Haley Sylvester

Haley Sylvester is from Greenwich, CT and an undergraduate student at the University of Maine. She is studying Management and Marketing with a concentration in International Business and a minor in Professional Writing. She joined the Maine Campus in the spring of 2016 and currently serves as the News Editor.

Vice President of the Libertarian Party ticket William (Bill) Weld made an appearance at the Spectacular Event Center in Bangor on the evening of Oct. 8 on behalf of Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson.

Weld was presented in a forum run by Dr. Mark Brewer, a political science professor at the University of Maine and Chris Dixon, a writer for The Liberty Conservative who manages the Undercover Porcupine blog at the Bangor Daily News.

Weld started the conversation by emphasizing what the next few weeks up until the election will hold — money, organization and most importantly, momentum. Weld identified that Johnson, unlike Clinton and Trump, is focusing on the possibility of the winner of the upcoming election not being Democrat or Republican. According to Weld, most people are deciding between “the lesser of the two evils.” He is currently fighting to show that there is another option for the nation.

“We have our work cut out for us, but we do have a fighting chance,” Weld stated.

Weld believes that Johnson would be less confrontational in office compared to Clinton or Trump. He raised the question, “What should a president sound like and look like? They should have dignity.” Weld doesn’t believe Clinton or Trump possess that quality.

Weld highlighted the main issues that Johnson plans to pursue if elected in office. Johnson has plans to attack issues such criminal justice reform, education and the Black Lives Matters movement, foreign policy, fiscal responsibilities of the nation, immigration and the process of re-election.

Weld explained that Johnson was one of the first people with the desire to legalize marijuana, “and people thought he was crazy for it.” A major criminal justice reform is needed, Weld said. He believes that individuals with charges of white-collar drug crimes or drug addictions should be reconsidered before being incarcerated to receive proper treatment instead.

Weld highlighted the importance of education in our current society, saying that almost all jobs require a college degree these days and that the education system should “teach to the job, not to the test.”

In terms of foreign policy, Weld stated that the whole world is riveted on the United States. As for the military side, Weld clarified that Johnson is not for military intervention. However, there needs to be a sense of power and supremacy to offset other nations thinking they can “push us around.”

“There’s no policy that we’re going to change the rules of engagement to make sure nothing bad ever happens.”

When asked about Libertarian mainstream issues versus Republican mainstream issues, Weld responded by talking about the millennial generation.

“I think the Republicans have cut loose from the idea of fiscal responsibility. Mr. Trump says, ‘I don’t want to touch entitlements,’ that’s not a responsible approach. If we don’t take starting moves, programs such as Social Security won’t be around for the millennial generation. And I think the millennial generation knows that. They’re very smart and I think they will end up having a huge impact on the United States.”

Weld emphasized that the Libertarian party is “serious about having a smaller government and the Republican party is not.”

He then transitioned into the controversial point of the obsession with getting re-elected in today’s politics.

“If I could create one public policy outcome it would be a passage of term limits. It’s the only silver bullet that Gary and I have been able to think up that would change the attitude of these people in Washington all of whom are obsessed with getting re-elected. I think they’ve even forgot why they want to get re-elected. It’s not because they want to advance some goal, it’s just because they want to get re-elected. They’re addicted to it. Maybe we should treat that as a public health emergency,” Weld said.

Weld was asked by an audience member why he and Johnson believe people are attracted to the populous rhetoric of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. He responded by saying that Sanders gave an incredible speech at the Hillary Clinton rally at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor on the morning of Oct. 7. “I thought he was kind of refreshing,” Weld said.

Weld explained that Trump “has been pretty skillful about stitching together resentment here and resentment there, putting all the hate groups in one pot and letting it boil.”

The last question of the evening was from an audience member, who asked Weld if he and Johnson would become co-presidents if elected. Weld responded by laughing and saying, “He said that, I didn’t.”