Dedication

This website is devoutly dedicated to all of Larry's friends and associates, both early and late, who have influenced and mentored him. However, it also should be noted that, being who they are, a majority of them have been late most of the time.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Our "Bubble-wrap" Society's Expectations?

As published in the May 11th, 2017 edition of the "Herald-Mail" daily newspaper, this is my reaction to the "Feedback" column whimpering of yet another over entitled "Bubble-wrap Baby", who wants our elected leaders to pass a law requiring all of us to wear reflective clothing at night:

Overreaching:

“Reading Gary Bloom’s demand for our government to mandate what clothes we wear at night, made me much more than just mildly nauseated. Good grief.”

— Larry D. Kump, Falling Waters, W.Va.

Monday, May 1, 2017

"Of Mice & Men" (and also Women)

The "Mouseland" fable originally was written in the 1940's by Clarence Gillis, and then later narrated by the late Tommy Douglas and therein made into a slide show presentation.

It was in the late 1960's when I first saw a film of the slide show version, when I was a political science undergraduate student at Frostburg State College in Western Maryland.

It since then has been remade into an animated video version.

Regardless of the politics and nationality of Tommy Douglas, Mouseland's message rises above fractious political partisanship, both then and now, with a cry for each and every one of us to stand up and be responsible for our own liberty and freedom of choice.

Click here to watch the video, and decide for yourself if these principles make as much sense to you as they do for me.

Also, pass this along to all of your friends, family, and associates by clicking on the envelope icon at the end of this entry.

Regardless of where you live, do your part to support the quest for "Jobs & Prosperity", "Personal Liberty & Family Values", and "Returning Government Back to the People".


May God bless you all real good!

Working together to Stay Independent,

Larry D. Kump

Thursday, April 13, 2017

A Trifecta & a "Breath of Fresh Air" for WV!

A Trifecta of three big accomplishments and a "Breath of Fresh Air" stand out to me from the recently completed 2017 West Virginia 2017 Legislative Session.

Our State Budget, Broadband Internet Expansion, and Medical Marijuana were the three "Trifecta" issues.

 The Legislature surprised many by holding resolutely firm and refusing to raise taxes on already suffering Mountaineers. However, opportunities to truly uplift our economy and our lives, through meaningful reform of our tax structure, foundered and failed. Also, Governor Justice vetoed the Legislature's proposed budget. Even so, the West Virginia tax reform movement has gained credibility and momentum. Look for more to come in future legislative sessions. Moreover, the Legislature did give approval, to conduct a statewide voter referendum to authorize the sale of 1.6 billion dollars of highway construction bonds, to be used to repair and upgrade our crumbling road system.

 Delegate Roger Hanshaw (R-Clay County) tenaciously won approval of HB 3093, to allow and encourage  broadband internet expansion in West Virginia. It removes broadband internet expansion obstacles, but, best of all, this important legislative accomplishment was finely crafted by his legal team, without any expense to taxpayers. Wow!

 When the approval of the compassionate use of marijuana for medical treatment hit a roadblock in the West Virginia House of Delegates, Delegate Mike Folk (R-Berkeley County) bravely stood up on behalf of voters and forced a vote in favor of further legislative consideration. Realizing the public outcry and need for this medical treatment, Speaker of the House of Delegates Tim Armstead (R-Kanawha County) and Judiciary Committee Chairperson John Shott (R-Mercer County), assisted by a superb legal staff, went to work and crafted further amendments. The result was to allow doctors, under strict supervision, to prescribe medical marijuana. These restrictions would not allow medical marijuana medication to be smoked or otherwise used for recreation. The final legislation builds upon medical standards and procedures already successfully used by other States.

 Finally, my nomination for the "Breath of Fresh Air" West Virginia award was introduced by Delegate Ron Walters (R-Kanawha County). His HB 3008 would be a bold step in reforming our top heavy and cumbersome school system. It would reduce government spending and bureaucratic waste, while also protecting and preserving local citizen and parent oversight of our schools. Delegate Walters' proposal did not get a legislative committee hearing, but it deserves further review and consideration in future legislative sessions. (See more details in the 15 March 2017 "A Breath of Fresh Air" post at this website.)

Yours for better governance,

Larry D. Kump,

Former West Virginia Legislator (2010-2014)

Berkeley County, West Virginia

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Thursday, March 16, 2017

About Bloated & Bumbling Bureaucracy, Tax Reform, and the Price of Gasoline

Attorney and public policy proposer Mike Caryl is, for sure and for certain, right on target with his observation that the elimination of West Virginia government's unnecessary programs and bloated management could and should eliminate our current state budget deficit crisis.

