Four Texas Libertarians seeking their party's gubernatorial nomination appeared on stage Tuesday night at Southern Methodist University in Dallas to showcase their debating skills.
The candidates concentrated on traditional libertarian themes of limited government, lower taxes, and individual and state sovereignty.
On the issue of transportation, Steve Nichols advocated recovering more state gasoline tax revenues from the federal government for road building as opposed to creating more toll roads. The issue of toll roads is a growing sore spot for many Texans.
Jeff Daiell's position was to stop taking federal funds for transportation, thereby eliminating cumbersome and intrusive federal regulation. He would also put an end to taking private land under eminent domain, an apparent swipe at Governor Perry's failed $175 billion NAFTA Superhighway scheme angrily opposed by many, including the Texas Libertarian Party.
(A recent Newsmax article warns that the project isn't really dead, just renamed.)
When debate Moderator Paul Petersen, Chairman of the Dallas County Libertarian Party, asked about education two of the candidates had different ideas.
Katherine Youngblood Glass supported "a minimum standard for student performance" but otherwise favored local control.
Ed Tidwell backed a school voucher system that could be used in private schools based on parental choice.
All the candidates addressed ways to resist federal intrusion into state affairs, echoing the "nullification" movement currently popular in Texas.
Tidwell would repeal the 17th Amendment, thereby returning the selection of US senators to the state legislature rather than through a statewide popular vote. Nichols wanted to eliminate federal funding which would eliminate "unwanted mandates on the state." Daiell wants to strengthen the 10th Amendment, which grants powers not reserved for the federal government to the states. And Youngblood Glass would simply eliminate "unnecessary regulations" that the federal government has no power to enforce itself, such as Environmental Protection Agency regulations. "They make the states do it,” she said.
Ft. Worth's Allen Patterson of the White Sepulchre blog (see also "Thoughts of a libertarian tomb raider") was one of the first attendees to post his impressions of the debates. Patterson reports that "8 or 9 kids" from an Allen, Texas Libertarian Facebook group declared Jeff Daiell the winner and quotes one as saying, "Jeff Daiell rocked."
The Libertarian Party’s candidate for governor will be chosen at its statewide convention in Austin on June 11-13.
Much of the information for this article was provided courtesy of Brooks Powell who covered the event for the SMU "multi-platform news site" The Daily Mustang . His full article is here: "Libertarians Hold Only Dallas Debate at SMU"
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