Monday, November 09, 2015

Jon Woods Will Not Stand for Re-Election to State Senate

State Senator Jon Woods, (R) Springdale, will not run for re-election he announced Friday. Woods was the driving force behind the very worst bill passed last session, one that made it virtually impossible for the Ethics Commission to sanction legislators regardless of how many times they get caught misusing campaign funds.
He was also behind the deceptive referred amendment that claimed it was there to "establish term limits" when it really weakened existing term limits law.

Basically Woods was sneaky and deceptive across the board. It was starting to catch up with him. Conduit for Action took the lead for the grassroots in recruiting Sharon Lloyd to jump into the Republican primary against Woods. Woods had so ruined his reputation among the grassroots that he would have made an easy target for Lloyd.

Not that the establishment wasn't trying to take sides and pump Woods up. Three weeks ago, Governor Asa Hutchinson hosted a fund raiser for Woods. Have you ever noticed how legislators that betray the folks back home get the backing of the party hierarchy while those who vote for smaller government get little to no help? Its an obvious clue that We the People need to form our own grassroots parties state-by-state instead of relying on the captured DC-run ones to vet our candidates. But then true self-government sounds too much like work so most will refuse to get the hint. Still, Woods was such damaged goods that not even the Governor's intervention in a party primary would have assured him the win.

So Woods announces, with only a day and a half left to file, that he will not run for re-election. The establishment seems to have tapped Lance Eads, the big-government loving Republican from Springdale, to take Wood's place. The name will change, but I suspect the policies will remain the same with Eads. I doubt anyone else will be able to file in the few remaining hours left to do so. For one thing it takes $7,000 and what grassroots state legislative candiate can raise that over the weekend? Woods goes out with a deceptive maneuver, which fits the way he did business.

There are several things I want you to take away from this. One is that the establishment now has this system where they take care of insiders who lose primaries or get driven out of office by angry voters. If the voters catch them betraying voters on behalf of the establishment and they throw them out, the establishment will take care of them.  In this case that means that Woods will wind up with some kind of cush job either working directly for the government or some corporation tied into the government.

That is why it is not enough to simply defeat these people. We have to punish them. If some wretch stole a lawn mower out of my yard I would want them held accountable. Well, politicians who cheat the public on the scale that Woods has done deserve to be held doubly accountable, because they have betrayed a public trust. Politicians who are rejected by the voters should not be able to just turn around and work for the government, or lobby the government. The voters thought they took care of that when they voted in Wood's so-called "Ethics Amendment", but it has loop-holes a mile wide. For example there is supposed to be a two year ban on legislators becoming lobbyists, but if their lobbying is labeled "consulting" it seems to be OK somehow.

If Jon Woods shows up at the Capitol in the next two years to do "consulting" I hope he is hounded by every conservative activist on the grounds. I hope they watch him like a hawk and call for his prosecution each and every time he does something that looks like lobbying. Any legislator who is too chummy with him ought to be the next target. Back in his district, may he be treated like the pariah that he ought to be. This is war people. It is a fight for your freedom, your government, and your money, which people like Jon Woods are stealing from you by means of betrayal.

Right now, everyone of those legislators knows that if they stick with the system and vote to take money from your children and give it to the people who rent both parties then they will be "taken care of" even if they lose an election. They are only human, and this knowledge impacts their thinking. What they need to understand is that there is a price to pay for running as a conservative but then voting for not only more government, but corrupt government.  Until people like Jon Woods face consequences for what they have done, it won't get better.

The other thing I want you to get from this story is the need to revert back to prior ballot access laws. In the 2012 election cycle, when more than a few people (11) started filing for the legislature as independents, the legislature voted to change the law in a way that would make last minute filings for independents impossible. Before that when something like this happened, someone could file as an Independent and then get the signatures to validate that filing. Getting the signatures was the equivalent of "winning the primary". In 2012 only seven of the eleven who filed were able to get the required signatures within the required time. After the change in the law, independents had to get the signatures before they even filed.  This makes it impossible for someone to make a last-minute decision to run as an independent in response to revelations that someone is not running for re-election. The only way forward in these circumstances is through the parties, with their filing fees and endorsements from all of the leading lights of the party going to the establishment choice.

I am a part of a law suit, along with Neighbors of Arkansas, that is suing the state over this change in the ballot access laws. It is unconstitutional to discriminate on access to the ballot based on who you choose to associate with. When Republicans and Democrats can make last minute decisions to file based on changing circumstances then other people, including anti-party people like me and half the Founding Fathers, should have that ability as well.

As more and more people figure out that both parties are rotten to the core, there will be an increasing demand for other legitimate means of political expression. We made the decision to sue on a visionary basis. Here it is almost 2016 and the case is still winding its way through the courts. This is in part because the homer establishment judge (James Moody Jr.) ruled without trial in favor of the state, in defiance of precedent. We will see how well that ruling stands on appeal. Freedom isn't free. We have to work for it. We can't just outsource the job of protecting our interests to these DC-based groups and expect them to look out for us. That is not the way things work.  They are going to look out for themselves, not you.

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