Johnson speaks at S. Burlington rally

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Johnson speaks at S. Burlington rally

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Third-party presidential candidate Gary Johnson brought his campaign to Ver- mont last week.

Johnson, a Libertarian, spoke to a large crowd at the Sheraton Hotel in South Burl- ington Aug. 24 and presented himself as the viable middle ground in the upcoming presi- dential election.

“Our platform is social toler- ance and fiscal responsibility,” he said, before moving on to his thoughts on education, the na- tional debt and state of the jus- tice system.

Johnson said the way the national debt is growing desta- bilizes the economy. If elect- ed president, Johnson said he would impose a flat tax and do away with corporate and income taxes.

He believes that the high rates of incarceration in the criminal justice system is a product of the government criminalizing too many activi- ties that label a minor offender a lifelong criminal, he said. For this reason, he said he believes marijuana should be legalized.

Johnson said he would en- act comprehensive immigration reform, ensure that women had the right to healthcare and abor- tions if they choose.

He told the audience he un- derstands both fiscal responsi- bility and social inclusivity.

Johnson also said his presidential platform rests on his ability to reach voters in both parties.

At least a dozen UVM stu- dents attended the event.

Though he doesn’t see him- self as a Republican, first-year John Cialek said he supported libertarian-leaning Rand Paul in the GOP primary.

Cialek said he was happy with many of the topics and

solutions Johnson addressed. “A lot of what he was saying really resonated with me,” he

said.
Former Massachusetts Gov.

Bill Weld, Johnson’s running mate, said this election is dif- ferent because of party polariza- tion.

Johnson differs from Clinton and Trump because he is able to compromise and put forth ideas

that are appealing and benefi- cial to both parties, Weld said.

Johnson reiterated that he needed the opportunity to de- bate in order to have a shot at the presidency.

“If you get 15 percent in five major polls, you are in the de- bates,” Weld said.

Those are the rules accord- ing to the Commission on Presi- dential Debates, which organiz-

es each event, according to their website.

However, Johnson is polling below 15 percent in all of those five polls, averaging 10 percent, effectively disqualifying him for the time being.

The Commission will make their final calculations before the first debate Sept. 26 at Hofs- tra University in New York.