U.S. Capitol

Scholte: It is the year of the underdog

Suzanne ScholteSuzanne Scholte is one of just three women running for Congress in Virginia this year. She’s challenging Gerry Connolly (D-11), a member of Virginia’s all male congressional delegation. Scholte has an impressive record as a human rights activist and President of the non-profit, Defense Forum Foundation.

When I asked her what the most important function of government is, Suzanne was short and sweet:
“To provide for the common defense.”

Scholte knows the human side of defense issues. She’s spent her 26 years educating decision makers and thought leaders about national security, human rights, and helping people trapped in the world’s most abusive regimes.

Commenting on one of her most significant accomplishments, Suzanne pointed to her work on behalf of the people of North Korea:

I worked for over a year to get the North Korea Human Rights Act passed in 2004 and it greatly helped my ability to rescue hundreds of people. Although it has been a hard fought battle the world now recognizes what I was claiming back then: that crimes against humanity were being committed against the North Korean people.

Scholte has no patience for identity politics. Americans shouldn’t be divided along lines of gender, race, income, or religion. Effective representation, says Scholte, “is based on ideas and accomplishments not gender.” It’s in those areas, that she believes diversity counts most, suggesting that it would be “it would be nice to have more small business owners, farmers, teachers, and truck drivers in Congress.” Scholte does see her gender as an effective defense against charges that Republicans are conducting some kind of “war on women,” but it is her experience that she thinks is most significant to voters in the 11th. She pointed to her own record of bi-partisanship:

I have a life’s history of working with people across party lines to literally save people’s lives. It is why I have support from Republicans, Democrats, and Independents. Two of my coalitions are headed by life long Democrats. Furthermore, my background as an award winning human rights activist is very meaningful to the folks in the 11th which is one of the most diverse and most educated districts in the USA. We have a large immigrant community — folks who came here to become Americans understand my message of preserving the American dream and making sure that America remains a symbol of hope and freedom.

Regarding the incumbent’s record, Scholte bandied no compliments. If Connolly were “actually spending time talking to his constituents,” he would know what his vote for President Obama’s signature health care legislation has cost them, she said, noting that she hears “the horror stories every day of people losing their doctors and their health care coverage, while others tell me about their skyrocketing premiums and deductibles.”

Scholte also took Connolly to task for votes that undermine our national defense capability as well as voting for sequestration, which has hit Northern Virginia households particularly hard. Unlike Connolly, Scholte says she would “never walk out [of a committee hearing] on the parents of Americans killed abroad for serving our country.” And, when it comes to foreign policy, she would support the “oppressed not the oppressor.” With familiarity, Scholte highlighted numerous occasions when Connolly had failed this test, including expressing support for Hamas in Palestine and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.

On reducing the size of government and promoting personal liberty, Scholte highlighted her two most important ideas:

1) supporting a balanced budget amendment to force reductions [in spending], and 2) stop the ACA from destroying our health care system and leading to another $2 trillion more in debt over the next decade according to the CBO. Getting rid of Obamacare will also spur job growth and employment.

Asked what else voters should know about her, Scholte noted that this “is the year of the underdog.” She predicted a come from behind win because “voters in the 11th want a public servant who will represent them – not a professional politician who always votes with Obama and Pelosi.”

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