By John Keller |@Keller4Liberty
Peter Churchman is a husband and father who believes that it is time for a change towards freedom and common sense reform. He is running for the 17th Texas Congressional District to achieve just that for Texas and all of the American people. 71 Republics John Keller spoke with Mr. Churchman last week:
Keller: A career in politics isn’t a path lightly taken. What inspired you to pursue a seat in Congress?
Churchman: I have been interested in politics for some time. I wanted to run in 2012 for Texas State Representative District 46 against Dawanna Dukes (D). I was unhappy with many of the choices she made. Mrs. Dukes seemed to think that the best use for government was to give people more and more. I disagreed. I thought, then as now, that government should stay out of the way and let the free market take care of things. My family and I moved out of the district so that our children would be able to go to a better school, so I ended up not running that year.
Last summer I was fed up with our government. We had a change in control of the Executive Branch. I didn’t vote for President Trump and I don’t care for much of what he stands for, but I naively thought that with the Republicans in control we would do something about the deficit and the national debt. Boy, was I wrong about that. Our federal government has gone on a spending spree and grown much larger. We are over 20 trillion in debt now and in 2027 under current law we will be approaching 35 trillion. Meanwhile our government is constantly encroaching on our rights.
I was starting to become an unpleasant person to be around because I was angry about the way our government was heading. I made a decision that I would no longer be angry, I would try to change it. I looked at all of the offices that I was eligible to run for. I decided that the 17th Congressional District of Texas was the office that if I won I could do the most good for our country. I also thought that I was a good fit for the people of district 17 because they are fiscal conservatives and our current representative is not.
Keller: You are running as a Libertarian. What attracted you to the Libertarian Party over the Democratic Party and Republican Party? What should attract the voters?
Churchman: I have been a Libertarian all of my adult life. I believe in the philosophy of the Non-Aggression Principle and adhering to the expressed powers of the constitution. I also distrust both of the old parties because they do not deliver what they promise in their campaigns to get elected. The potential legislators that we see conducting campaigns are not the legislators we get once they are elected. Republicans are only fiscally conservative on the campaign trail. Democrats promise a governmental solution to every problem in our lives and have not been able to deliver. Both Republicans and Democrats are guilty of expanding the American Military presence in conflicts around the globe. Both parties are guilty of passing on generational debt. Both parties blame the other party for all of the problems in our country. It’s time for a change. We need to stop electing candidates from either old party because they have proven that they are the problem and not the solution.
I believe the majority of people of District 17 feel the same way I do. They are tired of the same old boring candidates from both parties. I think they will be attracted to a person who is truly concerned about our National Debt and deficit. The constituents of District 17 want the government to follow what is in the constitution. They want someone like me who is a regular blue collar guy who does not accept campaign donations over $100 instead of a rich oil executive who is controlled by lobbyists and big campaign donors, or a Democrat who promises to continually grow the government in order to solve all of America’s problems.
Keller: Expanding on the last question, what is Libertarianism to you?
Churchman: For me Libertarianism is the philosophy that people make the best choices without the influence of a controlling agency. Put another way, I believe that I am the sole owner of my body and I should be able to do whatever I want as long as I do not harm another person or another person’s property. Government should protect people’s rights, not infringe upon them. Government is only needed when someone’s rights are harmed.
Keller: The Drug War is prevalent in many American minds, especially with the recent increases in pressure from Attorney General Jeff Sessions on states that have legalized marijuana. Where do you stand on the Drug War?
Churchman: The Drug War is bad public policy, and it is expensive. Also, people own their body, they should be able to decide what they put in it.
When people talk about systemic racism, a large part of that is the drug war. Half of the people in Federal Prison are there because of drug crimes. Of those, 4 out of 5 are black or brown, even though the percentage of whites that use drugs is about the same as the percentage of minorities that use drugs. The Drug War has made generations of poor minority communities grow up in single parent households furthering the cycle of poverty.
We are also waging our drug war in other countries. We are twisting many foreign nations arms to enforce our drug laws in their countries. The drug cartels have become violent and caused mass carnage. Foreign nations would be better off if we ended the drug war. The cartels would cease to be criminal empires, and become exporters and job creators if we ended the drug war.