Indeed, citizen legislators such as West Virginia Delegates Mike Folk, S. Marshall Wilson, Pat McGeehan, and Tony Paynter have accepted a similar challenge from the Governor. They have drafted specific "line item" amendments to the Governor's proposed budget, in order to accomplish a balanced budget that doesn't include tax increases.

Mr. Caryl's also correct in pointing out that the structural economic imbalance and inefficiency in West Virginia's current and convoluted tax policies truly impede our present and future prosperity, as well as being a major contributor to our deepening economic despair. These skewed public policies even encourage our steady loss of native population and talent, as our best and our brightest "vote with their feet".

That's why the encouragement by him and numerous legislators, to increase and broaden our sales tax, as a mechanism to eliminate our personal income tax and other burdensome tax inequities, should be given serious but also careful consideration. Even so, perhaps it is Mike's personal comment to me, about "those of us who can easily afford to pay" a proposed return to a sales tax on groceries, that sticks so stubbornly in my craw.

The working poor and fixed income retirees are, in fact, not among " those of us who can easily afford to pay" such a grocery tax.

In point of fact, it is my view that legislators and public policy makers need to have a much deeper personal understanding and appreciation of what a desperate struggle it is for many of the working poor and retirees to put food on their families' tables. That angst and heartache is not suffered by "those of us who can easily afford to pay" a grocery sales tax, nor is it or will it be suffered by those on the government dole for "Food Stamps".

Finally, Senate and House of Delegates Transportation Committee Chairmen, Senator Greg Boso and Delegate Marty Gearheart, mirror my thoughts, in their opposition to the Governor's rapaciously regressive and grievously goofy gasoline tax increase proposal.

Yours for better governance,

Larry D. Kump

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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

A "Breath of Fresh Air" letter to WV Delegate Ron Walters...

A "Breath of Fresh Air" letter to WV Delegate Ron Walters!

The Monday, March 27th front page news story in "The Journal" daily newspaper ("Bill would redraw map of school districts", www.journal-news.net), by Danyel Vanreenen, underscored my previous March 16th "Breath of Fresh Air" letter (below) to West Virginia Delegate Ron Walters (R - Kanawha County). This is an important West Virginia education reform proposal, which should lay the basis for further serious study and eventual improvement of not only our top-heavy Mountaineer educational system but also our struggling economy.

Ron,

Your recently introduced legislative proposal (HB 3008) truly is empowering for all of us Mountaineers and our children.

It would consolidate and streamline burdensome education bureaucracies, while maintaining our local oversight of our school systems.

It's also a bold step in reducing government spending and bureaucratic waste.

Finally, it could and should be an important piece to solving the puzzle of how to improve the prosperity of all West Virginians, so much so that it inspired my following ditty of praise of you and your proposal:

Hubba Hubba!

Zing Zing!

This will fix our schools,

and make us sing!

Indeed, your proposal is a breath of fresh air for our schools and all of us.

Go get 'em!

Yours for better governance,

Larry D. Kump

Footnote: Some folks have confused and conflated this legislation with the "Common Core" issue. While I also am opposed to Common Core mandates, Delegate Ron Walters' proposal (bill) is not about Common Core. It is about structurally streamlining and improving our West Virginia educational system.

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Monday, February 20, 2017

Justice in "Wonderland"?

West Virginia gubernatorial candidate Jim Justice was, for sure and for certain, steadfast and resolute in his personal pledge against tax increases.

However, newly elected Governor Justice, in his recent State of the State" address to a joint session of the West Virginia Legislature, suddenly was not at all so sure nor so certain. 

Much like "Alice in Wonderland", he lost his way.

He now proposes a boatload of regressive new taxes and fees.

Even worse, these new taxes and fees would disproportionately distress our working poor.

If enacted, this government money grab will reach even deeper into the almost empty pockets of already struggling Mountaineers.

They also would be the highest increase in taxes and fees in our West Virginia state history.

Yikes!

So, where's the "Justice" in these profoundly poisonous proposals?

Sic Semper Montani Liberi!

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Sunday, February 19, 2017

Faith & the Fate of Our Nation

Alexis de Tocqueville, French author (1805-1859), once pointed out, "America is great because she is good. If America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great". So, as we and our nation now move forward, under a new President and Congress, the following previous post of mine struck me as even more relevant now than when I originally posted it, over a year or more ago. May we all prayerfully work together, earnestly seeking the blessings of Providence and good governance, for ourselves and our posterity:

Federal Judge Thomas B. Griffith* previously delivered an address, "A Mormon Approach to Politics" **, at the Brigham Young University Milton A. Barlow Center, and his perspective struck a resonating chord within my heart and mind , so much so that it prompted me to summarize my own perspective herein.

To me, the principles of my faith and my political views mostly are parallel, each supporting and defining the other, perhaps much in some ways akin to how the Book of Mormon supports and further defines the Bible.

