Tag: change

Being the Change – Paul Wolfe for School Board

By John Keller | Florida

Paul Wolfe is running for school board in Alachua County in Florida. 71 Republic’s own John Keller sat down with him to discuss his campaign and the policies he is running on.

Keller: You are entering a career in politics. What inspired you to run for office?

Wolfe: In this race, my inspiration to run for office came from the Parkland tragedy and subsequent rhetoric being used to push an anti-gun message. I felt that, as opposed to tackling a problem that will never truly be solved on the firearm end, I wanted to help secure our schools against these threats here in Alachua County. My campaign couldn’t be stuck on that single message, so I have chosen to diversify a great deal with school safety still being at the forefront, but many other issues being included and addressed.

Keller: With so much attention drawn to Congress and national politics, what inspired you to run locally?

Wolfe: The saying goes, “All politics are local”. If I choose to run for something larger after my work at the local school board has concluded with positive results, then so be it, but I wanted to start locally to prove myself and that my policies have the ability to work. Also, age restrictions would have prevented me from pursuing any state or national office, so I was forced to take that into consideration as well. When I first started to look for a place to take my ideas, I thought that making the big step to the Florida Legislature would have been bold enough. But, after some thought, I felt it best to go with something that I knew very well, having just been a recent high school graduate: The School Board.

Keller: What three positions define your campaign for school board?

Wolfe: For school board, my first main campaign point is school security, a top priority. Without school security, the learning environment is unsafe and students may be afraid to even come to school. As such, increased partnerships with local police forces and hardening our schools against threats are included in this topic.

My next point is our school facilities. They are crumbling, with many foundations being cracked and flooding being prominent in schools after even heavy rain (the rain being a common occurrence in Florida). In order to address this issue, I have chosen to support our local half-Cent Sales Tax initiative with funding going directly to our school facilities to help fund projects. I have also long advocated for a re-visitation of the school budget to find where inefficiency wreaks havoc on the revenue we already have, and allocate those monies more effectively.

The third point I have chosen to run on is teacher compensation. Our teachers are paid at the bottom of the list on average compared to the rest of Florida, and many counties with a much smaller tax base somehow find themselves being able to afford higher salaries than us. We should revisit our budget, as I mentioned, and find a way to allocate for at least 3% salary increases over each of the next four years, a total of 12%, to get us back on track with the rest of the state.

Keller: What change do you want to see?

Wolfe: Change is something that our school board seems afraid of. Change in leadership, change in policy, change in testing, change in relationships with the state of Florida. We need a younger person, who has seen the problems with public schools, who has experienced them less than two months ago, in order to make these changes happen for the better.

Keller: How can people get involved in your campaign or learn more if interested?

Wolfe: If readers would like to know more, my website is www.paulwolfe4ac.com, my campaign email is [email protected], and my phone number, which can be reached any time between 8am and 8pm, is 352-231-2485.

Keller: Do you have any final remarks to make?

Wolfe: My final remarks would be this: If you wish to see a change in the world, be that change. If you want to see your local municipal government take a direction, run for that office. If you want to see something in your state Constitution change, advocate actively for it. If you want to see our Congress turn from the destructive path it is on, run for that office. By simply talking about change, we do nothing. But running for office, taking charge in local communities of efforts, and being so loud you cannot be ignored can all be ways by which we affect change in our communities. I would like to thank 71Republic and John Keller for giving me this platform on which to communicate these ideas and look forward to answering any questions readers may have on these issues.

I would like to thank Paul Wolfe for talking with 71Republic and encourage you all to visit his website for more information and click here to see a forum Paul Wolfe participated in.

To support 71 Republic, please donate to our Patreon, which you can find here.

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“Time for a Change” – Peter Churchman for Congress

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!


“A Voice of Reason and Patience” – Bill Kelsey for Congress

By John Keller | United States

Bill Kelsey is a graduate of the US Naval Academy, class of 1973, and spent his career as a pilot. He has flown in Africa, spent time in the Middle East, and currently lives in Texas. When not flying Bill reads the histories of the countries in which he works and studies their languages. He is fluent in Arabic, Chinese, and Spanish, and can survive in French, Portuguese, and Swahili, and is working hard on Farsi, Luganda, and Tigrinia. He is hoping to bring his passion for flying and history to the 10th Texas Congressional District to help America soar higher than ever before.

Keller: What motivated you to seek office as a congressman?

Kelsey: I have a strong desire to represent the libertarian message coherently.  Running for office gives an opportunity to do so.  In this case, I chose to run for Federal office because I have deep lifetime experiences in war and semi-war zones abroad.  As for running specifically against Michael McCaul, the idea occurred to me in 2011.  I was on a contract as a pilot flying around South Sudan in a situation which took me out into the bush and put me in contact with many people.  Upon discovering that my Congressman was Chairman of the Subcommittee on South Sudan I wrote him a courtesy letter offering to stay in touch and keep him directly informed and help with any fact checking he might need.  (I also have a background in African studies and languages).  I received a generic email thanking me for my interest and so on, with no indication that he had received or understood the substance of my letter.  Other communications to him on matters of policy have received similar generic responses. Realizing that he was impervious to communication from constituents, I made my choice.

