By John Keller | Arkansas
Mark West is currently the Libertarian candidate for Governor of Arkansas. He has served in ministry, as well as business and banking. As a result of this experience, he knows firsthand the difficulties of small businesses. He seeks to bring peace and prosperity to Arkansas.
Keller: Given the current political climate, with a duopoly dominating the political scene, why did you decide now is the time to run for office and fight for the message of liberty?
West: My fellow Arkansans are watching their liberties destroyed at a frightening pace. I’m stepping into this race because I care about empowering them by empowering the liberty that will help them step out of the overwhelming control placed on their lives by over-regulation and over-taxation in our State. Whether Republicans or Democrats have run the government, the result has always been the same, less liberty and opportunity for Arkansans.
The odds will inevitably be stacked against us and we will have to work for every piece of coverage we can get in the state’s news but we have to start now before things get worse in our state for individual liberty.
Keller: There are many misconceptions on what Libertarianism is and what the message of liberty is all about. Many tend to paint an apocalypse picture when describing the Libertarian Party’s vision. What, in your own words, is the Libertarian Party all about and the message of liberty mean to you and your campaign?
West: Our message is about empowering people.
I believe that is the message of our Founding Fathers. The people must be empowered over their government. This is the reason that we have the Bill of Rights.
We want to focus on putting the Non-Aggression Principle in language that makes sense to every day working Arkansans.
We’ve boiled it down to Empowering Arkansas, Empowering Liberty, Empowering You.
Keller: The state of Arkansas has voted in Republican in every presidential election since 2000, and with the exception of three elections, the same since 1972. What is your message to the Republican voters of Arkansas? Why is Libertarianism the right choice for Arkansas?
West: Our message is that the Republican Party continues to grow the government and shrink your freedom.
Republican government has lead to a growing state budget, few tax increases while eroding the second and fourth amendment rights of all Arkansans.
Keller: Governors have a unique role in politics. They have to not only work with their state but in cooperation with federal mandates. As governor, how do you plan to manage, or in other words balance, the two spheres?
West: Arkansas first.
We will not allow Federal overreach into our state, even if it means that we have to lose some Federal funding.
Right now, stories are coming out in which appointees of the current Governor have allowed the Department of Education, the Environmental Protection Agency, and others to step on the rights and freedoms of Arkansans.
We need to stop this from happening and start standing up for the rights of working Arkansans.
Keller: A very controversial topic lately, most notably in response to the actions taken by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, is the legalization of marijuana. What is your stance on legalization?
West: We believe it would be in the best interests of Arkansas to legalize, regulate and tax marijuana. We believe this would empower Arkansas by empowering individuals to take control of their own healthcare needs.
Democrats have been frequently lost their voice in Arkansas due to various factors, the most prominent being gerrymandering. What is your message to disgruntled Democratic voters?
Our campaign is about giving the government back to the people. We will work to get the unjust influence of big money out of Arkansas politics. We will work to protect your personal lives from overreach of the government. We will work to reform the criminal justice system in our state and to tackle delta poverty and unemployment.
We would love to have your help in getting this issues addressed in the State Legislature so that we can empower Arkansas for a better next generation.
Keller: A platform is critical to voters in making a choice in elections. What three policies are most important to you and why?
West: Economic growth through deregulation and lower taxes.
Reigning in overgrown and unaccountable government.
Empowering individual liberty which will empower the entire state to move ahead.
Keller: The removal of Confederate statues has made national headlines throughout the last year. What stance have you taken on this issue, given the fact that Arkansas supplied almost 74,000 soldiers to the Confederate cause?
West: I believe the Confederate statue debate has us focused on all of the wrong things. We’ve got to stop hanging on to the past in order to move into the future.
I understand the strong feelings on both sides of the issue and would prefer that issue be decided by the people of our state rather than by a politician.
Keller: The state motto of Arkansas is ‘Regnat Populus’ meaning ‘The People Rule’. In your opinion, is this the case in Arkansas? What will your campaign do to ensure this motto is upheld?
West: I believe it should be the case in Arkansas. Unfortunately, the Democrats and Republicans in power have sold the people out. Instead, we have a situation in which special interests and lobbyists control the seat of power.
We will call on the State Legislature to pass real ethics reforms, not like the fake ethics reforms in recent sessions, that will put an end to the unfair influence of big money in our State.
Keller: Do you have any final remarks to the readers, supporters, and potential voters?
West: If you’re done with politics as usual, then make a decisive choice and don’t vote for another politician. I’m not a politician. I’m a pastor and office manager. I live paycheck to paycheck. If we really want to see something new and different in Arkansas, then we’ve got to vote for something different.
This is why we’re going to focus on Empowering Liberty, Empowering Arkansas, and Empowering You.
This is your state, it is time for you to take control of your government.
I would like to again thank Mark West for his time in conducting this interview. Be sure to visit his website markwest4governor.com to learn about liberty and the chance for freedom in Arkansas.