Mike Bedenbaugh
Political independence to make our COMMUNITIES great again!

On October 31, 2023, Mike posted his 95 Theses for a free republic on his web page. He was inspired by the Rev. Martin Luther who was concerned about the corruption of the 16th century Catholic Church. He was also inspired by George Washington’s farewell address to be the basis for the content of the theses and hoped it would inspire Americans to push back on, what he believes, is a corrupted political system in America. For well over a year Mike shared his theses with others in political and party leadership and In November 2023, Mike decided to take matters in his own hands and announced his candidacy for the SC Third District House of Representatives. See his announcement video HERE.

Mike will run under the Alliance Party of SC, an independent nonpartisan, non ideological political party that envisions an America that works for all its citizens and local communities.

Mike has Pledged the Following:

Will self impose term limits and serve only two terms in the house if elected.
Will take campaign contributions only from individuals who can legally vote in SC and any political party located in SC that endorses my campaign.

Policy, Issues and Statements

In the spirit of proactive stewardship and guided by the foundational principles laid out in my “95 Theses for a Free Republic,” the policy statements below navigate the nuanced pathway between immediate intervention and long-term transformation. It acknowledges the critical role that the federal government must play in the short term, providing essential support to states and communities navigating unprecedented challenges. This support is not just a matter of expedience but a testament to our collective commitment to ensuring the well-being of our nation’s fabric.

However, this call for immediate action is juxtaposed with a visionary blueprint for our republic’s future—a future where the federal government’s footprint is significantly reduced, ushering in an era of increased autonomy, innovation, and self-reliance among states and local communities. This duality does not reflect a contradiction but rather a phased approach to governance that honors our current needs while steadfastly pursuing the goal of a freer, more decentralized republic.

I invite stakeholders at all levels to join in a collaborative effort that not only addresses our immediate challenges but also lays the groundwork for a transformative shift towards the principles of liberty, self-determination, and minimal federal intervention. This dual approach promises not just a resolution to our present dilemmas but a renaissance of the core values that have long defined the aspirations of our free republic.

A Secure Border

I will support strong borders and affirm that part of the definition of self-government is the right to define who may and who may not become part of the nation. I will always support legal immigration tied to the country’s economic needs and capacity to assimilate newcomers and believe in America’s moral obligation to help genuine asylum seekers.

  • Secure the border.
  • Update immigration Laws.
  • Fund more resources to ensure:
    • Border protection is adequately manned and immigrant processing is more efficient.
    • Improve accessibility to immigration processing in foreign consulates and embassies.
Protect Federalism and Constitutional Governance

I remain steadfast in my dedication to upholding the Constitution, which serves as the bedrock of our nation’s liberties and values. I am a strict textualist because I believe liberty and classical liberalism are best protected by adherence to the constitutional framework and the original intent of when our laws were enacted.

  • No president should send our armed forces onto foreign shores without a congressional declaration of war.
  • Separation of Church and State does NOT mean separation of Church and Community.
  • I will protect the 10th amendment and will oppose any national ban on abortion rights.
  • I will uphold the second amendment.
    • I will never support any forced confiscation of firearms.
    • I agree with originalist Judge Antonin Scalia’s statement in Heller vs DC: “Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.”
End the Corruptive Influence of Nationalized Politics

It is crucial for us to ensure that government actions reflect the true will and needs of the people, rather than the interests of a powerful few. It fosters transparency, accountability, and public trust, which are the cornerstones of a healthy democracy and essential for the promotion of social justice and equitable development.

  • A candidate for political office can only accept funds from individualcitizens qualified to vote for them.
  • A candidate for political office should be subject to term limits. I pledge to run only 2 terms.
  • End the practice of omnibus bills: any bill must pertain to one subject only, and that subject shall be expressed in the title.
  • No elected official can leave elected office and work in any “position of influence” (Board of Trustees or be employed as a lobbyist) with a 501c4 for a period equal to his/her time in office.
  • Prohibit any person holding federal position (elected or employee) from joining the board of a corporation or hired as executive leadership in a corporation for a time period equal to their most recent time in office/employment.
  • Prohibit any candidate or holder of federal or state elected office, or, any person who holds a regulatory position with state or federal government, from investing in publicly held corporations.
End Unconstitutional Foreign Interventionism

It is essential we maintain checks and balances on the executive’s ability to commit to foreign interventions, ensuring that such decisions are debated and approved by representatives of the people. Halting these unauthorized engagements respects the rule of law, prevents unnecessary conflicts, and protects the lives and resources of Americans.

