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Pastor Michel Faulkner, former NJ Jet (we’ll forgive him for that) and VT Hokie football player, is the GOP candidate for the 15th Congressional District in NY.  That happens to be the seat held by Cong. Charlie Rangel, long time Harlem representative who is under an ethical cloud.

Faulkner would be a breach of fresh air, in deed a new Harlem Renaissance, for this district.  Since 1946, two men had held this seat:  Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. (who’s son, Adam Clayton Powell, III, is running against Rangel in the Democratic primary) and Charlie Rangel.  Powell resigned under an ethical cloud and it appears Rangel has one as well.  If Powell wins, the last three representatives will be Powell/Rangel/Powell.  To think we gave up titles in this country!

But there will be a choice this year:  Faulkner, born in Baltimore to a single mom (this is largely based on his campaign bio and the George Will article below), went to become an All-American at Virginia Tech and played for the Jets for one year.  He also earned a Masters at Liberty University where he was an assistant dean of students and Vice President for Urban Ministry.  He has served as an assistant pastor or lead pastor at four different churches.

Faulkner also has a distinguished record of public service, although none elected:

In addition to his involvement with the Church, Michel has served the people of New York City in numerous initiatives including: (1) Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s Task Force on Police Community Relations, (2) Commissioner of the City Charter Review initiative, (3) co-chairman for the New York City Board of Education’s HIV/AIDS Task Force, and (4) Vice President for Community Government Relations at King’s College from 1988 to 1992.

George Will describes Faulkner’s attempt to set up a charter school:

Now he wants to create a charter school — a public school enjoying considerable autonomy from, among other burdens, teachers unions. It would be affiliated with his New Horizon Church. But New York’s constitution has a Blaine Amendment.

The Blaine Amendment was an odious attempt to constitutionalize bigotry by prohibiting public aid to parochial schools; passed by most of the states, NY being one of them.  Faulkner sued to have the Blaine Amendment declared unconstitutional and set up a religious charter school.

Faulkner is a strong supporter of Israel for many of the reasons I support Israel:

My position on Israel and its national defense does not stem from any facile party or partisan political position or geopolitical considerations but rather on a personal conviction supported in detail by the Bible.

He opposes the Ground Zero Mosque and opposes Obamacare:

To do this, we need to avoid having the Federal Government micromanage people’s health care decisions by imposing price controls or setting up more bureaucracy. Rather, it should introduce competition to the insurance market by creating a system of regional exchanges, similar to the one now operated by the Federal Government for its employees, to allow everyone the opportunity to choose an insurance plan. Then Americans would be able to shop for health insurance and pocket what they save by choosing lower-priced plans. Appropriate risk adjustment — a mechanism by which insurers who cover more sick people are compensated by insurers who cover fewer of them — could reduce the incentive of some insurance companies to sign up only the healthy.

Faulkner has a very sensitive position on immigration:

What Congress must do to fix immigration:

First, stronger measures must be taken to stop the flow of illegal immigrants into our country. We should be able to do this with as little disruption and as much efficiency as possible, which is why states that lie along our nation’s borders should have more control over their adjacent international borders. As is evidenced in our current immigration problems, Washington has tried and failed to secure our borders in particular. It is time for a new model: The federal government should coordinate day-to-day state-led operations. After all, who is better primed to deal with the on-the-ground realities of porous boundaries?

Second, we must simplify the legalization process for legal immigrants. It currently takes almost a decade to become a citizen of the United States, including months of paperwork and other hurdles to obtain basic authorizations like working visas and green cards. But if we speed up the process, while at the same time maintaining practical standards, then all those who pass background checks and have no criminal records or infectious diseases should be given a two-year trial work visa. This trial period would enable them to work, legally which is the primary goal of immigration in the first place. This trial would also help to motivate them to maintain proper citizenship paying taxes and working for the advancement of America. If at the end of this trial period the immigrants have met these standards, they should be allowed to apply for citizenship through a streamlined process.

The U.S. has much to offer—and to receive. We can only reindustrialize if we allow hard working immigrants to contribute to and build our great nation. Especially in the fields of math and science, our international competitors have outpaced us.  Indian engineers and Chinese software developers see the reality of the American Dream and want to come to this country with their expertise. But we need to give those who come here legally a fighting chance, by curtailing illegal immigration, streamlining the process to citizenship, facilitating their study of language, our laws, and civic responsibilities.

Faulkner’s position on education does not go far enough in that he recognizes a Federal role in education.  However, his emphasis is on as much local control as possible.  This could be a good start.  Faulkner supports, not surprisingly, charter schools, and correctly criticizes the teachers’ union as a major hindrance to educational progress:

The New York State teachers’ union, and the city-affiliated United Federation of Teachers, has repeatedly prevented the promotion and retention of our state’s best teachers through restrictive hiring and firing practices.  Indeed, under the current teachers’ union contract in New York City, it takes five years of legal procedures to remove an ineffective teacher from the classroom. Just this year, New York City Chancellor Joel Klein was finally able to take one positive step in the right direction: Abolishing the teacher retention centers, more commonly known as “Rubber Rooms.” What are these detention centers? They are rooms where teachers who were removed from the classroom for physically or verbally abusing students, committing crimes, or, in rare cases, being completely incompetent, went to spend their days while paid their full salaries during the aforementioned five years it took to handle their dismissal cases. This cost the city millions of dollars every year—to pay for teachers who were knitting, reading, or looking out the window all on the taxpayers tab. Thankfully, these abominations have been closed.  (Read more about the “Rubber Rooms” here.)

When it comes to spending and taxes, Faulkner is better:

I am running for Congress to bring the ethical and principled type of leadership required to restrain unsustainable growth in government. *  *  *  The time for action is now and as my community’s representative in Congress, budgetary restraints and a reduction of the tax burdens will be one of my chief objectives.

Faulkner also signed the Taxpayer’s Protection Pledge.  Here is the web page for this pledge. He has also opposed (rightly) any form of Card Check legislation or as he puts it “one-size-fits-all” federal mandates concerning employee benefits.

Faulkner is a long shot to win admittedly.  But he is determined:

Mr. Faulkner admits that his odds are long: The district is one of the bluest in the nation. But he believes saying a conservative can’t win in Harlem “is succumbing to the liberal-media bent.” “The liberals don’t want to dare fathom that I could win this. Think about it: I’m more than a conservative and a Republican: I’m a black man that loves America. And I love God. So I’m dangerous. They don’t know how to deal with me.”

Followers of Christ are dangerous!  That’s one reason for so much persecution through the centuries.  May the Lord do a miracle here and cause the election of Michel Faulkner to Congress.  His election could change the entire nation.  If any Hokie alums or fans want to help him, here’s Faulkner’s home page.

About Elwood Sanders

Elwood "Sandy" Sanders is a Hanover attorney who is an Appellate Procedure Consultant for Lantagne Legal Printing and has written ten scholarly legal articles. Sandy was also Virginia's first Appellate Defender and also helped bring curling in VA! (None of these titles imply any endorsement of Sanders’ views)

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Tom White Says:

Nothing is more conservative than a republican wanting to get their majority back. And nothing is more liberal than a republican WITH a majority.

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