WSW: Libertarian Candidate Says He Wants To Work, Not Fight, In State House

Oct 8, 2018

Ronald Hawkins
Credit Gordon Evans / WMUK

Ronald Hawkins says he decided to join the Libertarian Party after watching the state of politics deteriorate like Michigan’s roads. Now he’s running for state House.


Hawkins is an Air Force veteran, who worked for 41 years in the Defense Department, and retired in 2011. He’s running for state House in the 63rd District, which includes parts of Kalamazoo and Calhoun Counties.

Roads

Hawkins says Public Act 51, which determines how money is distributed to local governments for road repair, is antiquated and complex. He says there should be a basic per mile funding formula. Hawkins says that would let counties spend money on roads.

Auto Insurance

Hawkins says he would favor doing away with not fault auto insurance and lifetime benefits for people seriously injured in auto accidents. He says it’s almost impossible for families with children to afford car insurance. Hawkins says if people want to keep lifetime benefits, then there should be transparency in the Catastrophic Claims Fund and in fees charged by doctors and hospitals.

Education

Hawkins says schools should be controlled at the local level, not driven by the federal and state government. He says there should be more options for industrial arts programs like agriculture or mechanics. Hawkins says college isn’t for everyone, and has become very expensive.

Ballot Proposals

Libertarians have long been in favor of legalizing marijuana, and Hawkins says it has worked everywhere in the U.S. where it’s been done, so he supports Proposal 1 to legalize it in Michigan. Hawkins says Proposal 2 to appoint an independent commission for redistricting is better than the current system with lawmakers drawing the lines. He says a fairer system would include Libertarians and other so-called “minor parties.” Hawkins also supports Proposal 3, the voting access initiative.

President Trump

Asked how Libertarians view President Trump, Hawkins says the President is doing what he said he would do, but he says Trump doesn’t come across as Presidential. Hawkins says Trump’s combative style is pretty common in politics. Hawkins says politicians say they’re going to Lansing to fight, but not him “I’m going to Lansing to work, because the only way you accomplish something is to work at it.”

Discussion of other issues can be heard in the web version of the interview.

Tax Cap

Hawkins says he favors a proposal by Libertarian candidate for Governor Bill Gelineau. It would lower the current cap on taxation under the Headlee amendment to the Michigan Constitution. The state is currently taxing below that limit, the proposal would drop the cap to the current taxation rate.

Campaign Finance

Hawkins says running a campaign is not cheap, but he says there should not be any public financing of political campaigns. He says the current system favors Republicans and Democrats.

Taxing Seniors

Hawkins says people 80 or older should not pay any state income tax. He says wealthy people making $500,000 a year or more should pay something, but he says that’s not common for people over 80. Hawkins says people on fixed incomes are hurt by inflation and need relief.

Water

Water quality is an issue where Hawkins says lawmakers should be holding the Department of Environmental Quality accountable. He says bureaucracies aren’t built to be efficient.

Probate Court

Hawkins says he wants to bring attention to problems in Probate courts. He says elderly people end up trapped in the system, and often their wishes are ignored. Hawkins says judges need to be held accountable.

Pipeline

Hawkins says if a new Line 5 pipeline in a tunnel can “withstand everything” that is probably a better solution than the current pipeline in the Straits of Mackinac.

Welfare Reform

Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Bill Gelineau has proposed paying young women to not get pregnant. Hawkins says that would help them get an education and won’t need public assistance.