  • I will not support sending military troops into harm’s way inside the domain of a foreign nation without a formal declaration of war by Congress.
  • The USA is to honor all obligations that have been signed, but to seek in all future relations.
    • a status of neutrality, and
    • Initiate plans to phase out the presence of a standing army in foreign lands.
Healthcare Policies that encourage accessibility in rural communities
  • I will not support a one size fits all nationalized health care plan that rewards the current medical industrial complex.
  • I will support anti-trust legislation regarding corporate ownership of multiple hospital systems across state lines.
  • A doctor should be able to work in a free market and establish a medical practice without losing his professional sovereignty.

Corporate insurance companies and corporatized hospitals often form alliances that prioritize their financial interests over patient care, creating a healthcare environment that can be hostile to independent medical practices. These partnerships can lead to standardized care protocols and reimbursement models that favor large healthcare systems, making it financially challenging for doctors to open and sustain independent practices, especially in under-served rural areas. Moreover, the consolidation of healthcare resources into urban centers exacerbates the difficulty of providing quality medical care in rural regions, as insurance companies and large hospital networks focus on maximizing profits rather than addressing the healthcare needs of these communities.

Community Empowered Education

Increased Local Control and Flexibility
Grant local districts more autonomy over curriculum development, teacher hiring, and the allocation of resources to better tailor educational programs to the needs of their specific communities. This approach can help mitigate the one-size-fits-all strategy that often comes with federal mandates.

  1. Funding Reform
    Redesign funding mechanisms to ensure equitable resource distribution across all schools, particularly those in underprivileged and rural areas. This could involve revising the Title I formula for more equitable distribution of federal funds and ensuring that funding is student-centered, possibly following the student to a school of choice, whether public, private, or charter.
  2. Innovation and Technology Integration
    Encourage the adoption of innovative educational models and technology integration that can enhance learning experiences and outcomes. This could involve supporting pilot programs, research into best practices, and grants for schools that are pioneering new approaches to education.
  3. Community and Parental Engagement
    Foster policies that strengthen the role of parents and communities in the education system, including support for parental choice in education and community involvement in school governance. Engaging families and communities can create a supportive environment for students and teachers alike.
  4. Address Administrative Bloat
    Tackle the issue of administrative bloat directly by incentivizing schools and districts to streamline administrative processes and reduce non-essential staff positions, redirecting those savings into classrooms and direct educational services.
  5. Wean local school districts off the addiction to federal subsidies.

    a) This long-term goal done responsibly will enhance local schools’ autonomy, enabling them to tailor educational strategies that directly cater to the unique needs and priorities of their communities and state educational leadership.
    b) Reduce dependency on federal funding can also shield schools from the volatility of national politics and policy changes, providing more stability in their budgeting and long-term planning.
    c) Will foster a stronger connection between schools and community stakeholders, promoting increased local engagement and investment in the success of educational initiatives.

Hailing from a lineage that has seen three generations of public-school educators, I deeply cherish the significance of freely accessible public education that supports small communities and fosters the development of our youth. My past role as a teacher within a local private school    further illuminated the importance of parental agency in selecting the most suitable schooling options for their children. As the spouse of a contemporary public-school educator, I am directly confronted with the detrimental impact of administrative bureaucracy that has, over several generations, commandeered our community schools and precipitated a decline in educational outcomes. I harbor profound concerns regarding the way federal funding has exacerbated the most counterproductive tendencies within educational administrative policies.

Address the Corporate Media Conglomerates

In the wake of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, the American media landscape has undergone a dramatic transformation, marked by an unprecedented wave of consolidation. This act, while intended to foster competition, inadvertently paved the way for a handful of corporations to dominate the airwaves and digital spaces, stifling diversity and innovation in our media ecosystem. As we stand today, the need to reverse this trend is more urgent than ever, not just to preserve the plurality of voices but to ensure the health of our democracy.

