Jack Seaman is a man with a plan Libertarian candidate for U.S. House makes final campaign stopsBy BRYCE MARTIN
As a Libertarian candidate for the U.S. House, Jack Seaman believes in freedom from government interference, mixed with ideologies of social liberalism and fiscal conservatism.
Seaman shared his political views and aspirations during a one-day, three-city campaign tour Oct. 24 that took him to Dickinson, Williston and Minot.
Seaman, a businessman from Fargo, entered his name into the race for North Dakota’s only U.S. Representative seat not on a whim, but because he felt the people were not being represented fairly.
His opponents—incumbent Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-Bismarck) and George Sinner, a Democrat—have campaigned around the state and spent a large share of money on their respective campaigns. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Cramer had raised over $1.3 million for his campaign as of Oct. 15. Sinner raised a bit less, with about $864,000.
Seaman, a self-proclaimed “normal guy,” said he does not have millions of dollars to spend on a campaign. He raised under $10,000.
Seaman said his issue with Cramer was that he was a “flip-flop” when it came to his voting record.
“…[Cramer] ran his entire 2012 campaign on being a fiscal conservative, balancing the budget, reining in spending and then he voted the exact opposite way,” Seaman said. “That’s basically the reason I’m running.”
Seaman said his core issue is economic policy. He presented a list of specific cuts he would make to the country’s budget during the time of “excessive” government spending. His proposed cuts included ending the U.S. Dept. of Ed., ending all non-humanitarian foreign aid, ending the War on Drugs, privatizing the TSA, end the IRS and replace with a Fair Tax, end the National Security Agency and reduce the country’s military spending by 50 percent.
The latter received several raised brows.
“If we cut 50 percent, we’d still be the No. 1 military spender in the world and we would still outspend our nearest competitors—Russia and China—combined,” he said. “People say, ‘Cut the budget 50 percent? No way.’ Even if we cut it by half, we would still outspend those two countries.”
Seaman said the government spent over $600 billion on its military budget in 2013—Russia and China combined spent less than $300 million, he said.
“That’s how much fat there is,” he added.
As for cutting the U.S. Dept. of Ed., that facet of government is unnecessary, explained Seaman, “Educational concerns can be handled on a local and state level.”
The War on Drugs, which Seaman said he wanted to discontinue, includes a set of drug policies that are intended to discourage the production, distribution and consumption of what participating governments and the United Nations define as illegal psychoactive drugs.
“It’s a failed policy,” Seaman said, adding that the United States has spent over $1 trillion since the unofficial war began and no progress has been made. If anything, he said, matters have worsened.
The money spent on the war could be spent on education and rehabilitation and the nation’s drug problem would rapidly recede, according to Seaman. “It’s not the government’s job to protect us from ourselves,” he said.
Drug cartels have entered and illegally trafficked drugs across North Dakota since the Bakken Oil Boom. A way to end such a criminal element would be to legalize drugs, specifically marijuana, and decriminalize other illegal drugs, he said.
Seaman said people across the state are literally welcoming him with open arms, a result of their frustration with Republicans and Democrats, “the bickering, the bipartisan fighting, the gridlock,” he said. People are searching for a third option; looking for something truly different. “And that’s what I represent,” he said.
If elected, Seaman’s purview would be more geared to the federal level, but he noted that the current North Dakota State Legislature has not divvied up funds generated by oil and gas taxes in an appropriate manner.
“I think that western North Dakota needs to receive a bigger share of the revenue that they generate,” he said. “I would like to see the new session address that problem.”
Democrats held North Dakota’s U.S. House seat from 1980 to 2010, until the election of Cramer’s one-term predecessor, Rick Berg. Cramer was voted into the position in 2012 with a 55 percent vote of the people. Democratic candidate Pam Gulleson trailed behind with about 42 percent of the vote and Eric Olson, a Libertarian candidate, only captured about three percent, or 10,125 votes.