Category: ‘Policy Announcements’

In Which I Express My Election Endorsements

November 7, 2016 Posted by E. Zachary Knight

What a year for an election. There is so much going on and so much at stake. So it is time for some endorsements from this Candidate for Congress.

I will list my endorsements from the top down, first for those running on my local ballot and then in general for the rest of the state.

First Up, I endorse Gary Johnson, Libertarian, for President. He is the only serious and qualified candidate running for the top office in the nation. He has executive experience as Governor of New Mexico. He has a proven track record of working with an opposing legislative branch. He has a proven record of smart budget policies. He has great ideas for our foreign relationships with other nations. In a serious election, he would be the top contender. While I don’t have any hope that he will win Oklahoma, I feel he has a great chance in the national race. But in Oklahoma, a vote for him means a vote for continued competition of ideas in Oklahoma.

Next, I endorse Robert Murphy, Libertarian for Senate. I have known Robert for a while now and he is a really smart and liberty minded individual. He would make a great Senator and advocate for liberty, freedom and peace.

I then endorse myself for Congressional District 5. Of course.

For OK Senate District 41, I endorse Richard Prawdzienski. As a long time Libertarian, I trust Richard to make responsible decisions for the direction of this state.

For OK House District 39, I endorse Clark Duffe. He is a respected friend and Libertarian. He will also help steer Oklahoma in the right direction.

For Oklahoma County Clerk, I endorse Chris Powell, Libertarian. He has been a strong advocate for liberty and he will use his position to strengthen that in this county.

For Oklahoma County Sheriff, I will abstain. Neither candidate is an honest or good person. They have both shown to be corrupt and untrustworthy. I can’t in good conscience vote for either one.

For Oklahoma County Court Clerk, The incumbent lost in the Primary, but her Republican challenger does not possess much better judgement. I suggest voting for Anastasia Pittman for Court Clerk, but don’t make an endorsement.

For Judicial Retention, I don’t have the time and energy to research the value of each judge’s rulings. Neither have I heard of any ruling that just made me shake my head as much as the legislation the state courts have overruled. However, any judges that are not retained will have final approval of Governor Fallin for their replacement. Fallin has not been a good Governor for our state and so she should be kept far from replacing any judges. Vote Yes on all judicial retention.

For State Questions, see my previous post.

In all other races, I suggest the following rules: 1) If there is a Libertarian on the ballot, vote for him or her. 2) If there is an Independent on the ballot, Vote for him or her. 3) If there is an incumbent on the ballot, vote for their opponent.

A Libertarian Look At Oklahoma’s State Questions

October 14, 2016 Posted by E. Zachary Knight

Here are my thoughts on Oklahoma’s 2016 State Questions:

SQ 776 – Adds The Death Penalty To The Oklahoma Constitution.

This state question is a response by the legislature to recent court rulings against Oklahoma’s methods of executing people on death row. As a Libertarian, I am completely opposed to the death penalty. The US justice system is not perfect. Too often, innocent people, many of them with mental health problems, are railroaded through the justice system to secure a murder conviction. Prosecution and police use deceptive measures including coerced confessions and withholding and fabricating evidence to convict someone. People deserve every chance to prove their innocence, even if it take years or decades. The death penalty puts an irreversible roadblock to justice. I say we take a stand against the death penalty and Vote No on SQ 776.

SQ 777 – Creates a “Right To Farm” Amendment to the Oklahoma Constitution.

Farming is already a natural right of property owners. However, no one has a right to harm the property of their neighbors. One of the government’s primary purposes is to protect the rights of property owners from fraud and harm. I have heard no compelling reasons to support this Constitutional amendment, nor have I heard any compelling reasons for why this amendment is even needed. Until I see a compelling reason to enshrine such a “right” in the Constitution, I say Vote No on SQ 777.

SQ 779 – Creates a One Cent Sales Tax To Fund Education

While this question sounds good on its face, it has a number of problems. First up, the supporters of this question are falling for their ages old “throw money at it” solution to failing education. They have done this before with taxes on gambling and other taxes before. But the real problem with our education system is bloat and a lack of competition. Public education supporters are afraid to take on these issues. Instead, they would rather increase the Oklahoma sales tax to one of the highest in the nation. Something that will drive people out of this state, reducing tax income. Vote No on SQ 779.