Although first elected in 2010 as a Republican in the mostly Democrat West Virginia House of Delegates, my political affiliation is not the primary driving force on my views about governance.

Indeed, I agree with our nation's founding father, George Washington, who disparaged the fractious and feckless political partisanship that so sadly distracts and diverts us from good governance.

And so it was that, when I initially and somewhat reluctantly ran for election, I considered myself mostly as an independent and liberty minded "Constitutional" candidate.

I continue to strive to act upon and follow those guiding principles.

I stoutly believe that our United States Constitution and "Bill of Rights" is a sacred and dynamic document that succors liberty and individual accountability, as well as fosters economic prosperity.

As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), my faith reinforces my belief that our United States Constitution was drafted "...by the hands of wise men whom (God) raised up into this very purpose, and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood." (LDS Doctrine & Covenants, Section 101, Verse 80)

I also believe that our Constitutional rights should and must be preserved, "That every man may act in doctrine and principle pertaining to futurity, according to the moral agency which (God has) given unto him, that every man may be accountable...". (LDS Doctrine & Covenants, Section 101, Verse 78)

Our Latter-day Saint mantra of individual accountability and "agency" (freedom of choice) parallels my political philosophy of individual liberty and economic freedom.

Also, as a Latter-day Saint and follower of Christ, I believe and continue to strive to practice the principle of charity (the pure love of Christ) toward others and tolerance of them and their various lifestyles.

However, it is, to me, a perversion of these principles, when we attempt to force our fellow citizens and rob them of their personal accountability and freedom by government fiat.

My heart truly does bleed for the less fortunate, but it is a puzzlement to me when others use their sympathy for the less fortunate to justify expanding initiative destroying government entitlement programs and creating even more of them (more of both the programs and the less fortunate).

In my view, these expanding government dependency programs and policies weaken the foundation of our families. They create a sense of expectation that the government somehow is responsible for our welfare and happiness. In doing so, the strength of our families and the health of our nation increasingly crumbles, to the peril of all of us and our children.

Indeed, former social worker and United States Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-New York) previously warned us that our rush to increase government control over our lives would lead to the breakdown of our families and an increasingly large and permanent caste system of the underprivileged. His prediction was prophetic, and we now have third and fourth generations of people becoming prey to government entitlements. Increasingly, they now mistakenly look to the government for their well-being and even their happiness.

Nowhere has this been more dramatically demonstrated to me than when I previously worked as a prison case manager, dealing with inmates, many of whom had come to expect and even demand "lock-up welfare".

Our prisons are overflowing, our freedoms are eroding, and our taxes are increasing - all because we are prostituting our sacred birthrights to the government for "pottage". (Genesis, Chapter 25, Verses 29-34)

Moreover, my Latter-day Saint view of good governance is that God "holds man accountable for their acts in relation to them, both in making laws and administering them, for the good and safety of society", and that "...no government can exist in peace, except such laws are framed and held inviolate as will secure to each individual the free exercise of conscience, the right and control of property, and the protection of life." (LDS Doctrine & Covenants. Section 134, Verses 1-2)

Further, "...all men are justified in defending themselves, their friends, and property...from the unlawful assaults and encroachments of all persons in times of exigency...". (LDS Doctrine & Covenants, Section 134, Verse 11. See also the 2nd Amendment to the United States Constitution)

In essence, my faith mirrors that of a Pre-Columbian American prophet, who proclaimed, "My soul standeth fast in that liberty in the which God has made us free." (Book of Mormon, Alma, Chapter 61, Verse 9)

Although not born or raised in the LDS faith, I now cannot discern much, if any, difference between my faith and my political views. The origin of my current viewpoint on government is somewhat akin to the old riddle about which came first (the chicken or the egg?). It now is all the same to me.

And so it goes.

*Judge Griffith currently serves as a circuit judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Washington, D.C. (District of Columbia) Circuit.

**"A Mormon Approach to Politics" was published in the Brigham Young University (BYU) Studies Quarterly, Volume 52, Number 1 (2013).

Note: Former West Virginia Delegate Larry D. Kump (2010-2014, twice served two year terms of office) is a High Priest in the Hedgesville, West Virginia Ward and the Martinsburg, West Virginia Stake. He previously worked as a prison case manager, lobbyist, public administrator, labor relations & ethics expert and advocate, group therapist for sex offenders, and certified arbitrator and mediator.

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Saturday, February 18, 2017

Kump Biography

Larry D. Kump came out of retirement and was first elected to the West Virginia House of Delegates in 2010, serving two terms in ofice(until the end of 2014).

He also has over forty years of prior legislative and public administration skills and experience.

These skills and experience includes management expertise in managing large budgets and meeting payrolls. This expertise is on both the management and employees' side of the table in multiple jurisdictions throughout our nation. He also has drafted and gotten legislation passed into law, often against formidable opposition.