Keller: You are running as a Libertarian. What makes a Libertarian different from a Republican and a Democrat?

Kelsey: The Republican and Democratic parties are both complicit in the wars and interventions abroad. As an individual and as a Libertarian I will be speaking out and working against this unfortunate phenomenon at every opportunity.  In general, both parties support programs which cost taxpayer dollars. Libertarians will work to cut back programs which cost taxpayer dollars, preferring to rely on the market and voluntary action in society.  The politicians of both parties boast of the Federal – that is taxpayer – dollars they bring to their constituents.  The Libertarian will make no effort to bring taxpayer money back to the constituents, preferring not to collect the taxes from them in the first place.

Keller: Your primary opponent, Michael McCaul, is an incumbent Republican who has held his seat since 2005. Why is now the time for a Libertarian to represent Texas, and America, in Congress?

Kelsey: It has always been time for a Libertarian in Congress, though now, with both older parties in great disarray, we hope to be a breath of fresh air. Libertarians have never been dominant in American culture and politics, even during the Revolution.  But we have always had libertarian lights shining in the darkness.  Three and a half centuries ago a libertarian foremother, Mary Dyer, was hung in Boston for her views.  A century and a half ago libertarian forefathers Frederick Douglass and William Lloyd Garrison engaged in debates which still inform internal party arguments today.  We have a rich tradition in history.

Keller: If elected to office, what are the three most important policies you want to see changed or put into effect?

Kelsey: (1) I would work to completely change the relationship of the United States with the rest of the world.  That means welcoming free trade of goods and ideas and travel.  It also means withdrawing from all wars, known and unknown, declared and undeclared, many of which are taking place in countries most Americans have not heard of.  I will work to end all subsidies to foreign governments, withdraw from all foreign military alliances, withdraw all US forces from abroad and close all US bases from abroad.  I will oppose any government efforts to either support or overthrow any foreign governments. There should be no exceptions for any special allies or unique relationships. 

(2) A society under stress tends to blame resident foreigners for its problems.  Along with the libertarian movement I intend to show leadership on this matter and encourage Americans to rise above negative attitudes to new arrivals.  We must recognize that immigrants bring talent and energy to our country.  Our attitude towards immigrants must be one of tolerance, compassion, and gratitude for what they bring.  A first step will be to simplify the process for legal immigration and get rid of the bureaucratic maze which they face now.  All immigrants should be self-supporting or under the financial sponsorship of private citizens or organizations.  To the extent there is fear of immigrants “going on welfare” the quarrel is with the welfare system and not the immigrants.  As for so-called “illegal aliens” I harbor no indignation about the commission of victimless crimes.  Many immigrants are “illegal” by virtue of obscure bureaucratic technicalities.  Others are here as refugees from deadly situations and could not afford the time or expense of the legal process.  We must put simple procedures in place to formalize the status of undocumented residents and allow them to participate fully in our economy and our legal system.

(3) The income tax system is a degrading insult to every American.  My goal as a libertarian will be its abolition.  The first steps towards that end will include a radical simplification of the paperwork and filing process.  At the same time, taxation of income should be eliminated for the lower one third income bracket of the population, along with any requirement to file.  Such an income tax system as might remain during a transition period must not be used to manipulate behavior through “tax incentives.” We must also ban the use of the system to punish or reward citizens for their personal beliefs or political activities.  Most importantly, during the transition to eventual abolition, no citizen should be compelled to contribute to any government program which is in violation of the citizen’s conscience.

Keller: Gun control has become a major issue given the recent events in Florida. Where do you stand on this policy issue?

Kelsey: As one who has worked in war zones abroad as a pilot with humanitarian organizations, I have seen the horror and devastation caused by organized mass slaughter.  I am conscious of the United States government as a merchant of death. I will not collude with the greatest producer and exporter of advanced weaponry and munitions abroad in any efforts to confiscate weapons from peaceful citizens.

Keller: For the past 158 years the two parties have run the White House and Congress. What will a Libertarian member of Congress offer in such a polarized political scene?

Kelsey: I would do my best to be a voice of reason and patience, a light in a dark place, a blade of grass emerging from the concrete.

Keller: Do you have any final remarks for the readers and the people of Texas?

Kelsey: Waste your votes on the declining old parties no longer.  Reject the logic of choosing the perceived lesser of two evils. Choose life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  Vote for Libertarian candidates.

I would like to thank Bill Kelsey for his time. Be sure to visit his website and follow him on Facebook to stay up to date and informed on his campaign!