Virginia's Libertarian candidate for governor, Robert Sarvis, called himself an alternative to the two traditional candidates for governor in a public forum on campus last week.
Sarvis spoke for 30 minutes in the Ukrop Auditorium as part of the Richard L. Sharp Speakers' Series, which aims to present competing views on topics crucial to the nation and global security.
Arguments against Republican candidate Ken Cuccinelli have included that he has alienated voters with his controversial stances on social issues, such as his belief that oral sex should be considered a felony. On the other hand, Sarvis said McAuliffe was more of the same with respect to past Democratic leaders. Both candidates have spent millions of dollars in advertisements portraying each other as unfit for the job, according to a National Journal Article on what Virginia voters thought about the candidates.
Reacting to this, Sarvis has marketed himself as the alternative choice but was not included in the original campus forum. Sarvis was given the opportunity to present his message through the efforts of the university's Libertarian club, Young Americans for Liberty.
Libertarianism is a political philosophy that advocates for an extremely limited form of government. Core beliefs include lower taxes and less regulation of social issues, such as marijuana legalization.
Sarvis "got in to this race because the voters want something different," he said. When asked how he would improve the job market for graduating seniors, he said, "That is a very good question on the minds of everyone in the state." His position was that "state-level laws shoot ourselves in the foot," and that "open and competitive markets are being [hurt] by cronyism and corporatism influencing their policies for their own profits."
He gave an example of his sister, who works in the medical industry. Because of state regulations, she is unable to purchase an MRI machine without petitioning the state board, which is composed of her industry competitors. Her competitors are thwarting the expansion of her business, Sarvis argued, which could result in a less diverse market and higher prices for the consumer.
Sarvis also spoke at length about civil liberty and the danger of recently released government surveillance programs, such as those of the National Security Agency. He said: "Civil liberties protect us from government overreach. When we have these secret programs, it is very hard to police them. It raises a lot of problems... Errors are going to be made in these programs, and we have no way of knowing if they keep us safe or not."
After the forum, Sarvis responded to questions on his bipartisan support base. He said: "Polls suggest that my votes are coming from both sides, and independents... If I am indeed taking votes from one candidate, then they should have nominated a better candidate."
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