Sunday, March 27, 2016

Lt. Governor Candidate for Washington State, Paul Addis (Libertarian) Interview

Paul Addis, Washington State's Libertarian candidate for Lt. Governor in 2016
Paul Addis, Washington State's Libertarian
candidate for Lt. Governor in 2016
The following contribution is from Seattle-based independent journalist, David Malekar; who regularly publishes content to the WashCo Chronicle and other online publications.  The interviewee, Paul Addis, is the Lt. Governor Candidate for Washington State.  Paul has been featured on the Washington Libertarian website.You can find more information on Paul at the website 

DM:  Thank you Paul, for taking the time out to address the people in this interview.  First question for you is, why?  What's your motivation behind your campaign in 2016 for Lt. Governor?

PA: Thanks for having me, David. My motivation for running for Lt. Governor is to highlight, promote and support the growth of the Libertarian Party in Washington State. What I mean is that, by running a campaign for public office, I will have opportunities that wouldn't otherwise be available to me. I have filed my intent to run with the Public Disclosure Commission (PDC), but we are still a couple of months away from the official ballot filing with the Secretary of State, and I have already been mentioned in the Seattle Times, contacted by KING5 TV and invited by the Key Peninsula Democrats to a panel discussion. This type of publicity is not available to individuals and parties that don't run for office. As well, a public campaign offers volunteers and supporters a focal point for activity. In 2014, when I ran for State Representative in Seattle, I began my campaign with only a few volunteers. By the end of the campaign I had as many as 15 supporters canvasing precincts to hand out my material. Those were people I hadn't even known when I started the campaign, and they all signed up because they wanted to support the platform and message. Without the campaign, they would have had nowhere to do that in their legislative district. So, at the current stage of development and growth of the Libertarian Party of Washington, it is more important for me to assist that growth and development of the supporter base than whether or not I win an election. The winning will come as the base grows. We're putting one foot in front of the other here in Washington, and the Libertarian Party campaigns of 2016 are the next step in a long term plan. That plan includes gaining experience by electing leadership and running candidates, recruiting new supporters and candidates, training activists and consistently repeating those steps.

Paul Addis speaking at 2014 LPWA convention
Paul Addis speaking at the 2014 LPWA convention
DM:  Growing the party in Washington seems to be a key focus.  In your campaign, what are the biggest issues you want to tackle or bring light to?

PA:  The position I’m running for, Lt. Governor, has a unique role to play, which is not as directly legislative as most of the open positions such as State Representative, State Senator, Governor US Congressional positions. Of course, that is, unless the Governor can’t fulfill their duties and the Lt. Governor would have to fill in for a time. The Lt. Governor’s main duties include being President of the State Senate, as well as appointing members to specific committees. As the Senate president, the Lt. Governor helps decide which legislation moves to the floor for debate. That role, along with appointing committee members, can best be handled by a third party such as myself, due to the lack of allegiance to either of the two main parties. My decisions would be made based on libertarian principles, rather than party affiliation or favors owed to big money interests. Which brings me to my biggest issue. I believe that one of the greatest threats to the free market is the influence of money in politics. In Washington, we had a piece of legislation a few years ago where the legislature voted to give a tax break to Boeing, but that legislation did not remove the tax burden for smaller aerospace companies such as Hexcel. The result of that legislation was that Hexcel, which competes with Boeing in some product lines, was no longer competitive due to greater government-imposed overhead costs. Hexcel couldn’t pay as high of wages, so Boeing could pick off the best workers from Hexcel. Boeing could offer lower price points to customers. All of this was the result of actions taken by the legislature, not natural dynamics of the free market. This behavior makes the playing field un-level for businesses. This is no isolated case, and many times it is due to the attraction that this kind of power brings from companies and industries that want unfair advantages and are willing to pay-to-play in this crony capitalist game. That is why I do not take money from PACS, corporations, unions, lobbyists or any special interest groups. I only take donations from individuals. That decision is based on principle, but I also bring it up often in my campaign to highlight the problem. It is certainly an issue that most voters agree on from both sides of the aisle. I’d also like to see some innovation in how we make healthcare available. I think allowing social service funds (i.e. EBT Cards) to be used for direct primary care fees would provide better service for those in need at lower costs to the tax payer. It would be a step in the right direction. I’m also a big proponent of giving families more options when it comes to educating their kids. Along with a more decentralized approach to education. I think direction is more important than destination at this time, so I’m OK with anything that moves us toward a more free-market based system. Other issues that I feel strongly about include accountability of law enforcement and better transportation solutions in Washington.

