Libertarian Jeff Scott is running for Congress in North Carolina’s 9th District, which includes part of Charlotte, part of Fayetteville, and a large part of the state’s central southern tier.
Like many candidates, he submitted answers to a newspaper questionnaire—in this case, the Fayetteville Observer. Here are his answers for all to see. Learn more about Jeff and his campaign at http://lpmeck.org/jeff-scott/.
Q: What are your top three legislative priorities?
Presidents cannot work without Congress and have open-ended approval when American lives are at risk. Congress must update the authorization for the use of military force to limit our regime change mission. When our military acts hastily around the world, threatening Iran, Syria and Russia, then Congress must debate openly and make itself accountable to voters. Peace is our goal and the expansion of negotiations to reduce tensions is in every American's interest. The military is only as strong as the clarity of its mission. Our safety depends on staying focused and restoring strong diplomatic and trade relations with the rest of the world.
I support business growth and prosperity. That includes reductions in the tax burden, real accounting for hidden costs that weigh on future generations, and transparency in reporting who benefits from taxpayer bailouts and subsidies. It is unfair to taxpayers to let Washington DC reward its friends with favorable treatment, whether that is in the form of subsidies, tax breaks or other special protections. The government cannot pick winners and losers in our competitive system and Congress must stay diligently neutral. Most voters are wise enough to know that the benefits generated for politically connected groups are returned as donations to political candidates.
The long, national nightmare of Reefer Madness is over, and 2/3 of the American voting public knows it. I will end disastrous drug prohibition. Ramping up penalties has done nothing to deter abuse. Even more pressing, we need to fast track legal reform efforts to deal with the huge social costs of the drug wars that disproportionately affected African-Americans and other vulnerable communities. I also support harm-reduction policies for opioid abuse and common sense "right to try" laws for terminal illnesses.
Q: Congressional districts cover large geographical areas. What will you do to educate yourself about the Fayetteville area so you can truly represent the interests, needs and cultures of this community’s highly diverse population?
The goal of my campaign is to preserve our economic growth at home. Prosperity is the best way of assuring that diverse cultural needs can work in harmony for all residents. The urban areas of Raleigh and Charlotte have drawn people and business over the last several years, but most of District 9 is outside of the city. The surrounding counties are mixed in their ability to create and retain good jobs. Some rural areas are falling behind while urban areas deal with a different set of problems from rapid growth and population changes.
The major issue affecting small business and rural communities is the shortage of skilled and qualified workers to work local jobs. We should reflect for a moment and point out that this regional development issue is a good problem to have compared to the alternative. A more difficult problem that we could face is high unemployment. We don’t want an oversupply of workers who can’t find good jobs or who are under-employed in stagnating businesses.
The key to dealing with both extremes is flexibility in training and education, attracting talent and job mobility. We don’t want to widen the gap further between those who leave to the larger cities for advanced degrees and those who are high school graduates or equivalent. I support vocational training to keep regional diversity strong. Both of my children would have benefited from more practical subject matter, a curriculum custom tailored to the communities. We can provide a better path to work and family, to help young adults launch more confidently into independent living and satisfying work. A clearer path ahead will reduce the despair that leads our young people to substance abuse.
I also believe that Congress can help military service members to establish permanent roots in our communities. Most of those who volunteer to serve in the military do so for less than 6 years and Fayetteville can assist in making sure that life after the military doesn’t mean leaving the state and starting all over again. I will ensure that the military works more closely with the local community to help these transitions and help families to establish small business in the area. Most critically, as I emphasize in my campaign, I will push for reform of the Veteran's Administration to make sure it works as a 21st century service organization and not a big government bureaucracy.
The future in District 9 is bright. A vote for me is a vote for an independent-minded professional with the experience and temperament to work for the people of this district.
Q: Many Americans continue to be frustrated by partisan gridlock in Congress. What would be your contribution to getting things done for the good of our district, the state and the nation?
As a third-party independently-financed candidate, I have a unique perspective.
Frustration with campaign-finance is a symptom of a larger problem of politicians exercising unlimited power. If the passage of a law can affect your business, you will attempt to influence the outcome. To give contributions to a lawmaker who will give you favorable treatment in return is bribery. When lawmakers request contributions in exchange for favorable decisions, they are extorting. We have partisan gridlock because we have a pay-for-favors system, and the financial stakes are so high that neither party wants to be out of power.
Under this system, third parties cannot compete, incumbents benefit and limits on campaign spending are easily bypassed. Voters know that economic favoritism is embedded in nearly every legislative act. Independent voters and candidates are marginalized with every passing election season.
For example, I have been excluded from the corporate press debates sponsored by McClatchey papers, Raycom television affiliates, Spectrum media, and even WFAE, a nominally "public" radio station. The two parties dominate voter communication with their huge payments and donations.
Nevertheless, I have shown up to present my case at every traditional political event where candidates have been invited to take questions. I answer the tough questions in front of all audiences, including the Black Political Caucus and the League of Women Voters.
My opponents do not show up. They prefer to spend on advertisements, which is their right, but does not serve the interest of voters and voter groups that traditionally put candidates on the hot seat to answer tough questions.
The parties have failed to vet their candidates with voters outside their base of support. Yet, they expect unaffiliated voters to reward them in November.
For what? If neither of my two opponents can stand up next to me and debate, how do you think they will perform in Congress?
Neither of the major party candidates have held office. Both are inexperienced, often intemperate and lacking professionalism. We don't know if they are capable of debating since they avoid adversarial situations. They are partisans with limited skills and they would not serve this district with distinction.
Voters need to stand up for independent candidates to break the gridlock. Voters must step away from the big party money and support Libertarians, Greens and Unaffiliated candidates. In Congress, I intend to align with issue groups, supporting peace, prosperity and privacy. I won't be aligned with party interests. I will vote common sense solutions for this state and district.
The Founders never imagined that their system of checks and balances on power could be destroyed by partisanship gridlock.
I will serve this District with distinction.