Larry is no stranger to hard work. He began work at age twelve (managing two newspaper routes at the same time), worked at a local shoe store at age 16 (every day after school and on Saturdays), and then continued working at a number of full and part-time jobs to pay for his college tuition. He even found time to be a local radio personality.

This proud father of David & Sarah graduated from Frostburg State University with a Political Science Major and a Minor in Economics.  Other areas of concentration included Social Science, Business Administration, Economics, Philosophy, and Geography. He later returned to Hagerstown Community College to receive an Associate's degree, which included a concentration  in Criminal Justice.

He worked in bank management, trained as a CPA, was the Legislative Aide for the Pennsylvania Senate Republican Leader, and even was accepted as a candidate for MENSA membership.

This grass roots yet libertarian leader went on to be a Labor Relations Specialist for the Maryland Classified Employees Association (MCEA), an independent public employee advocate organization.

After working for MCEA, Larry accepted the position as the Executive Director of the Indiana State Employees Association (ISEA), another independent public employee advocate group. He reorganized ISEA's structure and budget, and he frequently lectured at Indiana University and Purdue University post graduate classes on public administration practice and theory.

This kinsman to founding father Patrick Henry and former West Virginia Governor Herman Guy Kump (1932 term) served as Regional President of the Assembly of Governmental Employees (AGE), overseeing public policy advocacy issues from Illinois to West Virginia.

His other activities included serving as a leader of the Foundation for Advancement for Industrial research (FAIR), the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA), and many other public service organizations.

Moving to West Virginia in 1989, he graduated at the top of his class from the Maryland Correctional Professional Staff Academy as a Maryland Prison Case Manager and also then served as a court expert witness, employee training coordinator, cognitive thinking trainer, employee critical incident stress counselor, and certified mediator.

He also worked part-time during the evenings as a sex offender group therapy facilitator.

Serving in numerous MCEA elected offices, Larry drafted legislative proposals for the Maryland Legislature and testified before various Legislative Committees.

In 1991, he also successfully organized a coalition of Berkeley County neighbors to block plans for sewage effluent discharge across their privately owned properties by an out-of-state developer.

After witnessing the overwhelmed facilities and woefully inadequate parking at the local Falling Waters Post Office, he contacted and persuaded the national postal authorities to build a new Post Office in 1993.

Larry has been an Arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association and the Better Business Bureau.

A cancer survivor, this independent thinker and advocate of citizen empowerment also is a member of the Hedgesville Ward (congregation) of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church).

Larry is a strong believer in rock solid fiscal discipline, enhancing family values, and strengthening individual liberty and personal responsibilities.

Gravely concerned about those who are elected to represent us, Larry continues reminds friends and associates that our government belongs solely to the citizens, and that too many forget that one of the major sources of our nation's greatness simply is its citizens.

It happened one morning

 Previously, I saw a little frog, as I was walking into the  West Virginia State House.

 The frog greeted me, and asked me to pick it up.

 I did, whereupon the frog told me that, if I kissed it, it would turn into a beautiful woman.

 I immediately put the frog and my pocket, and continued on my way.

 The frog then cried out from my pocket, asking me why I didn't kiss it.

 I told it that I'd rather have a talking frog. 

Davy Crockett & the Sockdolager

When I just was a young sprat, the Walt Disney television show about the life of Davy Crockett, the hero of the Alamo, was the favorite of me and my pals. We all even persistently pestered our parents until they allowed all of us to get and proudly wear coonskin hats. Much later in my life, I gleefully discovered that Davy's grandparents once lived only a scant few miles from my Falling Waters home in Spring Mills (Berkeley County, West Virginia), where it still stands today. Back in 2013, I shared the following "Sockdolager" incident from Davy's life with all my fellow West Virginia State Legislators. It speaks for itself.
 - Former West Virgina Delegate Larry D. Kump (2010-2014)



Davy Crockett & the "Sockdolager"

From The Life of Colonel David Crockett,
by Edward S. Ellis (Philadelphia: Porter & Coates, 1884)

Crockett was then the lion of Washington. I was a great admirer of his character, and, having several friends who were intimate with him, I found no difficulty in making his acquaintance. I was fascinated with him, and he seemed to take a fancy to me.

