It’s been 20 years since the Libertarian Party, the nation’s third largest political party, has fielded a candidate in Connecticut’s race for governor.
Rod Hanscomb ended that streak earlier this month when he cleared the 7,500 signatures needed to get on the ballot.
He is pushing his party to focus on the budget and economy, avoiding some of the “fringe issues,” like hemp and digital currency, in hopes of making the party more appealing to the general electorate.
“The Libertarian Party in Connecticut see’s that potential and that’s why our messaging is different,” he said during a visit Wednesday to the Record-Journal for an episode of the “Morning Record.” “We don’t get caught up on fringe issues, we’re concentrating on that hardcore (message).”
Hanscomb is part of a five-way race for governor, going up against Democrat Ned Lamont, Republican Bob Stefanowski, and petitioning candidates Mark Stewart Greenstein, who formed the Amigo Constitution Party, and unaffiliated Oz Griebel.
The Libertarian Party traditionally hasn’t had a big presence in Connecticut, but Hanscomb is hopeful a message of “true fiscal responsibility, but also socially liberal” policies will resonate.
Hanscomb wants to eliminate the income tax, but unlike Stefanowski and Greenstein he’s not putting a timeline on his goal. He said that partially depends on having a legislature that agrees, as well as having the economic growth to allow it.
When asked how he would address a $4.5 billion deficit over his first two years, Hanscomb said he would copy Maine’s welfare reform to drive down costs in Connecticut. Maine in 2014 required able-bodied recipients to work, train, or volunteer at least part-time to continue to receive food stamps.
Hanscomb, who lived in Washington for years, also wants to implement what he calls the “Amazon.com mentality” of constantly looking for efficiency.
“If Connecticut was a retailer, I think it would be kind of like KMart,” he said. “Meaning it’s 1970 and the blue light special was going and things were good for us, and we’re looking in the rearview mirror hoping that the good ol’ days are going to be coming again.”
Hanscomb said Libertarians also want to boost the economy by reducing regulation, particularly when it comes to requirements for occupational licenses.
He would sign legislation legalizing recreational marijuana and expanding gaming, but said neither is a priority for him. He also opposes tolls, and is confident Connecticut can get more from its transportation funds by spending more efficiently on infrastructure projects.
To hear more from Hanscomb, listen to the “Morning Record,” the Record-Journal’s daily podcast, at https://bit.ly/2OnUwNI