OPED: A vote of confidence for Gary Johnson

Steven Brenize, Guest-Column

The 2016 presidential election cycle has been historic to say the least, and we have a unique opportunity on November 8. We as Pennsylvanians have the chance to vote for an individual with experience in the private and public sector, an individual with ideas and policies that can span across the aisle and bring congress together. We have the perfect opportunity to elevate an individual to the highest office in the land; an individual who is humble, pragmatic, sensible, determined, and, above all, qualified.

Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson talks to the crowd gathered at the Phoenix Airport Marriott on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2016 in Phoenix, Ariz. Johnson has made a number of gaffes on the campaign trail, including asking a journalist what Aleppo, the largest city in Syria, is. Aleppo has long been central to Syrian unrest, beginning in 2012 with the Syrian Civil War.

Gov. Gary Johnson provides voters with a multitude of reasons why he should be the next president of the United States. Johnson has real-life business experience and is a true entrepreneur. To pay for college, he started a door-to-door handyman business. Twenty years later, the one-man shop had grown into one of the largest construction companies in New Mexico, with more than 1,000 employees. He later ran for Governor with no prior experience other than his college political science degree and a passion for helping people. Incredibly, he ran as a Republican but was elected and re-elected in a heavily Democratic state.

 Johnson believes that good public policy should be based on a practical cost-versus-benefit analysis rather than strict ideology. It was this belief that led him to veto more than 750 wasteful bills during his time in office. He also cut taxes 14 times while never raising them. Johnson balanced the state’s budget and left New Mexico with a billion-dollar surplus. While he was reducing taxes and the size of government, he improved New Mexico schools, executed a major infrastructure overhaul, and earned national accolades for his leadership in handling the devastating Cerro Grande Fire that swept across the state in 2000.

 Johnson worked tirelessly to provide a good education for the children of his state. Having served as governor of a border state, Johnson is well-versed in the complex issues associated with immigration reform. Solving immigration problems is not as easy as building a wall or simply offering amnesty. As governor, Johnson supported policies that incentivized job growth. In 2012, He was praised as having the best “job creation” record of all presidential candidates.  Johnson has pledged that his first major act as President will be to submit to Congress a truly balanced budget. No gimmicks, no imaginary cuts in the distant future, just real reductions to bring spending in line with revenues without tax increases.

 Johnson believes we can, and must, strike a balance between our shared American values of freedom from discrimination and religious liberty. He believes that people, not politicians, should make choices in their personal lives. Responsible adults should be free to marry whomever they want, protect themselves with firearms if they so choose, and lead their personal lives as they see fit - so long as they aren’t harming anyone else while doing so. As president, Gary Johnson will move quickly and decisively to cut off the funding on which violent extremist armies depend. He will repair relationships with our allies. And he will only send our brave soldiers to war when such action is clearly authorized by Congress after meaningful, transparent deliberation.

As John F. Kennedy, once said, “Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future." We are told by the 'major' parties that a vote for Johnson is a vote for someone other than him. We are told that it is more important to have a winning candidate than a principled one.  This is not only flawed reasoning, but a divide-and-conquer tactic that has led to a dangerously polarized nation.  We don’t need more strife and divisiveness right now, we need a candidate who can bring Americans back together to save our country.

Please take 15 minutes to visit www.johnsonweld.com.  Learn why Gary Johnson is not only the most qualified candidate, but also a vote that we can be proud of.

Steven Brenize is the current vice-chair of the Shippensburg Borough Authority and a past vice-president of Shippensburg Borough Council.