I was one day in the lobby of the House of Representatives when a bill was taken up appropriating money for the benefit of a widow of a distinguished naval officer. Several beautiful speeches had been made in its support – rather, as I thought, because it afforded the speakers a fine opportunity for display than from the necessity of convincing anybody, for it seemed to me that everybody favored it. The Speaker was just about to put the question when Crockett arose. Everybody expected, of course, that he was going to make one of his characteristic speeches in support of the bill. He commenced:

"Mr. Speaker – I have as much respect for the memory of the deceased, and as much sympathy for the sufferings of the living, if suffering there be, as any man in this House, but we must not permit our respect for the dead or our sympathy for a part of the living to lead us into an act of injustice to the balance of the living. I will not go into an argument to prove that Congress has no power to appropriate this money as an act of charity. Every member upon this floor knows it. We have the right, as individuals, to give away as much of our own money as we please in charity; but as members of Congress we have no right so to appropriate a dollar of the public money. Some eloquent appeals have been made to us upon the ground that it is a debt due the deceased. Mr. Speaker, the deceased lived long after the close of the war; he was in office to the day of his death, and I have never heard that the government was in arrears to him. This government can owe no debts but for services rendered, and at a stipulated price. If it is a debt, how much is it? Has it been audited, and the amount due ascertained? If it is a debt, this is not the place to present it for payment, or to have its merits examined. If it is a debt, we owe more than we can ever hope to pay, for we owe the widow of every soldier who fought in the War of 1812 precisely the same amount. There is a woman in my neighborhood, the widow of as gallant a man as ever shouldered a musket. He fell in battle. She is as good in every respect as this lady, and is as poor. She is earning her daily bread by her daily labor; but if I were to introduce a bill to appropriate five or ten thousand dollars for her benefit, I should be laughed at, and my bill would not get five votes in this House. There are thousands of widows in the country just such as the one I have spoken of, but we never hear of any of these large debts to them. Sir, this is no debt. The government did not owe it to the deceased when he was alive; it could not contract it after he died. I do not wish to be rude, but I must be plain. Every man in this House knows it is not a debt. We cannot, without the grossest corruption, appropriate this money as the payment of a debt. We have not the semblance of authority to appropriate it as a charity. Mr. Speaker, I have said we have the right to give as much of our own money as we please. I am the poorest man on this floor. I cannot vote for this bill, but I will give one week's pay to the object, and if every member of Congress will do the same, it will amount to more than the bill asks."

He took his seat. Nobody replied. The bill was put upon its passage, and, instead of passing unanimously, as was generally supposed, and as, no doubt, it would, but for that speech, it received but few votes, and, of course, was lost.

Like many other young men, and old ones, too, for that matter, who had not thought upon the subject, I desired the passage of the bill, and felt outraged at its defeat. I determined that I would persuade my friend Crockett to move a reconsideration the next day.

Previous engagements preventing me from seeing Crockett that night, I went early to his room the next morning and found him engaged in addressing and franking letters, a large pile of which lay upon his table.

I broke in upon him rather abruptly, by asking him what devil had possessed him to make that speech and defeat that bill yesterday. Without turning his head or looking up from his work, he replied:

"You see that I am very busy now; take a seat and cool yourself. I will be through in a few minutes, and then I will tell you all about it."

He continued his employment for about ten minutes, and when he had finished he turned to me and said:

"Now, sir, I will answer your question. But thereby hangs a tale, and one of considerable length, to which you will have to listen."

I listened, and this is the tale which I heard:

Several years ago I was one evening standing on the steps of the Capitol with some other members of Congress, when our attention was attracted by a great light over in Georgetown. It was evidently a large fire. We jumped into a hack and drove over as fast as we could. When we got there, I went to work, and I never worked as hard in my life as I did there for several hours. But, in spite of all that could be done, many houses were burned and many families made homeless, and, besides, some of them had lost all but the clothes they had on. The weather was very cold, and when I saw so many women and children suffering, I felt that something ought to be done for them, and everybody else seemed to feel the same way.

The next morning a bill was introduced appropriating $20,000 for their relief. We put aside all other business and rushed it through as soon as it could be done. I said everybody felt as I did. That was not quite so; for, though they perhaps sympathized as deeply with the sufferers as I did, there were a few of the members who did not think we had the right to indulge our sympathy or excite our charity at the expense of anybody but ourselves. They opposed the bill, and upon its passage demanded the yeas and nays. There were not enough of them to sustain the call, but many of us wanted our names to appear in favor of what we considered a praiseworthy measure, and we voted with them to sustain it. So the yeas and nays were recorded, and my name appeared on the journals in favor of the bill.

The next summer, when it began to be time to think about the election, I concluded I would take a scout around among the boys of my district. I had no opposition there, but, as the election was some time off, I did not know what might turn up, and I thought it was best to let the boys know that I had not forgot them, and that going to Congress had not made me too proud to go to see them.

So I put a couple of shirts and a few twists of tobacco into my saddlebags, and put out. I had been out about a week and had found things going very smoothly, when, riding one day in a part of my district in which I was more of a stranger than any other, I saw a man in a field plowing and coming toward the road. I gauged my gait so that we should meet as he came to the fence. As he came up I spoke to the man. He replied politely, but, as I thought, rather coldly, and was about turning his horse for another furrow when I said to him: "Don't be in such a hurry, my friend; I want to have a little talk with you, and get better acquainted."

