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Gov. Gary Johnson
Works at Our America Initiative
Attended Sandia High School
Lives in Taos, New Mexico
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Gov. Gary Johnson

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Why I would run for President

    Dear Friends,

    When I completed my second term as Governor of New Mexico in 2003, I was done.

    I had been elected Governor when everyone said I didn’t have a chance. A businessman who had never sought or held elected office, running as a Republican in an overwhelmingly Democratic state, my prospects for success were dismissed by Republicans and Democrats alike.   

    But I worked hard, financed my own campaign, and told New Mexicans what I would do if elected: Reduce the size of the government, cut taxes and apply business-like common sense to the job of governing.  They elected me, I did what I said I would do, and they re-elected me by an even bigger margin. After that second term, I walked away to resume what was -- and is -- a pretty good life.

     I have had the good fortune to have climbed the highest mountain on all of the seven continents, got to build my dream home, and enjoyed the freedom I had gained from building a successful business from scratch, making some money, and creating the lifestyle I wanted.    

    As for being Governor, I did a good job -- good government was easy. I worked hard. I did what I said I would do. I told people the truth, and I tried to run the state the same way I ran my business, and my life. Don’t promise what you can’t deliver. Deliver what you can on time and under budget. And most of all, don’t waste anyone’s time or money.  I vetoed bills we didn’t need nor couldn’t afford, 750 of them. To this day, some call me “Governor Veto”.     

    I cut the growth of government in half, and reduced the number of state employees by more than 1,000, without any mass firings or layoffs. All it took was good management and a willingness to challenge the status quo.  We cut taxes. We shifted Medicaid to a managed care system -- similar to the health coverage for state employees -- and cut costs by at least 20%. I scrutinized regulations to be sure they were both essential and not unnecessarily burdensome for individuals and businesses.     

    Dealing with a Democrat-controlled legislature, I certainly wasn’t able to do all that I wanted to do. Year after year, I proposed a full-blown education voucher program. The teachers’ unions and Democrats wouldn’t let it happen. But we put the issue on the front burner -- long before it was fashionable.

    In addition, I created quite a stir nationally by proposing, in 1999, that marijuana be legalized. I was the highest ranking official in the nation to do so, and at the time -- as opposed to now, it was not a popular idea. Everyone recognized, beginning with me, that it would be political suicide. But I didn’t have any further political ambitions, and more importantly, it was the right thing to do.    

    Enforcing and prosecuting laws against simple marijuana possession were clogging up our courts, overcrowding our jails, costing taxpayers millions of dollars and doing permanent harm to thousands of young lives. All that because we had criminalized a nonviolent behavior that an estimated 140 million  Americans have engaged in at some point in their lives. It didn’t make sense, and I said so. It wasn’t about marijuana being good or bad for an individual. It was about a modern-day Prohibition that was not only not working, but doing far more harm than good, at tremendous human and financial cost.     

    My poll numbers fell through the floor for a couple of months, especially when the national media decided that it was a big deal that a Republican governor would take such a controversial and normally “liberal” stand. However, a funny thing happened. My approval rating recovered, and far more significantly, my political “suicide” helped prompt a national conversation that continues today, with a majority of Americans now supporting marijuana legalization. 

    I enjoyed being Governor. I didn’t enjoy the politics, but it was undeniably satisfying to make a difference in people’s lives, force debates on issues that needed to be discussed, and put the principles of smaller government and greater freedom into practice. It’s one thing to talk about liberty. It’s another to actually govern with liberty as a guiding policy. I’d like to think I showed that it could be done.     

    Apparently, some agree that it can be -- and was -- done. During the presidential campaign of 2012, the decidedly fiscally conservative Club for Growth looked at my record as Governor, and concluded that I would be a “pro-growth” President, citing our reductions in spending growth, the tax cuts we implemented, and the regulatory environment we created. At the same time, the ACLU also looked at my record, and gave me the highest rating on civil liberties of all the candidates, higher than Barack Obama and Ron Paul.    

