Dodge County, a rural bastion in Wisconsin, is in a desperate position following increasing control from Madison. Whereas the inner cities have been struggling under the Walker Administration, rural Wisconsin has begun to suffer in ways they haven’t since the market crash of 2008.
In the last fiscal year, Dodge County had a proposed budget of $111,693,552, an 11.39% increase from 2013. A property tax rate of 5.6% is the average in Dodge County. But the main source of income for the Dodge County government, the property tax, brings in only $33,281,315. So, other taxes and revenue sources had to cover $78,412,237 of appropriations in the county. The reason for such an imbalance is unfunded mandates.
As of mid-July, there are 99 unfunded mandates and restrictions on how local counties can govern from the Walker Administration. Essentially, this means there are 99 instances in which Scott Walker is telling the county how to run itself and how to spend your money, without paying for it with the state’s taxpayer funds. This leads to budget imbalance and growing debt at the local level.
Phil Anderson: A Solution
Phil Anderson offers a different option. Running for governor in 2018, he is campaigning to increase local control. He stated in his platform, “Local municipalities, counties, and school boards ought to be as free as possible to pursue the priorities of their communities without interference from the State. State regulation ought to be limited to those things that only the State should do. All unfunded mandates should be eliminated.”
There is only one candidate that wants change the way Wisconsin runs so that local governments can run their own affairs. He is running to find local, common sense solutions for local problems, not statewide, bureaucratic decisions. In order to keep your money in your pocket and allow Dodge County, and all of Wisconsin. to spend less, vote Phil Anderson for Governor.
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Justin Tucker, Chair of the Chicago Libertarian Party, is running for Illinois State Representatives in District Four.
71R: With thousands of career options, what inspired you to seek a career in politics?
Tucker: I have been interested in politics since I was a teenager. I have been a libertarian since I learned about Harry Browne, the Libertarian Party nominee in 2000. It was only in 2015 that I jumped into activism and joined my local LP chapter. What inspired me to join was the gross misconduct of the Chicago Police Department and the Chicago amusement tax imposed applying to Netflix. I felt enough was enough. I could no longer be willfully apathetic or believe I couldn’t make a difference.
I am currently the Chair of the Libertarian Party of Chicago, serving since 2016. I also worked on the Gary Johnson’s 2016 campaign as Volunteer Coordinator in Illinois. This year, I collected over 1600 signatures for our statewide candidates to be on the ballot this November.
I choose to run for Illinois House of Representatives in District 4 with the purpose of telling my neighbors about our candidates and maybe getting a few signatures for myself. My energy, however, was better spent circulating petitions for the statewide slate than circulating my own. Also, as a Libertarian, I didn’t want to deal with all the government paperwork to get on the ballot. I will instead be running a write-in campaign to have a platform to talk about why our candidates are the best choices for Illinois and to share our ideas with the electorate.
71R: Many people when they think of government they think of Congress or the presidency. Why is politics at the state level, and in the state House of Representatives, so important and motivated you to get involved?
Tucker: It is often said that all politics is local. Politics at the state and local level are so important because they are closest to the people, and thus easier to make an impact on policy. That’s why I chose to involve myself in a run for a State House seat and also why I support statehood for Cook County.
I’m a fan of local control. It’s easier to hold the crooks accountable when they’re in your neighborhood as opposed to far away legislature.
71R: For over 150 years the United States has been locked in the two-party duopoly. What attracted you to the Libertarian Party?
Tucker: I was attracted to the Libertarian Party because it’s the only party that is for small government and means actually means it. One of the biggest issues for me is getting the government out of the way of my LGBT friends. Republicans claimed to be for smaller government but fought against the right of gender and sexual minorities to marry. When I discovered the Libertarian Party, I saw they were consistently for small government across all areas of life. I’ve been a fan ever since. My only regret is that I didn’t get involved with activism sooner.
71R: Illinois is often brought to the political forefront and were put into the national spotlight during the gun control debates, a debate that still exists today, due to Chicago’s crime. Where do you stand on this critical issue?
Tucker: As a Libertarian, I believe in the right to protect yourself. Chicago residents like Otis McDonald stood up to the city’s infringement on the right to self-defense and ended up changing the course of history. The fight, however, is not over. In Illinois, we need to abolish the Firearm Owner’s Identification card, conceal carry licensing and waiting periods. The Second Amendment is the only permit anyone needs.
Drastically reducing gang violence in Chicago is more of a complicated task. We can start by ending drug prohibition, cutting taxes and regulations to attract economic development, and reforming education.
