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 Bill Gelineau, a Libertarian candidate for governor.
Our interview is below.
Q: What doesn’t the average person know about your interests, hobbies and who you are?
A: I’ve been a long time Libertarian. Beyond that I’ve been in business a long time. I have six kids. As far as hobbies are concerned, I have a public website. I study genealogy, and I have 3,000 family members in it. It’s enormous. So that’s sort of my side thing.
Q: What are your thoughts on current Michigan gun laws?
A: I would not sign any legislation that would weaken the second amendment in any way shape or form. In fact I’ve said that gun rights, like marijuana rights, are natural rights. For people who have not followed the Libertarian party, natural rights are something that is given to us and its ours and can't be given up and it cant be taken away.
Q: Legalization of marijuana is a big topic of debate. What is your stance?
A: We’ve had Colorado and Washington for sometime now and the boogeyman didn't come out of the closet. I do not like the excise tax which is attached to it as a big revenue grab, and beyond that I think it is going to distort the market and it’s going to cause us to continue to have some underground market. The second problem I have with the marijuana proposal is it doesn't do anything to help folks who have prior convictions. Anyone who has been convicted of possession, dealing with marijuana or otherwise that did not also have a violent act that they were convicted for, I would provide clemency.
Q: How can we provide a better education for students in Michigan? Charter Schools?
A: One of the things that I talk about when I have the opportunity with groups that ask about education is I ask, “How many school districts do you think we have in Michigan?” And its somewhere in the 480 range and they vary, there is a few k-8s in that, but in 1920, Michigan had almost 7-thousand school districts. They were much smaller and much more responsive. And so, I think it’s really important for us to get back to that. The general move to consolidation has not been good for kids. It hasn't been good for schools.
Q: Roads in Michigan are among the worst in the nation. What will you do to fix this major infrastructure problem?
A: Using the right kind of materials instead of focusing on quick fixes we need to use the right material so we are repairing the roads.
But, at its heart, it starts with the funding formula. The road funding formula was passed in 1951 and it creates a lot of fiefdoms. It just decides arbitrarily that counties get so much and cities get so much and it really doesn't focus on needs so I believe that in addition to the current spending, if we add the 750 million dollars that we can save by reforming our prison system, that would provide sufficient funds to really make a dent in our infrastructure.
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: First of all, the problems in Flint were caused by government. So we need to do an immediate intervention. We need to get in there and give them the assistance whether its providing financial assistance that is paid back by the users over time… cause ultimately that’s the way a system should work is the users should pay for it.
Now the problems that were created by government here, I think we need to help within Flint, but there is a wider problem. Every day there is new subdivisions, new growth, and I think we need to explore how we can do that in a more environmentally responsible way. North of Grand Rapids there is Lake Bellavista. It’s all private. They deliver that product with all the same requirements that the EPA has for water quality and they do it at a much lower cost for the volume than systems like the Detroit water system. So I just think we need to take a look at how we can get that accomplished. Some of these private water systems are just the best that there is.
Q: This is the first time that the Libertarian party has been on the primary ballot for a gubernatorial race. Is there any chance that you win this election?
A: Never say never. Lightning can strike. Some of the people involved in this election could well be facing charges. We just don't know. I look at it as do my job, try to communicate good ideas and trust the voters that you’ll be given an opportunity.