This is the first of a series of gubernatorial candidate profiles in The Foothills Focus. We welcome reader responses to these profiles; please email firstname.lastname@example.org with comments.
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Barry Hess: ‘Organic and grassroots’ politics
Elizabeth Medora~ 8/6/2014
NORTH VALLEY – Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Barry Hess used to think he was a Republican. As he tells it, the first person to refer to him as a Libertarian was Ronald Reagan, long before Reagan became president. As a Republican campaign volunteer, this came as a shock to Hess, but Reagan didn’t mean it negatively.
“He said to me, ‘You hold government to the same standard of moral accountability as you would any individual,’” Hess related.
That is Hess’ campaign in short. As a Libertarian, he holds specific beliefs on what government should and should not do. He’s now running for Arizona governor for the fourth time.
Hess’ major plans for Arizona are all economics-based. He claims that the state is “moving into the worst part of the worst depression this country has ever seen.” He rejects the current governmental figures on unemployment and says he feels the economic situation is worse than what is being described.
Hess calls taxes on wages and property “theft” and wants to eliminate them.
“Eliminating personal income tax and private property tax in all aspects will free up so much money that will go into our economy,” he said.
Eliminating taxes would, of course, take money from the state budget; Hess says he can recoup that and more with his economic plan.
Hess has planned an elaborate monorail system with infrastructure powered by solar panels that would connect the valley and encourage business. He also states that he would, “force the legislature to get out of businesses’ way and stop awarding monopolies.” Hess wants to issue an “open invitation to all businesses to come here.”
Energy is a focus for Hess, who wants to “make Arizona the focal point of energy storage.”
“Energy production is easy here in Arizona – it’s the storage that is the problem,” Hess said.
It’s no secret that immigration is a hot-button issue in Arizona.
“I like simple,” Hess stated, describing his plan for securing the border. He says he could secure the border cheaply and effectively, modeling it after the government base best known as ‘Area 51.’
“That’s a barrier of protection that has never been penetrated in over 50 years,” Hess said. Hess noted that he feels that the border problems are humanitarian, as well as security-related, and that the border must be secured to stop the deaths of people who die in the desert trying to cross the border.
Hess is not a fan of the Common Core State Standards Initiative.
Common Core is an initiative begun by state governors and education leaders across the country to focus on college readiness among students, particularly in reading abilities. Common Core also stands to make the learning standards in every state more similar so students who move from one state to another don’t face an entirely different curriculum.
This program has met backlash from critics like Hess, who feel it takes too much of the education process away from the individual states.
Hess is a supporter of distance learning programs and wants to encourage Arizona citizens to try taking a class or two online.
Summing it up
Hess has not been elected to any office as of yet. He’s currently a writer and is working on his second and third novel self-described “politically-charged” novels. Having lived in Arizona since 1980, he feels familiar with the needs of Arizona and what needs to be done to meet those needs.
Hess sees one of his greatest strengths being the ability to “work with both parties,” calling the current political situation a “gridlock.”
“If you want to break the gridlock between Republicans and Democrats, you are not going to do it with a Republican or Democrat,” Hess stated. He calls the Libertarians an “organic and grassroots” party that’s going to “revive this country.”
“All of your freedoms, all of the time,” said Hess. “What government gives to one, it must give to all.”
As a fourth-time candidate, Hess doesn’t give up. What makes him so determined to be governor? He says it all started when he became a parent.
“I thought it was time that I would stand up for the rights of the next generation,” Hess said.
For more information on Barry Hess, see www.hessforgovernor.com.