Category Archives: Craig For Congress

Third Party Candidates Excluded from Debates in Utah

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Photo from 2014 Protest of Debate Exclusion. Now being excluded again

The Utah Debate Commission has decided to exclude the campaign for Craig Bowden, candidate for Utah’s 1st Congressional District, as well as candidates for the Gubernatorial race and Attorney General race. This measure to exclude candidates is egregious on its face, and will be challenged. For far too long, systems set up by the two major parties have worked to keep alternate voices from being able to be heard. Whether it is with debates or ballot access, the drive to maintain power has kept third party ideas out of the eye of the public.

 The Debate Commission is in direct violation of election laws, and will be held accountable for what it is doing. Under the Equal Time Rule, candidates from opposing parties are able to receive equal air time at the same rate that is offered to other candidates broadcast. Normally, this would not apply as a law, as it does exempt organizations that hold their own debates as long as it is not the broadcast station itself. Where the Utah Debate Commission violates the law, is that the news media sits on the board for the commission. They are instrumental in planning these debates, and dedicate non-regular air time to have these debates. As such, it does not fall under “on the spot news” as required to be exempt from the law. The media is helping manufacture the news under the guise of a private entity.

 As such, the campaign of Craig Bowden, will be seeking the price of 30 minutes airtime from every broadcast station, both televised and aired on radio, on the prime time slot. This lawsuit will go away if the campaign is included in the debates.

 Further, Craig Bowden’s campaign will be seeking equal damages for every third party candidate and independent who was excluded. This is in combination with any fines the Federal Communications Commission may seek to impose on the Utah Debate Commission. The monies awarded on behalf of other third party candidates will be paid to each candidate that was excluded from the debates.

A Libertarian Day Out

10653518_639801622785119_256797751595299941_nYesterday was one of the busiest days I have had on the campaign trail. It all started with setting up for an event in Ogden for the Pride Festival. We had a booth set up to do some outreach on behalf of the Libertarian Party in Utah. After set up,  I headed out to join in a rally for Governor Gary Johnson, this is where things started to get really interesting for me. As a person heavily involved with Utah’s Libertarian Party, I was afforded the opportunity to head back into the Green Room to get some words in with the media and also be with the two former Governors who are the top ticket.

During the time back there, I was able to speak with Governor Bill Weld at some length, and I was glad to have that opportunity. As many of you in libertarian circles know, I have13873127_10208882314609380_8510925225473331989_n been critical of Bill Weld’s past as Governor of Massachusetts. Speaking with him directly has given me the chance to see things from him in a different light, and I can see that he isn’t the same person now he was then. I’ve always prided myself on being able to judge a person’s character when I am able to meet with them, and Governor Weld was being very honest with his answers to me. I still don’t agree with everything, but I never have agreed 100% with every candidate who has run to represent me. The areas that matter most to me, he is on the right side of the issues.

One of the highlights of our conversation, after it turned from political issues, was laughing about how fast our shoes have been wearing out on the campaign trail. It was a very human moment, and something I don’t think I will forget.

13770333_10157325731435381_144355872572393718_nShortly after this, I joined in with the rally to listen to the speakers chosen, including Barry Short, Mark Madsen, and of course, the two Governors. It is definitely looking like Utah may be the place for a state to turn Gold. The crowd numbered between 1200 and 1800 from estimates given, which marks it as the largest libertarian gathering in Utah’s history.

This trend continued as I traveled back to Utah to finish out the day manning the booth at the Ogden Pride Festival. I have to say that in all my years volunteering to help with events like these for the party in Utah, I have never seen such a huge response from people asking questions, taking information, and saying they plan to vote libertarian this election.

Nearly all the material that was brought was handed out and several new libertarians pledged to support our nominees this year. We also were approached by the candidate 13942248_127464721029647_989434929_nrunning for the U.S. Senate in Utah, Misty Snow, where we had a great conversation about civil liberties. She seems to have a pretty good head on her shoulders, and I sincerely wish her the best of luck in her efforts; it’s not easy stepping up to run for office. She definitely seems like someone I would be able to work with on several issues that affect Utah, like dismantling the Draper NSA facility.