He replied: "I am very busy, and have but little time to talk, but if it does not take too long, I will listen to what you have to say."

I began: "Well, friend, I am one of those unfortunate beings called candidates, and – "

"'Yes, I know you; you are Colonel Crockett. I have seen you once before, and voted for you the last time you were elected. I suppose you are out electioneering now, but you had better not waste your time or mine. I shall not vote for you again.'

This was a sockdolager... I begged him to tell me what was the matter.

"Well, Colonel, it is hardly worthwhile to waste time or words upon it. I do not see how it can be mended, but you gave a vote last winter which shows that either you have not capacity to understand the Constitution, or that you are wanting in honesty and firmness to be guided by it. In either case you are not the man to represent me. But I beg your pardon for expressing it in that way. I did not intend to avail myself of the privilege of the Constitution to speak plainly to a candidate for the purpose of insulting or wounding you. I intend by it only to say that your understanding of the Constitution is very different from mine; and I will say to you what, but for my rudeness, I should not have said, that I believe you to be honest. But an understanding of the Constitution different from mine I cannot overlook, because the Constitution, to be worth anything, must be held sacred, and rigidly observed in all its provisions. The man who wields power and misinterprets it is the more dangerous the more honest he is."

"I admit the truth of all you say, but there must be some mistake about it, for I do not remember that I gave any vote last winter upon any constitutional question."

"No, Colonel, there's no mistake. Though I live here in the backwoods and seldom go from home, I take the papers from Washington and read very carefully all the proceedings of Congress. My papers say that last winter you voted for a bill to appropriate $20,000 to some sufferers by a fire in Georgetown. Is that true?"

"Certainly it is, and I thought that was the last vote which anybody in the world would have found fault with."

"Well, Colonel, where do you find in the Constitution any authority to give away the public money in charity?"

Here was another sockdolager; for, when I began to think about it, I could not remember a thing in the Constitution that authorized it. I found I must take another tack, so I said:

"Well, my friend; I may as well own up. You have got me there. But certainly nobody will complain that a great and rich country like ours should give the insignificant sum of $20,000 to relieve its suffering women and children, particularly with a full and overflowing Treasury, and I am sure, if you had been there, you would have done just as I did."

"It is not the amount, Colonel, that I complain of; it is the principle. In the first place, the government ought to have in the Treasury no more than enough for its legitimate purposes. But that has nothing to do with the question. The power of collecting and disbursing money at pleasure is the most dangerous power that can be entrusted to man, particularly under our system of collecting revenue by a tariff, which reaches every man in the country, no matter how poor he may be, and the poorer he is the more he pays in proportion to his means. What is worse, it presses upon him without his knowledge where the weight centers, for there is not a man in the United States who can ever guess how much he pays to the government. So you see, that while you are contributing to relieve one, you are drawing it from thousands who are even worse off than he. If you had the right to give anything, the amount was simply a matter of discretion with you, and you had as much right to give $20,000,000 as $20,000. If you have the right to give to one, you have the right to give to all; and, as the Constitution neither defines charity nor stipulates the amount, you are at liberty to give to any and everything which you may believe, or profess to believe, is a charity, and to any amount you may think proper. You will very easily perceive what a wide door this would open for fraud and corruption and favoritism, on the one hand, and for robbing the people on the other. No, Colonel, Congress has no right to give charity. Individual members may give as much of their own money as they please, but they have no right to touch a dollar of the public money for that purpose. If twice as many houses had been burned in this county as in Georgetown, neither you nor any other member of Congress would have thought of appropriating a dollar for our relief. There are about two hundred and forty members of Congress. If they had shown their sympathy for the sufferers by contributing each one week's pay, it would have made over $13,000. There are plenty of wealthy men in and around Washington who could have given $20,000 without depriving themselves of even a luxury of life. The Congressmen chose to keep their own money, which, if reports be true, some of them spend not very creditably; and the people about Washington, no doubt, applauded you for relieving them from the necessity of giving by giving what was not yours to give. The people have delegated to Congress, by the Constitution, the power to do certain things. To do these, it is authorized to collect and pay moneys, and for nothing else. Everything beyond this is usurpation, and a violation of the Constitution."

I have given you an imperfect account of what he said. Long before he was through, I was convinced that I had done wrong. He wound up by saying:

"So you see, Colonel, you have violated the Constitution in what I consider a vital point. It is a precedent fraught with danger to the country, for when Congress once begins to stretch its power beyond the limits of the Constitution, there is no limit to it, and no security for the people. I have no doubt you acted honestly, but that does not make it any better, except as far as you are personally concerned, and you see that I cannot vote for you."

