Boots Of Recovery's website explains "Our primary purpose is to encourage law makers to help public safety workers find a safer way to live and recover, even from addictions.
Mark Lewis for Senate received an an endorsement and grade "A" from Boots Of Recovery based on his responses to a candidates survey. The organization's questions and Mark's reponses are posted below.
2019 Boots of Recovery Candidate Survey
Have you served (including as volunteer) in the military or public safety?
Sometimes those who appreciate recovery have seen the struggle first hand. Are you in recovery, ever struggled with an addition, have family in recovery, or lost a loved one to addiction?
I did struggle with depression years ago, but I overcame by seeking God, going to therapy, and finding a group of supportive friends.
Would you be willing to implement teaching scientifically proven stress management techniques to public safety employees in training?
Yes, and I would be a strong advocate for removing the stigma around mental health. I understand law enforcement and military service can be extremely stressful. As a Libertarian, I support ending the war on drugs and bringing most of our troops home from overseas to reduce the burden on public safety employees and the military. "An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure."
There is a saying in recovery, that our secrets keep us sick; pain shared is pain lessened. Sharing with a spiritual guide is crucial to many on a recovery path. Yet some states require priests to disclose to the confessions that involve possible crimes. Even if well intending, such laws can turn spiritually sick people away from recovery, spiritual guidance, and amends (which could include self-admissions). Do you feel the seal of confession should remain intact?
Yes. I oppose laws that require priests to disclose confessions that involve possible crimes and would leave the judgement to disclose possible crimes to be left to individual parties.
Under several state and federal laws, public employees are barred from expressing their personal political beliefs in public, even if outside of official work hours, such as in giving speeches for loved ones running for office or liking a candidate on a social media site. Do you feel public safety employees should have the right to freedom of speech of their political beliefs outside of their work hours?
Yes, I believe public safety employees should be able to express their political beliefs outside of work hours.
Would you be willing to honor and memorialize the good work of public safety officers, who unfortunately later died from suicide/overdose?
Absolutely. I think it's also important to remember that we put unnecessary stress on public safety officers to enforce an unwinnable war on drugs and the best way to honor public safety officers who are victims of that war is to change our laws and reform other aspects of the criminal justice system that put too many people in jail, and put too much stress on public safety officers.
The Virginia Farm Bureau helps to "protect farming, agriculture, and the Virginia way of life." They publish an extensive list of policies their members support. Below are my responses to their candidate questionnaire.
Please tell us briefly why you are seeking this position.
I'm a Libertarian which means I want to implement Libertarian policies of free markets and civil liberties. Republicans and Democrats in the Virginia Assembly keep growing the budget and handing out subsidies to privileged businesses. Meanwhile, they have failed to pass legislation that would reduce police abuse and legalize marijuana.
What are your three main priorities as a candidate?
I want to lower taxes and spending across the board by 10%, end the war on drugs, and expand school choice.
Farmland Preservation: What can the General Assembly do to help landowners preserve working farms and forestland?
Cut taxes so you can afford to keep the land and to keep farming viable. The Virginia Assembly taxes and spends too much. In 2010-2012, Virginia’s operating budget was $79 billion. In 2018-2020, it will be $121 billion, with the approval of every Republican in the General Assembly, and almost every Democrat. I propose cutting the next biennial operating budget by 10%. So, for 2020-2022, that would be a total of $108.5 billion. (Amazingly, that is still higher than the 2016-2018 budget!) That will allow farmers to afford to keep their land and pass it down to their children.
Economic Development: Where do you think agriculture and forestry fit into the local and state economy? How does it compare with other industries?
Agriculture and forestry are important to Virginia but, like every other industry, should not be subsidized. Libertarians support a level playing field and reduced taxes for everyone, and oppose government picking winners and losers. Legalizing production of hemp and marijuana in Virginia would be a boon to Virginia farmers, particularly in light of the shrinking tobacco industry.