    I firmly believe that the majority of Americans are, in fact, “conservative” when it comes to the size and cost of government, while being socially “liberal” when it comes to individuals being free to make their own choices and control their own lives. That’s how I tried to govern, and what I believe today.
    After my term-limited service as Governor was finished, I largely stayed away from politics. I don’t like professional politicians, and certainly don’t want to be one. I went home, pursued my passions for skiing and cycling, climbed Mt. Everest, built my dream house and enjoyed my freedom. Sure, I stayed involved in some issues I cared about and in which I could make a contribution, such as drug policy and school choice.
    Life was good, and it still is.    

    In 2009, I created the Our America Initiative, a not-for-profit advocacy organization with the mission of adding a needed fiscal conservative, socially liberal voice to America’s policy debates. That provided an opportunity to travel the country, organize at the grassroots and offer a “home” for those who share the notion of restoring freedom and opportunity as the real American values.     

    And in 2011, I made the decision to run for President. I entered the race as a Republican, believing that America was ready for a different kind of GOP candidate who had a proven record of governing according to what I consider to be real conservatism: Government that is truly limited in size and cost and that stays out of American bedrooms and boardrooms.   

    We fought hard, but the establishment and its special interest sponsors apparently didn’t want anything to do with a guy who would actually challenge the status quo and upset their apple cart. There was no room for a candidate who was once described as “the most dangerous politician in America”. After all, I wanted to talk about the spending, the wars and the freedom-robbing social policies that have become their bread and butter -- literally.    

    The system is about fitting into their mold, and I didn’t fit. I couldn’t go to Iowa and evangelize about family “values” that are frankly none of the government’s business. I couldn’t go to South Carolina and talk about increasing defense spending at a time when we are broke. And I couldn’t go to Florida without telling the truth about entitlements and the need to reform Medicare and Social Security.     

    So I left the Republican primary circus and switched to the Libertarian Party. Libertarians, broadly speaking, are fiscally conservative and socially liberal.  The principles of less government and more freedom are there, and the experience of running as the candidate who could unapologetically advocate those principles was, well, liberating.     

    With the help of hundreds and thousands of great volunteers and supporters, I traveled to virtually every state, spoke to hundreds of groups, met with students in colleges and universities all across the country -- and was gratified to be able to put our ideas on the national stage to an extent that had never happened before. We didn’t win, but we made the media and the establishment take notice and garnered more votes than any Libertarian candidate in history.     

    Along the way, I learned a lot about the American people -- the most important lesson being a confirmation that the real majority doesn’t “relate” to either the Republicans or the Democrats, and if given the opportunity, will exercise a degree of political independence never before seen in our history. Americans, and especially the Millennials who are rapidly assuming a dominant role in both society and the economy, are fed up with politicians who lie, who don’t really want to change anything, and for whom being elected and reelected are ends in themselves.
    Now, those Americans are looking ahead to the 2016 election -- and if they are like me, they don’t like what they see. Is there anything about the current field of candidates that even hints at changing the disastrous trends of recent years?  We are seeing only slight nibbles around the edge of a tax code that is fundamentally wrong. An $18 trillion debt that threatens the very underpinnings of our economy and, in fact, our national security, is hardly mentioned, all while the politicians are obsessed with Hillary Clinton’s emails and a County Clerk in Kentucky whose 15 minutes of fame have already lingered for too long.
    There were great hopes in some libertarian corners for Senator Rand Paul. I endorsed his father in 2008, and in fact, urged my Republican supporters in Iowa to support him in 2012. Unfortunately, Rand, in his quest to have one foot in the libertarian camp and the other in the establishment Republican museum, has emerged with a vague mix of positions that is clearly not compelling. There is a price to be paid for selling out -- and he is paying it.   

    The previously presumed Republican front-runner, Jeb Bush, is fading fast as even “mainstream” Republican voters are increasingly refusing to take their orders from party leaders and funders who think he should be President just because he’s a Bush. Fairly or not, “been there, done that” isn’t working for a country that is absolutely fed up with business-as-usual.     

    I could go on, but the point is clear: On the Republican side, Americans are seeing, with one glaring exception, a battalion of candidates who look, sound and feel like the same Republican presidential candidates voters have rejected in the past two elections. None are instilling any confidence that government would be smaller, smarter or less costly if they were to be elected than it is today. 

    And about that exception…the Trump phenomenon. What does it say about the level of discontent that a professional salesman can launch a presidential campaign with a promise to build our very own Great Wall of China and a vague promise to “make America great again” can assemble a coalition of the pissed-off sufficient in size to make him the Republican standard-bearer?

