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PO Box 4422
Salt Late City, UT 84110-4422
(801) 303-7922 (Phone)

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Candidate Biography:

Gary Johnson was born on January 1, 1953 in Minot, North Dakota.  Johnson moved to Albuquerque, NM as a child and  graduated from Sandia High School and then the University of New Mexico.  Johnson earned a bachelor degree in science from the University of New Mexico where he met his future wife Denise "Dee" Simms.  He and his wife, Dee, have one daughter and one son, and they reside in a house he built himself in Taos, New Mexico.  Johnson started his own mechanical contracting business and grew the company from a one man operation to a company with over $38 million dollars in revenue.  In 1994 Johnson ran for Governor of New Mexico and beat incumbent Bruce King (D).  He succesfully ran for re-election in 1998.  In 2002 Johnson was termed limited and could not run for another term as Governor of New Mexico.  Since his term Johnson has advocated for sensible drug policy and other Libertarian issues.  He sought the Presidency in 2012 first as a Republican and then utimately as the Libertarian nominee.  Johnson announced his second bid for the presidency in January 2016.  

On the Issues: Public Statements



GMO LABELING: “I agree with it” “Government needs to label my food or I can’t eat it, otherwise I eat poison." (Johnson, 2015)


CUTTING SPENDING: "Oh, well, in a broad sense it is less government. If you’re talking about adding a thousand agents in this category, government is dynamic. Overall it should shrink in size. I do believe it tries to accomplish too much, it taxes too much, but government is dynamic and this is an issue that needs to be faced. If that’s a thousand new people, I daresay we’re gonna overall cut the size and scope of government." (Johnson, 2016)

CUTTING SPENDING: " Well, not really. I mean, cutting the--it is a factor--it's a factor of reduced government spending, it's a factor of economic growth, and we've had government grow, though. So, no, he hasn't contributed to the equation like he--like I thought I heard him say, going back all the way to 2008. I mean, he said all the right things. He said that the deficit really is horrible and that we need to reduce it when the reality is--like I say, he's--he has control over one segment of that equation, and in that segment that he has control over, or some--much control over--government spending--he's--it hasn't happened. And another great untold story is, okay, no legislation passes whatsoever, you're the executive. You get to run federal government. So don't discount the power that lies to achieve smaller government if you've got somebody in the Oval Office that's bent on making that happen." (Johnson, 2016)

BALANCED BUDGET AMENDMENT: “By the time Barack Obama leaves office, the national debt will be $20 TRILLION. That is not just obscene, it is unsustainable — and arguably the single greatest threat to our national security. Responsibility for the years of deficit spending that have created our debt crisis rests squarely with BOTH the Republicans and the Democrats. The debt doubled under President George W. Bush — and doubled again under President Obama. During that time, both parties enjoyed control of Congress, and the deficit spending just kept piling up. It doesn’t have to be that way, despite what the politicians say. But the idea that we can somehow balance the federal budget without cutting military spending and reforming entitlements is fantasy. What is required is leadership and political courage. As Governor of a state with an overwhelmingly Democrat legislature, Gary Johnson stood up to excess spending, vetoed 750 bills and literally thousands of budget line items…and balanced the state’s budget. Governor Johnson has pledged that his first major act as President will be to submit to Congress a truly balanced budget. No gimmicks, no imaginary cuts in the distant future. Real reductions to bring spending into line with revenues, without tax increases. No line in the budget will be immune from scrutiny and reduction. And he pledges to veto any legislation that will result in deficit spending, forcing Congress to override his veto in order to spend money we don’t have. No excuses. No games. A REAL balanced budget" (Johnson, 2016)


