We recently sat down with Joe Walton, a 7th VA House district candidate running for Congress against the Republican Incumbent Dave Brat and the Democratic nominee Abigail Spanberger. Walton is running as the candidate representing the Libertarian Party.
Walton, a former member of the Board of Supervisors in Powhatan County, said a simple way to describe Libertarians is the “general notion of making sure that the individual, individual rights, and small social units don’t get lost in the shuffle of the great big machine that is government.”
Walton’s interpretation of the Libertarian Party is right in the middle of the left and right. He said some people “don’t necessarily have a home” when they like aspects of both parties.
Walton has worked in technology and business administration for over two decades in “entrepreneurial, large enterprise, and policy roles.” Now he is completing his Doctoral Dissertation in public policy and administration at VCU’s Wilder School.
Walton says that he wants to serve as the 7th district Representative because he has “a sincere interest in working with others to effectively collaborate with fellow members of Congress, federal officials, and state and local representatives to achieve results on intractable public policy issues“.
On Walton’s website, he lists what his goals would be if he were to be elected:
- Good, happy, and equitable civic life for all Americans respecting socio-economic realities
- Responsible leadership for Virginia and the United States through a fair and equitable economic system in a time of increasingly rapid changes in society and technology
- Strong national defenses which judiciously protect US interests around the world and which support an America that is a welcoming force for good at home and abroad
- Federal systems of government which serve to create a country that effectively and sustainably uses its resources to maintain public services and infrastructure fairly and equitably for all Americans
Walton told us that he did not support the recent GOP tax overhaul that Congress voted for citing the lack of evidence showing the positive impact on the economy. He supports the general notion that some tax decreases can help foster growth, but he also believes that you have to make up for those decreases somehow. “You can’t just always lower taxes.” He continued, “They didn’t pass any deductions in expenditures, but they did in income.”
Walton said he understands the arguments of the anti-Obama Care sentiment that existed ten years ago, but he also believes you shouldn’t continue to fight something after ten years when we now know it will be staying. He believes the government has the responsibility to create an economy where “healthcare is affordable to everyone“.
Walton knows that this belief might not be very popular, but he likes the Mitt Romney (Romneycare) theory of Healthcare. The law that was put into effect in Massachusetts while Romney was Governor in 2006 mandated that nearly every resident of Massachusetts obtain a minimum level of insurance coverage, and it provided free health care insurance for residents earning less than 150% of the federal poverty level. It also mandated employers with more than 10 “full-time” employees to provide healthcare insurance. Walton said this theory has worked well for Massachusetts.
The 2006 Massachusetts law successfully covered approximately two-thirds of the state’s then-uninsured residents with the federal government paying for half due to medicaid expansion. “I support ideas of figuring out ways to get affordable healthcare to the lowest echelons of society.”
Walton then did some self-reflection while stating the need to help those that can’t help themselves. “This is where My Libertarian streak comes in, I get it that the United States is huge and what works in Alaska might not work as well in Florida, so having a broad federal flexibility is a good thing. But, we have to do something. We can’t get people on the lowest levels of society out of those levels without helping them on that first step.”
Being based out of Powhatan, Walton says he’s not sure what the level of support the president receives in the county. He does believe that there is a growing distaste with the president. However, that doesn’t mean that Powhatan residents will vote Democrat. “I think Powhatan is looking for something different. They don’t want to necessarily vote Democrat. That why I think there is an opportunity for me to make a difference on election day.”
Walton believes that his Libertarian beliefs will help him in the rural counties within the district. “What is important to rural counties is the libertarian notion of the individual still having some currency in the greater scheme of large government systems.”
Dave Brat won his seat by beating the Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor in a primary. Brat accused the Majority Leader of focusing too much on the big establishment business of D.C., and being disconnected from the district at home. Brat is now facing these same accusations.
“I don’t know why he won’t have a town hall.” says Walton, in reference to some of Brat’s constituents accusing him of being disconnected from the district. “The only way to defuse the tension is to go and talk to constituents. We can disagree, I like un-sweetened tea, you like sweetened tea, I disagree, thats it, lets move on to the next topic. You give the people a voice to talk about what is on their mind and be open to changing positions.”
Walton is a supporter of the 2nd amendment as it was originally intended as a check on government power along with self defense. Walton is a concealed weapon carrier himself. But he says that the issue with guns became distorted over time due to the business of it. “Something needs to be done in the very broadest sense to try and keep irresponsible people from owning a gun. Responsible gun owners are not a problem. We need figure out how irresponsible people are getting guns.” Walton says that we can’t just put armed individuals everywhere for protection, referencing a comparison to a police state. He does support universal background checks. “I think it is important to have a background check with every gun purchase. A background check that is comprehensive enough to make sure irresponsible people don’t get guns. But it is is more than just a background check issue, it is a community issue.”
Walton is running to unseat Dave Brat, but he is also running against a strong Democratic candidate in Abigail Spanberger. Spanberger has a background in federal law enforcement with the C.I.A. and U.S. Postal Service. Walton says Spanberger is a formidable candidate and he is glad she has joined him in the race to unseat Dave Brat. However he did say that she is “too far to the left for 7th district.”
Joe Walton, a father and student is running to unseat Dave Brat. You can learn more about him on his website here.