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Over 400 students and community members filled a lecture hall in the Mathematics building to hear Gary Johnson, the 2012 Libertarian presidential candidate, speak.
Dedicated supporters and skeptical voters came together to hear the former Governor of New Mexico’s stances on the issues in the upcoming election.
“He’s going to be on the ballot for 2012 and I feel like I need to give every candidate a chance,” Alexandra Venitelli, a 19-year-old sophomore international affairs major, said. “I’m just looking forward to hearing a fresh perspective on things because I feel like the Republican and Democratic candidates talk about the same things over and over.”
Thomas Miller, a 20-year-old junior international affairs major, said that he came to Johnson’s speech to receive clarification on certain issues.
“He’s the best candidate for president,” Miller said. “I want to know what he wants to do regarding cutting mandatory federal student loans and how he intends to go from the system we have now to the system that he wants.”
Uncle Nasty, a radio show host in Denver and a registered Libertarian, briefly spoke to the audience about why he supports Gary Johnson which included his stance on the war on drugs and legalizing marijuana.
“We’re tired of the same old thing and that’s why we’re here,” Uncle Nasty said. “I’m going to vote by conscious. I’m going to vote the way I think America should be run, the way things should go, and what’s best for America. I’m going to vote for Gary Johnson.”
Following Uncle Nasty’s introduction, Johnson’s entrance into the lecture hall was greeted by an array of applause, camera flashes and excitement.
“I would not be standing here before you tonight if I didn’t think I could do a really good job as president of the United States,” Johnson said.
Wearing a black suit jacket, a light gray t-shirt with a peace sign and denim skinny jeans, Johnson began his speech by sharing his upbringing with the crowd.
“Since I [was] 17 years old, I’ve paid for everything that I’ve had in my life,” Johnson said. “When I was a junior in college, in 1974, I actually started a one man handy man business in Albuquerque and grew that business to employ over a thousand people. It’s amazing what can happen if you show up on time and do what you say you’ll do for people.”
Now, as a candidate for president, Johnson is adamant about how he believes the country should be run.
He proposes a business approach to state government where the best product, best service, and lowest price are the focus. Johnson advocates eliminating income tax, corporate tax and the IRS, and replacing them with one federal consumption tax.
Johnson also embraces fair tax which, according to him, ends up being cost neutral over a very short amount of time. He said this will be the solution to problems with American exports, jobs and China.
“If we enact the fair tax, we’re going to attract manufacturing jobs to the United States like never before,” Johnson said.
Johnson is also a proponent of abolishing the Federal Reserve, repealing legal tender laws, and establishing competing currencies.Gallery not found. Pleasecheck your settings.
On the topic of foreign affairs, Johnson said that he believes that if the U.S. bombs Iran, then it will leave the country with even more enemies than it would have otherwise, adding that the current economic sanctions against Iran are making things worse.
“It’s a horrible situation,” Johnson said. “Do citizens in Iran hate their government? No, they hate the U.S. because we’re the ones who are instigating this.”
He also discussed how he wants to end the war in Afghanistan.
“I’m the only candidate running for president of the United States that wants to get out of Afghanistan tomorrow and bring the troops home,” Johnson said.
Johnson also made clear that he wants to “keep government out of the bedroom.” He believes that marriage equality is a constitutionally guaranteed right. In addition, he also discussed how he wants to end the war on drugs, which he believes begins with Colorado.
“Colorado has the opportunity to change worldwide drug policy by voting yes for Prop 64,” Johnson said.
He also made the point that, if president, he would have vetoed the Patriot Act and National Defense Authorization Act.
Johnson also believes that illegal immigrants should be embraced as opposed to constantly being fought as an enemy.
“We should make it as easy as possible for somebody that wants to come into this country and work to get a work visa,” Johnson said. “Not a green card, not citizenship, but a work visa.”
According to Johnson, the American Civil Liberties Union came out with a report card for all the presidential candidates that assessed their protection of civil liberties. The ratings were determined by liberty torches and the highest possible score was 24.
Johnson said that Republican candidate Romney received zero on the report card, Democratic candidate Obama received 16, and Johnson himself received 21.
In his closing statements, Johnson discussed the issue of people believing that voting for a third party candidate is a waste of a vote.
“Wasting your vote is voting for somebody that you don’t believe in,” Johnson said. “You vote for the person you believe in. That’s how you change things in this country.”
Johnson will be on the ballot in 48 states.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Alexandria Aguerre at Alexandria.firstname.lastname@example.org.