Bill Redpath, 6th Congressional District Libertarian nominee profile

His top priorities amid the coronavirus include winding down stimulus plans, dropping “excessive” occupational licensing requirements and reducing government spending.

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Bill Redpath, 6th Congressional District Libertarian nominee, 2020 election candidate questionnaire

Bill Redpath, 6th Congressional District Libertarian nominee.

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Candidate profile

Bill Redpath

Running for:US House of Representatives, Illinois, 6th District

Political party affiliation:Libertarian

Political civic background:Former Chairman of the Libertarian National Committee (LNC) from 2006 to 2010. Served on the LNC for over 21 years. Six-time candidate for public office in Virginia (I moved to Illinois in October 2019), including Governor (2001), US Senate (2008) and US House of Representatives, 10th District (2010 & 2014).

Occupation:Managing Director, Summit Ridge Group, LLC, Chicago. Business Appraiser in the Media, Telecom & Satellite sectors.

Education:BA, Indiana University, Economics & Political Science, 1978. MBA, The University of Chicago, 1980. Certified Public Accountant, Virginia. Chartered Financial Analyst. Accredited Senior Appraiser in Business Valuation, American Society of Appraisers. Accredited in Business Valuation designation from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Certified in Investment Performance Measurement designation from the CFA Institute.

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The Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Board sent nominees for the U.S. House of Representatives a list of questions to find out their views on a range of important issues facing their districts, the state of Illinois and the country. Bill Redpath submitted the following responses:

Are you satisfied with the federal government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic? Why or why not? What grade would you give President Donald Trump for his handling of the pandemic, and why?

The United States suffered from a slow bureaucratic response to COVID-19. According to Reason magazine, South Korea approved its first commercial COVID-19 test within one week after a meeting with private biomedical companies on January 27. Meanwhile, the Center for Disease Control required the use of a test designed by the CDC—which turned out to be contaminated and not useful. It wasn’t until February 29 that the Food & Drug Administration allowed private development of tests, but the FDA still shut down four startup companies that would have improved testing access. It wasn’t until the end of March that the US hit the 1,000,000 tests administered mark.

I would give the Trump administration a D- (at best, or possibly worse) for its handling of COVID-19. It said in March that “anyone who wants a test can get a test,” which was simply untrue. But, it previously set the table for this problem because of its stupid trade war with China that hit common health products with tariffs that made them more expensive for the American people. Medical professionals begged the Trump Administration to end tariffs on these products. That made our situation much worse than it had to be. Trump eventually dropped tariffs on many medical products, but it was too little too late.

What should the federal government do to stimulate economic recovery from the pandemic shutdowns?

The federal government should not stand in the way of states’ reopening plans. Certainly, the Trump Administration has not been doing that, but a Biden Administration might. Libertarian presidential candidate Jo Jorgensen certainly would not do that.

The federal government needs to start winding down “stimulus” plans as soon as possible, so as to not make it economically more attractive to be on unemployment than to work, and to not cause federal debt to soar even higher. After that, the federal government needs to enhance economic freedom in this nation by urging states to drop barriers to employment due to excessive occupational licensing requirements, reduce government spending (which I address in another question) and reduce and simplify taxes through adoption of the Hall-Rabushka Flat Tax. With that, investment income, including capital gains, is not taxed, which will stimulate investment in the economy and put the US on a faster road to recovery.

In the wake of the death of George Floyd, President Trump signed an executive order on police reform. It calls for the creation of a database to track police officers with multiple instances of misconduct, federal grants to encourage police departments to meet higher certification standards on use of force, and the greater involvement of social workers and mental health professionals when the police respond to calls dealing with homelessness, mental illness and addiction. The order also calls for police departments to ban the use of chokeholds except when an officer feels his or her life is endangered. Will this be enough to address concerns about police brutality? If not, what other steps should be taken?

No, it will not be enough to address concerns about police brutality. Ending the Drug War and law enforcement regarding consensual crimes is another step that is badly needed to reduce police brutality.

Also in the wake of the death of George Floyd, the House passed the Justice in Policing Act, which would ban police departments from using chokeholds, develop a national standard for use of force, limit the transfer of military weapons to police departments, define lynching as a federal hate crime, establish a national police misconduct registry, and limit qualified immunity, which protects officers from lawsuits over alleged misconduct. Do you support this legislation? Why or why not? What other steps, if any, would you like to see the federal government take on police reform?

Yes, I support this legislation. It is particularly important to limit or end qualified immunity and limit the transfer of military weapons to police departments. I do not see where it is important to declare lynching a federal hate crime; it is murder and it is already illegal.

What’s your view on President Trump’s decision to commute the sentence of Roger Stone?

