A chance for a new start

Published 9:36 am Monday, November 28, 2016

Last Tuesday, more than 120 million Americans went to the polls to exercise their civic duty and right to vote and elect leaders in federal, state, and local governments.  The American democratic republic continues to be a model for the world, and we are fortunate to see the power of government change hands through a peaceful or orderly process after a hard-fought campaign.  The people have chosen a new direction by electing Donald Trump to be the 45th President of the United States of America, and with this election comes significant new opportunities to adopt policies that make the lives of all Americans better.

It is my hope that the new administration abides by one fundamental tenet — adherence to the rule of law and our constitutional system of government.  Over the years, we have seen Republican and Democratic presidential administrations usurp more and more legislative power through their executive agencies.  Likewise, over the years, we have witnessed Republican and Democratic Congresses that have not jealously guarded their legislative prerogatives and have ceded more and more legislative power to the White House and its agencies.  The Obama Administration has accelerated these trends by making dramatic changes in a variety of policies by executive order or agency rulemaking, which represents a real threat to the very freedoms our system of government was designed to enshrine.  It is high time that we return to the founding principles set out in our Constitution, and as we look to the future, we must look for every way to restore to Congress its original power as defined in Article I and, thereby, restore the power of the people.

This change in administrations allows for a reset and a return to a more balanced approach.  The legislative branch must have a robust and appropriate role because it is ultimately closest and most accountable to the people, and our citizens must have the opportunity to express their approval or disapproval of the laws and policies the Congress adopts.  The executive branch must faithfully execute the laws as written and defend rather than undermine the rule of law.  It is my hope that these principles are embraced to ensure that no one branch of government grows too powerful and that the people’s rights are preserved and protected.

Fifth District Virginians not only voted for a new president, but also a new representative in Congress, and I congratulate Tom Garrett on being selected by the people to be their voice in Washington.  It has been my great honor and privilege to serve the people of Virginia’s Fifth District for the last six years, and it is my hope that Representative-elect Garrett will continue to be faithful to all Central and Southside Virginians, provide diligent constituent service, and promote policies that effectively address the most critical issues facing our communities and our country.

Elections bring with them hope for the future, new energy and enthusiasm for public service, and new ideas for resolving problems that lie ahead.  It is my hope that the American people can now come back together with common purpose to continue making our country the world’s most prosperous, strong, and free nation.

Robert Hurt represents Lunenburg County in the U.S. House of Representatives. He can be reached at his Farmville office at (434) 395-0120 or by email at hurt.house.gov.