I tell you I felt streaked. I saw if I should have opposition, and this man should go talking, he would set others to talking, and in that district I was a gone fawn-skin. I could not answer him, and the fact is, I did not want to. But I must satisfy him, and I said to him:

"Well, my friend, you hit the nail upon the head when you said I had not sense enough to understand the Constitution. I intended to be guided by it, and thought I had studied it full. I have heard many speeches in Congress about the powers of Congress, but what you have said there at your plow has got more hard, sound sense in it than all the fine speeches I ever heard. If I had ever taken the view of it that you have, I would have put my head into the fire before I would have given that vote; and if you will forgive me and vote for me again, if I ever vote for another unconstitutional law I wish I may be shot."

He laughingly replied:

"Yes, Colonel, you have sworn to that once before, but I will trust you again upon one condition. You say that you are convinced that your vote was wrong. Your acknowledgment of it will do more good than beating you for it. If, as you go around the district, you will tell people about this vote, and that you are satisfied it was wrong, I will not only vote for you, but will do what I can to keep down opposition, and, perhaps, I may exert some little influence in that way."

"If I don't," said I, "I wish I may be shot; and to convince you that I am in earnest in what I say, I will come back this way in a week or ten days, and if you will get up a gathering of the people, I will make a speech to them. Get up a barbecue, and I will pay for it."

"No, Colonel, we are not rich people in this section, but we have plenty of provisions to contribute for a barbecue, and some to spare for those who have none. The push of crops will be over in a few days, and we can then afford a day for a barbecue. This is Thursday; I will see to getting it up on Saturday week. Come to my house on Friday, and we will go together, and I promise you a very respectable crowd to see and hear you."

"Well, I will be here. But one thing more before I say good-bye. I must know your name."

"My name is Bunce."

"Not Horatio Bunce?"

"Yes."

"Well, Mr. Bunce, I never saw you before, though you say you have seen me; but I know you very well. I am glad I have met you, and very proud that I may hope to have you for my friend. You must let me shake your hand before I go."

We shook hands and parted.

It was one of the luckiest hits of my life that I met him. He mingled but little with the public, but was widely known for his remarkable intelligence and incorruptible integrity, and for a heart brimful and running over with kindness and benevolence, which showed themselves not only in words but in acts. He was the oracle of the whole country around him, and his fame had extended far beyond the circle of his immediate acquaintance. Though I had never met him before, I had heard much of him, and but for this meeting it is very likely I should have had opposition, and had been beaten. One thing is very certain, no man could now stand up in that district under such a vote.

At the appointed time I was at his house, having told our conversation to every crowd I had met, and to every man I stayed all night with, and I found that it gave the people an interest and a confidence in me stronger than I had ever seen manifested before.

Though I was considerably fatigued when I reached his house, and, under ordinary circumstances, should have gone early to bed, I kept him up until midnight, talking about the principles and affairs of government, and got more real, true knowledge of them than I had got all my life before.

I have told you Mr. Bunce converted me politically. He came nearer converting me religiously than I had ever been before. He did not make a very good Christian of me, as you know; but he has wrought upon my mind a conviction of the truth of Christianity, and upon my feelings a reverence for its purifying and elevating power such as I had never felt before.

I have known and seen much of him since, for I respect him – no, that is not the word – I reverence and love him more than any living man, and I go to see him two or three times every year; and I will tell you, sir, if everyone who professes to be a Christian lived and acted and enjoyed it as he does, the religion of Christ would take the world by storm.

But to return to my story. The next morning we went to the barbecue, and, to my surprise, found about a thousand men there. I met a good many whom I had not known before, and they and my friend introduced me around until I had got pretty well acquainted – at least, they all knew me.

In due time notice was given that I would speak to them. They gathered around a stand that had been erected. I opened my speech by saying:

"Fellow citizens – I present myself before you today feeling like a new man. My eyes have lately been opened to truths which ignorance or prejudice, or both, had heretofore hidden from my view. I feel that I can today offer you the ability to render you more valuable service than I have ever been able to render before. I am here today more for the purpose of acknowledging my error than to seek your votes. That I should make this acknowledgment is due to myself as well as to you. Whether you will vote for me is a matter for your consideration only."

I went on to tell them about the fire and my vote for the appropriation as I have told it to you, and then told them why I was satisfied it was wrong. I closed by saying:

"And now, fellow citizens, it remains only for me to tell you that the most of the speech you have listened to with so much interest was simply a repetition of the arguments by which your neighbor, Mr. Bunce, convinced me of my error.

"It is the best speech I ever made in my life, but he is entitled to the credit of it. And now I hope he is satisfied with his convert and that he will get up here and tell you so."

He came upon the stand and said:

"Fellow citizens – It affords me great pleasure to comply with the request of Colonel Crockett. I have always considered him a thoroughly honest man, and I am satisfied that he will faithfully perform all that he has promised you today."