A self-serving, cynical and corrupt use of presidential power. It is obscene, given that so many non-violent consensual crime offenders languish in prison.

Please tell us about your civic work in the last two years, whether it’s legislation you have sponsored or other paid or volunteer work to improve your community.

My civic work has largely been through the Libertarian Party. Since 1990, I have led the ballot access efforts of the Libertarian Party. If the 2020 Libertarian Party presidential ticket of Jo Jorgensen and Jeremy “Spike” Cohen makes the ballot in all 50 states and DC—and it appears that it will—it will be the fifth time in the eight presidential elections since 1992 that the LP has had a presidential candidate on the ballot in all 50 states and DC. Since state governments started restricting ballot access in the last 19th century with pre-printed ballots, no other non-D, non-R party has come close to that degree of longevity and ballot access.

What are your views on the decision by the U.S. House to impeach President Donald Trump? Was the impeachment process fair or not? How so? If, in your view, the president should not have been impeached, would you have supported censure? Please explain.

I agreed with the impeachment of Donald Trump, and the US Senate should have convicted him and removed him from office. I would have supported censure, but that would not have been enough.

How would you reduce the federal budget deficit, which now stands at about $1 trillion for 2020? What changes, if any, to the U.S. tax code do you support and why?

I support the list of federal budget cuts listed in this document:

A Plan to Cut Federal Government Spending

which details $1.175 trillion of spending reductions per year (as of 2017, so the dollar amounts would be even higher today).

I support ending the federal Department of Education and the Department of Housing & Urban Development. All corporate welfare and farm subsidies should also be ended.

I support replacing our ridiculously complicated tax system with the Hall-Rabushka Flat Tax, with the tax rate on individuals and businesses set to the rate that the Congressional Budget Office estimates would balance the Federal budget. We need to stop pushing the burden of Federal overspending onto future generations.

What changes would you like to see made to our nation’s healthcare system? Would you shore up the Affordable Care Act or work to repeal it in full? What’s your view on Medicare for All? And what should be done, if anything, to bring down the cost of prescription drugs?

People do not have a moral right to the sweat of other people. To declare health care a “right” is to declare that any person has the right to the sweat and the hard work of medical professionals who have worked hard and invested much to develop their life saving skills. Health care isn’t a privilege, either. It is a service—and a very important one, at that.

I am opposed to the Affordable Health Care plan and Medicare for All, because both imply that health care is a right. And, to get the government even more involved in health care than it already is would harm innovation, and possibly even access to health care.

We need to change health insurance in this nation, so that it is no longer associated with employment. That is a legacy provision of the US tax code since World War II, and it is non-sensical. We don’t get other forms of insurance from our employer, so why health insurance? That should change, along with doing away with tax preferences for health care expenditures.

We need to encourage the development of Health Savings Accounts and catastrophic coverage health insurance, so that health care consumers are paying for low level, routine medical expenditures on their own—which will make them better consumers and return real insurance to its rightful role in the health care marketplace.

We need deregulation in health care provision, by at least allowing practice by licensed medical professionals in other states. We need to eliminate “Certificate of Need” laws that have hindered the development of competitive medical services. We need to restrict FDA regulation to ascertaining the safety of drugs, not their efficacy.

Do you support or oppose DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) and why? Should a path to citizenship be created for the so-called DREAMers? Please explain.

Yes, I support DACA, and a path to citizenship for the DREAMers. I will go beyond that. I favor open, but regulated, immigration. As long as someone does not have a serious communicable illness, does not have a criminal background, or cannot reasonably be deemed a security threat, that person should be able to immigrate to the United States. There should be a reasonably short path to citizenship, and there should not be numerical limits on any work visas.

What are the three most important issues in your district on which the federal government can and should act?

I think this is no time for parochialism in representation. Given the fiscal crisis of the federal government, this is not time to be talking about “bringing home the bacon.” What is important for the 6th Congressional District of Illinois is what is important for the rest of the nation: cutting government spending over the long term, reducing and simplifying taxes to maximize prosperity, and respecting people’s civil liberties.

What is the biggest difference between you and your opponent(s)?

I consistently stand for limited government and for economic and personal freedoms. I stand against socialism, nationalism and populism, which seem to be about all that is offered up by the two older parties these days. I want to actually cut federal government spending, not merely reduce its rate of growth, and certainly not to make it grow faster.

What action should Congress take, if any, to reduce gun violence?

End the drug war. After the end of alcohol prohibition in 1933, the per capita murder rate in the US decreased for 11 consecutive years. The crime rate for less serious offenses also decreased substantially. I think the long-term crime problems in Chicago and even the recent violence in the streets over racial justice issues have been fueled by the insane Federal War on Drugs. It is time for the Federal government to withdraw from that “war” and allow the states to address drug issues, which is what occurred after the end of federal alcohol prohibition.

