Shewmake: Speaker Kirk Cox, a True Conservative

By William H. Shewmake

I am proud of our Virginia House of Delegates Speaker, Kirk Cox, who is following in the noble tradition of Edmund Burke, the father of true modern conservatism.

Burke understood that time does not stand still and that times inevitably change, as must a conservative’s position from time to time. The lode star of a conservative is not to forever resist all change, but to advocate an evolutionary process that recognizes the law of unintended consequences that accompanies abrupt or radical change.

A conservative also wants to carefully analyze why a norm or policy has existed so that in changing it, you don’t toss the proverbial baby out with the bath water. Speaker Cox understands that elections have consequences and that Obamacare aka the Affordable Care Act, in some form, is now here to stay.

Recognizing that reality, he has decided to shape the inevitable change with conservative principles instead of waiting for the day in the not too distant future when the Democrats would blithely expand Medicaid without limits, conditions, or an appreciation for the unintended consequences that would surely follow their decision.

Exactly when and how you address the Medicaid question is a debatable issue, and I respect my fellow Republicans who disagree that now is the time to compromise. But regardless of where each of us Republicans stand on the issue, of this I have no doubt: Kirk Cox is a leader, and in these increasingly purple times, we are lucky to have him as our Speaker.


Will Shewmake is a long-time member of the Chesterfield County Republican Committee and veteran volunteer for many campaigns. A graduate of William and Mary where he majored in philosophy and government, he is senior counsel with the law firm of LeClairRyan in Richmond.