ST. GEORGE – The incumbent Republican and his Democratic challenger aren’t the only ones running for Utah’s 2nd Congressional District this election cycle.
Enter third-party candidate Jeffrey Whipple.
Whipple, who has worked in retail and call center management, is married with two children and is currently attending school to earn a business degree. He says he is running as a Libertarian to offer an alternative to the major party candidates.
“I’m not bound by any large political machine or big party bosses,” Whipple said, adding that will give him a level of independence in Congress that neither the Republicans or Democrats have, if elected.
Though he was unable take part in the congressional debate held at Dixie State University Sept. 17, Whipple gave St. George News his responses to some of the questions offered to Republican Rep. Chris Stewart and Democratic challenger Shireen Ghorbani.
Among the questions posed during the debate included the candidates’ positions on tariffs, health care, what they felt was the biggest threat to the United States and their thoughts on President Donald Trump.
“Tariffs and taxes in general are not conducive to a booming and growing economy,” Whipple said. “In the end the consumers end up paying for them.”
Rather, he favors the free trade, an open market and allowing imports to be tariff-free.
Regarding health care, that is a complicated issue, Whipple said.
“One thing that’s helped America endure is a free market and competition,” he said, adding that currently wasn’t the case for health care in America.
The current mix of heavy government involvement in health care and the private sector under the Affordable Care Act isn’t working, Whipple said, adding that it needs to be one way or the other.
While he is in favor of kicking government out of health care, Whipple said he also favors the concept of a “Medicare for all” type of system, provided it can be managed properly.
As for what Whipple felt the greatest threat to America was, he said, “Ourselves.”
Specifically, Whipple spoke to the United State’s becoming involved in matters overseas and the potential consequences of such actions. He favors non-intervention and not “acting unilaterally” in relation to foreign affairs.
“We should follow a policy of keeping the golden rule,” he said. “We haven’t done that in a century of foreign policy.”
When it comes to Trump, Whipple said he would support the policies from the White House he agreed with and stand against those he did not.
On the issue of taxes, Whipple said he favors tax cuts but does not support the tax plan the Republicans passed last year. He said it disproportionately favors those with money and did not come with spending cuts.
“Spending needs to be dramatically reduced,” he said. “I would consider it a success if I could stop an increase in spending.”
Some of the biggest issues Whipple is pushing for as a candidate relate to criminal justice reform and ending the so-called war on drugs.
One way he proposes to reform the justice system is by decriminalizing nonviolent drug possession. Too many resources are presently being tied up in keeping nonviolent offenders incarcerated, he said, which costs taxpayers around $10 billion a year.
As long as a drug user does not bother anyone else or commit a drug-related crime, there’s no reason they should be thrown into prison, Whipple said.
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