Objective:
I will support policy that aims to dismantle the monopolistic structures that currently dominates the telecommunications and media industries, thereby revitalizing the landscape to allow independent media outlets to flourish across the United States. By doing so, we can endeavor to restore a vibrant, diverse, and competitive marketplace of ideas, ensuring that the public has access to a wide range of perspectives.

Key Proposals:Reform of Current Legislation: Initiate comprehensive reform of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 to introduce measures that actively prevent excessive media consolidation. These reforms will include clear caps on the market share that any one company can hold in a specific media market, ensuring that no single entity can dominate the information ecosystem.

  1. Enhanced Regulatory Framework: Empower the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) with stronger regulatory tools to oversee and prevent mergers and acquisitions that threaten media diversity. This will involve revising the criteria for merger approvals, prioritizing the maintenance of a diverse and independent media landscape as a paramount concern.
  2. Support for Independent Media: Launch federal and state-level initiatives to support independent media outlets through tax incentives. Special attention will be given to fostering media outlets in underserved communities, promoting local news, and supporting innovative media projects that leverage new technologies to disseminate content.
  3. Digital Platform Regulation: Address the role of digital platforms in the media consolidation issue by enforcing stricter regulations on how these platforms interact with media content providers. This includes fair remuneration for content creators and the promotion of algorithmic transparency to ensure a diverse range of content is accessible to users.
  4. Encourage Community Media: Strengthen community media outlets, including low-power FM stations, community cable, and local online news platforms, by providing them with the resources and platforms necessary to reach a wider audience. This will involve regulatory support to access broadcast spectrum and digital spaces.
Implementation:
The successful implementation of this policy will require a collaborative effort between government bodies, the media industry, and the public. Legislative and regulatory changes will be introduced in phases, with ample opportunity for public comment and industry input to ensure that reforms are both effective and equitable.

Conclusion:
The goal of this policy is not only to dismantle the monopolistic structures that have stifled media diversity but also to lay the groundwork for a future where independent media outlets can thrive, reflecting the rich tapestry of American life. By taking decisive action now, we can ensure that our media landscape serves the public interest, fostering a well-informed citizenry and a robust democracy for generations to come.

Policy Statement on the Ethical Use of Artificial Intelligence in Media Creation and Dissemination

Introduction:
The advancement of artificial intelligence (AI) opens up vast opportunities for innovation and expression. While we recognize the potential risks associated with AI, such as the creation of deceptive images, videos, and audio, it is crucial to balance these concerns with the protection of free speech as enshrined in the First Amendment. This policy aims to foster an environment where mainstream and emerging ideas can coexist and be debated in a free marketplace of ideas, without compromising individual rights or societal welfare.

Principles:

  1. Respect for Autonomy and Free Expression: Every individual has the right to express their ideas and to control the use of their personal likeness and voice. AI technologies must honor these rights, ensuring that freedom of expression is protected while preventing unauthorized use.
  2. Prevention of Harm with Respect for Free Speech: While it is essential to mitigate the harm caused by misleading AI-generated content, this should not come at the expense of stifling legitimate debate and the free exchange of ideas. Safeguards against harm must be balanced with respect for freedom of speech.
  3. Accuracy and Open Discourse: Promoting a culture of accuracy and truthfulness in media, alongside the encouragement of open discourse, is vital. Efforts to label AI-generated content should aim to inform the public without censoring legitimate expressions of dissent or challenging mainstream narratives.
  4. Transparency and Accountability in the Service of Free Speech: The deployment of AI in content creation must be transparent, allowing users to discern between AI-generated and authentic content. Providers of AI technologies should be accountable for upholding free speech principles while responsibly managing their platforms.
  5. Promotion of Diverse Viewpoints: Encouraging a diversity of viewpoints is fundamental to a healthy democracy. AI should be used in ways that amplify, rather than suppress, underrepresented voices, ensuring a rich and diverse public discourse.

