The Morehead City faction of the Crystal Coast Tea Party Patriots held their regular weekly meeting Tuesday evening. The agenda was packed, and the meeting room was near full with a couple of dozen members in attendance, all of whom were attentive to each of the scheduled speakers. Since there was considerable interlocution with all three candidates for office during the meeting, this recapitulation will be broken into three posts, one each to address the policies and performance of each candidate.
Third up was Taylor Griffin, who is also, like Al Novenic, a third candidate and a second challenger for North Carolina’s 3rd District Congressional seat currently held by Representative Walter Jones. Griffin presented no prepared remarks, as this was his third appearance before a meeting of the CCTPP, and he is already known to the members as a man who presents as a more consistently conservative candidate than incumbent Jones. In his previous visits, he has stated his support for and his belief in a smaller government, less federal spending, small business and the free market, tax simplification with lower marginal rates, defeating the liberal assaults on the Second Amendment, a strong military, and a cautious and piecemeal approach to the problem of illegal immigration, an approach that leaves no room whatsoever for a blanket amnesty.
This appearance was for the purpose of addressing any and all questions that the attending members might have about him, his experience in Washington, his associations, and his policy positions and prescriptions. The following summarizes the questions asked and the responses given, in no particular order.
On the list of the usual suspects was the subject of ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION. Griffin admits that it is a sticky issue, as there is a genuine need for the type of low skilled, low paid labor that illegal immigrants are thought to satisfy, including many jobs in NC’s agricultural sector and elsewhere. A related problem is that, in exchange for any proposals the Republicans might offer to improve border security or to otherwise dis-incentivize more illegal immigration, the Democrats in Congress will demand a pathway to citizenship for those illegals already in the country.
Candidate Griffin believes that a pathway to citizenship would likely result in Democratic electoral majorities for decades to come, and that conservatives must not allow the amnesty / pathway scenario to further advance in Congress. The most realistic approach for Republicans, he asserts, must be to:
1] Secure the border by a combination of high-tech methods and equipment coupled with Border Patrol boots on the ground. This will not be easy, and there will be funding issues, but it is vital.
2] Strengthen the E-Verify system and it’s participation rate by making it easier for small employers to use, and by enforcing the penalties against those employers who willfully avoid it’s use.
3] Reduce the dis-incentives to work in our current unemployment benefit and welfare benefit structure.
Griffin was also asked to elaborate on his RELEVANT EXPERIENCE AND QUALIFICATIONS, so:
1] he began by confirming that, after college (at Appalachian State) he had worked first in the office of NC Senator Jesse Helms, then in the administration of President George W. Bush in the White House and later in the Treasury Department. While at Treasury, he also spent time working on developing measures to track and disrupt terrorist funding sources.
2] In 2008 he moved on to work with the campaign staff for Senator John McCain’s bid for the presidency. Soon after Alaska Governor Sarah Palin was named as McCain’s VP pick, Griffin was one of the staffers assigned to the tasks of helping Governor Palin deal with the media and fend off the efforts of her adversaries in Alaska to bring her to heel by means of frivolous lawsuits.
3] In 2010 he co-founded Hamilton Place Strategies (HPS), a public policy consulting firm in Washington, DC. HPS was a small business which eventually grew to having about twenty employees and a payroll to match. After selling his share in the firm, he moved back to North Carolina, and now lives in New Bern.
4] In a follow-up query, Griffin was asked about whether he had ever been a lobbyist. Griffin said he had not, and that he thinks that rumor may have gotten started because, back in 2010, on behalf of Hamilton Place Strategies, he had filled out the registration form that the Federal government requires of lobbyists. He had done so out of caution, just in case the Feds were to misconstrue any of his consulting activities to be lobbying. The firm, he says, never earned a dime for any lobbying activities.
The next question related to Griffin’s views on recent INSIDER TRADING scandals, to which he replied that he thought the laws against it should be made stronger by amending the STOCK Act of 2012 to address the problem of short sales by members of Congress, to expand the disclosure requirements, and to make the penalties for shadow trading more serious.
About his view on TAX REFORM, Griffin said that he favors a simplified tax structure that does not distort the economy in the way that ethanol subsidies and most other green energy preferences do. He also advocates for lower marginal rates, both for individuals and corporations, and for policies that could entice corporations to bring their monetary profits and reserves back into the U.S. where they could be available to help capitalize our economy.
On his SUPPORT FOR THE MILITARY, he promised to equal or exceed the support attributed to Representative Walter Jones on military issues, and even drew the questioner’s attention to an instance in which Jones’ voting had been inconsistent with his rhetoric on the issue.
On FOREIGN AID, candidate Griffin believes that there is some room for cuts to the foreign aid budget, but since expenditures are only $37-billion out of a budget in excess of $3,400-billion, it is not our most pressing fiscal problem. He added, however, that he was, unlike President Obama, a strong supporter of Israel and would usually be in their corner when it came to dealing with the Palestinians and other adversaries in the Middle East. Moreover, he thinks that the Israel portion of our foreign aid budget is justified.
Asked about his view of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) regulatory activism during the Obama administration, Griffin stated that he opposes much of their agenda, particularly their regulations dealing with carbon (cap-&-trade) and carbon gases (carbon dioxide), and would work to constrain the agency’s regulatory excesses.
Asked also about his view of certain NSA activities authorized under the Patriot Act, Griffin affirmed that it is necessary for the Feds to have access to telecommunication meta-data in order to thwart or pursue terrorists, but that the government need not have custody of the records. Also, he thinks it imperative that there be independent oversight of the NSA’s access to the data.
Chairman Bob Cavanaugh asked Griffin what COMMITTEE ASSIGNMENTS he would pursue if elected, and Griffin responded that he would most want to be on the House Armed Services and Marine Fisheries committees.
For additional information, readers may wish to visit Taylor Griffin’s website, HERE.