Matthew Hess is running for governor.
“Why am I doing this? I’m tired of the same old rhetoric, and I’m tired of the lack of visible solutions,” he said.
The Libertarian candidate met with The Durango Herald’s editorial board Saturday afternoon, maintaining government does too much, and Colorado needs a change.
“Nobody is offering tangible solutions anymore,” said the Indiana native. “What really is the base role of government? We should start to work toward that goal of getting proper governance back in place.”
That base role, Hess said, is property rights.
“You have services and protections set up around property rights,” he said. “That is the primary focus of government, or what it should be in my mind.”
Hess said too many government regulations leads to problems.
“People are trying to control each other with government,” he said.
Previously a candidate for Douglas County commissioner, he said Coloradans need to get back to what he called natural rights – rights that don’t infringe on others.
He called the Libertarian Party a melding of Democrats and Republicans, saying it “takes the best of both and combine them into a single platform.”
Property owners, he said, should be compensated for use of their land to acquire mineral resources underneath. He also said they should be compensated for pollution and the aftermath of resource extraction.
“People need to be held accountable,” he said.
On education, Hess said students lack practical skills. “They may have knowledge, but they have no application or way to use it. There’s a disconnect between the real world and learning that seems insurmountable right now. And, yes, I believe parents have been too disconnected from education,” he said.
He’s worried about higher education as well.
“We used to teach Latin in high schools, and now we teach remedial English in college,” he said.
The state, he said, requires too much licensing.
“In the 1950s, about 1 of 20 people required a license from the government to perform their job,” he said. “Today, it’s about 1 in 3. You need hundreds of hours to get your shampoo-therapy license – its just incredible, and that doesn’t stop people from getting a bad haircut. To me, it’s just more growth of government. You can no longer use your talents and abilities to make money – you must seek permission from some other entity – then you have lost your freedom.”
The state, he said, fails to stand up to the federal government. His solution – a new homestead movement in Colorado – would take back the land, which he said belongs to the state. “Work the land for 20 – 25 years, it’s yours.”
On fire, he said the best way to battle them is not starting it, and government environmental restrictions have done a fair share to create the poor state of current forests. “We’re conserving things to death,” he said about logging restrictions.
Hess, who has a background in computer technology and systems administration and camped on his Southwest Colorado tour, said he was attracted to the Libertarian Party because it most closely resembled the ideology of the country’s founders.
“Libertarians, in general, follow the no-aggression principle, where the initiation of force by government is usually immoral. It should be done only in the defense of rights, he said.
“If it doesn’t pick my pocket or break my leg, its OK by me.”