The best part of the evening was discovering the booth next to us featuring Even Stevens, a sandwich company in Utah. This company has the Libertarian solution to “who’s going to take care of the poor” question we are often asked. Essentially what this sandwich shop does is to donate one sandwich to a charity for every sandwich you buy. They do this without government mandates or interference. They do it because they care about the people who need some help.

I am certainly excited for what has been happening in Utah, and every day that passes I feel we are getting close to being included in the 1st District Debates. That is one thing I would sincerely ask for you all to donate what you are able as we start doing our Top of Utah Tour this week. Just head to www.Craig4Congress.org and give your best donation.

We are getting so close to changing the landscape of politics, and Utah is the place for it to happen.

Life and Poltics

Life certainly happens and it had me neglecting to post on my blog site for a bit. That changes as of today.

To bring you all up to speed on why things have been so busy, here is the update of life in the political realm.

1. I have been helping vet the Libertarian candidates for POTUS, and drafting a voters guide to assist delegates in making their choice at convention in Orlando.

2. I have accepted a position in the campaign to nominate Steve Kerbel as the Utah Campaign Director.

3. I have been putting my own team in place for my Congressional run this year for Utah’s 1st District.

4. In efforts to grow the Libertarian Party in Utah, I have been working on organizing County Affiliates, especially in Weber County.

So lots of exciting developments in the works. Now that we have done most of the groundwork, I have time to keep everyone updated on the liberty movement as we work to expand freedom for all.

Answering The Park Record

logoOnce again the media, in this instance the Park Record, has decided to exclude me from being able to answer questions given another candidate.  I have taken the liberty of copying down the questions and answering them for the voters of 1stDistrict.

Voters deserve to know where all candidates stand on the issues.  Until the media decides to stop playing the partisan games, we will have to continue to do things this way, though I would encourage all who read this to send in letters and phone calls to the media and ask that they fairly cover all candidates in a race instead of skewing it to the Democrats and/or the Republicans.

Please describe how your background prepares you to serve in the office you seek and why you have chosen to campaign for that office.

 To start off, I served nearly 8 years as a United States Marine in the infantry.  This has given me first-hand knowledge of what happens in war, as I was deployed twice in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.  It also gave me the skills of leadership and teamwork that are necessary to help bridge the divide our nation is experiencing.  It also taught me that there is such a thing as honor, and to honor my oath I took on June 16, 2003, I chose to run to defend the rights of the people; it had no expiration for me.

I also served 3 years at the Internal Revenue Service in the Business Division.  This has given me great insight to the many problems within our tax code.  I dealt with the direct issues employers were having.  I have heard their complaints every day, and also heard their suggestions.  Though at the time I could not do anything to change the way the law was, if elected, I would be able to apply this experience to helping the businesses in America grow and prosper.

Finally, I am a small business owner.  I know what it is like to roll up your sleeves and get to work.  I chose to forge my own path, and while it may not be a multi-million dollar corporation, the fact that I can feed my family is a success.  Tied in with this business experience, I am also the President of two non-profits, so I deal with the day in and day out of working with people.

 The Park City and Summit County economies have performed solidly during the current two-year congressional term. Please discuss your reasoning for the performance of the local economy and identify one policy you will pursue during the next congressional term to ensure further economic expansion in the community.

 Utah overall has had great results economically compared to other states in the nation.  Our unemployment is one of the lowest, and I think it can really be attributed to the “can do” attitude the people of this state have.  We aren’t afraid to roll up our sleeves and do the jobs necessary to take care of our loved ones.  Park City and Summit County are no exception.  They have that same grit to do what they need to, and because of this attitude, it’s not just surviving but thriving.

I think one of the best things I could do is listen to the small business leaders in the community.  We constantly hear about Congressmen and women essentially being bought and paid for by large corporation, and that is why I’m not interested in talking to them.  They will survive without my ear.  The people who need the most help are the “ma and pa” stores.  The self-owned restaurants.  The bait and tackle shops.  The snowboard rental stores.  They are the ones we need to listen to.