71R: Our Founding Fathers even disagreed on how to interpret the Constitution, shown in the Federalist vs. Anti-Federalist debates. What is your interpretation of the Constitution, and how does that influence your view on government?
Tucker: The Constitution has, without a doubt, contributed to the development of liberal thought. It was a document designed to limit the power of the federal government and protect the rights of the people. I have a tremendous amount of respect for it. The problem, however, is that it hasn’t prevented the federal government from overstepping its authority.
If our federal government followed the Constitution literally as it is currently written, the size and scope of government would be drastically reduced. I certainly wish that’s how it operates today.
Ideally, the feds are allowed to do only a handful of things. They get out of the way for the rest of the stuff and let the communities in the several states do their things. That’s how I interpret the Constitution. Local control is key and the Constitution influenced me in that regard.
71R: Libertarians tend to believe less government is better government. What is one area of government, however, you would like to see operating?
Tucker: I believe that the purpose of government is to protect the rights of the people. That would include courts, peace officers, and a defensive military.
On a municipal level, I think there’s a little more flexibility in what the government can do if its available to all people. Chicago has gorgeous parks, stocked libraries, and an extensive mass transit system, all of which I use.
Ideally, all these things should be paid for by the most voluntarily or least coercively means possible. In the case of the parks, the libraries and the transit system, these could be fully or partially privatized.
71R: Branching off of the last question, what is one area you think there should be cutbacks or even elimination in the state of Illinois?
Tucker: It’s hard to pick just one, but in Illinois, it would be taxes. We should cut or eliminate as many taxes as we can. Property taxes, incomes taxes, sales taxes, taxes on vices, taxes on bags. Let’s take a chainsaw to as many taxes as we can.
71R: What can the people of District Four expect should you be elected?
Tucker: If enough of the people of District Four write me in, they can expect me to work many things that would help to reduce the size and scope of government. My major initiatives include establishing 401(k) plans for all new state government employees, slashing spending, cutting taxes and or abolishing as many taxes and regulations as possible, legalizing cannabis and psychedelic mushrooms and reforming the criminal justice system. I would also make the case for Cook County statehood any chance I could.
71R: If someone was interested in getting involved or donating, how can they reach out to your campaign?
71R: Do you have any final remarks for the readers?
Tucker: The Libertarian Party is not possible without our candidates, our volunteers and our donors. Please consider volunteering a few hours a week to a Libertarian candidate. Be an activist in your local chapter, or if there aren’t any available, get a few friends together and form a LP chapter yourselves. If you want to share the LP with your neighbors, consider running for office or becoming a precinct committeeman. If you can’t donate your time, please donate your money. Every volunteer hour and every dollar helps us fuel the fires of liberty. Thank you!
I would like to thank Justin Tucker for his time. Be sure to visit his website for more information.
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Following the retirement of SCOTUS Justice Anthony Kennedy, the Republicans and the Democrats are locked in a battle of wills over who will be the nominee to fill Kennedy’s seat. The current partisan makeup of the Senate is 51-49, with the Republicans having the narrow majority. Mitch McConnell and head Republicans went “nuclear” in 2017, changing the votes required for nomination of a Justice from 60 to a simple majority, in order to get Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court. These new rules allows for hyper partisan justices who are favored by the majority party in the Senate to be nominated.
The Republican Party may be waiting to nominate a Justice until the midterm elections this November in order to use the nomination process as a political weapon to get people out and vote Republican. The Republicans used a similar tactic in 2016, blocking President Obama’s nomination, Merrick Garland, for 293 days until President Trump could nominate Neil Gorsuch.
Voting Libertarian could save the Supreme Court from extreme partisanship. Should just two Libertarians be elected to the Senate, a 49-49-2 composition of parties would be created in the Senate, preventing any nomination that would be decided based on ideological differences and party politics. It would also allow for a return to nominating a Justice who would base their rulings on the constitution, rather than partisanship, just as Justice Anthony Kennedy had done. Justice Kennedy was a swing voter on the court, meaning he didn’t use his ideology as a basis for his rulings, but rather the Constitution.
This upcoming election could be critical in determining if the United States will have a partisan court or a non-partisan court that chooses to prioritize the Constitution rather than political opinion in its rulings. Two options can save the court: voting for Libertarians, such as Matt Waters (L-VA), or by “denuclearizing” the Senate and justices are confirmed. “Denuclearization” would mean a return to requiring sixty votes to confirm a Supreme Court Justice – a change that won’t come voting Republican or Democrat. Only the introduction of a third party to the Senate can prevent a partisan Supreme Court and begin the process of “denuclearizing” the Supreme Court Justice nomination process.