Paul Addis volunteering at the Bread of Life Mission in Seattle
Paul Addis (right)
Volunteering at the Bread of Life Mission in Seattle.
DM:  As Lt. Governor of Washington, what would be your first major action within office?

PA:  My first objective would be to get to know each of the legislators, especially in the State Senate. One of the major roles of the Lt. Governor is to appoint members to various committees. I believe that, in order to do that effectively, I would need to build solid relationships with the members of the Senate to assist my decision making on those matters. Currently, the leaders in the largest caucuses send the Lt. Governor recommendations for appointment to these committees. As I’ve mentioned earlier, my decisions would be based on libertarian principles rather than party affiliation. Whereas the current Senate is made up of members from the Democratic and Republican parties, I would like to keep a fair balance from both sides of the aisle, but with an eye toward their history of voting and support for particular legislation. For example, if a Republican or Democratic leader sent me a recommendation for a potential committee member and that Senator had consistently voted in favor of crony corporatist legislation such as the Boeing tax break, the bill to increase taxes on certain parts of e-cigarette/vaping products, or voted against the industrial hemp bill, I would have a difficult time agreeing with that recommendation. In order to perform that function properly, I believe it would be extremely important to build relationships with as many Senators as possible so I could have better firsthand knowledge to inform those decisions. As for the first legislative action I would take, that would be dependent on what legislation is brought forward. My role would be to lead parliamentary discussion during the debate on the Senate floor.

DM:  On the topic of "unnecessary taxes and regulations," which ones do you plan on cutting or removing to help the common person and small business thrive?

PA:  There has been an ongoing effort in Olympia to institute a state income tax in Washington. First of all, that is one thing I would do my best to avoid. I don’t believe there is any good reason to tax the medium of exchange between two consenting parties that decide to trade for mutual benefit. Income tax goes against the foundational principle of a free society. As for current taxes, I would think the Business and Occupational tax (B&O) would be some low hanging fruit. I don’t see that there is any real benefit to the businesses that pay the tax. And I believe there is some bi-partisan support for the elimination of the B&O tax. I’d also like to see more of the gas tax spent on the roads that are used by the people who pay the tax versus the projects that only 2% of the people utilize. However, as Lieutenant Governor I would be limited as to how I could directly affect that type of legislation. My role would be more about facilitating legislative activity than authoring or sponsoring actual legislation.

Paul Addis at Washington State capitol Olympia 2016
Paul Addis (center)
Speaking against non-judicial foreclosure
at the Capitol in Olympia in 2016.
DM:  Paul, thank you for providing our readers with great insight to your platform.  I will be following up with you in a little while, to update everyone on your campaign.  In closing, what final thoughts and last messages would you like to provide to everyone reading?

PA: Thanks again for having me, David. I’d like to reiterate to your readers a couple of things that are important to keep in mind about our current political landscape. The first is to consider how crony corporatism, meaning big money interests in politics, damages the foundation of a free society. When certain organizations are allowed to pull the strings of our policy makers, the natural and healthy dynamics of the free market are severely mitigated. Free market capitalism has done more to liberate oppressed people, mobilize individuals out of poverty and benefit society in general than any government system ever could. When we allow corporate interests to undermine that system we all lose. That is why it is important to choose your politicians wisely. Lastly, I would like to say that I believe the future health of the American political system depends on having a viable third (and more) party. More options means more competition. More competition means better choices for the consumer. The duopoly that is the Republican and Democratic parties have become too similar to allow the American voters a real choice in elections. It’s time to vote for parties that ‘can’t win’ until they start winning. You can be that change. It starts now, and it starts with you.