NewsPublic Affairs / October 26, 2016

Q&A With Libertarian Gov. Candidate Rex Bell

Q&A With Libertarian Gov. Candidate Rex Bell

Rex Bell, Libertarian candidate for Governor, at the final Gubernatorial debate before the election.

This story is part of a three-part series showcasing the candidates for Indiana governor. See the Q&A with GOP candidate Eric Holcomb here, and the Q&A with Democratic candidate John Gregg here.

Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Rex Bell’s primary goal is, of course, to win his race. But that’s challenging as a third party candidate — and he says influencing the race is a victory, too. Indiana Public Broadcasting’s Brandon Smith sat down with Bell to talk about where he stands on issues in the race.

This conversation has been edited for clarity and conciseness:

Brandon Smith: As the Libertarian candidate, what role do you think you play in the campaign?

Rex Bell: As a Libertarian, we basically bring a chance for people to vote for limited government. When the old parties are running, we know basically how they run things and government gets bigger and government gets more expensive.

You know, occasionally they’ll cut something back but we know, at the end of the day, it’s going to be bigger and more expensive. So, you know, when we run on a limited government ticket, if somebody’s interested in voting for limited government, we’re the only shot out there for that. And that’s why we run.

Smith: As we lead into talking about issues, once of the biggest in this election is a debate over pre-kindergarten education. Where do you, and the Libertarian Party, come down on pre-k?

Bell: Well, you know, I’ll speak for myself on this. I’m not going to say that there aren’t some Libertarians that might support that because, you know, constitutionally we need to — we’re required to provide education.

We believe we’re already doing that as far as we should. What makes a difference in a child doing well in school is the family involvement. Certainly, you know, if somebody needs help raising a child, there are churches and private institutions out there that will help with that.

But, you know, our big fear when the government gets involved, you know, what starts out as just a voluntary thing – you know, kindergarten started out voluntary.

Well, there’s a push now to make it mandatory. When that happens to pre-K and then maybe even, you know, sooner than that, it’s the type of thing that when we look at what the proper role of government is, it’s not raising our children.”

Smith: There may be no bigger issue in this election than a plan for Indiana’s roads and bridges. What would you, as governor, like to see the state do when it comes to a long term funding solution for our roads and bridges?

Bell: We’ve said all along the first thing we need to do is use all of our road use taxes on the roads. We don’t do that yet. You know, that money is spent on different things other than the roads and it shouldn’t be.

Is it enough? We don’t know exactly; nobody knows that for sure. And if we had to put on … you know, when we do away with property taxes and save people that much money and you had to pay an extra two cents a gallon in a road use tax, you know it might be a tradeoff we have to make. We can lower the total tax burden.

Smith: What role do you think government should play in the field of LGBT rights?

Bell: The same role is should play in everybody’s rights. You know, everybody has the same rights in this state. Anything the state offers, anything the government offers from one to the other should be the same.

When they came out with RFRA and they said, okay now if you have a certain religious belief then you can discriminate against somebody but if you don’t have this religious belief, you can’t. You know, that was a misguided thing that was struck down anyway.

Did it hurt Indiana? I don’t know that we’ve seen evidence of that. It was a wrong-headed thing that got knocked down pretty quick and you know we heard a public outcry over it, that this was not something government should be doing. And I think it was one of those things where society took care of something that government had fouled up.

So, you know I think we need to look at it that way. But government’s role, while being minimal, should be to make sure that we’re all … we all have the same rights, regardless of what your beliefs are.

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