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Katy Grimes

Congressional hopeful defined by freedom

Having faith in freedom, Igor Birman is hoping voters “hire” him for Congress. “I’m here on a job interview asking you to hire me,” Birman tells voters he meets.

Birman, a Russian Jewish Immigrant and Republican, announced in September he is running for Congress against Rep. Ami Bera, a Democrat from Congressional District 7. At 32, Birman has a unique ability to reach young and ethnic voters who historically have been wooed by Democrats. At a Sacramento coffee shop, he sat down to talk to me.

“I was defined by freedom,” Birman said when we met this week. “But that freedom now… Read More

Katy Grimes

American independence is still relevant

As a young child, I was fortunate to be able to live in Newport, Rhode Island, the first British colony in America to formally declare its independence, and the first state to guarantee freedom of religion.

We lived a short time in an old home in downtown Newport, which survived the Revolutionary War. Soldiers fought the Brits from the upstairs windows of our home, according to local lore.

Newport was rife with constant reminders of The American Revolution. I used to imagine what life was like in 1776 Newport, when the state repealed its allegiance to King George III of England.

Reflecting upon Independence Day, it’s so important to remember the Revolution wasn’t just a rebellion against the King of England, it was a rebellion against being ruled by a monarchy. Our forefathers and many of our ancestors gave up everything and shed their own… Read More

Bill Leonard

The Lost Amendments

Having just finished the “Lion of LIberty: Patrick Henry and the Call to a New Nation” by Harlow Giles Unger I have been taken back to the great national debate over the powers of government. The discussions of the 1790s are very contemporary. After winning the revolutionary war the country was taken into the constant debate of how to empower and how to limit a national government. Patrick Henry as Governor of Virginia joined others in arguing against the ratification of the proposed constitution considering it granted far too many powers to a Federal government over the people and the states. In language prescient to today’s debate he warned of an out of control national government.

Sharing some of those concerns was James Madison and he promised the anti-constitutionalists that if the Constitution was ratified he would propose a Bill of Rights to protect individual liberties and to limit the national government. Elected to Congress from Virginia is 1790 he made good on that promise. But not all of his proposals were adopted. This made me curious as to what was left out.

The Madison package that was adopted actually consisted of 12 amendments. The… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

Celebrating Independence Day

This weekend we celebrate our nation’s most festive and important holiday, Independence Day. As the smell of backyard BBQs and displays of fireworks unite us in celebration, let us also reflect on the importance of this date and why we are proud to be Americans.

It was 235 years ago that delegates of the thirteen colonies gathered as the Second Continental Congress and voted to approve a resolution declaring their independence from Great Britain. This resolution was a powerful statement asserting once and for all the sovereignty and independence of our newly formed country.

Many historians debate the ‘real’ reasoning behind the final straw that caused early settlers to become tired of the crown and begin the fight for an end to oppression under the thumb of the crown. But one thing the majority of Americans can agree on is that the liberties and freedoms we enjoy today came at a high price and only through the courage of many brave men and women.

More than two centuries later, the American spirit keeps us fighting for liberty both at home and abroad. Let us never forget that we live in the greatest nation on the face of earth, and that together as… Read More

Congressman John Campbell

Triggers and Critters

Triggers and Critters: I sometimes offer amendments on bills that come to the House floor from committees other than the those on which I serve. Such was the case last week when the Agriculture Appropriations bill came to the floor. Various other people offered amendments to reduce the spending in the bill by 5%, limit or eliminate subsidies, and otherwise save money. As you might suspect, I supported all such money-saving amendments. Unfortunately, most of them lost.

The amendment I offered reduced spending by $11 million, which is not much in an appropriations bill that proposed to spend $17.25 billion next year. The amendment would eliminate a program whereby the U.S. Department of Agriculture kills predators (wolves, coyotes and such) that threaten privately-owned livestock. The government kills these animals using methods such as shooting them from aircraft and putting out bait with cyanide capsules that explode in the animal’s face when it goes for the bait.

I thought there were a lot of good reasons to support this amendment:

1. It saves $11 million, all of which will be borrowed.

2. Why is it a taxpayer… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

Honoring Our Fallen Heroes

This Memorial Day weekend provides an opportunity to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice to defend our freedom.

As flags are flown throughout the country to honor the valor and courage of the brave men and women who gave their lives defending our county, let us remember that the liberties we enjoy today came at a great price.

Even this year brave Americans overseas continue to fight and die for our freedom. As these valiant soldiers are put to rest let us offer a prayer this Memorial Day in respect and gratitude for the rights and liberties we are blessed to have.

Often viewed as the unofficial start of summer, Memorial Day has deep roots in American History.

Formerly known as Decoration Day, Memorial Day became a federally observed holiday in 1967 when the tradition of decorating the graves of fallen soldiers had spread nationwide. Unlike Veterans Day which honors living veterans, Memorial Day commemorates the men and women throughout the history of our country who died in battle paying the ultimate sacrifice for the safety and well being of all Americans.

Since Decoration Day was first observed in the 1860’s, more than one… Read More