Hello everyone, and thank you for taking the time to read our response. My name is Joe Garcia, and I am the Chair of the Libertarian Party of North Carolina. It is my humble honor to be addressing you, my fellow North Carolinians, in response to Governor Cooper and Lieutenant Governor Robinson's State of the State Addresses. Because of the will and work of the people of this state, North Carolina is in a better position than so many other states in our country.
But there are forces in motion that seek to weaken us; as individuals, as families, as citizens, and as a people, attacking our values and trying to impose their own, stifling your businesses, chipping away at your paycheck, and infringing on your basic right to live.
Governor Cooper spoke of prosperity on the heels of his administration's draconian covid restrictions that went far beyond what was realistically practical, crushing business, setting children back in ways we will not understand for decades, and ignoring any basic concept of rights, granted to us as humans and guaranteed by our constitution.
Governor Cooper wants to highlight economic progress while touting environmental initiatives that do nothing to protect the environment but instead enforce arbitrary and growth crushing limitations. He protects polluters from action by the people they harm, in favor of his special interest backers. The Libertarian solution removes those protections for polluters that were built into the laws by lobbyists with deep pockets who fund political campaigns.
Under our plan, those polluters would be legally accountable to you, the people who suffer from toxic emissions, who saw coal ash spills in your waterways and were told to trust the ones who spilled it to clean it up. Our solutions would empower you, who watch ecosystems destroyed in your backyard with no plan to preserve the natural beauty of our great state's mountain, rivers, plains, forests, and beaches. With a Libertarian solution, instead of relying on officials to monitor polluters when those official's campaigns are funded by those polluters, you, the people who are harmed, would be empowered to hold liable in the courts those who promulgate environmental irresponsibility.
Governor Cooper speaks of increased state investments toward education from "cradle to career," ignoring the poor and declining quality of public schools in our state, as though government interventions are the path to success. As childcare and college costs continue to increase, driven largely by the tax of hyperinflation, these investments also come with strings attached that lead to bureaucratic, top-down requirements, causing teacher burnout and producing sub-par results. Yet Governor Cooper advocates for even more government intervention, asking for gasoline to put out a fire.
In the Republican response, Lieutenant Governor Mark Robinson tells us that he's not a politician, he's just another average working citizen like you and me. Moments later, without irony, he tells us what teachers should be teaching. The Libertarian Party believes that you, the parents, should be the voice for your child's morals and education instead of the government. We know that you are best positioned to decide and promote what is best for your child’s life and future. We advocate for real educational choice, letting parents choose the avenue that best serves their children. If we must have tax revenue fund education, then we also must eliminate any state interest or influence on what teachers teach.
We agree with Lieutenant Governor Robinson that reliance on a four-year degree from a university, which have become a wildly overpriced bastion of so much ideological capture, is an outdated and unbalanced approach to preparing the next generation of working adults. We hope the Republican supermajority sticks to that statement, allowing a free economic regulatory environment and promoting jobs that do not require a college diploma. Forcing our universities to compete for students will bring down costs and improve quality.
Governor Cooper stated that we do not need to raise taxes, a rare instance of him getting something correct. Let’s hold him to that. The state government squanders money to support special interests that fund the politician’s campaigns. This is simple, and rampant, among both the Democrats and the Republicans.
We hear a promise for high-speed internet for every North Carolina resident coming from both the Democrats and the Republicans. This is typical pandering, promising something impractical and forcing a government solution - and the associated cost - on those who are not interested in the government or its solution, disregarding the will of those people.
Health care is one of the most important things we face as a people. As the saying goes, "without your health, you have nothing." This one hit close to home, as people in my family about whom I care deeply have faced serious medical procedures in recent weeks, and I have felt profoundly how health scares affect every aspect of our lives.
Again, though, we are told that government expansion is the answer with no regard for the downsides. "Just expand Medicaid, or else," we hear, with the same scare tactics weaponized to turn people against each other as under the covid regime. We saw in real time the dangers of government involvement in health care over the last three years, as policies based in pharmaceutical interests were forced on us under threat of penalty, with no regard for the people they harmed or the utter lack of science supporting their decisions. Meanwhile, we face nonsensical certificate of need restrictions that keep health care centers distant from those in rural communities who need help and restrict providers from acquiring what they need. The LPNC calls for the immediate elimination of all legislation or government regulation that coerces or limits people's ability to pursue their own healthcare.
Governor Cooper speaks of racial equity without acknowledging the recent work of the legislature in finally rolling back Jim Crow era pistol permit restrictions, initially enacted to ensure black citizens in this state were denied their inherent, God-given rights. We in the LPNC categorically oppose all arbitrary laws that challenge the second amendment while giving the state authority to use firearm ownership as a lever to intrude in citizens’ lives. And we adamantly support the rights of all citizens, regardless of skin color or any other characteristic.
The Libertarian Party is deeply concerned by both rising crime rates and police who abuse their authority, and we are happy to hear Governor Cooper speak of police reform. We agree wholeheartedly when he discusses the great burden placed on officers in the field, who are rarely properly trained to handle contingencies like mental health crises, so often the genesis of events which turn deadly. We agree with Lieutenant Governor Robinson that police officers hold a noble position which we should all be able to respect. It is also a position that comes with a tremendous amount of responsibility. Judging people by their actions and not the uniform they wear is a good way to start supporting the good cops who are protecting us while holding bad cops accountable when they abuse their authority.
We have a convoluted and hypocritical concept of "justice" driving our criminal justice system, where violent criminals are released with no regard for our communities' safety while citizens are locked up for decades for the audacity of using a plant to relieve their pain. Meanwhile, we see opioid addiction and overdose spreading every day, the result of failed government policies pushed by extraordinarily wealthy lobbyists. We, the Libertarian Party of North Carolina, call on both parties to do more to increase both police training and support as well as police accountability, so that everyone can go home to their loved ones each night.
The Libertarian Party is the party of people. We are the party of love, the party of peace, and the party of prosperity. Most importantly, we are the party of Liberty. We will never stop fighting for your right to live your life in the way best for you, with the only condition being that you not perpetuate violence or aggression on anyone else. We seek to minimize state interference in your lives and to remove the ability of corporate interests to manipulate laws in ways that boost their earnings while stifling competition and harming you and your bank accounts.
The Libertarian party of North Carolina, all of us, are privileged to be part of this fight for Liberty, and we invite you all to join us. We thank you for your time, your attention, and your energy. We can't wait to meet you. Our future is bright, and we are truly thrilled to be part of it. Sincerely, from the bottom of my heart, thank you, all of you, for everything you do. We're just getting started.