SAN DIEGO, CA – Winsome Sears has had an avalanche of media attention as the former Marine becomes the historic first female and woman of color Lieutenant Governor of Virginia in January. While she checks some important demographic boxes, what struck me was the universality of her message.
In our post-partisan world, exhausted by constant race-baiting and victimhood in the culture, Winsome’s message of strength, laser focus on the issues and realness is a true breath of fresh air.
I was able to catch up with Winsome in San Diego at the ALEC conference, focused on limited government and free markets. It is appropriate that she ended the interview with a goal to win hearts and spread the important message of unity and love, in a political world that has become bitterly more partisan and nasty. She has certainly won over mine.
So there’s no better justice to this interview than to hear from Winsome in her own words
Real Talk On Being A Minority Conservative
“When you see a white person walking down the street, you don’t know if they’re Green Party Reform Party, Libertarian, Democratic, Republican. But if they see people like us, we are assumed to be Democrat right away. What kind of political power is that? None.
I want people to come and ask us for our vote and to talk to us about the issues. If people always assume that we’re Democrats, then they walk on by us. Democrats say, ‘Well, we already got them so we don’t have time to spend any money on them’. Republicans say, ‘well, they’re all Democrats’ so they’re not gonna come for us’.
And so we lose [as minorities]. And if we lose, the country loses, because eventually, it comes down to [the fact] that we were not part of the process. It is not good for democracy. Don’t let anybody try to slag off anybody, calling them names or anything like that. This is America. We are about freedom. I can be whoever I want.”
On Taking A Stand: She Wasn’t Always This Brave
“I think it does get to a point where you just get fed up and you say, ‘How dare you tell me who I’m supposed to be and who am I supposed to vote for? I’m an adult. I’m grown. I do what I want’.
If you want to vote a certain way, vote that way. Be bold, be brave. Do it. You know, certainly, there are times when we don’t put signs in our yards because we’re afraid of what the neighbors will say. I understand it, because guess who did that just last year?
I was afraid to put a sign in my yard but then I said to myself, ‘This is crazy. This is what they do in other countries. We’re not going down that path.’ This is America. You don’t want to put a bumper sticker on your car because you don’t want it to be keyed? That’s what they do in other countries. So I just say, we got to take a stand. Other people in America have had to take stands for this and other matters. So it’s your turn now. Take a stand.”
On Inner City Solutions: Bring Back Dad & Promote Education
“Let’s start with homelessness. First, we know that most of homelessness is driven by drug addiction, or mental health issues. And I used to be in charge of a women’s homeless shelter. And we saw it often where that part of the problem was the mental health and the drug addiction. And you can help with that.
Now, having said that, for other societal issues, you can look at what’s happening with family, and that points you to what happens in the greater society. Because if the family is the foundation of society, then you look at the black family, there are no fathers in the house. Fathers are important, no matter how much this culture tries to tell you that men are not important, fathers are important. Children need their fathers.
70% of the crimes that are committed, are committed by young black men. We have the highest abortion rates, we’re not even having our babies. So something’s got to give. And the incarceration rate among people is astronomical compared to our percentage and the greater population.
We also need education. Unfortunately, half of our young black men are choosing to leave high school before they’ve even earned their certificate. And so that’s a problem because 70% of the jobs today (economists tell us) require something past high school, some kind of training. And so what options are available to you? There are none. So here we start.
Families are important. Our young boys need the strength of a father. If they don’t have that they go to the gangs, that becomes their male figure. Denzel Washington has said, ‘if there are no fathers in the home, you know what happens? The streets become their fathers, the judge becomes their mother, and their homes become the prison system’. When it comes to education, if they’re bored in school, if nobody cares, if they’re not learning anything, if there are no opportunities to succeed, society is failing us.”
Government Can’t Do Everything – Bringing In Churches & Community
“Where are churches and other houses of worship? We need to bring them forward because the government can’t do everything. It was never meant to do everything. We need hearts: hearts that care. The government is this big bureaucracy. We need people in our community to adopt children, to be mentors to children, to come alongside a mother or father that are single parents. We just need communities.
I was asked the question, ‘what are you going to do about a family of four that I know and they’re living at the poverty level on $24,000?’ Wait a minute. With all of the programs that we have, why is a family of four living on 24,000?
In Virginia, for example, we have passed legislation where you can get a really good job through a leadership certificate program in cybersecurity, medical technology, and other health? It doesn’t take a four year degree. So is it for lack of not knowing that these programs exist? You can go to a community college for free, learn a trade.”