CLIMATE CHANGE: "Yeah, I do. But back to the large risk to human society, we’re what, 16 percent of the world’s population, we’re 16 percent contributor to global warming, and I think that the free market has really addressed this in a big way, that we as consumers are demanding less carbon emission. And if you look at coal, coal has been bankrupted. All the marginal coal assets in this country are bankrupted; they’re not being utilized. Thirty-seven percent of the U.S. load is – I mean, that’s the number one contributor to CO-2 is coal, and as low as the prices for coal today, natural gas is even less, so there are just no new coal facilities that are going to be built, and then this boondoggle in Mississippi, clean coal, and it rages on. What is the cost of that facility up to now, 6 billion dollars? And I think these things are in the cards and that from a consumer standpoint we are driving that way beyond government regulation, and I would not be – I would not be supporting government regulation that ends up with us losing jobs. And I say that there’s also the rest of the world. Yeah, we lead by example, but do we get ahead of the world to the point that we lose jobs here in this country as a result of it?" (Johnson, 2016)

CLIMATE CHANGE: “The environment is a precious gift and needs to be protected. Gov. Johnson believes strongly that the first responsibility of government is to protect citizens from those who would do them harm, whether it be a foreign aggressor, a criminal — or a bad actor who harms the environment upon which we all depend. Consistent with that responsibility, Gary Johnson believes it is the proper role of government to enforce reasonable environmentalprotections. He did so as Governor, and would do so as President. However, Gov. Johnson also believes that it is NOT the proper role of government to engage in social and economic engineering for the purpose of manipulating the energy marketplace or creating winners and losers in what should be a robust free market. Such efforts have failed in the past, and are doomed to continue to fail. Preventing a polluter from harming our water or air is one thing. Deciding in Washington, DC, that one source of energy should be subsidized and others penalized is a different matter. In a healthy economy that allows the market to function unimpeded, consumers, innovators and personal choices will ultimately bring about the environmental restoration and protection society desires. Conversely, destroying prosperity and innovation through government intervention will only harm the environment. When it comes to global climate change, Gov. Johnson believes too many politicians are having the wrong debate. Is the climate changing? Probably so. Is man contributing to that change? Probably so. The important question, however, is whether the government’s efforts to regulate, tax and manipulate the marketplace in order to impact that change are cost-effective — or effective at all. Given the realities of global energy and resource use, there is little evidence that the burden being placed on Americans is making a difference that justifies the cost” (Johnson, 2016)


TERM LIMITS: “Americans are increasingly frustrated, even angry, that — regardless of which political party is in control — nothing really changes in Washington, DC. The spending continues unchecked. The wars continue. Government keeps taking away more freedom. This disastrous allegiance to the status quo by career politicians is a direct result of the reality that those politicians are more concerned about keeping their jobs than about doing what needs to be done. That’s why Gary Johnson is a strong advocate of term limits. Run for office, spend a few years doing the job at hand, and then return to private life. That’s what Gary Johnson did as Governor, and that’s what Senators and Representatives should do” (Johnson, 2016)


"Well, if you’re talking about health care and the reforms needed for health care, the reforms needed for health care are genuine free-market approaches to healthcare. I reject the notion that we have insurance to cover ourselves for ongoing medical need. It’s really crazy. In a free-market approach to health care, we would have insurance to cover ourselves for catastrophic injury and illness, and we would pay as you go in a system that I’m going to guess would cost about one-fifth of what it costs right now. It would be cash and carry. It would be “Stitches R Us”, it would be “Gallbladders R Us”, “X-rays R Us”. It would be advertised pricing. It would be advertised outcomes. Something that today, you go to the doctor, you have no idea what it’s going to cost — you have no idea what the outcome’s going to be, and when you see the bill you know that nobody’s really going to pay the amount that’s on that bill."  (Johnson, 2016)

"Well, both of us having been governors of our respective states, look, there should be a safety net out there regarding health care, and in no way are we saying that the safety net should be eliminated. President Obama's health care plan - at the end of the day, I'm looking to get elected president of the United States. So I am going to sign onto any initiatives, really, that bring a free-market approach to health care. My insurance premiums currently have quadrupled. I haven't seen a doctor in three years. I'm agreeing with Chief Justice Roberts that it is a tax. And bringing free-market approach to health care, we would not have insurance to cover ourselves for ongoing medical need. We would have insurance to cover ourselves for catastrophic injury and illness. And if we could bring genuine competition to health care, health care would be one-fifth the cost of what it is right now. You would have Stitches R Us. You would have advertised pricing with outcomes that you - you'd see published outcomes. Something that right now, when any of us go to the doctor, we have no idea what it's going to cost, we have no idea what the outcome is going to be. We get a bill. We know that nobody is going to actually pay the amount of money that's on that bill. Well, if there were a free market for health care, I think you'd see dramatic savings, and it's all about savings. Look, it's all about savings, it's all about more effective delivery of health care." (Johnson, 2016)

