In a campaign stop yesterday in Wichita noted conservative figure Star Parker told an audience that she works for market-based solutions to fight poverty, and that the answer to poverty is freedom and personal responsibility, not a welfare state.
Parker appeared in Wichita at a fundraising event hosted by Wichita businessman Johnny Stevens. Parker is running for Congress as a Republican from the 37th district of California, which includes the cities of Compton, Long Beach, and Carson, south of the City of Los Angeles. Her campaign website is Star Parker for Congress.
Parker described her efforts working on welfare reform at the federal level during the 1990s, which she described as successful in terms of helping poor people recover their lives. But the momentum that was started — moving poor people from socialism towards capitalism and economic freedom — has not continued, she said. What we have today, she told the audience, is moving in the opposite direction.
Parker said that a critical factor in helping her to decide whether to run for Congress was when President Barack Obama chose to use Abraham Lincoln’s Bible as part of the swearing-in ceremony during his inauguration. Lincoln — although a complicated man and her hero, Parker said — confronted the moral problem of his day by deciding that the country should remain together and with everyone as free people. She contrasted this with Obama, who avoided a moral question by saying it was “above his pay grade.”
Then when she saw bankers and Wall Street executives lining up to go on welfare she was furious, and seriously considered responding positively when asked to run for Congress.
Democrat Laura Richardson, the two-term incumbent in the district Parker is seeking to represent in Congress, has had trouble with homes she owns falling into foreclosure, even being criticized by the Los Angeles Times for that and for falling behind on property tax payments. Richardson had been charged with an ethics violation in conjunction one of her three homes that has been in foreclosure. In July the House Ethics Committee cleared her of misconduct in that matter.
Parker said that Richardson’s main accomplishment has been bringing stimulus money into the district. She described it as a union district, and that unions do not want to see this seat in conservative hands.
Parker criticized campaign finance laws that allow those with personal wealth to spend all they want on their campaigns — we saw this in the Kansas fourth district with one candidate spending about $2 million of his own funds — but limit outside contributions to $2,400 per election cycle. This limits the ability of challengers to mount effective campaigns against incumbents, she said.
Parker said it is critical to take Congress back from the control of Democrats, and that for a black conservative to win a seat currently held by the Congressional Black Caucus would be “extremely sweet.”
She told the audience that if we fail to take Congress this fall, “you think you’ve seen arrogance now, you think you’ve seen elitism, you think you’ve seen how aggressively they can spend other peoples’ money and how close to the edge of danger they will allow us to go — we’ve seen nothing if on November third we wake up and they still have the Congress.”
Even if Republicans take Congress, she said since over half of them are not conservative, there will still be a challenge.
Parker spoke about the importance of schools and described the difficulties that parents face trying to get their children in good schools. Answering a question about the lack of reform such as charter schools and school choice in Kansas, Parker said that lack of these limits the opportunity for the underclass to get a quality education. In public schools, Parker said that children are taught secular humanism, and the cycle of the entitlement mentality is passed down from one generation to the next. School choice is the way to break this cycle and give schoolchildren an opportunity to attend schools that have a moral framework.
Answering another question about what caused the transformation in her thinking — Parker is not shy about talking about her past life living on welfare — she said that she “just got born again” and decided to adopt a Biblical world view.
As to what spurred her to become a free-market activist and adopting a libertarian economic thought, she said that it was her experience in business. “Government is harsh,” she said, with many agencies that stand in the way of prosperity.
The ideas of socialism are inconsistent with a free country, she said, telling them that the rules of welfare are “don’t work, don’t save, and don’t get married.” These rules work against people breaking out of poverty.