Wikinews interviews Buddy Roemer, U.S. Republican Party presidential candidate

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Roemer in June 2011.
Image: Gage Skidmore.

U.S. Republican Party presidential candidate and former Governor Buddy Roemer of Louisiana took some time to answer a few questions from Wikinews reporter William S. Saturn.

Roemer served four terms in the U.S. House of Representatives in the 1980s as a member of the Democratic Party. He was elected governor as a Democrat in 1987 before switching to the Republican Party ahead of the 1991 election for governor. That year, he lost the party's primary to state legislator David Duke. After his governorship, Roemer worked as CEO of Business First Bank in Baton Rouge.

Roemer announced his candidacy for president back in July after exploring a bid for several months. He has focused his campaign on the issue of campaign finance reform, refusing to accept money from political action committees (PACs) and limiting individual campaign contributions to $100. He raised a total of $126,500 in the third quarter of 2011, far short of the $14.2 million raised by former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.

For his campaign, Roemer has adopted the slogan 'Free to Lead'. He rails against corruption, special interests, and money in politics, and has expressed support for the Occupy Wall Street protests. Furthermore, he has taken issue positions in favor of fair trade, a balanced federal budget, and a strengthened national defense.

Roemer has not been invited to any national presidential debates. He has focused largely on the first-in-the-nation primary state of New Hampshire, and recently signed up to appear on the state's primary ballot. However, a recent University of New Hampshire Survey Center poll shows him with less than one percent support in the state. Pearson Cross of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette commented, "If Buddy can exceed expectations in New Hampshire or even sneak in and steal third — that would give a boost that he could build on".


 ((William S. Saturn )) Why did you decide to run for president at this particular point in time?

 ((Buddy Roemer )) Why run now? The political system has become institutionally corrupt with special interest money in control. I run to reform the system.

Roemer shakes hands with potential voters.
Image: Gage Skidmore.

 ((WSS )) Why are you a better choice for the Republican nomination than any of your opponents?

 ((BR )) No other candidate talks about the corruption of the political system as a result of special interest money. No other candidate limits contributions to $100 or less, no PACS, no SUPERPACS, full disclosure. No candidate has even stated a position on campaign reform. Our country is being bought and sold, and they have nothing to say. It is alarming and disgraceful. It is particularly bothersome as our country is in such difficulty with no jobs growth and lack of budgetary control and no solution is possible without exposing and placing broad limits on accepting special interest campaign funds. Lobbyists and Pacs with DC addresses contributed more money to the two candidates four years ago than 32 States combined. I will propose to Congress the following reforms:

  1. No superpacs
  2. Pacs could contribute only the “individual” amount, whatever the broad limit finally agreed. (currently $2500 for individuals and $5000 for Pacs)
  3. No registered lobbyists would be allowed to host or work in a fundraiser for a Member or the President, nor be allowed to contribute to a Member or the President. Your choice: registered lobbyist or fundraiser. Not both.
  4. Full Disclosure required. Pacs must show members and amounts contributed. No ridiculous $250 threshold.
  5. 48-hour reporting. In the age of the internet, we should not have to wait 100 days to see who gave money and how much to the President or Presidential wanabee.
  6. Criminal penalties established for violations.
  7. “Bundlers” must be reported with dollar amount collected.
  8. Seated President must report publically when “bundler” receives a Federal position.
Roemer prepares for a speech.
Image: Gage Skidmore.

 ((WSS )) Which of your fellow 2012 candidates for president do you most admire?

 ((BR )) Ron Paul. Of course, I do not agree with every position, but on the Federal Reserve and its management he has added a great deal to the debate. He has grown in relevance in my thoughts over the past 30 years since we served in Congress together.

 ((WSS )) If you do not receive the Republican nomination, would you consider running as a third party candidate?

 ((BR )) I am a Republican and can’t conceive of any other Party or position as a candidate. As President, I will work with both parties and independents to rebuild America.

 ((WSS )) Do you believe Barack Obama has done any good things as president?

 ((BR )) I like his spirit of hope when he first came to DC. But he turned out to be just like the rest of them: money, money, money, money, money.

 ((WSS )) What necessary freedoms are currently lacking in American society?

 ((BR )) Fair Trade ought to be a freedom that we can count on. The freedom to compete on a level playing field, but the big boys have bought those in control and have advertised the phrase Free Trade and all our best jobs get shipped overseas with Unfair Trade. A family without work is not happy, not healthy, not free. Our greatest loss of freedom has been loss of jobs. I’d get them back starting with Fair Trade and a level playing field with the biggest economic enemy of our great nation----China.

 ((WSS )) Do you disagree with any parts of the current U.S. Constitution?

 ((BR )) I would like to see a provision relating to money as speech with broad limits, full disclosure, and personal accountability. In that reform I would consider “term limits” and non-political rules for reapportionment.

Roemer (left) with fellow presidential candidate Christopher Hill.
Image: thebudman623.

 ((WSS )) How have your political views changed in the past twenty years?

 ((BR )) I am a conservative who has learned to listen to other Americans. Listening is a gift that I was reluctant to accept in my early years. At 68, I have found listening makes life more fun, more meaningful, more satisfying.

 ((WSS )) What are some of your policy proposals and if elected, how would you implement these?

 ((BR )) I believe in small business and think they need deregulation. I believe in energy independence and would encourage the market place to price all forms of available energy. I would open Yucca Mountain to nuclear waste storage. I would emphasize natural gas (clean and available). I would drill where there is gas and would do it cleanly. I would stop sending $700 BN to Saudi [Arabia] and its neighbors. I would cease all energy subsidies, particular oil and ethanol and unproven energy technology, and would close the Department of Energy ($25 BN). I would form an energy pact with Mexico and Canada and with no one else. I would institute complete tax reform and remove crony capitalism by instituting the Flat Tax (simple and fair and no national sales tax and a supermajority to change the rate). I would reduce Federal Spending 1% of GDP a year for 5-years. Under my leadership this country will explode economically.

I would implement the above by taking a broom and sweeping out DC with new, informed citizen-leaders, by communicating with the American people on a frequent basis as I travel outside of DC, by being free of the special interest money, and by spending quality time and hours on task in building a team of Congressional reformers beginning with Republicans but including Democrats and independents. Reform, not “change” will be the phrase, because the only way to beat a corrupt system is to reform it.

 ((WSS )) Which individuals would you like to see in a Roemer administration?

 ((BR )) Those who have a record of reform in their home towns and local communities, and who pledge to put the peoples’ interests first.


This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.
This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.