Former Superintendent of Education Jim Rex and Dr. Oscar Lovelace, our Prosperity and Newberry County doctor, are working together to form a viable party within the state — the Free Citizens Party, a new party organized of moderates who believe in term limits, ethics, transparency, and on common good and solving problems instead of partisanship.
Dr. Oscar Lovelace graciously accepted my invitation for an interview to discuss information to be published in this week’s Newberry Notes in regard to the Free Citizens Party.
“I have been privileged to serve as a family physician in Newberry County for the past 25 years. A distinct benefit of this has been the experience of caring for many aging men and women who sacrificed for our country during the Great Depression and four wars. One of the reasons I believe our country benefited is that these veterans learned how to work together despite the differences. Unfortunately, our political system in America has lost this ability. As a result we have a broken political system driven by corporate greed and special interests, gridlocked by polarized political parties,” said Lovelace.
“I met Dr. Jim Rex in 2006 when he was running as a Democrat for Superintendent of Education and I was running for governor in the Republican primary against incumbent Governor Mark Sanford. We realized we had much in common — largely a view that above all, government should work for the greater good for our society,” said Lovelace.
“We believe our state and nation needs a new party that will work to find common ground and enact public policy based on evidence, best practices, and rational discourse. A party that will select true public-servant candidates and that will hold them to a new level of accountability and to the highest standards of ethics and transparency. We are currently organizing the Free Citizens Party with the understanding that our current broken political system is the result of disengagement,” said Lovelace.
“As citizens we are free to be apathetic but we are also free to respect the sacrifice of those who have given us this freedom and act to fix our broken political system. Dr. Rex and I are convinced there is no better way to do this than the creation of a new party that will moderate between the extremes, through the election of diverse, real world, front-line, leaders who wish to be public servants in government and agree to serve under term limits,” said Lovelace.
The Case for a Moderate Party
The two dominant American political parties give moderate voters few viable options. Many feel they must choose from the “lesser of two evils” as they consider the choices available from a list of career politicians who have run the “primary gauntlet” of their respective parties by pledging allegiance to the special interests and doctrine their bases demand for both election and re-election. Polls show what the majority of voters really want:
• Term Limits: Public servants, not career politicians who worship the god of re-election;
• Elected officials who place the common good and problem-solving above party loyalty and partisanship;
• Ethical behavior, transparency and accountability; and a focus on solving our nation’s economic and competitiveness issues without the distractions of “single-issue,” divisive politics.
“Neither the Republican nor the Democratic party is able or willing to change the inadequate status quo they have collaboratively created. Only a new party that requires term limits, transparent financial campaign limits, and non-partisan problem-solving agenda that focuses on economic growth, fiscal responsibility, and increased global competitiveness will allow the 21st century to become yet another ‘American Century.’ We have become a great nation in large part because of our exceptional ability to be creative and to adapt to changing conditions. It is now time to address our growing political dysfunction by establishing a new party-modern, moderate party,” said Lovelace.
Four Party Principles
1. Legislate and govern from the middle - emphasizing problem solving and common ground with all parties - to put the interests of our nation and states before party allegiance and the desire to be re-elected.
2. A core emphasis on increasing the economic global competitiveness of the United States.
3. Term limits: stop growth of political class and career politicians. Limit influence of money in support of incumbents. Encourage more public service motivated candidates. (e.g. max 12 years in federal and/or state offices-excluding the terms of presidency and governorships)
4. Strong measure to increase party responsibility and accountability for the party’s candidates’ and elected officials’ behavior. (For example enforce strong sanctions for violations of campaign fund raising policies and unethical and/or illegal conduct).
Eight Platform Priorities
1. A commitment to decreasing the national debt while ensuring a strong national defense and essential social programs through a deliberate, balanced and comprehensive approach that will not do damage to our economic recovery.
2. Create a strong, choice-driven public school system that encourages innovation, rigor and success for all children with an increased emphasis on early childhood education.
3. Create an efficient, effective health care system that emphasizes preventative care and encourages healthy lifestyles for all Americans.
4. Reform campaign funding. Do away with the effects of the Supreme Court ruling (e.g. Citizens United) by legislation and/or amendment. Require immediate and total transparency. Post all donors and amounts regardless of source within five business days of receipt.
5. Reform Ethics Legislation. Require the disclosure of all sources of income as a candidate and as an elected official. Have stand-alone ethics commissions at state and federal levels to investigate, enforce, and discipline.
6. Provide strong, unequivocal support for the Second Amendment—coupled with responsible, reasonable regulations and programs. (e.g. strong, universal background check system and better mental health diagnosis and treatment.)
7. Initiate comprehensive tax reform to acquire a simpler, fairer tax system that supports economic growth and encourages work, savings and investment.
8. Implement a comprehensive immigration policy that provides a responsible pathway to citizenship, encouragement of high skill and high knowledge immigration, employer accountability, and a strengthened national border.
Check out the website www.freecitizensparty.com and Facebook page: www.facebook.com/FreeCitizensParty.
“We urge your involvement in this important work. It is our opinion that there is no better way to deliver a brighter future for our children and honor those who have sacrificed for our freedom than to engage as free citizens and create a transformative new political party,” said Lovelace.