I stated earlier that I worked in the Business Division of the IRS and there were a top number of complaints we dealt with: taxation being too much, regulations being a burden, and confusion with the ever evolving tax code.  We need to simplify things for the businesses that can’t afford the team of lawyers and lobbyists.  We need to make it easier on them.

Please discuss your opinion of the benefits and drawbacks of the Affordable Care Act. Please describe one item you would like added to the health care law and one that you would like removed.

 I have been fairly strong worded about the ACA, and for good reason.  I honestly don’t think the approach taken was helpful in the least.  My dad told me a story to relate, and I will share it with you: When you have a leaking roof, you go up and apply some tar, maybe some new shingles, but you don’t tear the whole house down and rebuild.

There were obviously some needed reforms in the healthcare industry, but the ACA tore down the house, and some problems are still not addressed.

To be honest, I would scrap the entire law and go back to the drawing board addressing one specific issue at a time.  Like college students being allowed to remain on their parents’ insurance.  That could have been one law passed.

When we address the issues one at a time like this, it works far more efficiently.  And if Congress is going to use the excuse that “there isn’t enough time for that,” well, maybe it’s time for them to work more than 120 days out of a year or maybe the bill shouldn’t exist if it needs to be so massively sweeping no one can read it.

 The situation in Iraq has deteriorated in recent months, more than a decade after the U.S.-led invasion of the country. What dangers do you foresee for the United States in Iraq and what role should the U.S. have in Iraq as the government there struggles to maintain control?

 This is where I am going to be very clearly contrasted from all my opponents in the race.  I do not think we have any more business in the countries of Iraq and Syria.  It is a no win situation for America.

If we go in and help defeat ISIS, then Bashar Assad will remain in power as a dictator and continue to oppress his people. If we support ISIS, then something worse comes along.  We have seen examples like this happen time and time again when the United States starts getting involved with other nations.

Let’s not also forget that we really should not have been involved in Iraq in the first place.  I personally believe that the actions we took were at least borderline criminal.

We also have no clear objectives, and as a former infantryman, you need to have a clear mission in order to accomplish it.  We cannot continue to risk the lives of our young men and women in international conflicts, the price is too great.  Our Department of Defense should actually start worrying about defense and not deploying all over the world to be involved in conflicts we have no business in.

 Many Americans see partisan gridlock in Washington, D.C., as one of the inhibitors to progress in the country, pointing to the government shutdown as an example. Please discuss the problems created by the partisan nature of Washington and describe one effort you pledge to make to cooperate with the other side of the aisle.

 Well, let me just say that first of all, I am not partisan.  I am running to represent the people in Utah’s District, and if the Libertarian Party started to ask me to do things that did not involve increases in liberty or prosperity for all my constituents, I would leave the party.

It’s high time that we stopped having the partisan lines drawn.  It is one of the reasons I chose to run in the first place.  Congressman Bishop blames Harry Reid, and Donna McAleer blames Congressman Bishop.  They are all part of the problem.  They will tow whatever line their party tells them to.  So in spite of Ms. McAleer’s promises, I’m afraid that she’d only add to the gridlock, not work to solve it.

I have no qualms working with anyone that has the voters’ best interests in mind, so long as the law being passed respects individual and economic liberty, and also falls within the defined limits of the U.S. Constitution.

I pledge to the voters of Utah that I will not join in the political hackery that goes on in Washington, D.C. I am going there to represent you, and I will be your voice, but more than that, lend you and not the lobbyists and special interests my ear.

 The tourism-heavy economy of Park City has for years relied at some level on foreign workers, both those in the United States legally and those in the country illegally. Please discuss your preferred immigration reform package. In your answer, please address the idea of amnesty for those already in the United States illegally.

 I honestly would like to see a time where we are allowed to freely travel, work, and live anywhere we want, and that includes those in Latin America and Mexico.  We do need to have border security to guard against threats, but someone wanting to work here and better their life is no threat.

