Answers from Rob Sarvis, the Libertarian Candidate for VA Governor

Helen Shibut

Just a couple weeks ago, after a spirited debate from party members, the Libertarian Party of Virginia nominated Rob Sarvis as its gubernatorial candidate. Prior to the special nominating convention, I got in touch with Mr. Sarvis, and he agreed to answer a few questions for this blog. If you like what he says, you can go to his website (http://www.robertsarvis.com) and find out more about helping collect signatures so he can get on the ballot. Below are my questions with his responses-- enjoy!

How would your past political experience inform your decisions as governor?

1) There are a lot of people out there yearning for the option to vote for someone who is reasonable, who knows how to find real solutions to the problems we face, who isn't looking for wedge issues to divide the electorate, who isn't in bed with big business or other vested interests looking for special treatment, who respects people's freedoms and individual rights and will protect their civil rights and civil liberties, who simply wants good, evidence-based public policy. The two major parties in Virginia today aren't interested in putting up candidates that fit that description. I am the only candidate who can represent all Virginians and seek out common ground between legislators in both parties on the basis of reason rather than ideology.

2) There are many ways in which the electoral system protects incumbents and the two major parties, and that should change. I would like to see some reforms, including the adoption of term limits in both houses of the legislature, a reduction in the number of ballot signatures needed for statewide races, and more.

3) Virginia voters generally identify three priorities: the economy, education, and transportation. Republicans and Democrats pay lip service to all three, but are totally unserious about enacting real solutions. My focus will be solely on enacting real solutions.
Transportation has been a hot button issue in Virginia for years. How do you propose to find long term and cost effective solutions to the congestion problems in Northern Virginia and the rest of the state?
The recent bill shows Republicans and Democrats cannot be trusted to control spending and keep taxes from rising. Every Virginia voter knows transportation should be a major priority, but Democrats and Republicans are totally incapable of shifting spending from lesser priorities to meet our transportation needs. The recent bill perpetuates a system of politicized and bureaucratic decision-making, inefficiency, and waste. We should have continued moving toward a system where the costs of construction and maintenance of transportation infrastructure are paid by those who use it. Government should be agnostic as to technology and form of transportation; instead, we get ideological pre-commitments, legislative fiat on inflexible funding ratios that make no economic sense, regional cross-subsidies driven by political power, etc.
How do you think Virginia could implement more elements of school choice, so that all students have a fair shot at a good education?
I'm a huge huge fan of school choice and markets in education. DC's former Democratic mayor Adrian Fenty recently said that his party is on the wrong side of education reform. He is right, Democrat's are unforgivably obtuse on this, but the Republicans in Virginia are not proposing any bold, serious solutions, either. I will do so, based on the principle that parents should have greater control over the money being spent on their children, because they have the greatest interest in and knowledge about their children's development. There are many different ways to maximize choice and foster markets in education, and I am open-minded about them all. Education tax credits, vouchers, universal charter schools, parental triggers, school-choice matching algorithms, etc., etc. There is no shortage of ideas, only a shortage of political will and courage. I am probably the only candidate who actually spends time personally looking at studies on school choice and what works and what doesn't. Education is a huge priority for me, and I don't believe in half-measures on this issue. Providing an education is in the state constitution, and we should take it seriously enough to challenge all the defenders of the status quo, with all its administrative bloat, ineffectiveness, stasis, and waste.


Drones, Due Process, and Standing with Rand

Helen Shibut

I don’t always support Rand Paul. Like many other libertarians, I was extremely disappointed by his endorsement of Mitt Romney’s presidential bid in 2012. I also think he should take the focus off his pro-life position, for the good of the larger liberty movement. But when it comes to his nearly thirteen hour filibuster of John Brennan’s nomination for director of the CIA, I stand with Rand.

Leading up to his filibuster and throughout the long hours in which he talked, Paul repeatedly demanded that the Obama administration affirm that it does not have the constitutional authority to order drone strikes on American citizens on American soil. As Paul said, this should have been an easy concession. Of course the president cannot have Americans killed without due process—stating a charge against the accused, and granting him legal representation and a trial by jury.

Speaking on the behalf of the administration, Attorney General Eric Holder blustered about the unlikelihood of drone strikes within the United States and promised that such strikes haven’t occurred yet. Oh, good. Why couldn’t Holder just say, “No, the government cannot shoot down Americans with drones inside the country”? Probably because he and many other government officials believe they can do just that.

This isn’t a partisan issue. Large majorities of both Republican and Democratic elected officials resent any attempt by their constituents and their Constitution to restrain their powers. But public pressure and the fear of not getting reelected can motivate these politicians to protect the rights of all Americans guaranteed in the Bill of Rights. On the issue of drones and due process, I encourage everyone to stand with Rand. Remind your representatives that they work for you, and that you don’t want to hear drones buzzing around your town. 


Ron Paul Visits Lexington, VA

Helen Shibut (photos courtesy of Joshua Huffman)

            Yesterday, I had the opportunity to see Dr. Ron Paul speak to an audience of about six hundred people at Washington & Lee University in his first public speech since he retired from Congress. The former Congressman from Texas spoke about his concern for the United States as most of our leaders continue to push us down a path of unsustainable debt and perpetual war. But despite the problems we face, Dr. Paul professed optimism for the future, repeating his famous refrain that “freedom is popular” and pointing out the growing enthusiasm of young people who want to take the country in a different direction. Dr. Paul also joked about being relieved to be outside of Washington D.C. and onto more friendly ground, referencing his plans to tour college campuses around the country. After his speech, he took audience questions about the Federal Reserve, the Republican and Libertarian parties, and abortion.