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Since the presidential election of 2016, many have speculated that the Libertarian vice presidential candidate Bill Weld endorsed Hillary Clinton before the election. Is this true?
In an interview with MSNBC on 30 September 2016, Bill Weld is credited with endorsing Hillary Clinton for President of the United States. He made the following statement:
“I’m not sure anybody is more qualified than Hillary Clinton to be President of the United States.” – Bill Weld
The question must be raised: Was Bill Weld wrong? Let’s take a look at the numbers. Seventeen presidents were former governors, what Gary Johnson’s job was. On the other hand, thirty-four presidents were former lawyers or secretaries, what Hillary Clinton’s career was. Even looking at the vice presidential picks, the Clinton Campaign was more “qualified”, whereas twenty-four vice presidents had been senators, as Tim Kaine was, and only sixteen vice presidents were governors, like Bill Weld.
But it is the second statement that Bill Weld makes that is forgotten by the media. He continued:
“I mean that’s not the end of the inquiry though. I mean, we were two-time governors and I think Gary is very, very solid. You know, at this point, we overlapped as governors and I thought highly of him back when we served together, but having spent the last several months with the guy, I mean I don’t even just like the guy I love the guy, I think he is very solid and deep. I think his insight that it pays to have some restraint about military incursions for the purpose of regime change before we still American blood on foreign soil and put boots in the ground in countries where we just don’t like what the government in that country is doing. I think that’s a valuable insight. I’m not sure it’s characterized the foreign policy of either Bush, the most recent Bush, or the Obama Administration and I think that might be a refreshing change. I think he and I could bring a much more tranquil approach to Government in Washington because we wouldn’t be screaming at one of the two parties about how stupid they are. We would work with them both.” – Bill Weld
Furthermore, the rest of the interview seems to be his expression in favor of Gary Johnson and himself for the national ticket. The next question that must be raised: was it wrong of Weld to speak in favor of Mrs. Clinton over Mr. Trump? He spoke plainly on MSNBC on the 30th of September of 2016:
“I do not view those two candidates the same way. I think very highly of Mrs. Clinton, I think she is very well qualified, I think she did a great job in the debate the other night. She kept her game face on… I thought Mr. Trump by the end of the debate was out of control…” – Bill Weld
Bill Weld was looking at it from a realist perspective in an unreal election cycle. Businessman against a career policy maker in the debates when unspoken traditions of policy discussion were broke. Mr. Trump threatening to jail his opponent was, to the common politician, very unprofessional. Threatening to lock up opponents in an election is commonplace in shame democracies that are in essence dictatorships, and it is not commonplace in a constitutional republic.
The total length of the interview with MSNBC on September 30, 2016, was seven minutes and forty seconds (7:40). Throughout the interview he made a few statements in favor of Mrs. Clinton, totaling thirty-four seconds (0:34). Thirty of those seconds was made responding to a question about the debates in which he was expressing that he thought Hillary Clinton performed better than Trump. No harm in expressing who you think won a debate the libertarians were even in, right? But the four seconds that killed him was the statement mentioned formerly in this article in which Bill Weld said, “I’m not sure anybody is more qualified than Hillary Clinton to be President of the United States.” However, the statement he followed that up his remark about Hillary Clinton was a one minute and four second (1:04) praise of Gary Johnson on how experience was the end of the inquiring and that Gary Johnson would be a better president than Hillary Clinton, although he may not necessarily be more “qualified”. Throughout the whole interview, thirty four seconds (0:34), or 7%, of the interview was expressing approval of Mrs. Clinton over Mr. Trump, and seven minutes and six seconds (7:06), or 93%, of the interview expressing that Gary Johnson and himself were the right choices for America.
The other moment in which many thought Bill Weld endorsed Hillary Clinton was on 1 November 2016 in an interview with Rachel Maddow on MSNBC. Many think that Bill Weld gave up on the campaign, but after failing to get into the debates it was clear the campaign strategy had to be re-examined. That is why Bill Weld made the realistic statement:
“I think in the real world that’s [aiming for 5% of the vote] probably correct… we thought for the longest time we might have a chance to run the table because we’re such nice guys and centrist party and etc etc, but not getting into the debates really sort of foreclosed that option. So now it is the 5%, your right.” – Bill Weld
Bill Weld was looking realistically at the coming election. The Republicans and Democrats had just spent millions of dollars to keep Gary Johnson out of the presidential debates and himself out of the vice presidential debate, keeping them at 12% national and then pushing them back down towards 2%. In order to have a successful ticket in the future, the Libertarian ticket knew they had to reach 5% to get matched federal funds, guaranteed ballot access, and more of being recognized as a major party. Although the goal changed, the message did not. In the same interview he gave the following statement:
“Well, we are making our case that we are fiscally responsible and socially inclusive and welcoming and we think we got, on the merits, the best ticket of the three parties if you will and so we would like to get there. Having said that, as I think you’re aware, I see a big difference in the R candidate and the D candidate, and I’ve can in some pains to say that I fear for the country should Mr. Trump be elected. I think it’s a candidacy without any parallel that I can recall. It’s content-free and very much given up to stirring up envy and resentment and even hatred and I think it would be a threat to the conduct of our foreign policy and our position in the world at large.”
