Certainly, it has surprised some in our community that as a lifelong Democrat and a member of the United Steelworkers of America for 36 years, I decided to become a Republican.
It wasn't a choice I made capriciously, nor was it something that hadn't already been a long time coming.
I'D LIKE TO START out by saying that I'm proud to be a steelworker, and proud for standing up for jobs in Georgetown County, S.C. I've been president of USW Local 7898 for 22 years.
But now, the plant is idle and people around here are hurting. Men and women, committed to putting in a hard day's work to provide for their families, are now doing whatever they can to get by.
I don't need to tell you that a person's work is important. Just look at a man who has been out of work, then look at one who just got a new job, or just got called back to work after a layoff. It's night and day. Unfortunately, around here, we've been seeing a lot more people out of work than those getting jobs. That has to change.
The fact is, Democrats aren't doing it. They aren't getting it done when it comes to creating jobs and securing a good business climate.
For years, I was a Democrat because I thought they represented the interests of working people. That's certainly not true anymore. They seem to have forgotten that when you harm businesses, you take away their ability to hire new people or even keep current employees on staff.
One example is the cap-and-trade debacle that they've taken up. This will take a giant sledgehammer to the American manufacturing base. The plant I worked in for so many years would probably never reopen. All those people I worked so hard for on behalf of the union would be dealt a critical blow.
I moved to Georgetown County in 1974. Democrats have been in control of the county council for almost all of the ensuing years. What do they have to show for it? Precious little. Over the years, it's become very obvious that the Republican Party in the county is the real standard-bearer for job creation. It's not that hard to figure out.
WHEN YOU'RE pro-business, you're pro-worker, too. As companies prosper and expand, people get hired, and get raises and better benefits. A company that's doing well doesn't want to lose good employees. So, if they're doing a good job, and you're doing a good job, everybody wins. That's why we can't tax and regulate businesses to within an inch of their lives.
Republicans understand this. I've been for lower taxes for as long as I can remember. You can't do what the Democrats are doing -- raising taxes on people -- while the government is spending money on foolish items and programs. You can't slap massive tax increases on companies and expect them to go on a hiring blitz. It simply defies reality.
Some people don't know this, but a lot of union members, like myself, are conservative. We believe in faith and family. We have a reverence for tradition. We love our country, and want it to be strong.
WE OPPOSE ILLEGAL immigration and support strong borders because America doesn't need people breaking the law coming into the country to take our jobs and take advantage of our government programs without paying the tax dollars that fund those programs. Our nation is one of immigrants, but legal immigrants. If you want to live and work here, you have to obey the law like everyone else.
I've talked to the membership in the local, and a good portion of the members are coming with me, working to help get Republicans elected. I don't see a contradiction in my being a union member and a Republican, because the only party out there busting its hump for job creation is the Republican Party.
(The writer lives in Georgetown, S.C.)