Science-Based Decision Making: What role does science play in your decision on a piece of legislation? What scientific resources do you rely on for issues related to agriculture?
Most publications have some sort of bias so I think it’s important to rely on multiple sources for any science-based decision making. I can’t say I’ve spent enough time studying agricultural science in particular to recommend specific publications, but I’ve found the libertarian Cato Institute to be good on a wide variety of topics and they’ve published quite a bit on farming policies over the years.
Energy: Solar energy is seen as a clean and renewable source of power. However, large solar installations are replacing thousands of acres of productive agriculture and forestland in the Commonwealth. How do you suggest we balance landowners' rights to develop their property while protecting productive working lands?
In 2018, the General Assembly made the bizarre choice to subsidize both coal companies and renewable energy companies like solar. That’s good for the bottom line of those companies, but bad for taxpayers. I support a free market: no subsidies for anyone and low taxes for everyone, including for solar, coal and agriculture.
Water Rights: What rights or access do landowners have to use the natural resources associated with their property (ie. minerals, water, oil, gas, etc.)? What role do you believe government has in regulating access or use by the landowner?
Landowners should be able to use the natural resources associated with their property unless they have traded those rights away to another entity and been compensated appropriately. Government should primarily be involved to ensure property rights are protected rather than regulating in great detail how resources are used.
Cooperative Extension: What is the role of Virginia Cooperative Extension in the localities you will represent? How could those programs better support economic growth in agriculture and forestry?
I’m not very familiar with the Virginia Cooperative Extension. I generally support efforts by voluntary associations supported by members rather than government funded and controlled efforts. In the Assembly, you could expect me to try to work to limit state bureaucracy that gets in the way of agriculture and forestry, but not look to me to provide taxpayer funded efforts.
Food Labeling: What standards should be in place for labeling food products and which level of government should be responsible for establishing these standards?
I realize food labeling is intended to help protect consumers and provide predictable standard requirements for produces. Ideally, I think the governments should stay out of this area and that best labeling practices would develop in the market economy. To the degree labeling is mandated, I prefer more control at the state rather than federal levels.
Property Rights: There are several significant eminent domain projects moving forward in Virginia (ex. expansion of natural gas pipelines, road and rail improvements, etc.). Do our current laws do enough to protect landowners?
I support private property rights and stronger protections against eminent domain. I oppose most, if not all, eminent domain takings. If landowners don’t want to sell, they should not have their land taken from them. Projects should find another route or be cancelled if land at reasonable rates can’t be found.
Right to Farm: Virginia's Right to Farm Act seeks to protect qualifying farmers from nuisance lawsuits filed by individuals who move into a rural area where normal farming operations exist, and who later use nuisance actions to attempt to stop those ongoing operations. Do you support current law or do you feel changes are needed?
I support Virginia's Right to Farm Act and am not aware of changes that are needed. I believe in private property rights and think it’s wrong for individuals to move into rural areas and file nuisance actions to stop farming. If someone doesn’t like farming around them, the libertarian solution is to choose a location away from farming or (and I realize this isn’t practical always) buy the farm property at free market value and redevelop it.
What is the best format to discuss issues with you? How do you communicate with your constituents?
Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit my website votemarklewis.com where you can also find my facebook.
I'm seeking the Libertarian Party's nomination for Virginia State Senate District 9.
I support more freedom and less government on practically every issue.
Click these links to find out more about the national Libertarian Party and the Libertarian Party of Virginia.
I have lived my whole life in Virginia. I was born in Suffolk, grew up in Southampton County, and moved to Richmond in 2010 to attend school at VCU where I got my degree in Political Science. I currently work at Raising Cane's Restaurant on VCU's campus and have been an employee for almost 6 years.
I am always looking for ways to volunteer and serve my community. I have served the Libertarian Party of Virginia as its treasurer for over a year, and have worked with a campus organization to register VCU students to vote.
Thanks for your consideration.
- Mark Lewis