PROVIDENCE, R.I., — In an exclusive Raymond Baccari Political Profile, Rhode Island Libertarian Party Chairman, William Hunt Jr. weighed in on a variety of topics. Some of the topics included what it means to be a libertarian, the party’s plans going into the 2022 election cycle and the key issues they plan to focus on.
Created in the 1970s, the Libertarian party is the third-largest political party in the United States. Given the increasing polarization in American politics, there are some voters who might not be familiar with the party itself or their platform.
Explaining what it means to be a libertarian, Hunt said, “The condensed version of the libertarian platform is we basically want to abolish everything related to government, everything that we can't abolish we want to limit, and whatever's left we refuse to pay for.”
Hunt continued, “Libertarians are very focused on property rights and making sure that people aren’t taking or forcing anything from one individual to redistribute to another individual.”
Hunt noted that in the state of Rhode Island, the party needs to have either their gubernatorial candidate or the national party’s presidential candidate receive five percent of the statewide vote in order to obtain actual party status. With that being the situation — the party plans to try and field a gubernatorial candidate for 2022 to meet that goal as well as focusing on local races and issues too.
“I think the main focus of the Libertarian party of Rhode Island is local politics and local issues. And that’s why ideally, we want to find local candidates at the statewide, State Rep, State Senate, town council and school committee level. But just by the nature of having to form ourselves as a statewide party, we need to have that Governor’s candidate as well.”
Currently, there isn’t a libertarian candidate for Governor but Hunt added that the party’s state convention in April will be when the nomination process will be done. During that process, the official endorsement would also be given for the candidate.
There are a couple of key issues the party will focus on in the election cycle. Hunt mentioned the main ones are perennial issues for libertarians.
“We have some issues just by the nature of who we are as a party and what issues that are relevant in our state that we tend to focus on. Education is a big issue that has become even more apparent now with the mandates and lockdowns. We also are big proponents of lowering the taxes and the regulations for small businesses. If you look at the shutdown from the pandemic, most of the businesses that were most harmed and affected were in industries that were directly licensed and regulated by the government. And they were the ones that were being forced to shut down under threat of losing their [licenses].”
Hunt continued, “Cannabis is a big issue for the Libertarian party. We have been proponents of legalization of cannabis and ultimately all drugs as well. We favor a much more open policy similar to the model they do in Portugal. Where they treat people suffering with addiction as more of a health crisis rather than a criminal offense.”
Second amendment rights are also very important for the party. Hunt cited an example of the importance of this issue by mentioning the situation in Australia. Where he says that Australia’s unarmed citizenry is unable to defend themselves from the tyrannical government during intense, pandemic-related lockdowns going on in the country.
When voters think voting third party is a waste of a vote, that is what Hunt thinks is the biggest misconception people have about third parties in 2021.
He added, “You could support that third party candidate. Help us out as a third party, help us build and actually have a direct impact on your local government by having people [get] the ability to register as libertarians — to run as an official libertarian in their district, not as an unaffiliated running as a libertarian in the state of Rhode Island. It is a [key] difference that makes a lot of difference when it comes to organizing and building a party.”
Additionally, Hunt also spoke with Baccari about non-political topics such as what he thinks Rhode Island is best known for.
To view the full interview, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HDplhLBSFpc.