Ahead of the Aug. 7 primary election, 7 Action News is sitting down with candidates for governor and U.S. Senate to learn more about them and their ideas.
We spoke with John Tatar, a Libertarian candidate for governor.
Read his interview below and watch the video soon in the player above.
Q: What doesn’t the average person know about your interests, hobbies and who you are?
A: Well I’m a retired Lt. Colonel from the United States army reserve. I was working in the medical service corps most of that time doing command and doing staff positions as well as instructor.
I’m a teacher in Livonia schools for 31 years. I taught home construction. I taught kids how to build houses.
Q: What are your thoughts on current Michigan gun laws?
A: I believe that the kids need to be trained in an early age as to what a particular gun is, how it works, what its function. How to clean it, how to take care of it, and the safety features of many of those weapons. If they learn that in the early stages it wouldn't be such a scary thing to them.
We have a lot of people that are afraid of guns and they want to take guns away. They think that that’s going to make them safe. That’s not going to make them safe.
You know that most of the shootings that take place, take place in gun free zones. They don't go into a situation where there are people that might be armed and might shoot back at them, so that could eliminate all of the issues of shootings if people were armed in the crowd.
Q: Legalization of marijuana is a big topic of debate. What is your stance?
A: Marijuana is a name that comes from Mexico, and our government used that, the FBI and some of the others, used that word marijuana to make it sound evil, when it was in fact cannibis that people were using all along before the 40s.
I’m in support of getting marijuana decriminalized. Not only that, I want to bring hemp as a major product back to Michigan, because we can use it for clothing, we can use it for plastics, we can use it for rope, we can use it for highways, we can use it for building houses.
Decriminalizing it gives us the opportunity to regulate it to a point to say ‘Hey if you are going to be using it, don't be in a car behind the wheel where you can cause damage to somebody else. Or if you want to go home, and you want to get high or get stoned, the government doesn’t have any authority to stop that.
Q: How can we provide a better education for students in Michigan? Charter Schools?
A: Motivating a kid or student into what that student wants to do is 90% of the battle. There were students who were sent to me, my home construction program, because they couldn't stand working with a pencil. I gave them a hammer instead of a pencil. I gave them a blueprint and said “Hey, we are going to build that house. This is what it’s going to look like and here are the plans to do it,” and all of a sudden they learned to read. They learned to do math.
I don't believe that the state should fund charter schools and the reason is: The charter schools are setup by the state basically and the board that runs the schools are not voted in by the people. So again, you are taking a step away from the people. Who is best to tell you what your child should learn? Is it you or is it the school system or is it the state government or better yet or worse yet the federal government which is miles and miles away from them. What do they know about your child?
Q: Roads in Michigan are among the worst in the nation. What will you do to fix this major infrastructure problem?
A: It’s like you owning a house. When you live in a house and the plumbing and the kitchen breaks, you fix that plumbing in the kitchen. You don’t wait till now you’re in the bathroom and that breaks, and the shower breaks and then the toilet breaks and then eventually you’re going to get around to doing something.
That’s what our state government has been doing all these years.
We can take bids from all kinds of contractors. We can take some sort of a guarantee from the contractor that the material you put down is going to last so long. None of that is happening and its just kind of an ongoing thing.
Q: The Flint Water Crisis is an ongoing issue for the people in that city and a scar for the state of Michigan. What needs to be done next?
A: The reason that is is because again, they have not maintained the infrastructure over the years. Some of those pipes that have been put in the ground 30 years ago, 40 years ago, I mean you have to replace your roof what? Every 20 years? They should be at least looking at those areas of the infrastructure that may need to be replaced. And we know that it was the reason that they used the chlorine in the water that upset the lead in the pipes that caused the lead poisoning in Flint, but that problem exist everywhere.
Q: You’ve lost multiple races for public office. How do you believe this time will be different?
A: People are tired of the two-party system, and so I think if anytime we’ve had an opportunity to get involved, this is the year.
If we get out there and I show them what I’m all about and my issues and if my issues resonate with the people, they are going to vote for me. Isn’t that what it is all about?