Name: Peter J. “Pete” Wells
Biography: Peter J. “Pete” Wells is a father who lives in Richmond, Va. He is an Eagle Scout who served in the U.S. Navy from 2000 until 2008. He studied economics at Virginia Commonwealth University.
Website: Pete Wells for Liberty
Related Video: WAVY News 10 sat down with candidate Peter Wells at our studios. Here are his replies on the following topics.
1. Why should Virginians elect you to Congress?
Virginians should elect me to bring a different voice to congress. Our current partisan divide leaves us with two organizations that are hostile to one another that will gridlock our government any opportunity they can to claim some political victory for themselves. By including a third party to our legislative bodies it will force congresspeople and senators to to form more coalitions and work together outside of partisan alliances. Virginians should also elect me to congress if they agree with me on issues of criminal justice reform that effect all Virginians on one level or another, sensible immigration policies that make America more open and available for people who want to live and work here as well as protecting the civil rights of our most vulnerable citizens.
2. What was the most important vote taken in your district in 2018 and why?
I’m assuming this is asking what vote congress took this year that has a major impact upon the 4th district. In that case it is the NDAA. The Defense Authorization bill is 4701 sections that were likely not questioned or read by the majority of people who voted for it. It was passed by one of the largest bipartisan totals of the year. It shows that the only thing both brand name parties can agree on is blindly spending money on military programs with little or no accountability to the taxpayers and it represents an approximately $40,000,000,000 increase over last year’s spending level much higher than the rate of inflation. This takes money from Virginia tax payers and passes it on to special interests that profit off of our military industrial complex and state of perpetual warfare.
3. What is the biggest issue facing your district, and how do you plan to address it?
Criminal Justice Reform is the biggest issue effecting any district, including Virginia’s Fourth. Every law, rule and regulation our government has passed over the last 242 years has created a new class of criminals. At this point Americans are on the hook to pay for dozens of federal law enforcement and regulatory agencies that oversee a labyrinth of policies and maintaining the world’s largest prison population. Our policies disproportionately effect people of color and the poor. The militarization of our police has destroyed community trust in law enforcement and civil asset forfeiture policies have allowed the police to seize money and property from citizens without charging them with a crime. Our war on drugs has turned potentially useful medications in to criminal offenses and it’s enforcement has lead to the opioid crisis, violence on our streets and at our borders.
4. What businesses and industries would you try to attract to your district?
I would work with state and local officials to encourage any industry that wants to set up shop in the 4th district. We have a large and diverse population and large tracts of agricultural land as well as access to river, air, truck and rail transportation of goods. Virginia’s 4th is a great place to live and work and has a lot to offer, but I don’t feel it is the government’s place to pick and choose what businesses operate within their borders.
5. What are the top three challenges facing the Department of Defense, and how would you address them?
- Our accelerated Operations Tempo.
- 17 Years and counting of uninterrupted warfare against an ill defined enemy with no congressional oversight.
- An ever increasing number of disabled veterans created by injuries and horrors of war and the mishaps from a frantic operations tempo.
Those three issues were a challenge to the military when I was enlisted from 2000-2008 and they have only gotten more severe with time. To address all of these issues I would work to bring congressional control of military spending back to the people, bring our troops home from foreign wars, end the AUMF that has been twisted to authorize our executive branch to deploy troops to any foreign conflict that they can reasonably claim relates to terrorist organizations that have ties to Al Qaeda. These changes will reduce our Operations Tempo and give our hardworking service people a much needed break from the horrors of war. This will reduce the burden on our VA system, taxpayers and our spirits from the hardships of constant warfare.
6. In the face of a government shutdown, is it more important to make sure the budget passes or that your legislative aims are achieved? How would you apply your answer to the most recent shutdown threat?
It is more important to pass the budget, provided that budget is a responsible one. We cannot simply agree to spend more on everything and then rubber stamp a short term continuing resolution for a couple months. Our government has gotten too big, it is involved in doing too much on the national level and needs to scale back and delegate some items back to state and local government so the mere task of writing a budget doesn’t confound our legislature for months on end. Many of my legislative aims are to make our government more fair and efficient and hopefully if they are ever achieved we may face fewer of these threats of government shutdowns in the future.