He went down, and there went up from the crowd such a shout for Davy Crockett as his name never called forth before.

I am not much given to tears, but I was taken with a choking then and felt some big drops rolling down my cheeks. And I tell you now that the remembrance of those few words spoken by such a man, and the honest, hearty shout they produced, is worth more to me than all the honors I have received and all the reputation I have ever made, or ever shall make, as a member of Congress.

"Now, Sir," concluded Crockett, "you know why I made that speech yesterday. I have had several thousand copies of it printed and was directing them to my constituents when you came in.

"There is one thing now to which I will call your attention. You remember that I proposed to give a week's pay. There are in that House many very wealthy men – men who think nothing of spending a week's pay, or a dozen of them for a dinner or a wine party when they have something to accomplish by it. Some of those same men made beautiful speeches upon the great debt of gratitude which the country owed the deceased – a debt which could not be paid by money, particularly so insignificant a sum as $10,000, when weighed against the honor of the nation. Yet not one of them responded to my proposition. Money with them is nothing but trash when it is to come out of the people. But it is the one great thing for which most of them are striving, and many of them sacrifice honor, integrity, and justice to obtain it."


Friday, February 17, 2017

The Kump Family Castle

The Kump Family Castle,”Schloss Matzen”, in Austria (no foolin’!)

There simply is no truth to the rumor that there is a Duchy of Kumpsylvania in Austria. There’s just no “Mouse that Roared” there.

More about “Schloss Matzen”: One of Europe’s most romantic medieval castles, lies high in the Austrian Tyrol, where the air is crisp and clean.

The location is Reith im Alpbachtal, in the Ty…rolean Alps of western Austria, approximately 30 miles/50 km northeast of Innsbruck, about a 90 minute drive or train from Munich or Salzburg (it is less than 5 minutes drive from the nearest train station and Autobahn exit).

The castle was first referred to in 1167 and has been privately owned ever since.

It’s history also includes highlights such as its Baroque chapel being twice consecrated by bishops who would go on to become Pope. Teddy Roosevelt also visited it at the turn of the century, as a hunting companion of the former owner.

The size of the building is approx. 20,000 square feet, including the 6 story tower, on a 2.4 hectare (approx. 6 acre) lot, half-surrounded by an Austrian nationally-protected public park. There are approximately 60 rooms, depending on how you count rooms (there are several long, arcade passageways), including 12 guest rooms appointed with antique furnishing and private bathrooms with modern heating, plumbing and electricity. It is connected to the local sewer system and has its own private spring water supply.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Musings about our Elected Leaders

This is a revision of a previous posting of mine, originally made several years ago, as I was sitting in my State Capitol office and serving as a citizen member of the West Virginia State Legislature.

As the 2017 session of the West Virginia Legislature now enters into the intensity of the final weeks of the session and is dealing with the need for many urgent and needed reforms, some legislator behaviors have remained unchanged.

There still is great propensity for our elected legislators to spend much of their time on the floor of the House of Delegates and State Senate, sponsoring irrelevant resolutions and making silly speeches. This includes dedicating bridges, roads, and even turn lanes to constituents back home, and also to making a great show of introducing various guests.

And so it was that these issues continued in my musings as I was reading "Emma and Joseph" (1999, Covenant Communications, Inc.) when the words describing Joseph Smith's visit to the United States Congress seemed to leap off the page (page 215):

"There is a great deal of wind blown off on the occasion of each day...."

Visit my other posts at this website for my thoughts on the more pressing political issues.

Please share this message with others, and ask them to go and do likewise!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Hoosier Homage

Offering an invocation at the West Virginia State Legislature

The following is my response to an old Hoosier friend, and his original note to me:

Noel,

Thank you for your kind thoughts and encouraging words.

The surgeon tells me that I have a most excellent prognosis, although the final results of the biopsy are still being analyzed.

I think of you, my former Hoosier Bishop, and my other old friends in Indiana often, as I also pine for the company of my friends and former associates in the West Virginia State Capitol.

Meanwhile, why God repeatedly has made me His "Designated Survivor" remains a mystery to me.

Your fervent friend and fan,

Larry

www.Mormon.org/me/4Y8B

-----Original Message-----

From: "Duerden, Noel H"

Sent: Nov 17, 2016 8:51 PM

To: "Larry D. Kump"

Subject: Kudos to you

I just read your treatise on Faith and Politics ("Faith & Politics, My Personal Pilgrimage" entry at this website) and marvel at your understanding and depth of thought. It was an inspiration to me and further affirms my faith in the Latter-day work. I would so much like to have you in Indiana again where you could help our members and others, understand and live lives more fully. I hope your cancer is beaten so that you can continue helping others in their quests for truth and understanding of life