It is clear the message had not changed, but the goal of the campaign had. He wanted to see a Libertarian presidency but the current, realistic climate made it impossible, and so he expressed when asked about referring to Trump as “unstable” during the interview:
“Oh yeah, yeah I mean that psychologically.” – Bill Weld
In the research done in this article, I am of the opinion that Bill Weld did not endorse Hillary Clinton and that a study of what was actually said proves he supported the Libertarian message to the end of the campaign. Although the goal of the campaign may have changed in the end weeks, and he may have preferred one candidate over the other in terms of the duopoly, he stood by the libertarian message through the end of the campaign and even continues to fight for libertarian principles today.
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Joe Hannoush is the Libertarian candidate for District Twenty-Five of the Florida House of Representatives. He has been involved with libertarian politics since 2011 and seeks to bring that change to the state of Florida.
Keller: With a plethora of career options, what inspired you to seek a career in politics?
Hannoush: I am not pursuing a career in politics per se. I want to do what I can to inform others of a better solution to issues we face today. Running as a candidate for elected office is a great way to spread that message. I want to be the change I want to see. I am tired of complaining without offering a solution. I didn’t like the choices I had on my ballot, so I gave myself another option to vote for!
Keller: Many people when they think of government they think of Congress or the presidency. Why is politics at the state level, and in the state House of Representatives, so important and motivated you to get involved?
Hannoush: There is a saying “all politics is local”. To a certain degree, I agree. When it comes to the everyday things, it is usually the local government decisions that have the largest impact on an individuals life.
Keller: For over 150 years the United States has been locked in the two-party duopoly. What turned you on to the Libertarian Party?
Hannoush: In 2011, I took an online political quiz www.isidewith.com. The results told me my views most closely agreed with was the Libertarian Party. So I did more research on their platform and looked into the presidential candidate on the Libertarian Party ticket, Gary Johnson. I liked him a lot and found I agree on almost everything. So I voted for Gary in 2012 and the rest is history!
Keller: Being a swing state, Florida has both strong Democratic and Republican support, as well as significant moderate support. Why is a new voice, such as a libertarian, necessary in the two-party system in Florida?
Hannoush: The two-party system is not a good one even if the two parties are Libertarian and Anarchist. I believe in more choices and I know others do as well. I don’t care if I agree with other political parties or not, they deserve to get the same media exposure and debate and ballot access as the Republicans and Democrats currently do.
Keller: Florida is often brought to the political forefront, and were put into the national spotlight during the sanctuary city debate, a debate that still exists today. Where do you stand on your critical issue?
Hannoush: I believe an individual, whether they are a citizen of the United States or not, deserve the same freedoms I have. My parents left an oppressive government and came to the United States shortly before I was born. Because of that freedom to act for the betterment of life, liberty, and happiness, I have a freer life. I want that opportunity to exist for others as well.
Keller: Our Founding Fathers even disagreed on how to interpret the Constitution, shown in the Federalist vs. Anti-Federalist debates. What is your interpretation of the Constitution, and how does that influence your view on government?
Hannoush: My view of the Constitution is what I believe the Founding Fathers generally intended. That is that individuals have inherent rights and the Constitution instructs the Government on how to preserve those rights for the individual.
Keller: Libertarians tend to believe less government is better government. What is one area of government, however, you would like to see operating?
Hannoush: I do believe that national defense is the responsibility of the government.
Keller: Branching off of the last question, what is one area you think there should be cutbacks or even elimination in the state of Florida?
Hannoush: Florida, being a “swing” or “purple” state has led to the two major political parties here to be very divisive. There is too much power in the “leadership” of the political parties. No one is defending the rights of the people. The letter next to a person’s name holds more power than what that individual believes. I want to end partisan politics in Florida. A candidate that is giving the libertarian message will win every time.
Keller: What can the people of District 25 expect should you be elected?
Hannoush: That I will be a voice for the individual. I won’t vote based on what party leadership or lobbyist agenda is being pushed.
Keller: If someone was interested in getting involved or donating, how can they reach out to your campaign?