The other political convention

I have enjoyed the recent TGI coverage of the national conventions of the Republican and Democrat parties. It was good to see that at least a few Kauai residents were able to make the long trips to the conventions in Cleveland and Philadelphia, and that some were able to participate as delegates.

In June, I was fortunate to have been able to participate as a delegate from Hawaii to the Libertarian Party convention in Orlando, Florida. The convention was smaller than the grand affairs put on by the two major parties, but the issues facing the country were hotly debated in Orlando and the nominating process went to the second ballot for both the presidential nominee and the vice-presidential nominee. Our five-member delegation from Hawaii went 4 to 1 for the winning nominees: former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson for president and former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld for vice-president.

The Libertarian Party ticket of Johnson and Weld offers an interesting contrast to nominees of the two big parties. Both Johnson and Weld were successful two-term governors of “blue” states. Both were fiscally conservative governors balanced their budgets and cut taxes. On the other hand, both were socially liberal, favoring a woman’s right to choose and equality in gay rights, for example.

I had an opportunity to meet and speak with Gov. Johnson at the convention. He is a very down-to-earth, accessible and friendly guy. He is also by far the best athlete running for president this year, having competed in several triathalons, including four Ironman Triathalons on the Big Island, and having climbed the highest mountains on seven continents, including Mount Everest.

Before being elected governor of New Mexico, Johnson was a very successful entrepreneur, having built a one-man handyman service into a construction company with over 1,000 employees.

Gov. Johnson told me that his immediate goal is to get into the presidential debates.

If that goal is met, then he is confident that his message of individual freedom, less intrusive government, fiscal responsibility, and a non-interventionist foreign policy will resonate with some of the many disillusioned and unhappy independent voters in the country. I hope he makes it to the debates. He would make the discussion a lot more interesting.


Mike Dyer is a resident of Kilauea.


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