Candidate Spotlight: Greg Samples for Congress District 2
What initially got you interested in politics? When was this?
I've always been interested in politics. I told my parents when I was 6 years old I wanted to be president. The first race I paid a lot of attention to was the Kennedy-Nixon contest in 1960. One issue in that race was the fact that Kennedy was Catholic, which demonstrates how far we've come since then. Then again, high medical costs, drug use, runaway inflation and exponential debt were not issues, which shows how far we have regressed.
Tell us about your campaign. What office are you a candidate for?
I'm the Libertarian Party nominee for U.S. House, 2nd District of Tennessee. I think Congress, especially the House, is the most effective place for making real changes that affects the lives of all Americans, and to a lesser extent all the people of the world.
If elected, what would be the first thing you want to accomplish?
There are so many, including the high cost of health care and education, human rights, and economic liberty. But I think the most pressing item right now is for Congress to reclaim its constitutional authority on the question of war and peace. For too long we have allowed the executive to become a virtual dictator on foreign policy and foreign military intervention. Not only is this very dangerous, but it is also financially catastrophic.
Which of the former U.S. presidents is your favorite?
Every president has made mistakes. I don't really have one that I would call a favorite. However, I will give props to Kennedy for his refusal to go along with the military adventurism that was clamored for by many in his administration, and for some of his economic policies. Grover Cleveland stood out in his attempt to limit government encroachment, and of course Jefferson had by far the best philosophy of any president, although he didn't always follow it while in office.
Are you affiliated with a political party? Why or why not?
I'm a member of the Libertarian Party because it espouses the principles I believe in. Both the Democrat and Republican parties have devolved into organizations whose main goal is to get elected, stay in office, and promise their constituents whatever it takes to do that. Staying true to the principles of non-aggression, freedom, and voluntary trade, both domestically and internationally, is much more important to me than getting elected. My goal is to get elected by offering the people an alternative to the authoritarian rulers we now have. When the majority of the people realize that freedom is much more advantageous than regulating every phase of our lives, we will have a chance for peace and justice.
What intrigues you about local politics?
At the family dinners of my extended family growing up, discussions around the table always ended up with either politics or religion. The two are similar in that it is extremely difficult to change a person's mind about either. I think with politics there is an emotional connection that we attach ourselves to that logic does not penetrate well. Most people have the same political views as their parents, and it takes some deep self-reflection to arrive at a different place. In my life I've seen people reverse 180 degrees while in college only to revert back to their roots when a little older. Very few make the change permanently, so the degree of difficulty for changing someone over to a totally new philosophy like libertarianism is probably a 10. Fortunately, we have reason on our side, but it still takes time.
If you could change one thing in politics, without any opposition, what would you change?
I'd eliminate the personal income tax. It's been destroying families for a century.