Sunday, May 22, 2016

Weld's letter to Libertarian convention delegates

A personal message for Delegates to the Libertarian National Convention.

My name is Bill Weld. I’m writing you today to ask for your vote for the nomination to be the Libertarian Party’s candidate for Vice-President of the United States.

I served as Governor of Massachusetts from 1991 to 1997. I was first elected in 1990, and in 1994, was re-elected by the largest margin in the state’s history. In 1997, I was nominated to serve as the U.S. Ambassador to Mexico. My confirmation for that position was blocked by Senator Jesse Helms, a social conservative who objected to my libertarian stances regarding gay rights, a woman’s right to choose, and the right of states to allow access to medical marijuana.

Before being elected Governor, I served as the U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts and as head of the Criminal Division of the Justice Department. As U.S. Attorney, much of my time and effort was devoted to prosecuting corruption among public officials and crimes committed by some of New England’s largest banks. The Boston Globe described me as “the most visible figure in the prosecution of financial institutions”.

As a young congressional staff member, I also worked as a legal counsel in the Watergate investigation and impeachment proceedings.

In other words, much of my career prior to serving as Governor was devoted to fighting corruption, protecting taxpayers and ending abuses by financial institutions. Those experiences make it even more infuriating to me as I watch corruption and abuse continue today.

My approach as a Republican Governor of one of America’s most Democratic states was simple: Put a stop to the state’s borrowing, cut taxes, bring welfare costs under control, and create a financial and regulatory environment in which entrepreneurs, employers, workers and investors could prosper. We reduced the size of state government by thousands of employees, unemployment fell from almost 10% to 6%, and by all accounts, opportunities and investor confidence increased dramatically.

The highly respected libertarian Cato Institute honored me with their highest ratings in their Fiscal Policy Report Cards on America’s Governors.

At the same time, I fought hard to keep government out of citizens’ personal and financial lives. I believed then, and I believe even more strongly today, that government exists to protect Americans from threats to liberty -- not to be a threat to liberty. I tried to govern that way, and I want to take that same principle to Washington, DC.

I am well aware that my decision to seek the Libertarian Party’s nomination for Vice-President has generated a lot of attention. Along with that attention are questions, and as a Delegate, you deserve answers.

I am a lifelong hunter and gun owner. In 1993, however, as Governor of Massachusetts, I went along with some modest restrictions on certain types of firearms. I was deeply concerned about gun violence, and frankly, the people I represented were demanding action. Sometimes, governing involves tough choices, and I had to make more than a few.

Today, almost 25 years later, I would make some different choices. Restricting Americans’ gun rights doesn’t make us safer, and threatens our constitutional freedoms. I was pleased by and support the Supreme Court’s decision in the District of Columbia vs. Heller -- a decision that embraced the notion that our Second Amendment rights are individual rights, not to be abridged by the government.

The media has also mentioned my endorsement months ago of Governor John Kasich for the Republican nomination for President. When Governor Kasich was in Congress, serving as Chairman of the House Budget Committee, I worked with him to stop deficit spending and balance the federal budget. He succeeded, as no one has done since. I was asked to help because I had done the same in Massachusetts, a heavily Democratic state.

Based on that work with Governor Kasich, I believed him to be the best choice among the many candidates for the Republican nomination.

At the same time, I am now aware that Gov. Kasich has taken actions to make ballot access in Ohio much more difficult and costly for Libertarians. At no point did I have any knowledge about efforts to restrict ballot access. Of course, we all need to fight for ballot access in every state, including helping to raise the funds necessary for that effort. You have my word that I will help ensure ballot access -- and I’m a pretty good fighter.

Likewise, there has been much discussion among Libertarians about my campaign for Governor of New York in 2006. New York has a unique system in which candidates often assemble “fusion” tickets in order to achieve a winning coalition. As part of such an effort, I was honored in 2006 to earn the Libertarian nomination for Governor. Unfortunately, the larger effort failed, and we were not successful in making the Libertarian ballot “line” part of a coalition that could win. I am grateful to the Libertarian Party for the work we did, and disappointed that the strategy simply couldn’t be executed.

These are a few of the questions I have been asked over the past few days, and again, you deserve answers. If you have other concerns, I hope you will let me know. I am determined to earn your support at the National Convention.

Those who know me best and for the longest all know that I have always been a libertarian. I have said it many times, and it is true. Since law school, my bibles have always been The Constitution of Liberty, and The Road to Serfdom, by Friedrich Hayek.

Those few of us who have actually taken our libertarian beliefs into the arena of public office have done so via different paths. None of those paths has been perfect, nor easy.

Liberty is a set of simple and elegant principles that form the foundation of our nation. Fighting for those principles as an elected official is not nearly as elegant. I know that first-hand, and have the bruises to prove it.

2016 is different. Thanks to the choices being made by the Republicans and Democrats, and thanks to the reality that independent voters have achieved equal footing in the electorate to the “major” parties, we Libertarians don’t have to beg for a seat at the table. We don’t have to cloak our libertarianism in something else. We can proudly go through the front door, make our case to the voters, and stand on our principles.

A friend pointed out to me this week that, of the three tickets who will be on the ballot in all 50 states in November, the Libertarian Party has the potential to have candidates whose experience and proven leadership exceeds that of the two other parties combined. That credibility and leadership, matched by a firm commitment to the principles of Liberty, will be a powerful combination. I want to be a part of that historic opportunity for the Libertarian Party, and I’m asking you to join me.

Gov. William Weld

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