Is climate change real? Is it significantly man-made? Is it a threat to humankind? What if anything should Congress and the federal government do about it?

I think climate change is real, and it is certainly plausible that it is partially manmade (but I don’t know to what extent). I think it is a problem and not a crisis. It will be best be solved, not by grand, sweeping plans that would upend the economy (for which there would likely be little public tolerance), such as the Green New Deal, but through incremental changes put in place over time.

What should Congress do to ensure the solvency of Social Security and Medicare?

Given that there are no personal property rights in Social Security, and Congress currently has the power to change Social Security benefits at any time, I don’t think Social Security solvency can be assured. I support the Cato Institute’s “6.2% Plan,” which would allow workers to opt out of the Social Security system by waiving their rights to future Social Security benefits by having their 6.2% of wages Social Security contributions invested in a private account that they would personally own.

With respect to Medicare, I agree with the Cato Institute that “Congress should allow seniors to opt out of Medicare without losing Social Security benefits,… take all the money Congress currently spends on Medicare and give it directly to enrollees as cash, as with Social Security, adjusting individual enrollees “Medicare checks” so that lower income enrollees and sicker enrollees receive larger checks; and allow workers to save their Medicare payroll taxes in personal, inheritable retirement health savings accounts that will gradually replace Medicare transfers.”

What should Congress do to address the student loan crisis? Would you use the word “crisis”?

It may be a crisis for some people, but overall, it is not. The average debt of 2018 college graduates who had student debt was $29,800. And, it has been estimated that the lifetime earnings of college graduates will be about $1,000,000 higher than for people with only a high school diploma. Federal loans were 88% of total student loan volume in the 2018-2019 school year, so federal taxpayers would be taking a major hit with any sort of large scale loan forgiveness. You take out a loan, you repay the loan. It really is and should be that simple.

Beyond that, however, there should be more options for students to finance their education through equity investment in them, allowing investors some portion of their post-college earnings for a certain number of years, in exchange for payment of their college, graduate or professional school costs.

What should our nation’s relationship be with Russia?

Much of what Russia does is deplorable, but we need to recognize that Russia is not a major threat to the United States. Its military is relatively weak compared not only to the US, but to NATO, too. We should maintain the best diplomatic relations possible, while being realistic about what Russia is, and to work together on common goals, such as nuclear non-proliferation.

What’s your view on the use of tariffs in international commerce? Has President Trump imposed tariffs properly and effectively? Please explain.

I am opposed to tariffs. International trade is important not just for prosperity around the world, but to help maintain peace. I think the United States should set an example for the world and maximize its prosperity by unilaterally ending tariffs and trade barriers for foreign goods and services. Trump is completely misguided and is a disaster on trade issues. Congress needs to take back the power to institute tariffs from the President.

Does the United States have a responsibility to promote democracy in other countries? Please explain.

Yes, to some extent it does, but it should start by promoting democracy at home first. The United States has an antiquated “First Past the Post” voting system (single member legislative districts, person with the most votes wins). I support Ranked Choice Voting for single winner elections.

But, I think we should go beyond that. I also think ranked choice voting should be used with multimember district elections for legislatures, including the US House of Representatives. I support the Fair Representation Act that would mandate that for US House elections in states with more than one US House seat.

Until then, we should work to end gerrymandering and reform ballot access laws, which are horribly difficult in a nation that holds itself out to be the beacon of democracy for the world. A Reason magazine article asserted that Illinois has the second most difficult ballot access laws among all the states. While temporary relief was granted to third party and independent candidates this year due to COVID-19, it would ordinarily take 16,000 signatures of registered voters to get on the ballot for US House in my high gerrymandered congressional district. It usually takes about 3,000 valid signatures within a single district to get on the ballot for the Illinois House of Representatives. Those are ridiculously high numbers, and they need to change.

What should Congress do to limit the proliferation of nuclear arms?

The easiest and probably most effective thing for Congress to do to prevent nuclear arms proliferation is not to threaten various regimes that have nuclear arms or would be interested in developing them if they felt threatened by the US. Congress should not be alarmist about the threat, as some counter-proliferation policies can be potentially harmful.

Please list all relatives on public or campaign payrolls and their jobs on those payrolls.

Hey, take it easy! I just moved to Illinois last October. The answer is “None.”

What historical figure from Illinois, other than Abraham Lincoln (because everybody’s big on Abe), do you most admire or draw inspiration from? Please explain.

Milton Friedman, former University of Chicago economist. He was the greatest advocate for human liberty in the 20th Century.

What’s your favorite TV, streaming or web-based show of all time. Why?

The NFL Sunday Ticket on DirecTV. I am a huge sports fan.

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