CLARION - There is a woman running for President in 2020 but she is not a Republican or a Democrat. She is Libertarian Jo Jorgensen, a senior lecturer in psychology at Clemson University and she brought her campaign through Clarion County Aug. 2.
"I tell people a Libertarian is someone who is on your side and not the side of the politicians, bureaucrats, special interests and lobbyists in Washington," Jorgensen said in Clarion, where her campaign made a bus stop.
"When I first joined the party, we used to say we take the best from the Democrats and the best from the Republicans. We take the social freedoms from the Democrats, and from the Republicans we take the economic freedoms, hire who you want to hire, pay them what you want to pay them and you should be able to own a gun," Jorgensen said.
But Jorgensen, who spoke to a crowd of about 60 people at Veterans Memorial Park, said things have since changed.
"Now, the Democrats are about the most anti-free speech people out there and they are very pro-war," she said. "We have lost all hope for the Democratic Party.
"On the Republican side, you have big spending and big deficits."
Jorgensen said she had been "a little discouraged for a while with the American people," but that was before she made a trip to Michigan.
"I saw the people in Michigan driving around the state capitol and people started to say no, you can't tell me sit at home instead of work,''' Jorgensen said.
"People all over the country are saying this is America. We should be able to work if we want to. I think the tide is turning. People are saying they are fed up with this."
Instead of a wall, she said, Libertarians are in favor of open borders.
"I believe immigration is what made this country great," Jorgensen said. "There is a lot of misinformation about immigrants.
"For example, people think they come over here and get benefits, but for some of the programs you have to be in the country for five years before they even qualify. We need to open it up so it is pretty much all legal."
In regard to nationwide social unrest, Jorgensen said the federal government must protect federal property. However, she said, it would be more feasible to sell some federal assets, such as downtown offices.
She said national parks are an example of "taking from the poor to give to the rich. Only the people with plenty of money can afford the fee to go in there. You rarely have inner city blacks going to a national park."
Jorgensen said she would prefer organizations such as the Audubon Society to be stewards of the parks rather than the government.
On health care, she blames Republican and Democratic policies over the past 50 years as the reason why costs have become high.
"Their latest proposals to fix' health care will further micromanage your doctors and restrict your access to care while failing to solve the underlying problem," Jorgensen said. "They differ only on whether this should be done by private insurance companies or government bureaucrats.
"This is the exact opposite of what needs to be done. We can reduce the cost of health care 75 percent by allowing real price competition, and by substantially reducing government and insurance company paperwork."
She said such a policy would make health care affordable for most Americans, while also reducing the cost of legacy programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and the Veterans Administration.
In her prepared remarks, Jorgensen said she would "Turn America into one giant Switzerland: armed and neutral with the military force to defend America's shores and soil against any foreign attackers or invaders."
The "default" position on defense, she said, is to withdraw all troops from foreign nations and return them to the U.S.
"There may be some military secrets I am not aware of that would require us to keep some bases open," Jorgensen said, "but I am saying ... they should come home.
"We cause more problems than we solve. I am for a strong defense and we need some type of intelligence gathering."
On criminal justice, Jorgensen said she is outraged that the U.S. ranks No. 1 globally in having the highest percentage of people imprisoned.
"I am also appalled that the federal government permits police to seize a person's assets without first convicting them of a crime, and then keep most of the assets seized," she said.
"As president, I will use my constitutional authority to end federal civil asset forfeiture prior to conviction, and pardon persons convicted of nonviolent, victimless crimes. I will also work with Congress to end the failed war on drugs and other victimless crime laws."
If elected, Jorgenson said she would go to the Cato Institute (a Washington based Libertarian think tank) for her Cabinet.
"That Cabinet would be much smaller," she said.
During her preliminary remarks, she spoke of eliminating several federal departments, including education.
"The Department of Education has failed," Jorgensen said. "In the 40 years since the Department of Education was created, government spending on education has skyrocketed, while the quality of education has declined. "As president, I will work to eliminate the Department of Education and return control of education to where it belongs - with parents, teachers and students."
Jorgensen acknowledges she will need support of voters from both major parties.
"In the past, we have pulled votes from both parties," she said. "Most of our votes come from Independent voters or people who have never voted. This year, I seem to be hearing more from disaffected (Joe) Biden voters."
She believes 2020 is a year for change.
"It is time for a person, a woman, gay or transgender person who believes in what our country was founded on, that people should be making their own decisions," she said.