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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

‘You are the boss’: Libertarian gubernatorial candidate visits A&M

Editor’s note: This article was updated since initial publication. 

If there’s one thing Democrats and Republicans agree on it’s this: keeping the Libertarians out of office, Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Mark Tippetts said. 

Aggies for Liberty and the Brazos County Libertarian Party hosted a political campaign event in Rudder Tower on Oct. 20. Several local candidates campaigned for the upcoming election with Tippetts concluding the meeting with his campaign for governor. Tippetts addressed his stance on abortion, health care, gun control and more. 

The meeting started with Libertarian Brazos County judge candidate Clyde Garland. Garland said he was upset with the government shutdown of local businesses during COVID-19 and that it was merely a bad flu with a higher death rate. The government shouldn’t have the authority to tell businesses to shut down, Garland said. 

“I’m running to set us free,” Garland said. “The Declaration of Independence … says that we have the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” 

Texas representative for District 14 candidate Jeff Miller said in his speech that his opponent John Raney “rolled over” for incumbent Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott by forcing businesses to shut down during COVID-19.

“[Raney] took the edict from the king and he said, ‘As a good duke, do what the king said,’” Miller said. “My entire platform is based on: I want you to have the freedom to do what you want to do.”

Following the local candidates’ speeches, Tippetts said the government should be completely uninvolved in healthcare issues and that it should remain between patients and their doctors. On abortion, Tippetts said the government doesn’t have the right to dictate what women can do with their bodies. 

“To me personally, there is absolutely nothing more precious than life, but at the same time four of my kids are girls,” Tippetts said. “There is not a government on this earth that has the right to tell them what to do with their body.” 

In the case of overturning past legislation regarding abortion restrictions such as Abbott’s ‘heartbeat bill,’ Tippetts said he might not have that power, but that he wouldn’t have signed such a law into effect. 

“Eighty percent of our legislative body are men,” Tippetts said. “How can men legislate something that they will never ever be faced with? That’s the most ludicrous thing … That they believe they have a right to legislate morality for women.”

Immigration is something Tippetts said is necessary for the U.S. to function and should be made easier. Tippetts said he wants to shift the focus from blaming immigrants for the drug war and instead look at solving the root cause: the demand for drugs to begin with. 

“I am not advocating for open borders,” Tippetts said. “We need comprehensive immigration reform that makes it easy for hard-working law-abiding people to come across legally. I do agree that it has to be orderly and legally.”

In order for certain gun control restrictions to be made, Tippetts said the Constitution itself has to be amended. He would be in favor of any gun laws that didn’t violate the Second Amendment. He said he would be against raising the age restrictions. 

“Once we start down that rabbit hole, where’s the end?” Tippetts asked. “The Constitution is our supreme law … We cannot violate that foundation.” 

Tippetts said he wants to decriminalize marijuana and allow the use of medical marijuana for people with medical conditions such as epilepsy. 

“I have seen the wonders of medical marijuana in Colorado,” Tippetts said. “Who gave the government the right to tell us we can’t consume a plant?” 

When it comes to the issue of police reform, Tippetts said the sheriff needs to be given the grounds to hold police accountable as an elected official. Tippetts said he doesn’t necessarily want to defund police, but rather refocus the funding. 

“Legalizing marijuana ties up a lot of funds for police to actually use those funds to go after real crimes, not after petty crimes,” Tippetts said. “Not after crimes that affect minority communities.”

Tippetts said that candidates such as Democrat gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke and Gov. Abbott want to swerve around the Constitution and neglect their actual duties as elected officials. 

“The Republicans and Democrats believe they were elected to be your boss,” Tippetts said. “They got it backwards. You are the boss. That’s why I’m running for governor.”

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