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1.) Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.)
Having only taken office in January, Justin Amash doesn’t have much of a voting record to object to. This, combined with his heavy handed social conservatism—he believes life begins at conception and supports the Federal Defense of Marriage Act—might make him a strange choice as the member of Congress most likely to pick up where Ron Paul leaves off.
Amash is a vocal proponent of Paul’s small-government philosophy and has endorsed his presidential run. The votes he has cast so far show a profound understanding of the many ways in which the federal government currently infringes on personal liberty. Amash has criticized President Obama's health-care legislation for its deleterious effects on small businesses and defended the right of parents to homeschool their children. He opposes all energy subsidies and most energy regulations. According to his website, Amash supports "lower personal and corporate tax rates," a simpler tax code, and a broader tax base. He's "also open to proposals that tax spending instead of income as a substitute to our current system."
Additionally, Amash supports a balanced-budget amendment, and believes all legislation should have to point to language in the Constitution that proves its legitimacy. While Amash wasn’t in Congress to vote for or against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, he did vote to ban armed forces in Libya without congressional approval, and opposed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) as well as many provisions of the PATRIOT Act. The fact that Amash explains every vote he casts on his Facebook page is not simply a pedantic cherry on top: It shows the 31-year-old understands not just 21st-century media but takes seriously the need for a more transparent government.
In his own words: "Our Constitution does not permit the federal government to detain American citizens indefinitely without charge or trial," Amash wrote in a letter that was later signed by six other House Republicans and four House Democrats. "We strongly believe in protecting the country’s security and equipping our Armed Forces with the tools they need to defeat our enemies. But we cannot support measures that, in the name of security, violate Americans’ constitutional rights."
What do you think of our choices? Who would you have picked to succeed Ron Paul as the House of Representatives' leading champion of libertarian policies? Share your thoughts in the the comments.