SQ 780 and SQ 781 – Sweeping Criminal Justice Reform

SQ 780 reduces criminal penalties for a wide number of victimless crimes, including many drug possession charges. For years Oklahoma has been a “tough on crime” state. But in reality, Oklahoma has simply made sentences for minor offenses longer and harsher. This has not resulted in a reduced crime rate, but has only resulted in broken people and families. People who could have been a benefit to the state had they not had their lives ruined by time in jail and a criminal record. SQ 781 is a companion bill and can only have an effect if SQ 780 passes. It takes the money saved by not incarcerating those convicted of those minor offenses and puts those funds toward alternative reform programs. Both are great ideas. Vote Yes on SQ 780 and SQ 781.

SQ 790 – Repeals The Constitutional Amendment Preventing Public Funds For Religious Uses

SQ 790 is a direct response to the ruling barring the use of public land to host the Ten Commandment Monument. Many Christian legislators were upset that the courts ruled that way. So they have responded with this question. However, they have not thought through the consequences of this measure. The First Amendment of the US Constitution is clear that government cannot create laws that benefit or harm a religion directly. By hosting the Ten Commandment monument, the OK Government would be propping up Christianity over other religions in this state. No one really believes that the OK Government would allow an Islamic, Jewish, Hindu or other religious monument on State property. This amendment would also open the doors to other means of directly financing religious institutions. Vote No on SQ 790.

SQ 792 – Reforms Oklahoma Alcohol Laws on Sales and Manufacturing

Oklahoma is still a state deeply in a prohibitionist mind set. While not as bad as other states, Oklahoma still heavily restricts the sales of alcohol. This question opens up production, distribution and sales of alcohol. Retail outlets will be allowed to sell wine and strong beer. Liquor stores will be allowed to sell more than just alcohol. Wineries would be allowed to ship directly to customers. And many more changes. These changes, while not where they could be, greatly frees up restrictions on businesses in this state. Vote Yes on SQ 792.

Black Communities Need Government Out Of The Way In Order To Improve

July 9, 2016 Posted by E. Zachary Knight

Over the last few days, I have seen a lot of commentary about the nature of black communities in the US. Many of these comments are about how it is the black community’s responsibility to clean up their own problems. These comments blame the black community for the crime and poverty they experience and say that it is their sole responsibility to fix these problems. This is a bunch of crap.

The problems they experience are primarily the result of US law and criminal policy. The problems these communities face are the result of politicians who have held racist opinions and agendas for decades.

Let’s start with the biggest problem, the War on Drugs. Nearly every law and policy that has sprung from this ill fated war has a disproportionate impact on black communities. The excessive jail time those convicted of even the smallest possession infraction puts young people out of the education and workforce for years or decades. We lock up 20-something young men for 5-20 years, taking away their opportunity to build viable and employable job skills and education. We kick them out of prison at the end of their terms with no social support structure to help them readjust to life outside prison walls.

On top of this problem, we enact laws that prevent convicted felons from being employed in many decent jobs. Many of these people are forced to take low wage jobs, and often under the table jobs, just to make even a modicum of a living. With such low job prospects is it really any wonder why they might consider a return to a life of crime where the money is better than the legal options available to them?

Then we have the fact that too many jobs require licenses to even begin working. These licenses are often completely out of reach for anyone with a felony background. For those without such a background, the time and cost of gaining such licenses is often out of reach. These licenses mean that those in poor communities often cannot seek employment options that would actually provide them a real living wage because they cannot afford to take the time and spend the money necessary to get them. Then we have strict zoning laws that make the cost of starting a new business even higher. Instead of allowing entrepreneurs the chance to build their business out of their homes, we instead force them to spend money they likely don’t have on rent for commercial business space.

Next up, we have our terrible public education system. This system is designed, not to educate our children, but to enrich a handful of administrators and build up a bureaucracy that keeps bad teachers in jobs and pays wages low enough to keep good teachers away. Instead of instituting policy changes that will bring real education to our poor communities, those in government do everything in their power to keep our terrible system in place. Is it any wonder why the kids in these terrible schools can’t get the education needed to build a better life?