I do not believe that they should be granted amnesty for citizenship, and should apply like everyone else to become a citizen, but I have no issues with them being here.

To address the concerns of them not paying taxes or getting benefits from the welfare programs, I have addressed this concern in some of the welfare reforms I have proposed and my tax plan to initiate the Fair Tax.

Benefits can only be extended to U.S. citizens, is the short answer on the reforms, but I do have a little more in depth on my website, too much to say here today.  As for the Fair Tax, to summarize, it removes all forms of taxation currently in place and essentially creates a national consumption tax based on the purchase of new goods, with the exclusion of necessities like food, water, and housing.  This means that all other spending done in the United States is taxed, which means there will be no “under the table” pay not making it into the revenue.

 Please identify one of President Obama’s policies you support and one that you oppose. Please explain the reasoning behind your support and opposition.

 To be honest, I really cannot think of anything off the top of my head I have openly supported from President Obama.  He really seems to be continuing a lot of former President Bush’s policies, and so I don’t have a lot I can say in favor of what he’s tried to do.  I really would have liked to see him uphold the promises he made, and has had several opportunities with bill passage he could have vetoed, but didn’t.

 Please differentiate yourself from your opponents.

 Well, I don’t avoid media questions and constituents like Congressman Bishop has shown to do.  I am open and honest about any questions asked of me, and really try to have a 24 hour turn around on answering a question I receive.

As for Donna McAleer, I am the only candidate who is truly without the support of special interests.  She has claimed many times that she is the candidate running without them, but when you look into her financials, you can see that she has received money from several sources that are not individual voters (approximately 15% from PACs, though to her credit far lower than Congressman Bishop who is closer to 80%).  I have only received money from the Libertarian Party of Utah and individual voters.  I’m not interested in money from PACs, unions, or any other groups.  The voters’ voices matter.

Free Speech Message – Craig Bowden

 

Pleas click on the picture to watch the latest message from Craig Bowden running for Utah’s 1st Congressional District.

play

Protesting the Utah Debate Commission

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Libertarian Candidate Craig Bowden protesting outside of the 1st District debate held at Weber State University

By Craig Bowden, Libertarian Candidate for Congress: As many of you know, I have been protesting the Utah Debate Commission for the last couple months.  I will continue to do so, even though I missed out on debating in the one held for Utah’s 1st District.  This isn’t about me.  This is about the voters having the opportunity to hear from eligible candidates and learn about where they stand.  They may never get to hear from me on such a stage, but that doesn’t mean the other districts or the Attorney General’s race shouldn’t have all balloted candidates included.

On Tuesday, September 23rd, we held a protest outside of building where the first debate was held.  I want to share my story of this process, because it is important that people understand what happened to us that day.

We began setting up at around 5:00 p.m. so we could make sure that voters heading in to watch the debate would be able to see the excluded candidates.  We also had flyers and pamphlets to showcase where we stand on critical issues facing the State of Utah and the nation.  We set up in a nice grassy area, one that seemed to be an ideal location, but we were duped.

The area we were allowed to protest was on the opposite side of the building from where the majority of voters would be entering, contrary to what I was told by Weber State’s Police Chief Dane LeBlanc.  It appears that we were intentionally put out of site and mind by the police department, even though they had three officers keeping tabs on us to make sure we stayed in our “free speech zone” assigned to us.

We were told that we could not bring canopies for shade, in spite of the fact that the temperatures were in the high 80’s and low 90’s. We suffered the heat so we could be heard.  The candidates that made the debate?  They got to set tables up inside the Shepard Union Building to hand out information.  So not only were we excluded from taking stage, but we also were shut out from being able to set up a table.  Ironic that the mission of the Debate Commission is to inform voters.

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Table set up at the protest

When candidate Donna McAleer walked by, I called out and said hello to her, to have her look up and scoff my presence.  I was afforded the exact same response by Congressman Bishop as he left. Neither of them thought we deserved to be within their presence.