There is nothing in the expressed powers of the constitution that says the government can or cannot ban any consumable good. The reason the 18th amendment was passed is because that in those times the government understood that our constitution did not have the power to ban alcohol, or any similar substance.Our constitution does contain the commerce clause (article 1, section 8, clause 3) that expressly provides for regulation of commerce between states. Ironically, if drugs were legalized, the federal government would be constitutionally able to regulate how they are sold across state lines. As it stands now the federal government does not have any constitutional basis to regulate drugs. The Drug war is unconstitutional and it is harmful to our country. It needs to be ended immediately.
I am glad that the two old parties are starting to realize that legalizing “the devil’s lettuce” is the right thing to do. The libertarian party has held this position since 1972. Legalizing marijuana is a good pragmatic step to ending the drug war.
Keller: It is important for voters to know their choices on election day. What three policies define your campaign?
Churchman: First and foremost, my campaign is defined by fiscal conservatism. I will not vote for omnibus spending or continuing resolutions to fund the discretionary part of our government. We need to pass 12 separate bills to fund our government, and with each bill we should look to cut things that are no longer necessary. Many of the things that our government spends on originated decades (often many decades) ago and are no longer needed in our current world, and are saddling our future generations with debt. We should also look to the mandatory spending portion of our government so that we can end programs that are outdated and no longer necessary. My ultimate goal is to have the federal government do only what is in the enumerated powers of the constitution, but we have to take pragmatic steps towards to get us back to that.
Secondly I want Congress to vote when we send our military into conflict. The “father of the Constitution”, President James Madison knew that the executive branch was the most prone to war which is why he pushed to have the war powers delegated to congress when he was helping draft the constitution. We need to get back to that to let us know which members of congress support our troops, and which members do not.
Thirdly, I want to represent the people of District 17. Our current congressman represents big money campaign donors and the first district of Wisconsin (Paul Ryan’s district). We need someone in this district that represents us, not outside interests.
Keller: Clamors for gun control have come in the wake of the tragic events in Florida. What is your stance on this issue?
Churchman: Guns are not the problem. The people that have the guns are the problem. These people need help and love, before they commit a heinous crime. We need to come together as communities and support those that have mental health problems so that they can be productive members of society and not murders.
Banning certain types of guns won’t stop the gun violence problem we have in America. Increasing the age limit to buy a gun or outlawing gun accessories is not going to stop the problem either.
We need to look at real solutions. Solutions that come from data. We should repeal the Dickey Amendment so that we can study crimes committed with guns in depth and figure out why these people are acting in a violent manner. We should repeal all laws for gun free zones that make people vulnerable. We need to look at other countries like Israel who have stopped school shootings. We should look at why after 9/11 when we armed commercial pilots and but a barricade between the cockpit and the passengers no more planes were taken over. We need to look for real solutions to the problem, and not further divide our country after every one of these tragedies with an ideological debate between two factions who will never agree on the gun control issue.
Keller: Why is it now the time for a Libertarian to be in Congress?
Churchman: Republicans and Democrats are the reason our country is in the place that it is now. My campaign slogan is “It’s time for a change”, and I firmly believe that. We need to elect new blood to our federal legislature that will enact change, not take money from big donors, and do what is in the Constitution. I also believe that people are tired of the two old parties, because they have both proven that they will not deliver on their campaign promises.
Keller: If someone is interested in getting involved or learning more about your campaign how would a reader do that?
Churchman: My website is ChurchmanforTexas.com and my email is [email protected], You can find me on Facebook @ElectPeterChurchman. My phone number is 512-644-5197. I will make time to contact anyone that is interested in communicating with me.
Keller: Do you have any final remarks to the readers?
Churchman: I am different than any politician that we have in Congress right now in several ways. I do not accept any donation over $100 because when I get to D.C. I want the people of District 17 to know that I am voting in their interest and not in the interest of a campaign donor. I will adhere to the constitution to reign in federal overreach with each vote. I will not run for reelection after 10 years. I will hold town halls in person in every county in District 17 multiple times per year. I will not ban people on social media, or remove their posts like our current Congressman. (There is a page on Facebook called “The Flores Filter” that lists all of the removed comments from his Facebook page).
I would like to thank Peter Churchman for his time. Be sure to visit his website for more information and/or to donate!