Gary Johnson

April 22, 2014

Ask Gov. Gary Johnson

I am Gov. Gary Johnson. I am the founder and Honorary Chairman of Our America Initiative. I was the Libertarian candidate for President of the United States in 2012, and the two-term Governor of New Mexico from 1995 - 2003.

Here is proof that this is me: I've been referred to as the 'most fiscally conservative Governor' in the country, and vetoed so many bills that I earned the nickname "Governor Veto." I believe that individual freedom and liberty should be preserved, not diminished, by government.

I'm also an avid skier, adventurer, and bicyclist. I have currently reached the highest peaks on six of the seven continents, including Mt. Everest.

FOR MORE INFORMATION Please visit my organization's website: You can also follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and Tumblr. You can also follow Our America Initiative on Facebook Google + and Twitter

[No question]

We have not yet made endorsements for the Nov. midterm, but will be soon. And yes, we can endorse candidates from any party, provided he or she truly supports individual freedom and fiscal conservatism

What are your thoughts on California's open primary system? What free-market reforms to the electoral process do you favor?

There is much to be said for open primaries, and California is exercising its right to its own process. As far as free-market reforms, my highest priority is to have fair debates that include all candidates who have sufficient ballot access to be elected and are otherwise legally qualified.

Let's skip the pleasantries and ask the question everyone wants to know the answer to. Will you be running for president in 2016? If not, who do you like?

I hope to be able to run in 2016.

Which party? Libertarian or republican?

I would love running as a Libertarian because I would have the least amount of explaining to do.

A little NM local chat: Has there been any final decisions on the Taos Ski Valley raid or did it just die a quiet and painless death? Are you or OAI involved with finding out who was responsible? I have not seen anything about it in the Abq. Journal since you took a stand against the actions. What are your thoughts on the ABQ Police Dept and their killing spree?

They are conducting a full-blown investigation, in which I participated, and the results should be coming soon. I am aghast at what is happening with the ABQ police and all the shootings. But the problem is not just in ABQ.

Could you explain why the /r/FairTax would be better than the current system or the flat tax?

The current income tax began as a flat tax. FairTax would, instead, abolish income tax, corporate tax and the IRS. Infinitely better.

What are your thoughts on the growing movement to convene an Article V Convention of the States for proposing Constitutional amendments?

Are there any amendments you would like to see added to the Constitution?

I am all for a convention. I would like to see the 17th Amendment repealed, and a balanced budget amendment added.

Good evening, Governor. It's an absolute honor to ask from you, if I may.

Few questions.

What are your thoughts on the standoff between Ukraine and Russia? I know we libertarians favor diplomacy first, but it is a sensitive situation.

What is the most effective thing I, as a young citizen, can do to strengthen the Libertarian Party and third parties in my community?

During your many trips skiing, bicycling and climbing, have you ever had a dance with the grim reaper? Any stories of near-death to tell?

I do not believe the Ukraine and Russia conflict is any of our business. No more than it would be Russia's concern if such a situation existed in the Western Hemisphere.

Do you actually believe that America is a color-blind nation?

No, I don't believe America is color-blind.

What do you think federal minimum wage should be set at?

$75. Let's just instantly become the most prosperous nation in the world.

Governor Johnson, how can you be taken seriously as a libertarian if you supported sending troops into Uganda to go after Kony?

Initially, I frankly botched my initial reaction, but my further response was that letters of marque and reprisal may be a better means of dealing with Kony.

Gov. Johnson, do you think there is a legitimate way to make higher education, ie. college, more affordable for students?

And if you become president could you please eliminate my student loans? Hahaha (kinda serious, yet understand the potential "no")

Thanks for being here and if you are on the ticket you have my vote!

Eliminating guaranteed government student loans would make a quantum leap toward reducing college costs.

Gov. Johnson, what is your stance on military spending? If you do run how would you get both parties to work together under a libertarian?

The biggest issue facing the nation today is deficit spending. Balancing the budget today means reducing spending by 25%, including military. Doing so would only take us back a handful of years in terms of annual military spending.

Healthcare has definitely changed but is still a mess, and a huge example of how the government still prefers to keep the public dumb instead of educating them. Big question, but what are some major points on how you would handle healthcare?