The showing of support though small, was enthusiastic and we had some ad hoc debate going on between the candidates located at the protest.  We discussed our differences and our common ground.  We also got to have people stop and listen as they went about to classes.  This was worth standing in the sun, getting to have voters interact with us and learn more about where we stand.

I think the biggest complaint that I have from this aside from the general disdain showed by major party candidates and the debate commission was the way we were treated by the news agencies reporting on the debate.

Fox 13 didn’t air any of the footage of the protest, nor any interviews with those attending, even though Dwayne Vance and I both took time to talk to the camera.  As a matter of fact, Fox 13 barely even gave us a footnote on the 9 o’clock news.  At least we were somewhat mentioned.  Worse were the reactions from Channel 2 and Channel 4 News.  They actually went out of the way to avoid talking to us.  I watched them walking up the stairs near our staging area, and move to walk along the wall of the building to avoid talking to us at all.

The Salt Lake Tribune, though not present at all, made a footnote about only Dwayne Vance and I being in attendance.  They reported total misinformation with stating it was just the two of us and forgetting to mention the supporters and other candidates who showed up to give support.

The Deseret News at least shot two pictures and posted them up with their article, but aside from the captions in the pictures, they made no mention of what we were trying to accomplish or what our legitimate complaints were.

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Sign my daughter held in the protest

One highlight of this was the coming together of all third parties in Utah, something that has never happened before.  We are sending in a formal complaint for the Utah Debate Commission violating the law, and all of us are standing together in this common goal: that Utah voters have the chance to hear from every legitimate candidate in the election and not the chosen major party candidates that continue to offer the same tired rhetoric of the last few decades.

I have also included in this writing a message I have for Scott Howell, the Co-Chair of the Utah Debate Commission that spent two days in the media calling us “wackos” and “extremists” and claiming that we haven’t been putting in the leg work to be considered “real candidates.”

UPDATE TO STORY

I am a person who will give credit where credit is due; I’m not a partisan individual. Tonight I learned that Donna McAleer, my Democrat opponent, fought hard to get third parties into the debates this year.

I also need to apologize for a statement made from the debate night. I had stated that Donna did not acknowledge me when I said hello. While it was true she didn’t, she was quite nervous going into the debate and didn’t realize I had said hello, as she was focused on what was about to happen.

I should have accounted for the nerves and focus needed, as I’ve had the jitters doing speaking engagements as well.

Call to Action – Let Third Parties Debate

Several third party candidates, including me, are on the ballot this November but are being excluded from participating in the debates, even though the debates are being held on tax payer funded venues like universities. Supporters feel that in order for true non-partisanship and voter education, ballot qualified candidates should be allowed to debate.

Please go to http://utahdebatecommission.org/contact-us/ to send the debate commission a message you want third party voices heard.

You can sign the petition at http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/let-third-parties-debate

You can also join our Twitter and Facebook campaign by using hashtag #LetThemSpeak especially on their pages
@UtahDebateCom and https://www.facebook.com/pages/Utah-Debate-Commission/302816553199941

Let’s do this Utah!

Reduce the Pay of Congress

A new ad from Craig Bowden, running out of Utah’s 1st Congressional District addressing the need to reduce the salary, perks, and entitlements members of Congress receive.

 

Force is Not the Answer

ft_main1For a long time, the United States Government has been using force in order to ensure it can fund its various departments.  They literally use threats of jail, fines, and use law enforcement (in other words a gun) to ensure you are compliant on taxes.  I find this to be extremely wrong and morally unjustified.

The excuse I seem to hear the most often is that there is a “social contract” to take care of the less fortunate.  That it is good because some people wouldn’t help anyone out if it weren’t mandatory.  My question to present to them is this: how did the United States fund anything, even when it tried staying within the enumerated powers granted in the Constitution, until the early 1900s when the Income Tax was first established and made permanent?

I believe that you should be able to keep 100% of what you make.  You are the one who puts in the hard work, yet, even at the lowest, you still need to pay 10% of your wage as soon as you go over $435.00 on a two week paycheck.  So if you only make $770.00 a month, you have to give up a tenth of your earnings.

