Roger Barris, libertarian candidate for US House of Representatives, speaks at CSU

Ravyn Cullor

During a meet and greet, the libertarian candidate running for Colorado’s Second Congressional district discussed ski injuries, the Great Wall of China and turkeys.

Libertarian candidate of the U.S. House of Representatives Roger Barris, hosted by the Colorado State University chapter of Young Americans for Liberty, spoke in the Lory Student Center Wednesday night.

Ad

The event was Barris’ first campaign event, drawing approximately 25 attendees. He hopes to speak at other schools in the district, including University of Colorado Boulder and other local colleges.

“The Libertarian Party does have a lot to offer college students,” said Barris. “Turkeys don’t vote for Thanksgiving.”

The main pillars of his campaign are solutions to the $21 trillion national debt, the phasing out and eventual elimination of Social Security benefits and the Medicare system, decreasing housing costs, competitive education, occupational licensing reform and elimination of the Affordable Care Act.

Barris’ platform, which is in line with the platform of the Libertarian Party, advocates free market competition as the solution to most of the problems faced by America.

The event was question-and-answer style, in which Barris discussed his stance on some issues and admitted he needed to do more in-depth research on others.

“I was hoping to try out some ideas,” Barris said. “More than anything else, I wanted to get feedback from people … and try to understand what the issues are which are important to them.”

While Barris said he was unprepared for a number of questions asked about Facebook, data sharing and constricted speech on social media platforms, he also said the problem might be that the role of personal property rights is undefined when it comes to personal data, and he wants to think more about the discussion.

Instead of the government regulating data sharing platforms like Facebook, Barris advocated for a system in which users pay a monthly subscription fee to the platform, and are then rewarded for the use of their personal data in the form of a reduction or elimination of that base fee. He also said that he does not support the government interfering with a private social media company’s right to ban certain kinds of speech.

Barris said his immigration plan involves a system which favors skilled workers and is against the unlimited and unregulated immigration of an “open borders” policy. However, Barris also said that building a wall on the U.S. Mexico border is “a stupid, stupid idea.”

Barris said issues, which are benefitting the Trump administration, are those which the President does not care about and said that he would fight to bring powers allocated to the executive branch back to Congress.

Ad

He advocated a legalization of drug possession and use, saying it would decrease incarceration rates and gang related gun violence. He also said that marijuana should be legalized nationally and called Attorney General Jeff Sessions, “a disaster.”

Cutting military spending and stepping down and the “international cop,” would be part of his plan to decrease the national deficit and named it as one of his more appealing policies to Democratic voters in his district.

In general, Barris want to see the government roll back or eliminate most regulations and regulatory bodies, as well as what he believes are extraneous and unnecessary departments like the Department of Energy or the Department of Education

He almost wants to see most responsibilities of the federal government passed down to local governments.

Barris is hoping that early campaign events like the meet and great to help him reach out to grassroots organization and voters before the candidates from the main parties are selected during primary voting in June.

The campaign also wants to have a debate which would include Republican, Democrat and third-party candidates.

“It’s a great opportunity to reach out to students (and) in the world of politics, competition manifests itself in debate,” Barris said.

Editor’s Note: A previous version of this article misidentified Barris as a candidate for the Colorado House of Representatives. A previous version of this article also incorrectly stated Barris’ immigration policy advocates for “closed borders,” and misquoted his statements on the issue of Facebook and property rights in regards to personal data. This article has been updated to reflect the correct information.  

Collegian reporter Ravyn Cullor can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @RCullor99