It was shortly after 9/11 when I met her, and I was in awe. Her husband was a veteran, a decorated Navy aviator – who was the pilot of United Airlines Flight 175 on September 11, 2001 when it was hijacked from Boston. Victor Saracini and his copilot, also a military veteran, were attacked by five Jihadis, while they defended the cockpit and the plane’s passengers before the hijacked plane crashed into the World Trade Center.

As a young lawyer on staff to Representative Joe Wilson (R-SC), she conveyed a clear message in that meeting: if her husband had been armed with a gun, he would’ve shot those hijackers dead.

I was the one Rep. Wilson assigned to draft legislation to let airline pilots join a voluntary program so they could be trained and armed in the cockpit. With many civilian pilots already having military training, this was a commonsense solution as we couldn’t reinforce every cockpit door like Israeli airliner El Al nor could we put air marshals on every plane. Putting a gun in the hands of a highly-trained and skilled pilot – if he or she wanted one – seemed to make the most sense.

The Left went nuts. Unbelievably, it was then Democrat U.S. Senator Fritz Hollings who helped lead the charge against our legislation. We fought liberals for more than a year, but scored a major victory when we had the arming pilots provision inserted into the legislation creating the Department of Homeland Security.

Shortly after that, we met with UPS and Fedex pilots. Their concern? Our new law only covered civilian airline pilots, not cargo pilots like them. A cargo plane is just as big as a passenger airliner with as much fuel they pointed out – it was just as much a weapon our enemy could use against us. So we passed a second law – letting cargo pilots be armed as well.

I know how to stick to our conservative principles, ensuring we don’t compromise on our values, and get the results that are needed. Just imagine if we passed some watered-down version of the bill, giving in to the Left, with some useless law with so many exemptions that no pilot could actually arm themselves. What good would that have done? But we didn’t do that – we never budged from our position that any pilot who wanted a firearm in the cockpit should be able to get one – and we won. We didn’t cave to Liberals the way so many Establishment Republicans do. We didn’t negotiate. We set out to pass a bill allowing pilots to be armed and wouldn’t compromise from that position. It’s been the law of the land for more than 10 years.

I am the only conservative running for Lexington County Council in District Six voters can trust. My three opponents skipped voting in five Lexington County elections: the special election and run-off for Sheriff in 2015; the special election and run-off in the Coroners’ race in 2014; and the June 2014 Republican primary.

Just think, we were electing our first new Republican Sheriff since 1968, our first new Republican Coroner since 1966, and County Council has oversight for these offices. The Sheriff’s Department alone makes up more than one-third of the county’s budget.

But all three of my opponents refused to vote in these critical local elections. Do you trust them in making informed decisions about these two offices when they skipped voting in the elections for them?

And if they wouldn’t vote in the Republican primary in June 2014 – why should Republican primary voters now vote for them?

Our county and country are in big trouble. We’re headed down the wrong path. We need smart, fiscal conservatives who are paying attention to what’s going on at the local level, not candidates for office who skipped voting in five elections. One of my opponents even announced they were running against me while they were still registered to vote in Newberry County. Another is a member of the good old boy club, whose family is trying to sell land in Chapin to developers while saying they’re concerned about all the power developers have.

Taxpayers have dealt with this dishonesty and double-talk for too long; remember that pork-filled penny sales tax and no-bid contract? It’s time to elect an honest candidate who truly led the fight against the penny sales tax, who has passed legislation to make our community more prosperous and safer, and has the integrity and determination to fight for conservative values. On June 14, I ask for your vote to be your new County Councilman.

Dino Teppara

Candidate for Lexington County Council

Dino Teppara is a member of the U.S. Navy Reserve. Use of his military rank, job titles, and photographs in uniform does not imply endorsement by the Department of the Navy or the Department of Defense.