I reject the current insurance model. In a truly free market system, we would have access to private, catastrophic coverage, along with a pay-as-you-go marketplace that is very competitive.


Since 1999, I have advocated legalizing marijuana. My favorite city is Taos, where I live.

If you could change one thing about our government, What would it be?

Repeal the 17th Amendment, not allowing popular election of Senators, coupled with term limits.

Governor, Thank you for what you have done as my governor here in NM, what you did do when you ran, I hope you run again in 2016 if there is a country to run. And I'd be right there with Elisheva, Mike and once again running the Pagans for Gary Johnson. But please next time use Google Hangouts.

Thank you. We have had difficulty with Hangouts. In fact, the last one we did, I was locked out myself. They are difficult for a large number of folks.

Gov. Johnson, what initiatives would you take in order to "shave the fat" off our bloated federal government, and how would you combat the increase of wasteful government spending?

Also what strategy do you have in mind to thwart the two party system?

I would submit a balanced budget to Congress. Re the two-party system, we are challenging the Commission on Presidential Debates to allow all candidates who have qualified for enough states' ballots to be elected in the Electoral College. That, potentially, will "thwart" the two-party" system.

How about the creation of volunteer teams to have social media bombs for Our America and help in the creation of memes and relevant news responses that can be quickly approved and then sent through social media outlets to help endorse Our America. Just something to suggest to the board/management team. Raising awareness is the first step toward raising grassroots funding. The more people that have a chance to get involved the better I would think as long as the messaging is approved top down.

Great idea!

what is your view regarding the more fringe libertarians, the anarcho capitalists? where do you disagree with them philosophically?

I don't know that I disagree with the basic philosophies.

Gary Johnson, I cannot afford the therapist I know I need and overall feel as if I have no future. I am just another poor person being squeezed out and left to dry by the ultra-rich.

As someone wanting to run for president, what hope can you give me that the country being 'fiscally conservative' is going to help me and my family reach that american dream of upward mobility? What will individual freedom and liberty do to help my situation?

The best chance you have to reach the American dream is through entrepreneurship. Individual freedom and liberty will better allow you to do that. Create your own job -- don't be a victim. Take control of your own future!

Hi Gov Johnson, we met at your Mississippi event a few weeks ago. I believe we talked about seat-belt laws.

Ending the war on drugs is a very important step, but what do you feel should be done with the people who will lose jobs afterwards? How do we avoid putting the DEA agents out on the streets?

Let's unemploy the DEA. They'll just have to find something else to do. Same with a lot of prison guards, judges and lawyers.

Governor Johnson, I voted for you last election and felt like I did not waste my vote as many people claimed I did. I would like to know how you feel about Sen. Rand Paul and his "libertarian" views. Edit: Spelling.

Over half of what Rand Paul says is terrific. I am not a social conservative, and don't believe that libertarians are socially conservative either, i.e. drug policy, immigration, marriage equality, abortion.

How do we stop the Republicans from trying to Co-Opt the rising Libertarian name and party Via assimilation and re-indoctrination? I run across a lot of people who listen to too much talk radio and think they are Libertarians. Fact of the matter is, they are usually still in favor of all kinds of Governmental Interventionism, big Military spending, and more laws. Liberty is but a notion to them.

Your statement says it all. Bravo! I am directly trying to stop this co-opting from happening.

Gary, do you believe the abolition of government in it's entirety would be ideal, even if not realistic?

It is a grand notion, but not realistic in my lifetime.

Hi Mr. Johnson, thanks for doing this AMA.

Here's a question that's not as loaded as some of the others:

What's the most interesting/funny story you have from your time in politics?

Maybe the woman who came to the Governor's office and wanted me to clean up dog crap from Santa Fe Plaza.


1, I don't have a government job. My favorite thing to do is to maintain what I consider being ultra-fit.

[No question]

I would like say that, when I summited Everest, I summited with Mingma Sherpa, who was one of those who died in this recent tragedy. My thoughts are with him and the others. Thank you all for your questions, and I'll see you next time!

This interview was transcribed from an "ask me anything" question and answer session with Gary Johnson conducted on Reddit on 2014-04-22. The Reddit AMA can be found here.