Live Local, Live Small: Thoughts on policy from pizza-delivery-guy-turned-Libertarian candidate Sean Haugh
This year North Carolina has a third-party candidate on the Senate ballot: Libertarian Sean Haugh. There still is a tendency to belittle third-party candidates in the media; however, several have served quite recently in the U.S. Senate. Sen. Angus King currently holds one from Maine and Sen. Bernie Sanders from Vermont. Jim Jeffords (Vermont), Joe Liberman (Connecticut), Dean Barkley (Minnesota), and Robert Smith (New Hampshire) have all served in the Senate on independent tickets since 2000.
Haugh’s campaign now has a website: www.seanhaugh.com. Until recently it functioned as a Facebook page and YouTube posting entity. His notoriety has brought a number of national reporters to Durham, attempting to interview him. It led to a Facebook post a few weeks ago that if they wanted to talk to him, they could order a pizza. (Haugh works as a pizza delivery driver.)
Encore decided that rather than driving to Durham and renting a hotel room to order pizza, he might answer our questions if we just emailed and asked. I sent the same questionnaire to all the candidates on the ballot; both Kay Hagen and Tom Tillis have received this questionnaire and will be afforded the same space to make their cases. According to Public Policy Polling, Haugh comes in with 10 percent of the votes in the race against Tillis and Hagen. I will continue to give election coverage each week, featuring a different candidate until election day on Tuesday, November 4th. The last day to register to vote is October 10th. Information about finding your polling location, one-stop voting or absentee voting can be found at the Board of Elections website (www.elections.nhcgov.com). Please, vote. If our NC General Assembly and New Hanover County Commission have accomplished anything in the last few years, it has been to prove to their constituency that there are consequences to elections that impact our daily lives.
encore (e): When and why did you decide to seek this office?
Sean Haugh (SH): It was two weeks into the filing period in February when I realized if there were to be a Libertarian candidate this year, it would have to be me. I felt there had to be a strong Libertarian voice in this particular race; a voice for stopping all war and [to stop] spending more money than we have. Neither the Democrats nor the Republicans will talk about those vital issues.
e: What is the central issue of this election for you?
SH: Stop all war. War infects our policy at home and abroad in so many ways. Not only must we end our direct warfare, we must immediately stop all military aid to governments and quasi-governments, stop interfering in the affairs of other nations, and stop the militarization of the police at home. As senator I would seek to eliminate violence or killing as government policy wherever it exists.
e: Tell us where you stand on fracking?
SH: I oppose fracking. One would think the fact that it causes earthquakes would be enough to get people to stop. As we have seen with the Duke Energy coal-ash spill and the legislative non-response to it, regulations are currently gamed to protect corporate special interests from the costs of cleaning up their damage and fully compensating people harmed by it. If a fracking company poisoned people’s air or water, legislators are working hard to make sure they can simply count it as the cost of doing business. The competing concerns of industry and environment could be equitably solved if only we made directors of corporations personally responsible for the environmental damage they cause. That way they would be less likely to make business decisions that result in environmental disasters.
e: How does your platform support small business?
SH: Small business is the true generator of jobs and wealth. I would look to root all corporate welfare out of government, which invariably favors big business against the interests of their smaller competitors. Regulations are currently being written so that larger corporations can afford them but smaller competitors can’t. By reducing federal regulation as much as possible, we can remove the barriers to entrepreneurship and allow small businesses a chance to thrive.
e: How do you plan to generate income for our local economy?
SH: Besides reducing the cost of regulation on small business, if we could let people keep all the money they earn by cutting or eliminating taxes, that extra money would have a chance to be spent locally, instead of just going into the federal sinkhole.
e: What are your thoughts on the proposed sales tax cap?
SH: That’s a state issue, not a federal one. Frankly, I’m torn on this one. As a Libertarian, I love the idea of placing limits on taxes; however, I am deeply disturbed by the general policy of the NC General Assembly to arbitrarily and inappropriately take away powers from city and county governments whenever some lobbyist bends their ear.
e: How do you feel about a national minimum wage?
SH: I am opposed to most federal intervention in the economy. That includes setting a minimum wage.
e: What is your vision for our community in two years? In five years?
SH: I firmly believe that if we could achieve peace, that will lead to freedom, which in turn [will] lead to prosperity for all. A free and prosperous people can create the innovations in technology, communications, and community-building we need for greater human enlightenment and to end scarcity. I don’t know if it could happen in two or five years, but that’s my goal.