Calvin Tillman believes in being fiscally responsible and that a government no matter the size and complexity should ever need to operate in a deficit. Tillman’s blue collar roots, and values passed to him from his parents have solidified his thoughts on this subject. As mayor of DISH, TX, he lowered taxes, payed down municipal debt, and improved town services without putting additional tax burdens on the residents. He did this by keeping the local government small and lean, and by cutting unnecessary expenditures.
During his four year tenure as mayor, the town’s debt was cut by two thirds, a municipal park and library were built, the municipal building was remodeled, and a battery of solar panels were installed saving taxpayers thousands every year in utilities, all of which was accomplished without raising taxes or taking on additional debt. Tillman fails to see why other governmental agencies cannot do the same. One of the main reasons Tillman supported the town’s name change to DISH, was that it offered residents more value to for being part of the town.
Tillman also supports private property rights and finds this is the basis for freedom in America. Tillman regularly uses the following quote: Private property was the original source of freedom. It still is its main bulwark. ~Walter Lippmann. Tillman further believes that people should have the ability to use their property as they see fit, as long as they don’t impede on others private property rights. Most people don’t care what their neighbors are doing, as long as they keep it on their side of the fence.
Since being involved in Texas politics, Calvin has been very disappointed in the lack of protection of private property rights in the State of Texas. There are too many entities in the State of Texas that have the power of eminent domain or the right to condemn property for personal gain. Although, every legislative session has the same rhetorical statements - that steps will be taken to protect private property rights, nothing changes. There was even an amendment to the Texas Constitution that did nothing, but simply took the current law and put it into the state constitution. Unfortunately, that amendment passed due to low voter participation, and lack of understanding of the amendment. As mayor, Tillman never invoked the town’s authority to use eminent domain, and vowed to not do so unless public health and safety was at risk. Tillman believe that for the most part while State Legislators are trying to convince the public that property rights are being protected, they submit and approve property rights destroying legislation in every legislative session. This frustration has led to Tillman developing his own quote: In Texas you can own and peacefully enjoy property as long as someone with more money doesn't want it. ~Calvin Tillman, Former Mayor of DISH, TX.
Tillman supports the theory of capitalism, and believes it to be one of the pillars of the American dream. However, he adamantly opposes crony capitalism, which is the practice of the government being in collusion with business. He sees this form of capitalism as the norm in the State of Texas, and in many other areas of the United States. This practice can take away the common person’s ability to succeed in achieving the American dream. Tillman believes that a business should succeed by open competition, consumer choice, hard work, and market based economy, not by the size of their campaign contributions, or relationship with elected officials. This practice has led to governments being held hostage by corporations and industries that are “too big to fail”. He also opposes the bailouts of private companies, such as the automobile and banking bailouts of our past. In a true capitalism, these corporations would have been accountable for the poor decisions made by their leadership; instead their failures were laid on the backs of the American taxpayer. This practice also takes away the freedom to choose from consumers, and destroys the free market system.
Under no circumstances should the ability to condemn property or the power of eminent domain be extended to a for profit company; nor should the government condemn property for private use. Most people do not see the distinction between the government taking their personal rights, or the government giving that power to others. Unfortunately, this practice is becoming the norm in Texas, where property for everything from sports stadiums to pipelines is taken through the eminent domain process. Tillman believes that this power has been abused and it is the hard working, American taxpayers that suffer, while the for profit companies benefit.
On the subject of energy, the need for reliable energy sources in the future is obvious.”Energy independence” has been a political subject in the United States for several decades. Our past and current energy policy is consistent with Einstein’s definition of insanity: “Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results”, or another Einstein quote “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them”. America needs to lead the world to develop more sustainable energy source that will power the future. There are many promising ideas and technology being developed in accomplishing this energy independence, and we should embrace this technology, not hamper it. Tillman sees that domestic fossil fuels on their own have never been able to meet the demand for energy in America, and they will not meet this demand in the future. He sees that the only way to truly become energy independent and “getting off foreign oil”, is to develop and perfect other, more sustainable energy sources. Tillman hopes that in fifty years we are not continuing the same conversations we have had for the past fifty.
Tillman is a Christian, and adamantly believes in freedom of religion, which is a right under the United States Constitution. He finds it foolish that people of any religion are unable to publicly display their faith in certain settings and that in itself takes away from freedom of religion. He gives his credit for his faith to his older sister, who faithfully took him to church as a child, and his wife who has helped grow his faith. Tillman is also tolerant of those who do not share his religious beliefs.
Calvin supports the right to own and bear arms. He is a member of the National Rifle Association, and supports the protection of the second amendment rights.
After serving over eight years in the U.S. Air Force, Calvin respects and supports those who defend our freedom. He has many close friends who continue to serve, or have retired after distinguished military careers.
Having served in a small town government, Tillman has seen firsthand the need for local control. In many cases, he sees the State of Texas consistently taking more and more rights away from the local governments; while they complain about federal intervention. In capable hands the average local government needs little from the state and Tillman feels that successful local governments - will make a successful Texas, and a successful America for that matter.
Being a local official is one of the most challenging and most rewarding positions that Calvin has ever participated in. At the local level, the officials are required to look their citizens in the eye, and see them at their kid’s t-ball games or at the grocery store, not simply sending a canned response letter to their complaints. Small town officials make their citizens’ problems their problems and fight for their constituents like they were neighbors, because they are. Tillman wonders why state and federal officials do not handle these manners like their small town counterparts. He feels the world would be a better place if it were ran like a small town. The small town is the purest form of democracy, and Tillman knows this firsthand.
Tillman realizes that he cannot cover every subject that that could be a topic in today’s conversation on this website and encourages you to contact him directly should you have further questions, or need clarification on a certain topic.