    In the other “major” party, the choices are equally alarming. Ms. Clinton, their version of “been there, done that”, is having her own problems claiming the throne she presumes to be rightfully hers. Never mind the unbelievable lack of judgment involved in storing official, sensitive emails in a private server in a bathroom. We’re looking at a “front runner” who, as Secretary of State, presided over a descent into foreign policy chaos that is virtually unmatched in American history.     

    As with Trump on the Republican side, the Democrats have devolved to the point that the candidate going toe-to-toe with Ms. Clinton, both in the polls and in fundraising, is Bernie Sanders, a self-described Socialist to whom the free market is not just foreign, but evil. His support, which like Trump, is befuddling the establishment, has nothing to do with socialism. He’s just the Democrats’ version of “none of the above” -- and if some of the polls can be believed, he’s winning.
    What does all this tell me? It tells me that America may finally be ready for a presidential candidate who DOES believe in the free market, but rejects crony capitalism and the subsidies, deals, bailouts and tax breaks that come with it. They may be ready for a candidate who actually governed a border state...and DOESN’T believe that a Great Wall is a substitute for immigration reform that today’s politicians cannot summon the courage to enact.     

    Those Millennials who will soon be a full one-third of American adults may be ready to become engaged in politics with a candidate who wants to give them a government that will leave them alone, get its finances in order so that they don’t inherit an economic collapse, and stop labeling them as criminals for smoking a joint in the privacy of their own homes.   

    And Americans who are rightfully and deeply concerned that a feckless foreign policy is allowing the likes of ISIS to not only threaten our safety, but humiliate us, may be ready for a candidate who will put politics aside and engage in reality-based foreign and military policies that actually fulfill government’s most basic responsibility to keep us -- and our freedoms -- safe.  

    Maybe, just maybe, America is ready. And maybe that’s why I would want to run for President.     


    Gary Johnson

Ron B's profile photoMaggie Malecki's profile photoanh lai's profile photoJason Walters's profile photo
You say the truth, no bull ,as I said /4 years Go Go Gary
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Gov. Gary Johnson

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President Obama is fond of issuing Executive Orders. While he's at it, I would strongly suggest issuing one to put an end to Super Bowl parties and golf tournaments for federal staffers -- on the taxpayers' tab.
Cruise-boat dinners, Super Bowl parties and golf tournaments were part of Department of Energy conferences that cost taxpayers more than $21 million over a 16-month span, according to a new report from the department’s inspector general.
Stephen Cowern's profile photoEd Towel's profile photoJason Jeffrey's profile photoGuthrie Wilson's profile photo
What? He's issued far less executive orders than bush or bush or His Holiness Ronald Reagan.
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Security vendor Kaspersky outs a group capable of inserting spying software onto hard drives around the world, while Reuters fingers the NSA as the culprit.
Enrique Morales's profile photoMirridum Istariniad's profile photoTony Arellano's profile photoM. Cisneros's profile photo
Gary should loudly pursue Edward Snowden for his Vice Presidential candidate.
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Keith Dart's profile photoMark Herndon's profile photo
+Keith Dart Yep I was mega pissed at bush gsus jr for denying the Kurds their own state. We should have gone with them they most closely match our own culture. We still could but too many Saudi banker whores in charge of our country. 
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Help us change the Presidential debates. Please share this post and make a donation today.…
Join Our America Initiative in the fight to allow more than TWO MAJOR PARTY PARTICIPANTS in the Presidential Debates. This is the most important politic...
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Hope run again you got my vote
Come to Pittsburgh to announce to the Countryy Dave

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We need your help in our fight to change the Presidential debates. By including addtional candidates on the debate stage the door will open to more discussion and more solutions to America's concerns and problems. This is the time to make that change happen. Please donate $5, $10, $25 $50 or whatever you can ..... at one of the following links. Thanks and Live Free!
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Mark Greenstein's profile photoMarcelo Franciosi's profile photoMike McDonald's profile photo
Dear Gary --

Please run in the DEMOCRAT primaries. Stay principled, don't pander. You'll probably lose, but then let the Libertarians nominate an even stronger Gary Johnson. Mark Greenstein - The Resistance
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Wednesday evening, I faced what may be the easiest question I've encountered from the national news media. Neil Cavuto asked if the states should be pushing back against federal overreach. Well...YES.
Former Gov. Gary Johnson, (R-NM), and FBN’s Neil Cavuto on limiting federal government powers and the 2016 election.
吴志军's profile photo欧阳黄河's profile photoJoshua Andrews's profile photoChristine Wasankari's profile photo
Your stock is dropping, Gary.

