I strongly oppose the death penalty. Always have. It’s far too great a power to be entrusted to government. If the courts make a mistake—which certainly happens!—there’s no opportunity to change your mind. And once they have it for one crime, you can bet they’ll expand it into other areas. For example, Newt Gingrich called for the death penalty for those convicted of drug offenses.
As governor, I promise I won’t sign a single death warrant. I refuse to use the power of government to kill. I’m not a murderer.
When it comes to any federal issue, I look to the federal constitution, specifically: first to the Tenth Amendment, then the Ninth, then Article 1 Section 8, then the rest. If it’s something Pennsylvania has tasked the federal government to do, such as securing the borders, it’s up to the feds to enforce. As governor, my job description is the Pennsylvania Constitution. It’s not the governor’s job to enforce federal law; in fact, I could be open to legal action if I were to attempt to enforce the laws of another jurisdiction. So by law, I have nothing to do with any Sanctuary City, either to help them violate federal law or to hinder any violation. It’s the Fed’s responsibility.
There’s a flip side to that stand: If it’s not in the federal constitution, such as their insane War on Drugs, then they don’t have the authority to prosecute it. After all, if it took a constitution amendment to ban alcohol, shouldn’t it likewise take a constitution amendment to ban cannabis? Or any drug, for that matter? And where do all the alphabet soup federal agencies get their authority to operate inside Pennsylvania, not just the DEA, but also the BATF, EPA, TSA, DOE, OSHA, FDA, EEOC, etc., etc., etc.? They have no constitution authority beyond “needful forts and buildings”, per Article 1 Section 8. As governor, I would work to ensure they stay within their legal bounds.
For more info about Sanctuary Cities, I addressed the topic on one of my weekly Facebook Livestream videos at about 25:00, and more about immigration at 38:00. https://www.facebook.com/KenK4Pa/videos/1600745383281061/.
Rails to Trails
Rails to Trails programs have been in effect for a few decades in Pennsylvania. Google “PA Rails To Trails” and you’ll see a bunch. The main question is: Who pays to build and maintain them? It’s not in the Pennsylvania Constitution, so there’s no legal authority for the state to do it. My answer: the Separation of Society and State. Check out the details on my website at https://www.kenk4pa.com/issues/separation-society-state.
As a Libertarian, I believe you have the right to live your life your way, without interference, provided you respect the rights and property of others. That holds true for employment as well, so I do support Right-to-Work laws (and Right-to-Any-Peaceful-Thing laws, too).
My dad was a big union backer and a shop steward in the UAW, so I know firsthand the benefits unions can bring. My only reservation when it comes to unions is compulsory unions. As I said, you have the right… In short: Unions good, compulsory bad.
Of course, I’m in favor of worker safety. The question is: How do we best achieve that? The group best positioned to make that determination is the insurance companies. Speaking as someone who held an agent license for over a decade, I can tell you they certainly pay attention to these sort of things. They should be involved in ensuring (and INsuring) a safe work environment, recommending specific remedies, and setting rates accordingly. That means it would be in the best interest of companies, financially speaking, to provide a safe work environment. And if they try to operate without insurance, the first claim would bankrupt them and force them to shut down.
Proportional Voting Systems
Would I support a plan to replace our current first-past-the-post voting system with some form of proportional representation? The short answer is Yes. But that’s a huge undertaking! It’d take constitutional changes to make that happen, and I’d be happy to get that ball rolling. It would certainly benefit challenger parties like the Libertarians. The current system almost forces a two-party system on us. I’m watching with great interest how it’s working in Maine, and chuckling about how some politicians fear it.
Lowering the Drinking Age
The short answer is Yes, I would work to reduce the drinking age. In fact, an argument could be made to eliminate the drinking age. Instead of having police play babysitter, let’s have parents fill that role instead. Of course, if a kid can’t control his or her intake, we can take the same steps as we would against an adult, such as license suspension. Only in the last resort could a parent turn to the authorities for help—and preferably those authorities would be medical and not legal! For many people, their first encounter with alcohol was long before the legal age, so why have the two old parties criminalized typical adolescent behavior? Putting a kid in a cage is not a solution. I lost a good friend to alcoholism, and I’d hate to see anyone else suffer a similar loss.
Convention of the States
The short answer is No, I do not support a Convention of the States.
The main reason is that I fear the outcome. Regardless of whether or not they try to limit the topics, the Convention can cover, the risk is great that they’ll begin proposing wholesale changes. Isn’t that how we got our current constitution?
If the event were to be held, I suspect us Libertarians would be in the minority—if we get representation at all! And even if we did, look what happened to Ron Paul supporters at the Republican Convention in 2016: ignored and overruled despite what the rules said. I’d expect the same illegal treatment to happen all over again.
But the biggest reason I oppose the Convention is that even if we Libertarians dominated the event and got some kick-ass amendments passed, the real issue is that the two old parties aren’t following the constitution we have now! The parts they don’t like they maneuver around or just plain ignore. Passing a few more amendments aren’t going to change that. They’ll ignore the new along with the old.