There has been much discussion in the weeks since the 2012 election about the Republican Party and its current state.
Losing an election often prompts a lot of hand-wringing by the defeated party and rejoicing by those on the other side of the aisle.
I've seen a lot of interesting commentary about the future of the GOP. As a Republican elected official, I wanted to share some thoughts about my party.
First of all, I believe many GOP positions often get misconstrued, not just by an unfriendly media or the opposing party, but even by our own side. Sometimes, we've lost our focus.
While I believe Gov. Mitt Romney is a good man with the right intentions, his closed door comments about "the 47 percent" made it sound like he was calling everyone who receives government assistance lazy.
While there are definitely examples of people taking advantage of taxpayer-funded programs, the majority of people who receive food stamps or welfare don't want to be on those supports. They want to be financially secure, working, and taking care of their families.
Republican rhetoric and policies should always reflect that.
Here's why I am a Republican: The Republican Party is the party that stands up for working people.
By that, I mean people who work (or want to work) for a living, or are now retired. It includes people of every class, race and background, including those who cannot work because of disability but have immense worth and value.
Our stated mission is to promote policies that will grow our economy, keep the burden of government and taxation low, and encourage individual and entrepreneurial ideas.
In addition to economic freedom, we strive to promote an environment that strengthens the family unit.
Many pundits say the GOP ought to abandon social issues, but we're the party of working families, too.
We should speak out against things in our culture and media that tear down families.
We believe in protecting the weak and defenseless.
Above all, we believe that free and financially independent people — with a limited, efficient government working as an additional tool — can impact our community so much better than faceless, top down bureaucracy.
The Republican Party (or at least, some of its elected officials) may not have always lived up to these ideals I've listed above, but that is what the GOP must get back to in order to move forward.
I hope that everyone has had a wonderful Christmas and will enjoy a safe and festive New Year.
We have a lot to be thankful for in Carroll County.
I look forward to working on behalf of everyone (Republican, Democrat and Independent) in the upcoming General Assembly session beginning in January.
Please feel free to contact me any time with thoughts or concerns.
Del. Justin Ready
The writer is a state delegate representing District 5A.