AFFORDABLE CARE ACT/OBAMACARE:  "I think this is a torpedo in a sinking ship" (Johnson, 2012)


Coming soon!


"Well, as president of the United States, looking to get elected president of the United States, count on me to sign on tax policy that would reduce or simplify taxes in this country. But if I could wave a magic wand, I would eliminate income tax, I would eliminate corporate tax, I would abolish the IRS, and I would replace it all with one federal consumption tax. If we have zero corporate tax in this country, I believe that tens of millions of jobs will get created in this country for no other reason - why you would start up, grow a business anywhere but the United States, given a zero corporate tax rate? And what do you replace all that with? Like I say, you replace it with one federal consumption tax. I suggest that everybody look at the fair tax as a way to dot the i's and cross the t's on how you would accomplish one federal consumption tax. That's up for grabs. Whether it's the exact percentages or exactly the way that the fair tax proposal does that, but it is laid out very specific." (Johnson, 2016)


"Well, I'd like to scrap the entire tax code. I'd like to eliminate income tax. I would like to eliminate corporate tax. If we do that we can also abolish the IRS. Look, I think there's a possibility Congress could do that, but at the end of the day they're going to replace it with something. Well, I think a national consumption tax is a really fair way to move forward in this country. It would be easy to administrate. Nobody's going to avoid a consumption tax. Hey, bottom line, you make more money, you're going to consume more. So I suggest-- Well, and there's also a justified rap that a consumption tax is regressive to those on the lowest end of the scale. Well, what I was going to say is, look at the fair tax as a template for how to dot the I's and cross the T's in accomplishing one federal consumption tax. The way that the fair tax deals with that is they issue everyone a prebate check, every month, through the Social Security Administration, that allows everyone to pay the fair tax up to the point of the poverty level." (Johnson, 2016)

Abolishing the IRS: “If I could wave a magic wand I would abolish income tax, corporate tax, the IRS, and I would replace all of it with one federal consumption tax” (Johnson, 2016)

EMERGENCY ECONOMIC STABILIZATION ACT OF 2008/WALL STREET BAILOUT: “Today’s federal tax code does all the wrong things. It penalizes productivity, savings and investment, while rewarding inefficiency and designating winners and losers according to political whim. For far too long, tax laws have been used not just as a means to collect needed revenues, but as a weapon with which to manipulate our behavior, create and destroy industries and fulfill politicians’ dreams of social engineering. The result is a tax code that is more than 70,000 pages long enforced by a government agency with almost 100,000 employees. It is nothing less than a massive deployment of government force on our lives, our finances and our freedom. Governor Johnson advocates the elimination of tax subsidies, the double taxation embodied in business income taxes, and ultimately, the replacement of all income and payroll taxes with a single consumption tax that will allow every American and every business to determine their tax burden by making their own spending decisions. Taxes on purchases for basic necessities would be “prebated”, with all other purchases taxed equally regardless of income, status or purpose. Many leading economists have long advocated such a shift in the way we are taxed, and Gary Johnson believes the time has come to eliminate the punishing tax code we have today and replace it with a system that rewards productivity, investment and savings. The IRS as we know it today would no longer be necessary, and Americans would no longer need to live in fear of the force of government being wielded under the guise of tax collection" (Johnson, 2016)


