John Monds is the name in the governor’s race that you probably haven’t heard of. His status as a black conservative, in this case a member of the Libertarian Party, also makes him a rarity.
Monds is a native Georgian, who lives in Cairo with his wife and four children. Monds graduated from Morehouse College in Atlanta with a degree in Banking and Finance. He is a member of the Omega Psi Phi fraternity where he earned the Superior Service Award in 2002 and 2003, as well as the Omega Man of the Year award in 2003. In 2005, he was named Grady County NAACP’s Man of the Year.
He worked for a time at Lehman Brothers and later worked for a small airline. He is currently President of the Grady County chapter of the NAACP. In his leadership role at the NAACP, Monds has held financial literacy courses and implemented the Freedom Day Health Fair. He also serves on the Grady County Planning Commission, the Grady County Habitat for Humanity, the Libertarian Party of Georgia Executive Committee, and the Grady County Fine Arts Project.
In 2008, Monds became the first Libertarian candidate in US or Georgia history to receive more than one million votes. As a candidate for Public Service Commission in a statewide election, Monds received 1,076,726 votes (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Monds). In comparison, Libertarian presidential candidate Bob Barr, also a Georgian, received only 523,686 votes from all fifty states (http://bit.ly/doSwhW). Nevertheless, Monds impressive showing garnered only 33.4% of the vote in the two-way race with Republican Doug Everett.
When Monds qualified in the race to become governor of Georgia, he became the first African-American to ever appear on the ballot as a candidate for Georgia governor.
Taxes: Monds would like to phase out the state income tax and replace it with a statewide sales tax in the form of Florida and Texas. He believes that reducing the tax burden will make Georgia more competitive and strengthen our economy. He would also work to reduce the state’s portion of property and gas taxes. He would leave the local portion in the hands of the local government and not funnel it through the state treasury.
Economy: Monds would push for zero-based budgeting to weed out ineffective government programs and would keep government out of areas that could be better provided by private companies. He is for free trade and opposes protectionism. He believes that the state government spends too much and that budget increases should be limited to population growth plus inflation.
Education: Monds would focus on all forms of education. He would increase charter schools and provide a $4,000 tax credit to families who home school. He wants to return control to local school districts and fight against unfunded federal mandates.
Crime: Monds would focus on rehabilitation and treatment for nonviolent drug offenders. He would also push to eliminate mandatory sentencing laws for nonviolent drug offenders.
Energy: Monds opposes cap-and-trade energy taxes and new CAFE standards for autos. He believes that Georgia needs more nuclear power, but opposes the Georgia Nuclear Energy Financing Act of 2009, which he says guarantees investors a profit by creating a state-protected monopoly. He would work to repeal the law.
Transportation: Monds opposes new taxes to fund transportation projects. He believes that a cost-benefit analysis should be done to make sure that transportation projects are cost effective and a wise use of resources. He wants to pursue alternatives such as public-private partnerships, HOV/HOT lanes, and toll roads. He opposes any increase to the gas tax or any attempt to use the gas tax for a purpose other than funding roads.
Sunday Alcohol Sales: Monds believes that allowing local governments to have referendums on whether to allow Sunday alcohol sales is a matter of free markets and personal liberty. He would allow communities to decide the issue for themselves.
Gun Rights: Monds believes that the right to keep and bear arms is an individual right for personal protection. He would veto any bill that would impede Georgians from protecting themselves and work to expand the right to carry.
Life: The Monds campaign did not respond to a request for his position on life and abortion. His website does not address the issue.
Immigration: The Monds campaign did not respond to a request for his position on immigration. His website does not address the issue.
Water: Monds believes that Georgia’s possession of water gives us the advantage in dealing with neighboring states. He believes that the ultimate answer to the water question will come from Congress.
Marriage: Monds believes that the government should not be involved in the religious aspects of marriage, but should afford all citizens equal rights in the contractual aspects. He believes that this means that homosexuals should have the right to marry (each other, presumably).
My Two Cents: I think that John Monds is an honorable man and find myself agreeing with his platform far more often than I disagree. My chief disagreements with him are over social issues such as abortion and gay marriage, which I believe the government has a duty to oppose in order to preserve society. Nevertheless, his candidacy is doomed to failure by virtue of the fact that he is a Libertarian.
In this country, third parties almost never win. Even though Monds has proven a capable vote-getter, he has never won enough votes to win an election. Too often third parties simply fragment the vote and hurt the candidates that they are ideologically most similar too. For example, In 1992 Ross Perot won only enough votes to shift the election to Bill Clinton against George H. W. Bush. Similarly, in 2000, Al Gore probably would have beaten George W. Bush had it not been for the third party candidacy of Ralph Nader. In a worst case scenario, Monds’ candidacy might shift enough Republican votes (especially with a weak candidate like Deal) to the Libertarians to allow Roy Barnes to win a plurality and avoid a runoff.
Mr. Monds and his Libertarians would do better to form a libertarian (small “l”) faction within the Republican Party. This is the strategy that the Tea Parties have adopted to great success. It looks as if the Tea Parties will affect American politics more in one year than the Libertarians have in decades. Hopefully, Mr. Monds and the other Libertarians and join the Republicans in a common struggle against the Democrats.