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Mack seeks office

By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor

... hopes 'individual freedom & state sovereignty' will carry him inside DC beltway in November

Richard Mack, a candidate for United States House of Representatives District 21, is a compelling speaker with a message that resonates.

Mack spoke in Bandera on Wednesday, May 9, at an event at Lost Valley Resort, sponsored by Chuck Warner, owner of Trap's Resale Shop.

As "Sheriff Mack" noted, "The problem is letting the mainstream Republicans that there is an alternative. It's difficult for challengers to get exposure." By the nature of the political beast, incumbents are difficult to best and Congressman Lamar Smith has served in Washington, DC for 24 years, according to Mack. A small but receptive turnout underscored the challenger's uphill battle.

Anyone but incumbent

Optimistically, Mack hopes the current "anyone but an incumbent" political clime will help him defeat Smith who he describes as "a career DC politician" rather than a true conservative. "He sponsored SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act), supported NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act) and voted seven times to raise the debt ceiling - and indicated he would do it again."

Mack also regards as an anathema the fact that Congress has approved better benefits for members than those given to wounded veterans. "That's a national disgrace," he said.

Mack's philosophy is simple. He believes in individual freedom and state sovereignty. He also believes in strict adherence to the US Constitution rather than the progressive view that it is a fluid document that, by necessity, must be subject to continual re-interpretation.

Mack first trod on the national stage when, as sheriff of Graham County, Arizona in 1994, he filed a lawsuit against the Clinton administration to stop gun control associated with the Brady Bill. Essentially, the Brady Bill amended the Gun Control Act of 1968 by requiring all chief law enforcement officers to conduct background checks on citizens purchasing handguns at local gun shops. Parenthetically, it was also an unfunded mandate.

SCOTUS ruled

The case went all the way to the United States Supreme Court where Mack won a landmark decision on the issue of states' rights and local independence. This precedent-setting case proved that the federal government could not compel the states to comply with federal mandates.

"The states created the federal government (and gave it very limited powers), but the federal government has tried to convince us that they're the boss. The Supreme Court decision proved otherwise," Mack said.

At speaking engagements, he makes available a 15-page booklet titled "The Victory for State Sovereignty: Mack-Printz v. USA." As Mack explains, "This is a highlighted version of the Supreme Court case.

It's not my ideology. It was that of the Founding Fathers - liberty and freedom." Mack went on to say that the Supreme Court is supposed to defend the Constitution in the tradition of the Founding Fathers.

They are not to have opinions about the Constitution nor are they allowed to "interpret" it.

"The Constitution doesn't care if the Brady Bill was about muskets or machine guns, the principle of freedom is still the same," Mack said.

In his opinion regarding Mack-Printz v. USA, Justice Antonin Scalia wrote: "But the Constitution protects us from our own best intentions. The Federal Government may not compel the States to enact or administer a federal regulatory program."

Texan by choice

Mack readily admits that the lawsuit probably led to his defeat as a three-term sheriff. "The voters wanted someone to be there and I had to spend a lot of time in DC," Mack explained. "I don't blame them."

Since then, he has written books about states' rights, the oath of office and constitutional liberty, and crisscrossed the United States on speaking tours - particularly at Tea Party rallies.

Now a resident of Fredericksburg, Mack describes himself as "an Arizonan by birth and a Texan by choice." When charged with being an interloper, he replies, "Davy Crockett wasn't from Texas but he fought and died for the freedom of Texas and I'll do the same."

Earlier that day, Mack had appeared on News Radio 1200 WOAI's "San Antonio's First News, " hosted by Joe "Pags" Pagliarulo, who asked, "If you had been in Congress, would you have voted for the Patriot Act?"

"Never, never, never," Mack replied.

"Then you don't belong in Congress," Pagliarulo shot back.

Explaining his response, Mack indicated that the Patriot Act, on its face, violates the Bill of Rights, which is, according to Mack, untouchable. "You cannot compromise these rights."

Although the debate about the 342-page Patriot Act still continues, many legal experts believe the massive legislation violates the First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Amendments, as well as perhaps the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments.

PC will be DOA

"Political correctness has shredded the Constitution," Mack said, and, referring to his opponent, Mack added, "And career politicians are killing us."

If elected to Congress, Mack vowed to support 12-year term limits, saying, "But I'd probably only serve for eight years, and you can take my house if I break that promise."

Mack has a simple solution for curbing the ever-increasing expansion of the federal government and out-of-control federal spending. "The federal budget could be balanced if across-the-board cuts of 20 percent were instituted," he said, adding, "Lamar Smith said this at a Tea Party rally in Comfort. This 20 percent cut must include salaries and pensions for elected officials." If elected to Congress, Mack said, "The first thing I would do is to tell them to cut my salary by 20 percent."

Mack said the Conservative Republicans of Texas Pac has listed him as one of the Top 10 conservatives running in state and federal races. On the other hand, the Heritage Foundation had named Smith as the most progressive and liberal of all Republicans representing Texas, according to Mack.

"Now, folks, which person do you want representing Texas? Don't listen to what we say because politicians will say anything to win. Just watch what we do," he said.

(Editor's note: Mike Asmus, regional director for Smith's San Antonio office, concedes that Smith's Heritage Foundation score over the current Congress has been among the lowest of the Texas Republican delegation. In an email, Asmus noted, however, "Texas Right to Life, the US Chamber of Commerce and the NRA do not back liberals or even moderates, and all three groups support Rep. Smith's campaign.")

Pictured: Richard Mack, challenger for the United States House of Representatives District 21 seat currently held by Lamar Smith, spoke in Bandera on Wednesday, May 9.