Same Chaffee, different race: Local runs for Senate
Builder, land developer and contractor Chris Chaffee (R) is making another campaign run, but this time it is for U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski’s (D-Md.) soon-tobe-vacant seat.
In 2014, the Prince Frederick resident ran for the 5th Congressional District post as the Republican nominee. While Chaffee did not win, he put up a fight against U.S. Rep. Steny Hoyer (DMd.), garnering 35 percent of the vote.
Priding himself on making sure he talks to diverse groups of people, last year he attended a synagogue in Potomac to hear one faith group’s issue regarding the Iran Nuclear Deal.
“It was very moving ... the Jewish folks in the community came out to fight against this Iran deal,” said Chaffee.
He credits the Iran deal for his decision to run for Senate this election cycle, as he believes at the Senate level he can affect more change.
“Nothing worse to see them congressmen stand up and say they think it is a bad deal and then weeks later vote for the deal,” said Chaffee. “What made me run for the seat was I believe that America is being destroyed from the inside out,” he said, borrowing from a quote by Abraham Lincoln.
Chaffee said he was disillusioned with the elected officials who had previously expressed the deal was not good, but weeks later voted for it anyway. He singled out Mikulski and Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md., 8th), claiming they voted for the deal because the Democratic establishment told them to do so.
Chaffee said he would certainly vote against party lines and speak against messaging if he felt passionate about an issue.
“Absolutely, if something is not right for America it does not make a difference if it is Democrat or Republican,” said Chaffee.
Chaffee inferred his top legislative priorities are synonymous with America’s top priorities. Near the top of the list is building up the military. In his eyes, it has been dismantled. The Senate hopeful suggested by making the military stronger the country will show strength around the world, ultimately deterring confrontations here and abroad.
While Chaffee did not serve in the armed forces, he said everyone has been adversely affected by the various conflicts.
“I believe all of us have been in the military for the last 10 to 12 years. We hear over and over again of these wars being fought in Afghanistan and Iraq and Syria,” said Chaffee. “We all have been brought in through some way, either someone that we know in our family or somebody that we are connected to has either died in the military, that’s fighting right now in the military, or has been in the military.”
The father of four daughters, Chaffee said he feels America’s founding core values are under attack in the nation.
“Our country was built off of [Christian] values. We have adapted over the years for different religions, and we are a country made up of different religions, but at no time do I believe that our Christianity has been in more jeopardy than right now,” said Chaffee.
Chaffee stressed the need to fight for Americans’ Christian and family values at every level of government to include the Supreme Court and the presidency. “The most important of all is that we have to fight for the unborn children,” said Chaffee.
“Democrats, Republicans — we’re still all people. We have to figure this out. We have to stop fighting each other and we have to make this country back to what it’s supposed to be: love and Christianity,” said Chaffee.
As an entrepreneur, he is very concerned with the number of businesses going under due to the failed economy.
“We must help the small businesses. We must help them get funding they need,” he said.
Chaffee blames the DoddFrank Act with suffocating banks and keeping a lot of small banks from lending money to struggling businesses. He also credits the Affordable Care Act with killing businesses. While Chaffee proposes getting rid of the health care reform act, he strongly suggests it be replaced with another plan.
“If you’re going to say, ‘Hey, we’re going to get rid of a health care system that is going to get rid of health care for a lot of unfortunate people with no plan’ — it’s not going to work,” reasoned Chaffee.
He suggested reaching across state lines to get competition for a replacement plan because competition will produce the best rates and the best services.
While increasing employee pay might reduce turnover and increase productivity, Chaffee said definitively he would not raise the minimum wage.
“Does a person want to be stuck on minimum wage for the rest of their life? A minimum wage job was designed for [a] starter job for a young man or young woman to get responsibility and to get an education and to move on to a career,” said Chaffee. “And we don’t want to change the starter jobs into permanent jobs.”
He believes the hourly rate hike will cause employees to be complacent and not want to advance in their career.
“We’ve been seeing people that work at McDonald’s, Burger King and Walmart, been working there for 10, 15 years,” he said.
Instead, he suggested lawmakers make workforce development training accessible at any age. His solution is to bring jobs back to Maryland, but first, he said, they must be brought back to the U.S.
“Corporations — we need to give them the tax breaks that they need,” he said. “There’s $3 to $4 trillion parked overseas . ... They’re not going to bring their money back because they think the administration is going to tax it.”
He also recommended giving tax incentives for companies to bring their money back to America, for being based in America and to set up new companies in America.
“We have the greatest country in the world. We were once the biggest industrial giant . ... Let’s open the door again. Let’s be the biggest industrial country in the world, but do it this time a little smarter than last time,” he said, suggesting using technological advances to protect the environment.
Protecting the Constitution, especially the Second Amendment, is a top priority for Chaffee, as well as securing U.S. borders. Another national security issue that the candidate is passionate about is terrorism, specifically ISIS.
“The president said they were a JV team, but now they’re taking states and states and states. This is a Congress and Senate issue. This should be the priority right now,” stressed Chaffee. “They must come up with a plan not to contain ISIS, but to defeat ISIS. We must take action.”
On the home front, Chaffee would like to see local law enforcement get the financial and human resources they need to protect Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant, the Dominion Cove Point facility and Calvert County as a whole.
“When a disaster happens, we’re going to need those officers,” said Chaffee. “The police around America and the police in Maryland — they’ve been getting beat up really bad and it’s time that someone stand up for the police.”
Ted Cruz (R) is Chaffee’s choice for president because Cruz, he said, is a constitutionalist who loves Jesus Christ and loves his country. However, Chaffee said he will back Donald Trump 100 percent.