If our country can't produce 100 good Senators, how will 50 states ever find enough good leaders?

So 'united we stand' is no longer convenient?

Federal overreach...does that mean 'law'?

There was this war back in the 1860's. Mean old Abe Lincoln threw a huge fit over States' thinking hey could make it better on their own. Then, a few years later, WWII proved him right.

It seems those who dislike the rules that constrain them are usually crooks. 

If Fox is your new brand, I'll thank you for letting us know who you've become. And I'll judge you accordingly.
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Jason Jeffrey's profile photoJoseph Finley's profile photoNaman Francis's profile photoMathew Wolfe's profile photo
Van D.
The ugly reality that the Libertarian Party wont face, is that too many of the public dont want to be free.  Too many of the public are accomplices to the oppression all around us.

But the LP exists to play the democracy game, and they know they'll never get elected by telling the voters the truth - that the voters are part of the problem, and in fact have become their own worst enemy.

One of the great weaknesses of democracy is being a garbage-in, garbage-out system.

In promoting the philosophy of liberty to the American voting majority and expecting to win any election in our lifetimes, they might as well be trying to teach calculus to chimps and expecting to see correct answers.

Maybe the LP can win a presidential election in the next 100 years, that's a real possibility.  But it wont be within the next 20 years at least.  And it sure as hell wont be 2016.

I was a devout registered check-writing soap-box-preaching Libertarian from the late 90s through Ron Paul's 3rd run in 2008.  Dont think for one second I dont believe in the cause of liberty.

I just dont believe in the American voter anymore.
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It appears that our President wants to replace "mindless austerity" with more mindless spending. Is thoughtful austerity not an option?? - Gov. Gary Johnson
Republicans say the budget includes too many tax hikes and too much spending.
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Have him in circles
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Honorary Chairman of Our America Initiative
  • Our America Initiative
    Honorary Chairman, 2013 - present
  • Gary Johnson 2012
    Libertarian Presidential Candidate, 2011 - 2013
  • Big J Enterprises
    Founder/CEO, 1976 - 1996
  • State of New Mexico
    Governor, 1995 - 2003
  • Our America Initiative
    Honorary Chairman, 2008 - 2011
Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Taos, New Mexico
Contact Information
PO Box 1985, Salt Lake City, UT 84110
Honorary Chairmain of Our America Initiative | 2012 Libertarian Presidential Candidate & two-term Governor of New Mexico.
About Governor Gary Johnson: A two-term governor of New Mexico from 1995-2003, Gary Johnson has been a consistent advocate for limited, efficient government and personal liberty. As the Libertarian candidate for President in 2012, he received more votes than any Libertarian candidate in history. An outspoken pro-Constitution libertarian, Johnson opposes American involvement in foreign conflicts with no clear U.S. interest. He opposes the failed multi-billion dollar war on drugs and demands greater transparency at the Federal Reserve. Johnson advocates cutting federal spending dramatically to achieve a balanced budget and make government live within its means without raising taxes. He believes real job creation and economic opportunity can be best achieved through smaller government and less regulation. The National Review rated Johnson as "#1" in job creation as governor. An avid skier and bicyclist, he has reached the highest peaks on five of the seven continents, including Mount Everest and, recently, Aconcagua in Argentina.
Bragging rights
I have two great kids: my son, Erik, and daughter, Seah, who both help out with the campaign. I've completed over 30 triathlons, competed in the Hawaii Iron Man competition, and have summitted four of the world's highest peaks, including Mt. Everest. As Governor of New Mexico, I vetoed about as many bills as the other 49 Governors--combined. I was one of only 4 Governors in the country to leave my state with a balanced budget, and I created that surplus while cutting taxes 14 times. A recent National Review report showed that out of all the Governors running for the Republican presidential nomination this year, job growth was highest under my watch than anyone else's.
  • Sandia High School
    1968 - 1971
  • University of New Mexico
    1971 - 1975
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Gov. Gary Johnson