Race: Henrico County Board of Supervisors
Full Name: George Nicholas Marchenko
Family: Julie (spouse), Brittany (22), and Lee (19)
Profession: Corporate consultant, small business owner
Education: BA, Georgia State University; Masters in International Business from Mercer University
Where do you live? Royal Oaks subdivision, Henrico County
Where did you grow up? 18 years in Elmhurst, Illinois. Moved to Atlanta, Georgia to attend college.
Why are you running as an independent?
Virginia local County Board of Supervisors elections are non-partisan so political party affiliations are not applicable. However, neither major political party (Republican nor Democratic) accurately or entirely defines my political principles. Both major parties are for big government. Their candidates typically run on platforms that promise "goodies" for votes. However, I believe the only legitimate function of government is to ensure citizens' individual rights are secure and protected. You will never hear a Democrat or Republican candidate promise to use their elected position to limit government for this purpose only. Further, as an independent, I am not obligated to echo a party line. Instead, I am obligated to defend the Constitution (as an elected Constitutional officer) and prevent the unnecessary encroachment of government and its abuses into citizens' lives.
Why aren't you running as a Democrat or Republican?
This local election is non-partisan so party affiliation is not applicable. However, I come from a family with strong ethics and a sound moral foundation. I am socially tolerant given that individuals make decisions as to how they choose to live their lives, and I respect those decisions. I am also fiscally responsible and believe every tax dollar collected by government for nonessential services artificially depresses the local economy.
What are your signature policies and campaign issues?
My number one issue is county government spending. I believe the true measure of a government's effectiveness is not how much it taxes, but rather how much it spends. Taxes tend to stabilize and even decrease with responsible spending (exactly the same way it works in our homes.) Henrico County spending includes frivolous programs such as a golf course, a bed-and-breakfast, and private-sector style services like leaf and trash removal and abandoned pet rescue. By engaging in such services, the county artificially depresses the local economy while inflating itself on the backs of taxpayers who may or may not utilize their services.
The county has also amassed a 10,000 employee empire to serve only 300,000 citizens and is the single largest employer in Henrico. County employees are compensated well in excess of their private-sector counterparts and have built organizations that exceed even the most affluent businesses. The finance department, for example, is almost twice as large as a finance department in a comparably-sized business and pays salaries almost 1.5 times higher.
Somehow, somewhere, someway, Henrico County government needs a serious downsizing and yet none of the current Board Supervisors even bat an eye. The unwarranted size of county government is evident in every department, yet budgets increase every year and no-one is held accountable. I want the County Board to be held accountable by citizens. I want to be the County Board Supervisor unafraid of exposing waste no matter whose bureaucratic empire is at stake.
Which political party do you more closely identify with?
Libertarian, the party of principle. The Libertarian philosophy champions personal responsibility, individual rights, the free market and individual choice. We do not believe that government should participate in areas not specifically designated for government (unlike public safety, the courts, etc) and believe there are no societal needs that government can perform better than the free market. For example, the county spends more on social services and recreation than it does for police and public safety. This makes absolutely no sense to me.
How do you differ most from them?
I respect our Nation's founding documents and principles and believe there is a public desire to return to the form of government our framers created. Henrico County government is symptomatic of Republican and Democratic governmental superiority. Simply stated, there is too much government in our lives, it is too big, and it spends too much money and performs unnecessary services very inefficiently. Republicans and Democrats want to grow government. I want to limit and decrease it. Philosophically, Democrats and Republicans lack faith in individuals to navigate their lives responsibly and therefore they legislate to constrain freedoms. Libertarians believe in the inherent decency in people and respect the individual's choice to live, love, work, play and dream in their own way, so long as they don't infringe upon the rights of individuals.
What changes would bring you into the Democratic or Republican fold?
Personal responsibility. Democrats and Republicans believe government can solve people's problems. I believe most people are adequately equipped to navigate through the hardships of life and to experience the benefits and rewards available to hard-working, free people. I also believe in the power of people to help one another and not look to government to bail them out. Democrats and Republicans work to build coalitions of victims whose troubles they site to justify new laws. Libertarians are committed to the individual, regardless of whatever group they belong to, and cherish the sovereign rights endowed upon each of us as individuals.
How did you arrive at your political convictions?
My father and grandfather worked very hard their entire lives and relied on no one other than family and friends when, and if, needed. They taught me to learn as much as possible, to make decisions, and to live with the consequences of my decisions. They taught me to be a responsible and productive member of society, to help others if and when I could, and to rely on my own abilities. They taught me to respect others, to hold no prejudices, and to try and find the good in everyone. They also taught me not to rely on others for help or hand-outs, especially from a central authority such as government. When governments help others (such as welfare and social programs) they use capital taken from others. I was raised to decide who I want to help and how best to accomplish that.
Are you running to win, or running to bring attention to certain issues?
Running to win. Henrico County has not demonstrated fiscal restraint in decades. I plan to be the voice of constraint and fiscal responsibility. In my opinion Henrico County government can sustain reckless growth for only so long. And I fear we achieved blatant recklessness with this year's $1 Billion county budget.
Who is your political hero?
I admire people with conviction, who stand behind their principles regardless of the popularity of their position. Ron Paul, congressman from Texas, is one such politician. My all-time, modern-era political hero is President Reagan. He led our nation during an era of adversity, looked evil square in the eye, and didn't back-down. He also committed himself to a belief that governments serve best that serve least and I believe this as well.
Is it wrong to steal office supplies?
Yes. It is wrong to acquire any property belonging to another that was not consensually and mutually negotiated to the satisfaction of all parties. This goes for all property. I learned that lesson long ago after coming home with a pack of baseball cards that my father knew I didn't buy. That was 38 years ago and is a life-lesson I will never forget.
What kind of car do you drive? Either a 1996 Lexus ES 300 or a 1996 Ford Bronco, whichever happens to be in the driveway when I need personal transportation.