NAFTA: "Well, first of all, NAFTA. Would I have signed it or not? My skepticism says that maybe I wouldn't have signed it, because these trade agreements are just laden with crony capitalism. Would I have signed or implemented the Trans-Pacific Partnership? I've got to tell you, I think it's laden with crony capitalism. Free market really is the answer. It's the answer to unifying the whole planet, in my opinion, and if China wants to subsidize the goods that it sells to the United States, who benefits from that? Well, we do. And at the end of the day, who pays for any sort of tariffs? We do. So free trade, genuine free trade, that's another one of Trump's--you know, hey, he says "I'm all for free trade" but then, in the next sentence, he says, "I'm going to force Apple to make their iPads and their iPhones in the United States." Hm, that sounds really free trade to me." (Johnson, 2016)


“Governor Gary Johnson was one of the first governors in the nation to propose and advocate a universally available program of school choice. He did so while governing with an overwhelmingly Democrat legislature and while facing a powerful teachers’ union. He was well aware that his proposal would not be enacted and would generate fierce opposition. However, he believed it was important to raise the issue and force the teachers’ unions to defend a clearly failing status quo. More broadly, Gov. Johnson believes there is no role for the Federal Government in education. He would eliminate the federal Department of Education, and return control to the state and local levels. He opposes Common Core and any other attempts to impose national standards and requirements on local schools, believing the key to restoring education excellence in the U.S. lies in the innovation, freedom and flexibility that federal interference inherently discourages. As Governor, he saw first-hand that the costs of federal education programs and mandates far outweigh any benefits, both educationally and financially" (Johnson, 2016)

COMMON CORE: Opposes (see above)

IMMIGRATION - AMNESTY: “Having served as Governor of a border state, Gary Johnson understands immigration. He understands that a robust flow of labor, regulated not by politics, but by the marketplace, is essential. He understands that a bigger fence will only produce taller ladders and deeper tunnels, and that the flow of illegal immigrants across the border is not a consequence of too little security, but rather a legal immigration system that simply doesn’t work. Militarizing the border, bigger fences, and other punitive measures espoused by too many politicians are all simplistic “solutions” to a problem caused by artificial quotas, bureaucratic incompetence and the shameful failure of Congress to actually put in place an immigration system that matches reality. Governor Johnson has long advocated a simplified and secure system of work visas by which willing workers and willing employers can meet in a robust labor marketplace efficiently and economically. Aspiring immigrants would undergo a background check, pay taxes and provide proof of employment. Making it simpler and efficient to enter the U.S. legally will provide the greatest security possible, allowing law enforcement to focus its time and resources on the criminals and bad actors who are, in reality, a relatively small portion of those who are today entering the country illegally”(Johnson, 2016)

MINIMUM WAGE INCREASE: Sees minimum wage as “a non-issue” (Johnson, 2016)

Public Aid Programs: “Johnson would block grant Medicare and Medicaid funds to states, and identify cost savings in Medicare. He would index growth in Social Security benefits to wage growth (rather than inflation)” (NBC News, 2012)

UNEMPLOYMENT: “During the 2012 campaign, Gary Johnson was lauded for having the best “job creation” record of all the former governors running for President. His response: “As Governor, I didn’t create a single job.” His point, of course, being that government doesn’t create jobs — except for itself. Entrepreneurs, growing companies and a robust economy create jobs. Government’s role is to create and maintain a regulatory and tax environment in which private job-creators can prosper. Gary Johnson did that as Governor, and would do so as President. Government regulation should only exist to protect citizens from bad actors and the harm they might do to health, safety and property. Regulation should not be used to manipulate behavior, manage private lives and businesses, and to place unnecessary burdens on those who make our economy work. Eliminating unnecessary regulations and applying common sense to those rules that are necessary will free up capital and allow those who want and need to create jobs to do so. Likewise, adopting the tax reforms Governor Johnson advocates will literally create millions of jobs. While most politicians, Democrats and Republicans alike, suggest that modest reductions in business taxes might create jobs, Gary Johnson believes eliminating income taxes on businesses will transform the U.S. into the “job magnet” of the world. Why would any corporation move its operations off-shore when the best tax “haven” on the planet is right here at home?" (Johnson, 2016)