Libertarians herald freedoms

GOP candidate is not allowed to speak, but GOP officials OK
By Vicki Hyatt | Apr 15, 2014

About two dozen members of the fledgling Libertarian Party met last week to hear from the commissioner candidate that will represent their party in the November election and to discuss principles near to their heart.

Several at the meeting also weighed in on a recent Haywood County commissioner pledge to put up $700,000 over the next two years to help bring natural gas to Canton to help Evergreen Packaging upgrade its mill.

Party Chairman Wayne Porter said Libertarians “take the best parts of the other two parties and put them together.”

Libertarians don’t tell people what they can do with their personal life, and holds that government “has no right to be in peoples’ bedrooms,” Porter said.

The basics of the party are lower taxes, less government and more freedom.

The party has platforms to end the war on drugs, repeal government welfare programs to promote personal responsibility, repeal environmental laws that infringe on property rights in exchange for making polluters liable for damages and to treat all people equally, regardless of their immigration status.

“Both parties have gone off the rail,” Porter said at the meeting. “Our party combines the civil liberties of the Democratic Party and the economic liberties of the Republican Party.”

There are only a dozen Libertarian candidates seeking public office in the state and one of those is Windy McKinney, who is seeking one of three seats on the Haywood County Board of Commissioners.

McKinney, who teaches a class at UNC-Asheville and works at a local restaurant, updated the group about the state party convention and her platform if she is elected.

Her goals include holding town hall meetings so elected leaders can listen to their constituents, scheduling referendums on major issues and resisting unreasonable state and federal mandates.

“Government exists to protect your rights,” she told the crowd.

Matt Wise, a member of the party’s executive board, said those assembled at the Organic Beans Coffee Company’s meeting room in Maggie Valley were the ones who started the nation. He spoke of how far the country has strayed from its founding principles.

“The way to get out of that is to get together and take it back,” he said.

He quoted from Founding Father Samuel Adams who said it doesn’t take a majority to win, but “rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires of freedom in the minds of men.”

While a number of Republicans were at the meeting, including at precinct party chairmen Barbara Buck and Jonnie Cure, GOP legislative candidate Mike Clampitt from Bryson City was shut down when he asked for several minutes to address the crowd.

“We’re trying to keep this a Libertarian Party meeting,” Porter said.

Afterward, Porter said he had no problem with members of the Republican Party attending the meetings, but drew the line at allowing candidates from another party to speak to the group, even if there were no Libertarians in that race.


Industry help

The Libertarian Party platform decries welfare of all kinds, including corporate welfare. Following last week’s county commissioner meeting where the board pledged $700,000 to help provide the natural gas infrastructure that will directly help Evergreen Packaging in Canton, McKinney admitted the issue was a tough one.

On one hand, jobs are needed, she said, but should taxpayers as a whole be helping out a private company?

“It is something I’ll need to study,” she said.

Porter likewise seemed torn on the issue, but came down on the side of letting industry sink or swim on their own.

For Lynda Bennett of Maggie Valley, the issue was clear cut.

“When the government gives money to private corporations it is inappropriate because that is corporate welfare,” she said.

What the county could do to help in this situation, she said, is push back against the federal Environmental Protection Agency that has passed regulations requiring boilers across the nation to meet stricter air quality guidelines.

“The unintended consequences of these regulations could harm industry and it is our responsibility to get the law changed instead of giving in,” she said.

Like many at the meeting, Bennett is involved in several conservative efforts, including the county Republican party and the 9/12 Tea Party.