Profiles in Conservative Courage: Paul Mitchell Is a Leader Worthy of Emulation

Paul Mitchell for Congress / YouTube

In my first column here, I wrote about the need to identify Republican candidates who understand and, as important, adhere to conservative principles.  Put another way, they are conservatives in both word and deed.  These candidates are needed to counter the carnival barkers on the left – Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders – who are offering the American people a free breakfast, lunch, and dinner to win the White House.

I suggested that Republicans look to people who have created jobs and made payroll; these are people who have signed both the front and the back of paychecks.  I wrote in my first column about Eric Greitens, a conservative business leader and former Navy SEAL running for Governor of Missouri in the GOP primary.

Another successful business leader and job creator is Paul Mitchell, who is running for Michigan’s 10th Congressional District seat.  He knows firsthand that government doesn’t create jobs.  He also knows firsthand that high taxes and crushing over-regulation stifle economic growth and job creation.  Unfortunately, too few who stand for election have private sector experience dealing with government excess.  To get America working again, we need people like Paul Mitchell who have created jobs and understand how the economy works to step forward to run for public office.

Paul Mitchell is not a politician; he spent a career in the private sector building a successful business.  Mitchell made his greatest mark at Ross Education, a private workforce development and job skills training school.  He spent 27 years at Ross, serving his final six years as CEO.  Ross’s business focused on helping companies train their workforces in a changing economy, helping displaced workers develop marketable skills to prepare for new careers, training adults for allied health careers, and implementing welfare-to-work programs to help public assistance recipients get off welfare rolls and into jobs.  In short, his entire career was built on the idea of preparing a workforce that has the skills it needs to succeed in—and grow—the economy.

Following his retirement from Ross in 2011, Paul stepped up as a conservative leader in Michigan serving as the head of the Michigan chapter of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, supporting conservative think tanks, and playing a pivotal role in helping conservative leaders rise through the ranks.  Last December, when politicians in Lansing were trying to come up with a solution for fixing Michigan’s deteriorating roads, Mitchell supported a plan put forward by conservative lawmakers to redirect state spending to fix our roads without reaching into taxpayers’ pockets, including mine.  Unfortunately, the Michigan Legislature did not want to waste this crisis without attempting to raise taxes.  The Legislature voted to put another solution before the people of Michigan through a ballot initiative.  That initiative represented the biggest Michigan tax increase in 50 years, including an increase in the gas tax and state sales tax to support not only new road funding, but also a myriad of unrelated spending to sweeten the pot so Democrats and labor unions would come on board.  Does this sound familiar?

Early polling showed 55% of voters supported the mega-tax, but Mitchell refused to stand silent.  He established a political committee to oppose the plan called The Coalition Against Higher Taxes and Special Interest Deals, and he funded it largely with his own money.  During the time leading up to the vote, he traveled the state educating voters through local townhall meetings, media appearances, and a serious grassroots effort.  Establishment proponents of both political parties raised and spent more than $10 million telling voters this was the only answer to the road issue and outspent Mitchell’s group by almost 40 to 1.  But it wasn’t all about money, because the voters ultimately rejected the plan with over 80% voting no.

Paul Mitchell is a conservative in word and deed.

Steve Hantler is a retired auto industry executive and contributor to Breitbart News Network.