With all this in mind, many people in power demand that these poor minority communities fix their own problems. They say “You should vote to enact change” but then weaken their voting power through political tricks. Gerrymandering is the process of drawing legislative districts strategically. They draw these lines not to give communities proper representation, but to give those people already elected the best chance to be reelected. District lines are often drawn in such a way that they break up minority populations and split them into smaller parts of populations more favorable to incumbent politicians. This means that the people who live in these communities can’t band together to enact change because we artificially break them apart.

Despite knowing full well of all these problems, the Republicans and Democrats in power have no interest in fixing them. The fact that these problems exist means that Republicans and Democrats can continue to hold onto power. Republicans know that with drug laws and felony backgrounds, the financial power of minority communities will never reach a point where they can influence people in power. They can enact stricter drug and crime laws to keep more and more people out of the work force and keep them in poverty. Democrats know that by expanding welfare systems, they can claim to be helping these communities but in fact are simply building up a dependency on the government for their continued survival.

If we really want to be rid of the criminal elements in these communities and to bring these people out of poverty, then we need to get rid of these laws, regulations and policies the entrench poverty and crime in these areas. We need to end the drug war and stop locking people in prison for victimless crimes. We need to put an end to all mandatory minimums. We need to end laws that prevent people with criminal backgrounds from getting good jobs or starting their own businesses. We need to bring about real education reform in the form of competition in education. Let these people choose the school they want to send their children to. We need to end licensing schemes that do nothing but lockout these people from gainful employment. We need to end gerrymandering and other election laws that weaken the voting power of these communities. If we removed these barriers to improving the lives of our poorer communities, they will require fewer welfare programs and can actually build and improve their own lives and communities.

That is what I want to do as your elected Congressman. I want to get government out of your way and give you the freedom to live your own lives how you see fit. If these changes are made, you will have fewer interactions with police, less crime in your communities, and better economic and civic options open to you.

Tell Congress To Do Their Job; Support The STOP Act

April 28, 2016 Posted by E. Zachary Knight

The STOP Act will end this absurd scheduleIt is no question that money is a big part of politics. Those that win Congressional seats often raise and spend several hundreds of thousands of dollars to secure their seat. Some, like my opponent Steve Russell, even go into debt to do it. But did you know that members of Congress are pressured to spend a sizeable amount of time cold calling for campaign donations? Even while they are supposed to be writing and learning about bills that will be coming to a vote?

60 Minutes did an expose about this practice and CBS had an interview with Congressman David Jolly who wants to put a stop to this practice. He has introduced a bill called the STOP Act, which would make it illegal for elected officials to ask for money while Congress is in session. watch his interview below.

I support this bill. If elected, my job will be to learn about the issues that impact Americans, learn about the bills my colleagues have introduced, and to write bills that will advance freedom and peace in the US. My job is not to campaign for the next election or to raise money for a political party.

If elected, I will support this bill, or one like it. If one is not introduced, I will introduce it myself. Congress needs to get off the phones and get back to work.

You can tell Congress to do its job by signing Rep. Jolly’s STOP Act petition.

Zachary Knight Works To Break Down Barriers To Election Competition

March 25, 2016 Posted by E. Zachary Knight

OK_Logo_grayOn March 21, 2016, the Oklahoma Election Board announced the Libertarian Party is now an officially recognized party in Oklahoma. It had been 16 years since that was the case. In the years between, Oklahoma has had only two Presidential candidates and two parties available for Oklahoma voters. This is a horrible injustice to the people of Oklahoma.

This announcement was possible thanks in part to the work of Oklahomans for Ballot Access Reform a coalition of voters and candidates from all political ideologies with the common goal of expanding electoral freedom in Oklahoma. For 6 years, Zachary had taken a major leadership role in OBAR and lobbied tirelessly for reformation of Oklahoma’s ballot access laws. This culminated in a 2015 bill to lower the petition requirement to form a new party from 5% of the last vote cast to 3% of the last vote for Governor. This allowed the Libertarian party to successfully petition and gain recognition. (more…)