such as when someone gets a driver's or business license or opens a bank account. They should be required to show proof they are legal. We should make it as difficult as possible for people who live here illegally.

This will significantly increase the outflow of illegals from the US and correspondingly reduce their inflow. The net result will be a resolution of the illegal immigration problem through attrition.

SC GOPUSA: Undoubtedly, the issue of homeland security will continue to dominate our foreign policy for many years to come. What actions will you take as a U.S. Senator regarding the ongoing war on terrorism?

RAVENEL: I will support President Bush's bold leadership on combating terrorists and terror states. We must continue to use our force to protect our national security and interests.

The central role of the federal government is to defend our nation. To do this effectively, our military must remain strong, well trained, fully equipped, and second-to-none. Furthermore, our intelligence resources cannot be hamstrung by out-dated regulations, such as the Congressional prohibition on foreign assassination. Our nation's in-the-field human intelligence must be bolstered and strengthened to account for the shameful gutting of our intelligence agencies by the Clinton presidency.

Over the past century, Americans have faced three great evils to a world of freedom and of law: Fascism, Communism, and now Islamic extremism. We defeated the first two. Now, with President Bush's leadership, we can defeat the third. We must track down and capture or kill each and every terrorist.

It's time to demand that Saudi Arabia stop financing terror and supporting schools that brainwash children to hate and to want to kill Americans and Jews. They own tens of thousands of these schools. Many of which are here in America.

We need to recognize that the combatants of the 21st Century are different than those of the last century. Our strategy, tactics and weaponry must evolve to deal with this new enemy. This involves better intelligence, more special ops, long-range bombers and unmanned aerial vehicles like the Predator. The allocation of our resources should be reordered.

For example, why should we have 100,000 of our men and women defending NATO as well another 11,400 to enforce order in the Balkans, a region of no strategic interest to America? We are spending $40 billion a year defending wealthy countries like Germany and France. America increased it's military budget last year by $48 billion, which is more than the total military budget of any NATO member. The original mission of defending against the Soviets is obsolete -- in fact Russia now wants to join NATO. When the [Berlin] wall fell, NATO lost its raison d'etre, proving that there is no such thing as a temporary government program. For the last decade, NATO has been attempting to develop alternative missions for the alliance - like protecting the environment, combating drug abuse and promoting student exchanges. NATO advocates finally settled on using the organization for international social engineering. The alliance is now serving European, not American, objectives. Our military does not have a troop shortage problem it has a troop misallocation problem.

Europe is consuming U.S. defense resources while providing few benefits in return. The U.S. should gradually pull out its forces in Europe, starting with those in the Balkans. Turning NATO into a European-organized and European-led alliance would allow us to focus on genuine threats to our own security. And the main security threat is terrorism and its heart is in the Middle East. That is where our focus and resources should be. We need to stay the course and bring stability to that region which is the source of terrorism.

In addition, we need to eliminate politically driven wasteful spending in the military. For example, in the last 20 years the Air Force requested only five C-130 planes that cost $50 million apiece. But because of politicians and special interests we got 261 of them! Meanwhile, our boys in Iraq are going without body armor and our veterans are receiving less than adequate healthcare.

SC GOPUSA: Senate Democrats have literally hijacked the judicial nomination process ever since Bush became president in 2000. Assuming the Republican Party does not pick up enough seats to overcome the threat of a filibuster from the Democrats, what will you do to stop the obstructionism?

RAVENEL: I will join with Senator Graham and others to ask The U.S. Supreme Court if a minority of Senators can change the Constitution of the United States. The Constitution only calls for a majority of the Senators to confirm a judicial nominee not two-thirds.

The Democratic leadership in the Senate has perverted the Constitutional rule of Advise and Consent. They have turned it into divide and obstruct. President Bush's appointments to the bench are good conservative judges who respect the Constitution and know their role is to interpret the law not make the law.

SC GOPUSA: Demonstrate to voters who may believe the Bush tax cuts are only "for the rich" and have cost American jobs how they will see real tax relief and steady job growth if you are elected to the U.S. Senate.

RAVENEL: First, let me say Bush's tax cuts are not for the rich only. His tax cut represents an eleven percent cut for people making over $200,000 and a seventeen percent cut for those people making less than $40,000. Bush's tax cuts benefit everyone not just the rich.

Let's take a look back at history. Ronald Reagan took the top marginal tax rate of 70% and he reduced it all the way down to 28%. And as hard as it is for our liberal friends to believe, that actually doubled revenue to the Treasury. Those tax cuts unleashed a private energy so strong it created the longest and greatest economic expansion in American history. Incidentally, before these massive tax cuts, the rich were shouldering 19% of the total tax burden. After the tax cut their total percentage of the tax burden rose to 23%. Therefore, if you want to soak the rich, reduce tax rates.

Tax cuts work by creating incentives for new investment. Despite those massive tax cuts, consumers were not banging down the doors for fax machines, personal computers, and Internet connections. It was only after a lot of smart entrepreneurs and investors risked a lot of time, talent, and money that these new products became so commonplace. By cutting taxes on income and capital gains, Ronald Reagan encouraged entrepreneurs to take risks to develop new technologies.

Tax cuts work every time. There's no doubt in my mind that taking federal taxes on both capital gains and stock dividends to zero will generate tens of millions of new American jobs and create millions of new entrepreneurs. The three major capital gains tax cuts of the 20th Century - in 1921, 1978, and 1997 - set off the three greatest waves of entrepreneurial activity of the 20th Century. President John F. Kennedy's more modest capital gains tax cut in 1962 helped set off the "Go-Go" economy of the mid-1960s.

SC GOPUSA: If you are one of the top two candidates after the June 11th primary, who will you be facing in the runoff election and why?

RAVENEL: I am not going to speculate on whom the voters will choose. That is for them to decide.

My campaign is not about the other candidates in this race. It is about my ideas of reducing spending in Washington, getting real tort-reform passed and cutting taxes for all Americans.

SC GOPUSA: Imagine this is your final opportunity to speak to Republican voters before they cast their ballots in the Republican primary. What do you want them to remember about you more than anything else?

RAVENEL: I offer the people of South Carolina the right experience.

We need to send someone to Washington who knows what hard works means. I've got the persistence to roll up my sleeves and get to work.

I will put my straight-talking business sense to work for all of South Carolina.

In business, if you waste money, you lose, and if you make bad decisions you go out of business. In government if you lose money, you simply tax people more. This lack of accountability is just not right. Every day I'm in the U.S. Senate, I'll work to not waste one nickel of your tax money.

I ask for your vote, prayers and support on June 8.

For more info on Thomas Ravenel, visit his web site at www.ravenel2004.org.

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Barring any catastrophic revelations that Mr. Ravenel was found in bed with a live boy or a dead girl, he's got my vote!

My second choice would be Mr. DeMint... as both men support free market alternatives to gummit's ever growing plantation mentality. . . .

Read the rest.

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