I have a solution, and that solution is the Fair Tax system.  Through the Fair Tax, you keep every dime you make.  No one takes anything from you.  There is no threat of jail or fines if you don’t file a paper on time. There are no armed agents ready to put a lien on your property.  You have your money free and clear.

The tax applies to the final point of purchase of an item.  So you only pay taxes on the money you spend.  If you choose to be frugal, you will save more of your hard earnings for things like retirement, emergencies, etc.  You have the control of how much you’ll pay at any given time.

This also would allow for the rich to still pay more, because naturally, as you make more money, you buy more things.  You spend more.  You get the more expensive items.  You can afford it.

I find the Fair Tax to be the best approach, and removes the threats of the IRS from your life.  This is something everyone could get behind, regardless of your ideology or political party.  Give the power back to the people.

Pondering Late at Night

American-flagI have been unable to sleep tonight, so I figured I would write.  I feel that writing sometimes can clear a lot of the clutter going on in my brain, and release the thoughts keeping me awake.  Consider it an open letter to the American people.

I have been campaigning for nearly a year now.  Reaching out to thousands of voters, not only in Utah, but across a nation.  I have talked to liberals, conservatives, and every party affiliation or lack thereof.  Everyone seems jaded by a politician or their preferred party.  Heaven knows I am in that boat as well.

I used to be a Republican myself.  That was until I saw a lot of what was wrong with the party.  The compromise, the back door deals, the fight for power or political positioning instead of doing what is right for the American people.  Call me old school, or just a dumb jarhead, but I believe in being direct.  I believe in meaning what you say, and saying what you mean.  I am tired of the political games the Democrats and Republicans have been playing, while the people suffer.

I want so badly to be able to serve, it’s something I have wanted since I was a child.  My job choices on growing up were always service oriented, and every job I have held was in a service capacity of one sort or another.  I don’t get why the people currently elected don’t work to serve the people.  It boggles my mind.

I’ve heard all the stories: greed, power, wealth, etc. for why they seem to be in office.  I just don’t get why it is so important for them to have those things.  I consider an office of public trust to be sacred, but I see the people who swore a similar oath to my own, spit upon the principles of that oath.  I guess that’s why I chose to run.  I’m tired of the oath breaking.  I’m tired of watching small business being crippled by stifling regulations.  I’m tired of cronyism.  I’m tired of not knowing if my kids will enjoy the freedoms I had as a child.

Our rights are being trampled on before our eyes, and both parties are stepping on them.  Both want to expand the government’s role, they just think they can do a better job of it.  They love their corporate donors and reward them with tax breaks, subsidies, and positions.  It’s sickening.

Where did honor go? Where is courage to do the right thing? Where is the commitment to the American people?

Is the disease of the nation’s capitol really that bad?  That even some of the best turn bad?  How is it possible that so many, with all the best intentions fail in their duties after a few years?

Call me a dreamer, but I want to see America thrive.  I want to see the dreams of our forefathers truly come to fruition.  We have the ability to do this, but only if we are willing to fight for it. Only if we truly want it.  Only if we get up and go for our dreams.

I may be reaching for the stars with my hopes of making it to the halls of Congress, but when you set a high standard, even if you don’t quite make it, you still land in a better place than you were before.

My experience campaigning has given me greater insight, depth, and understanding I would never have known.  Every person I meet trying to find a way to make a difference has given me hope. Each one carries a little spark of liberty’s dream, and together…they shine a light more magnificent than anything I have ever known.

I love this country so much, and it’s killing me watching the politicians destroy her.  Seeing many of you fighting helps me see hope.  Something I thought was lost long ago.

If we banded together, we would be an unstoppable force.  We must not forget the lessons history has taught us.  We cannot forget the principles of individual liberty.  We must hold self evident truths and spread them to others.  When we plant those seeds or sparks of liberty, and feed them, they will grow.  They will become the most magnificent thing the world has known.

We become free.