© 2016 Jim Spence The two-party system in America has finally showed itself to be completely worthless. The system has literally belched two presidential candidates at us. We can choose between the Clinton Crime Syndicate's matriarch, or a serial braggart blowhard who's only claims to fame are inheriting hundreds of millions of dollars, borrowing billions of dollars, and bilking his creditors before filing for bankruptcy several times. Oh yes, I forgot, Trump is also famous for documenting his sexual exploits in his autobiography....something the Clinton's don't document. Most people are looking at Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump and saying that we could throw a rock into any crowded football stadium in America and come up with a better choice.
Gary Johnson was born on January 1, 1953 in Minot, North Dakota. His mother worked for the Bureau of Indian Affairs and his father was a public school teacher. Johnson graduated from Sandia High School in Albuquerque in 1971. He graduated from the University of New Mexico four years later with a Bachelor's degree in political science. Like so many of us who attended a university in the 1970's, Gary Johnson worked his way through college. He earned money as a handyman, often going door-to-door looking for work.
Johnson founded Big J Enterprises in 1976. Big J did mechanical contracting work as a result of Johnson gaining expertise in that segment of the construction business. Eventually, Johnson landed a large contract from Intel when the chip giant expanded in Rio Rancho, just outside of Albuquerque. Johnson added to his skills taking night classes and bolstered his understanding of management. Many years later Johnson sold Big J Enterprises (1999), reportedly cashing out for many millions of dollars.
Gary Johnson became Governor of New Mexico in 1995. He had never occupied public office before taking over as CEO of our state. Johnson was a long shot in the GOP primary. He campaigned as a fiscally responsible, low-tax, anti-crime leader. Johnson governed based on the promises he made to the voters. After defeating incumbent Democratic governor Bruce King in November of 1994, Johnson became legendary in our state for his low-tax and lower spending policies. Johnson knew were the problem was. Accordingly, he focused on bureaucracy reduction.
Johnson also supported the tried and true method of cost–benefit analysis, something government almost never engages in. He was able to slash the 10% annual growth rate of the state budget via the use of the veto. Johnson vetoed an astonishing 200 bills during his first six months in office in 1995. Johnson went on to set state and national records for his use of the veto and the line-item veto. He actually vetoed more spending bills than the other 49 contemporary governors combined.
New Mexican voters liked what they saw during his first four years and rewarded Johnson with a second term.
During his eight years of service as governor, Johnson followed a strict small government approach. According to former New Mexico Republican National Committee member Mickey D. Barnett, "Any time someone approached Johnson about legislation for some purpose, his first response always was to ask if government should be involved in that to begin with."
Johnson certainly fulfilled his campaign promises to reduce the 10% annual growth of the state budget. In his very first budget, Johnson proposed a wide range of tax cuts, including a repeal of the prescription drug tax, a $47 million income tax cut, and a 6 cents per gallon gasoline tax cut. However, thanks to the Democrats and their insatiable thirst for more taxes, even prescription drug taxes, only the gasoline tax cut was passed.
Johnson found the fat in the New Mexico state government early and often. However, during his first term, he did give the idea of throwing more money at education a chance. He allowed spending on education to rise by nearly a third. However, when drop-out rates and test scores showed virtually zero improvement, Johnson called for change and began advocating for school vouchers. Of course Democratic majorities in both houses of the New Mexico Legislature, in bed with entrenched unions, opposed the voucher plans. In New Mexico the education bureaucracy remains a cancer growing on the state budget.
A libertarian at heart. in 1999, Johnson became one of the highest-ranking elected officials in the US to advocate the legalization of marijuana. His reasoning was sound. He said the War on Drugs was, "An expensive bust." Johnson advocated the decriminalization of marijuana use and concentration on harm-reduction measures for all other illegal drugs. "He compared attempts to enforce the nation's drug laws with the failed attempt at alcohol prohibition. Half of what government spends on police, courts and prisons is to deal with drug offenders," he said.
In the final analysis, Gary Johnson changed New Mexico in a profound way. He slashed the size of state government during his two terms and left the state with a $1 billion budget surplus. Of course that enormous surplus would soon be squandered away by the most corrupt governor in state history, Bill Richardson.
During Johnson's tenure he vetoed more bills than the other 49 governors combined—750 in total, one third of which had been introduced by Republican legislators......not Democrats. Johnson also used his line-item-veto power thousands of times. He credits his heavy veto pen for eliminating New Mexico's budget deficit and cutting the growth rate of New Mexico's government in half.
Some people would look at Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump and say that you could throw a rock into any crowded football stadium in America and come up with a better choice. We don't have to. A much better candidate is sitting right under our noses.Gary Johnson is pretty much just what we need to change the culture in Washington D.C.