I predict: out of the ashes of the 2012 election Republicans will emerge as the party of empowerment, creative enterprise and equal opportunity for all Americans. Democrats will be rightly identified as committed to big government, stale federal programs, crony capitalism and purveyors of political corruption.
On the right side of the aisle there is an abundance of inspired ideas and proven solutions. On the left, all eyes are on Washington, D.C., with a top-down mentality that the federal government can fix all that ails America.
As the newly elected vice chair of the Washington State Republican Party I am honored to work alongside our state leaders to protect and enhance our liberties and freedoms. Republican core values, clear direction and hope for our future have me more enthusiastic and energized to sell our ideas all over the state. I take my cue from Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus who recently said, " 'Blue state' is not a permanent diagnosis."
The mission of the Republican Party was first expressed by Abraham Lincoln, who served as the first Republican president - that our sole purpose is to "identify people of like mind and turn them out to the polls."
The challenge before us is to convince voters that they actually do identify with our ideas and never again allow ourselves to be falsely defined by Democrats. Washingtonians want to see both political parties with a positive agenda that will create real job growth. Here is a preview of the coming Republican agenda:
Republicans want to grow the economy, not the government. Growth and opportunity is found in the genius of the private sector where fresh and impressive ideas flourish.
Republicans believe in solving problems closer to home - where we live and work. Locally we can provide superior results and closer scrutiny rather than a remote federal bureaucracy.
Republicans believe in patient-centered health care where patients are empowered to choose their own doctors.
Republicans believe in the public and private benefits of developing our natural resources. We could restore our economy on this strength alone.
Republicans believe in responsible American energy exploration while creating a cleaner, safer, healthier environment.
Republicans believe in child-centered education choices for our students. Washington voters took a huge step forward by approving the charter school initiative in November, but missed an opportunity by not electing Rob McKenna who headlined his gubernatorial platform with education reform.
Republicans believe in a compassionate welfare system that gives individuals a hand-up and the ability to move out of poverty. There are more efficient solutions to helping the poor than waiting for government to step in. For starters, the NW Republican Community Fund (nwrcf.org) is a charitable organization designed to "help our neighbors move from dependence to self sufficiency."
Republicans believe in making college more affordable. We can do this by funding the students rather than the higher education institutions and thus creating incentives for four-year graduation rates.
Republicans will remind Americans of lessons we have already learned -- that the economy grows when we cut tax rates. Lower taxes and limited government has always and will again unleash the creative entrepreneurial power of the American people. The simple truth is that free enterprise has lifted more people out of poverty than all the government anti-poverty programs combined. It is a system that enables people to flourish.
This is personal: I believe Republicans could produce a full scale re-education campaign to remind voters of the failed ideas of liberals. For starters: redistribution efforts are disastrous and fail miserably every time they are tried. They have the effect of ensuring poverty and dependency. Redistribution efforts strip the dignity of individuals and creates a permanent underclass.
Most importantly, we need to learn from the incubators of brilliant reform - states like Indiana, North Carolina and Wisconsin, where Republicans have implemented many of the items I mentioned such as student-centered education, health care reform, pension reform that protects the pensions of retired state employees, spending reform, reducing taxes on business and creating a pro-job growth environment.
This is our challenge, to go out and communicate to the world that we carry the message they are waiting for. Then we will get busy winning elections.
As Ronald Reagan said, "America is too great for small dreams."
Luanne Van Werven is the former chair of Whatcom Republicans and was elected vice chair of the Washington State Republican Party Jan. 19, 2013. She lives near Lynden.