Interview with Gary Johnson
By Erin Lale
Former New Mexico Governor and current Libertarian candidate for president Gary Johnson is in Las Vegas for his fundraiser Freedom Fest. He was in Las Vegas earlier this year for the Libertarian National Convention, at which he was chosen as the Libertarian Party’s nominee for President. Today he took some time out of his Freedom Fest schedule for this interview.
Erin: How important is Freedom Fest to your campaign?
Gary: It’s really important because it’s my life line to people, and it’s a huge gathering, I understand 3,000 people and I am providing a voice for these people, not that they’re not capable of providing their own voice but I am running for President so maybe my voice would be heard a little more than others.
Erin: When you came to Las Vegas for the Libertarian National Convention, did you run across any local issues that you’ve incorporated into your campaign?
Gary: I have not, but I should add being the former governor of New Mexico and living in New Mexico it’s amazing how many like issues we have. Being west of the Mississippi and having public ownership of land, those are some of the issues Nevada has and New Mexico has. The biggest environmental issue west of the Mississippi is water contamination from septic.
Erin: What are your impressions of our local area?
Gary: I love Las Vegas, I love Nevada, and I think, growing up I’ve always looked at Las Vegas as the libertarian capital, with gambling and prostitution. I know that there have been initiatives in Nevada about marijuana that have not been successful but Nevada seems to have a libertarian brand beyond other states.
Erin: Do you have any contingency plans for how your campaign will react if Ron Paul wins the Republican nomination at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida?
Gary: By his own admission he’s not going to win the nomination, so I’m going to take that at face value. It’s a very remote possibility.
Erin: What do you think about Yucca Mountain?
Gary: I really got to be well versed on high level radioactive waste, given that in New Mexico, Mescalero was looking to open a retrievable storage site, and I know about WHIP [Waste Isolation Pilot Plans], and what I’ve heard second hand is that Yucca Mountain was politically driven and not scientifically based. Why not have monitored retrievable storage at every nuclear site instead of a repository like Yucca Mountain? These are just questions I have, I don’t have the answers.
Erin: If you were President, what would you do on Day 1?
Gary: Day 1, I’d start to prepare a balanced budget. I can just imagine how contentious that document will be, outlining a $1.4 trillion reduction in federal spending. If we don’t do that, we will find ourselves in a monetary collapse, which is where the money we have doesn’t buy anything. We are borrowing and printing money to the tune of 43 cents of every dollar, so $1.4 trillion is 43% of the budget.
Erin: That represents inflated dollars rather than real dollars?
Gary: That represents less buying power because it’s inflated dollars.
At this point in the interview, we chatted about how we had first met. I first met Governor Johnson when we both spoke at an event at the Arts Factory in Las Vegas sponsored by Sensible Nevada, a group that is for ending marijuana prohibition. At the time, I was running for Nevada State Assembly. I mentioned fundraising issues, and the following was Gary’s response.
Gary: When I ran for Governor of New Mexico I spent $500,000 of my own money for a job that pays $85,000 a year. Jesse Ventura says that when that happens you know there are crooked politicians.
Erin: Got to love Jesse Ventura. He says what he thinks.
Gary: I do love him! He’s endorsing me on every stop of his book tour for the past three weeks.
Erin: Cool! Anything else you’d like Nevadans to know?
Gary: I’m the only choice out of three, and I think people will see that if they would just check me out and drawn their own conclusion.