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In Their Words 

Election 2014: Each candidate was given the opportunity to answer the question, “What makes you the right choice for Congress?” Dave Brat didn’t provide a response.

James Carr, Libertarian

With less than a week remaining for voters to make a decision on how they will cast their ballots this year, it is important that everyone realize exactly where we are as a country and acknowledge the opportunity before us. Rarely do opportunities to be part of a significant political reform present themselves. There have been around a dozen major shifts in politics and policies since the United States federal government was created, and each carried with it significant change. Many of these alterations were driven by voters taking a difficult stand against the politicians in charge, and each had risk associated with it. Luckily, we are not a nation of cowards.

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For the last 150 years we have been controlled by the same two parties, and our federal government's intrusion into our personal lives has continued to increase. We are now under the control of a nanny state, which claims that the protections outlined so clearly in the Constitution do not apply.

At the same time, that government has taken more taxes from us, provided large corporations with our money to pay bonuses to CEOs with connections to politicians, and run up trillions of dollars in debt. And we continue to let this happen because the opportunity to change the process has not presented itself.

Today, I am telling you that the opportunity is here and all you have to do to take advantage of it is become an educated voter. By simply researching candidates (even for just half an hour) you are taking back control of this country. By determining which candidate you will vote for not by the letter by their name but by the character of their convictions, you deny the influence of money on politics. Furthermore, by sharing your observations about candidates with friends and family, you will encourage them to make these same changes to our political process.

There is no one candidate who alone can fix our broken system, but with your help, I do believe that I can provide some excellent solutions to the problems facing us. I also believe that the voters of Virginia, especially in the 7th District, are poised to once again demonstrate that when our politicians no longer serve the people they are supposed to represent, when political parties assume more power than they should, and when the system is incapable of righting itself, the citizens of the United States will step up and enact real change.

Together we can change the process.

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Jack Trammell, Democrat

These days bipartisanship has become a dirty word. Moderates from both sides have disappeared only to be replaced by partisan extremists. These radicals intentionally make unrealistic demands, while deeply hindering the political process to score partisan kudos. Unfortunately, Americans have to live with the results or lack thereof.

What's the response in Congress? Members on both sides retreat to their party talking points and try to figure out how to reform party messages. What they're not doing is crossing the aisle to develop solutions to our nation's problems. No wonder Congress has some of the lowest productivity and approval ratings in decades.

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The irony is when both parties retreat deeper into their convictions, they may feel reassured, but the American people are the ones who truly lose out.

My candidacy for Virginia's 7th Congressional District is about restoring common sense to Washington. It's about moving our country forward and seeking solutions to our nation's problems by moving beyond party labels and restoring communication and sensibility.

Recovery from the recession has been uneven, especially for working families and the middle class. Federal student aid has ballooned to astronomical levels. Our senior citizens are fearful their pensions, Social Security and health care are in jeopardy, even after a lifetime of hard work.

We can and must do better.

For many years now, our middle class has been squeezed and hammered. Talk to the worker who has gone for months without finding a job. Talk to the head of a company trying to protect jobs but worried about rising costs. Talk to the student who worked hard to finish her college degree and is now drowning in debt. Their fight is my fight.

People feel like the system is rigged against them. And here's the painful truth: They're right. The system is rigged. Americans are fighters. We are tough, resourceful and creative. Given the chance to fight on a level playing field — where everyone pays a fair share and everyone has a real shot at success. We know that the economy doesn't grow from the top down, but from the middle class out and the bottom up. That's how we create jobs and reduce the debt.

As Americans, we celebrate success. We just don't want the game to be rigged. Our path to success is one of common sense and collaboration. As a professor, a farmer, a husband and a father, I know the struggles of the typical family. Like everyone, I want a bright future for my children and grandchildren.

I want to know that the legacy we leave them is not one of political fighting but one that educates our youth and helps to create jobs — a world that is more secure than it is right now.

I hope you will join me in my fight to return sanity to Washington.

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