Policies and Practices:

  • Balanced Consent Requirement: Obtaining consent for using an individual’s likeness or voice should consider the balance between personal rights and the public interest in free expression. Exceptions may be considered for uses that serve a significant public interest or are deemed newsworthy, within ethical and legal boundaries.
  • Harm Mitigation in Alignment with Free Speech: Develop and implement strategies to identify and limit the spread of AI-generated content that could cause harm, while ensuring these measures do not inadvertently censor legitimate discourse. This includes distinguishing harmful misinformation from content that challenges prevailing views.
  • Transparent Labeling with Context: Clearly label AI-generated content to provide context, helping users make informed judgments about the information they consume. This practice should be sensitive to not undermining the expression of alternative viewpoints.
  • Education for Critical Engagement: Promote educational initiatives that enhance the public’s ability to critically engage with AI-generated content, recognizing the difference between misinformation and constructive challenges to mainstream ideas.
  • Support for Legal and Ethical Frameworks: Advocate for and adhere to legal and regulatory frameworks that respect the First Amendment and protect against the misuse of AI, without curtailing the fundamental rights to free speech and expression.

Conclusion:
In embracing the potential of artificial intelligence, we must diligently work to safeguard the principles of free speech and expression. This policy reflects our commitment to navigating the challenges of AI with a principled approach that encourages the flourishing of a vibrant, diverse, and open society.

Policy Statement on Building Code Overreach and Its Impact on Small Property Development

Introduction:
Building codes, established to ensure public safety, health, and welfare, have evolved significantly from their inception in ancient times to their complex state today. Initially designed to mitigate the risks of urban disasters and improve building quality, modern building codes now serve as comprehensive frameworks governing construction and property development.

The Challenge:
Despite their well-intentioned purposes, the intricacy and breadth of current building codes often pose significant barriers to small property owners. These individuals, interested in undertaking property development or renovation projects on a “do it yourself” (DIY) basis, encounter daunting hurdles not just in understanding these codes but also in the mandated engagement of professional services. Given that every county employs building inspectors to ensure compliance with building codes, the compulsory requirement for homeowners to hire architects and contractors introduces unnecessary expenses, inflating project costs without proportionately enhancing safety or quality.

Economic Impact:
The repercussions of this overreach are multifaceted:

  1. Inflated Project Costs: Mandatory professional engagements escalate project expenses, discouraging small property holders from initiating or completing development projects.
  2. Barrier to Innovation: The additional costs and complexities can stifle innovation and deter individuals from pursuing property development, adversely affecting local economies and the real estate market.
  3. Operational Delays: The extended timelines for compliance and coordination with professionals can lead to significant delays, affecting not only the property owners but also the community at large.

Policy Recommendations: To realign building codes with their original intent while facilitating economic development and innovation among small property holders, we propose the following measures:

  1. Simplification and Streamlining of Codes: Revise building codes to simplify them, eliminating unnecessary complexities and focusing on core safety standards. This simplification should aim to make the codes more accessible and understandable to non-professionals.
  2. Rationalizing Professional Requirements: Reevaluate the necessity of mandating professional services for small-scale or low-risk projects. Encouraging a system where professional involvement is based on the complexity and risk profile of the project can reduce undue financial burdens on homeowners.
  3. Enhanced Guidance and Support: Develop comprehensive guides and resources to assist property owners in navigating the code compliance process, leveraging the expertise of county building inspectors for advisory services rather than just enforcement.
  4. Stakeholder Engagement: Foster a collaborative dialogue among policymakers, building professionals, and property owners to ensure that building codes are both effective in ensuring safety and conducive to economic development.

Conclusion:
While the safety and welfare of the public remain paramount, it is imperative to reassess the current state of building codes and their impact on small property owners. By addressing the unnecessary complexities and costs imposed by these regulations, we can encourage more inclusive and economically viable property development. Streamlining building codes and making compliance more accessible can serve as a catalyst for innovation, fostering a robust and dynamic environment for small-scale developers and contributing to broader economic and community development.

Support for a Federal Abandoned Building Revitalization Act

Throughout my career as a preservationist, and community leader, I have been dedicated to revitalizing South Carolina’s rural communities by attracting investment and fostering economic development.

I fought for three years in the SC Legislature to pass the Abandoned Buildings Revitalization Act and won that with Niki Haleys signature in 2015. The act incentivizes the rehabilitation of derelict structures to stimulate local economies and reduce costly sprawl and has delivered tens of millions of development dollars to communities through rural SC.

I want to take that success in SC and bring it to Washington.

COUNTRY BEFORE PARTY