Image Credits: ABC

With Trump and Clinton as the likely options come November, many people have been looking for somewhere else to cast their vote. That’s where the Libertarian Party has stepped into their largest spotlight to date. While the country has been strictly two-party for centuries, many are wondering if this could be the year of the third party.

On Sunday, May 29th, the Libertarian Party Convention was held in Florida, and Gary Johnson was picked as the presidential nominee while Bill Weld, former Massachusetts governor, was picked as his running mate. It is important to note that while there are many “third” parties, the Libertarian Party is the only third party to be on the ballot in all 50 states, alongside the Democratic and Republican parties.

But that begs the question, who is Gary Johnson?

Gary Johnson served as the Republican Governor of New Mexico from 1994-2003 and before that was a businessman, who started as a handyman and grew his construction company to employ over a thousand people. Other business ventures including serving as the CEO of Cannabis Sativa Inc., a company devoted to selling medical marijuana in certain states.  As New Mexico governor, he increased the state budget from $4.397 billion to $7.721 billion. He also oversaw the creation of a film subsidy tax credit, which has become a major issue in some states. In 2012, Gary Johnson began his presidential campaign as a Republican, but later switched to the Libertarian Party and became their nominee, while Republicans picked Mitt Romney. In the 2012 general election, Johnson received less than 1% of the popular vote.

Here is where Gary Johnson stands on the issues

Government Spending: Johnson pledges that his first major act as President would be to submit a truly balanced budget and veto any legislation that would result in deficit spending

Taxes: Johnson advocates for the elimination of tax subsidies and double taxation and is pushing for a single consumption tax. He also wants to change the IRS as we know it.

Term Limits: Johnson is in favor of term limits on politicians

Jobs: Johnson believes that eliminating income taxes on businesses will make the U.S. a job magnet.

Personal Freedom: Government should be truly limited and people should be able to marry whom they want, arm themselves if they want, make their own decisions about their body, etc.

Foreign Policy and National Defense: The objective of our foreign policy and military should be to protect the US from harm and allow us to continue practicing our freedoms.  He will work to make sure that the US is no longer allowing our money to go to extremists.

Immigration: Johnson believes that a bigger fence would only result in bigger ladders. He believes the current legal immigration system is broken. He advocates for a simplified and secure system of work visas and background checks for aspiring immigrants who would also have to pay taxes and provide proof of employment.

Criminal Justice Reform: Johnson believes that the government has criminalized too many aspects of people’s lives. Johnson says he is committed to bringing leadership to criminal justice reform and turn to common-sense discretion from judges and prosecutors.

Internet Freedom and Security: Johnson does not want the government involved on the internet and if elected would return to government to the side of freedom and innovation-not regulation.

Environment: Johnson believes that the climate is probably changing, and man is probably contributing to that. However, he believes that the role of government is not to engage in social and economic engineering to manipulate the energy marketplace and that the government should not decide which types of energy gets subsidized and which gets penalized.

Education: Johnson advocates for school choice and believes there is no role for the Federal Government in education.

Abortion and the Right to Life: Johnson is pro-choice but does not advocate for taxpayer funding of abortion. He considers abortion a personal issue and thinks that women should be allowed to exercise their legal right without persecution.  In the past, Johnson did support a ban on late-term abortions.

Aryssa D
FFL Cabinet Member