On The Abundance of Opportunity in Blue Collar Industries
“Plumbers are making $80 an hour. Electricians and truck drivers are making a lot of money. Carpenters. My grandfather grew up during the Depression, and he said to the grandkids, ‘A college degree is wonderful but get a trade’. Because that’s what got him through the Depression. So you can have a good job without having the $48,000 that it takes to go to college.
Now. I’ve got my master’s degree. So I’m not saying college [is bad], there’s some things you do need a degree for. I think we need to stop shaming our children and letting them be whatever they want to be.
Because I tell you what, if you have a law degree, and your toilet is not working, you’re gonna need a plumber. I had a school superintendent say to me, ‘Winsome, you can get your BA, your MA and your PhD, but after a while, you’re gonna need a J-O-B.’”
On Vaccines & Privacy, Media Ignoring Certain Stories, Inconsistencies on Implementation
“Unfortunately, politicians and the media have so politicized this vaccine. People aren’t sure what to believe anymore. They need to just come out and say, ‘We know that there are problems with the vaccine, we know people have died from having a vaccine or, or have had other health challenges as a result of having the vaccine. There’s proof of it.’ Then people might say, ‘Ok, that’s how it is.’ But it is not that way.
Nobody, for example, in the media is talking about the Nordic countries: Norway, Finland, Sweden, where they just discovered that Moderna is causing heart problems in those who are under 30. And so [those governments] have determined and mandated that no one under 30 will get that vaccine. Why is no one talking about that?
And we have other issues as well: we see people coming over the border full of COVID, no masks, no vaccines, and then laying them out into the general population.
This is the problem, people are wondering:you tell us on the one hand, it’s necessary to get the vaccine but on the other hand, you’re letting it go over here. You tell us that you wouldn’t trust the vaccine if it was developed by the Trump administration. And now you come into office and suddenly you must get the vaccine.
And then we have now two cases at the federal level where OSHA has been stopped from forcing us to get the vaccine and the Department of Medical Services has also been stopped. So you don’t know what to believe. And because of that, it’s creating this problem in our minds.
I have said, ‘Look, get the vaccine, and do your best to keep yourself safe but you want to know what’s in my medical record? As I’ve said, a waiter is checking my medical record? You want to know my HIV status now, and by the way, even watching my DNA sequencing to see if I have any proclivities towards a certain disease? I mean, what do you want? Where does this end?”
On Getting Conservative Messages Out Through The Media – Outreach Like A Business
“Well, you create a commercial, and you buy time on other folks’ channels, or you buy an ad in the newspaper, maybe in the Asian papers? So you can get your information out. You’re looking for customers. And when you look for customers, what do you do? You have to cultivate them. You have to spend the money, you have to see what appeals to them. That’s what we as conservatives should do. Go find your customers, it’s no different than starting a business.”
On Objectives As Lieutenant Governor – Bringing People Together
“As lieutenant governor, my number one duty is to be able to step in as Governor. Number two is also to preside over the Senate. And so I call the Senate to order. I’m the Parliamentarian and I’m also the tie breaking vote if it’s necessary. I also move on something called germaneness, where other amendments that are being charged or attached to some bill, are relevant to the [original] bill.
But then I hope to be the one who brings people together. And so I’m going to be campaigning for hearts: to say we don’t have to be at each other’s throats. Yes, things have been done to us as people but that’s in the past. We have mechanisms now: they’re called laws. We will sue people left, right and center if our rights are violated. Let’s move on. It’s not everybody. If someone is breaking into my home, who am I gonna call? So we understand all professions have problems and that all have bad apples.”
On Taxpayer Monies, Specifically California School Choice’s “Educational Freedom Act” Ballot Initiative
“I mean, it’s our tax money. Why can’t we decide for ourselves how our children should be educated? We do have something called Section Eight. Those are rental vouchers. So we take public monies and give it to private landlords, do we not? SNAP benefits: those are vouchers, we take public money and we give it to the private businesses called ‘grocery stores’ and other stores so that people can find what they want. We don’t tell them ‘you must use this grocer, you must use this’. When it comes to medical, we have public monies going towards healthcare, do we not, to private businesses? And so we’ve already established that. So why can’t we have that in education, which I believe is more foundational than all of those others because if you have a good education, you dictate your future? We, as parents, ought to be able to decide for ourselves, where we want our child to go to school.”
On Her Favorite MRE in the Marines
“Spaghetti, until they gave you the runs”