Foxx’s broad-based support key to her success

by Keith Barber

A resurgent conservative movement and an energized Republican base clamoring for more limited government make this a promising election year for incumbent Virginia Foxx, a stalwart conservative who is serving her third term as representative of North Carolina’s 5th Congressional District. (courtesy photo)

Ray Allen’s first meeting with Congresswoman Virginia Foxx made an indelible impression. Allen, president and CEO of software engineering firm CII Associates, met with the congresswoman several years ago when Foxx was still serving in the NC Senate. Allen said he spoke with Foxx in his capacity as a board member of the NC Technology Association. A former president of Research Triangle Park’s Council for Entrepreneurial Development, Allen said he remembers Foxx as being a down-to-earth person who had a sensible way of getting things done in the General Assembly.

“She has a sincere desire to provide service to the people of North Carolina,” Allen said. “I felt like she was one of the strong performers in the [NC Senate]. I just feel like she has the type of personality that you want in a representative and a very good understanding of the needs of small business. If more people knew her, I think she would gain a lot more support.”

At the time, Allen had a feeling Foxx was destined for great things.

In 2004, Foxx proved him correct, winning the US House 5 th District seat by handily defeating Democratic challenger Jim A. Harrell Jr.

Since being elected in 2004, Foxx has developed a reputation for a strong conservative voice in Congress. Foxx has been ranked the most conservative member of North Carolina’s congressional delegation by National Journal magazine and called one of the “best and brightest” members of Congress by the American Conservative Union. According to the American Conservative Union’s website, Foxx has voted in accord with the group’s legislative agenda 99.2 percent of the time. In addition, Foxx has been ranked as more conservative than 91.3 percent of all members of Congress by the National Journal.

Foxx did not return phone calls for this article. Phillip Ardoin, an associate professor of political science at Appalachian State University, said Foxx has established herself as the representative of the conservative wing of the Republican Party, and any Democrat that challenges Foxx has their work cut out for them in the heavily Republican 5 th district. In addition, Foxx is sure to have a substantial advantage in fundraising.

“The problem Democrats have is they’re not going to be able to raise enough money to compete against Virginia Foxx,” Ardoin said. “No Democratic candidate is going to be able to raise enough money to put out the media campaign to mobilize votes.”

Billy Kennedy, a carpenter and farmer from Watauga County, is the Democratic nominee for the US House 5th district seat.

“At the national level, the [Democratic] Party sees our district and they see it’s such a conservative district, they feel like that could spend that money better in more competitive districts where they have a fighting chance,” Ardoin said. “If you’re a Democratic contributor in North Carolina and you have $2,000 to contribute to candidates, where do you think your money is going to be best spent?” A cursory glance of Foxx’s list of supporters reveals an impressive base of support composed of corporate political action committees and individuals that span the gamut of industry, academia and small business owners. At the moment, Foxx reports that she has $1.2 million in her campaign war chest. Billy Kennedy’s campaign reports that so far, he has raised $102,000 from 960 donors. During the 2008 campaign, Foxx’s opponent, Roy Carter, managed to only raise $238,000.

The harsh reality of modern politics is that money drives the political machine, Ardoin said, and Foxx’s name recognition and ability to get her message out to mobilize her supporters gives her a great chance at winning a fourth term in the US House.

Foxx’s voting record offers proof as to why she is considered one of the most conservative members in the US Congress. A sampling of Foxx’s votes in a number of areas leaves no doubt that she is the voice of conservative Republicans in the US House.

In one of the biggest votes in a generation, Foxx voted against the healthcare reform bill that passed both houses of Congress in March. The bill, which passed the House by a 219-212 vote, prohibits health insurance companies from excluding people based on preexisting conditions, establishes health care insurance exchanges, and offers coverage to more than 30 million uninsured Americans.

On the economic front, Foxx voted no on the economic stimulus package and no on the Senate Jobs Bill. President Obama signed both bills into law.

In 2008, Foxx voted against House Resolution 6124, a massive piece of legislation passed by both the House and Senate. President Bush vetoed the measure but Congress overrode his veto. The bill created funding for alternative sources of energy, established a biomass research initiative and awarded grants and assistance for scientists researching bio-fuels. The bill included a number of other provisions including millions in loans to broadband internet service providers to bring internet to rural areas.

Foxx voted against Senate Bill 5, which would have required the federal government to conduct and support research using human embryonic stem cells. The bill was passed by the House and Senate but vetoed by President Bush in 2008.

Foxx voted against House Resolution 2847, which invests $90.83 billion in the American economy to spur employment, rebuild and improve infrastructure, and transportation and reinstates the “pay-as-you-go” budget rule. Foxx also voted against House Resolution 2642 which expands the GI Bill by providing education funding for members of the armed services, extends unemployment compensation, and sets aside $5.8 billion to help rebuild New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. The bill ultimately passed both the House and Senate.

With regard to consumer protection, Foxx voted against House Resolution 6346, which prohibits price gouging of gasoline during times of emergency. And with regard to humanitarian aid, Foxx voted no on House Resolution 5501, which passed the House by an overwhelming margin last year. The bill gives $48 billion to the Global Fund for aid to countries combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis over the next five years.

Foxx has voted yes on a number of bills during her five and a half years in Congress. Foxx voted for House Resolution 3962, which prohibits federal funds from being used to pay for abortions except in cases where the woman’s life is at risk or in cases of rape or incest.

Even though Ray Allen lives in Wake County and is a resident of US House District 2, he has contributed $750 Foxx’s re-election campaign. Despite Foxx’s reputation of being a hard-line conservative, Allen believes she is one of the more bipartisan members of Congress who looks out for the interests of all North Carolinians.

“She’s done an outstanding job of representing small business,” Allen said. “She knows the economy affects everyone including small business. She looks at everything with the possibility of supporting it without it being a Republican [initiative] or not.”

“Her biggest challenge is she’s in the minority party,” Allen continued. “I think she has a lot of good ideas but they fall on deaf ears… I just know she’s good for North Carolina.”