Nebraska Libertarian Makes a Run For Governor

Q&A with Gubernatorial Candidate Scott Zimmerman

The LPNE caught up with Scott Zimmerman, the Executive Director of the Nebraska Libertarian Party and professional educator, to get all the details on his campaign for Governor of the State of Nebraska for 2022.Libertarian Party of Nebraska: What made you decide to run for governor? SZ: I am running for governor because Nebraska deserves better! I aim to represent you and the great state of Nebraska with Integrity and Respect!LPNE: What issues will your campaign focus on? SZ: As Governor, I will focus on making Nebraska a great place for families, farmers, and businesses. I aim to bring jobs to Nebraska, reduce property taxes and to make Nebraska a leader in education, all the while decreasing the size and scope of the Nebraska government.LPNE: What kind of feedback have you received from the public so far? SZ: Almost every conversation I’ve had resulted in individuals saying, “you’ve got my vote.” Nebraska is ready for something different.LPNE: How did you come to the ideas of libertarianism? SZ: I am a Libertarian because I am the best steward for my estate.LPNE: How would you grade the Ricketts administration on a scale of 1-10 where 10 is the best possible score, and why would you choose that rating? SZ: Although I am supportive of his most recent 2A action, I give Ricketts a 1 because I believe that he only serves the interest of his elite class.LPNE: What would you say to a curious voter regarding your campaign and the current state of our state? SZ: Please consider breaking the barriers of partisanship and vote your conscience!  As Governor, I will work to ensure that ALL of Nebraska is represented in my words, my actions, and my results.LPNE: How can you (and please would you) inject humor into our state politics and why is that necessary? SZ: I am who I am! Mr Z Comedy is a big part of who I am. I love to see people smile and laugh! I would propose the first ever Gubernatorial Roast Battle!!You can find Scott’s campaign on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/zimmerman4gov/ and you can donate to his campaign via PayPal: https://www.paypal.com/paypalme/votescottzimmerman

license

Oppose New Occupational Licenses in Nebraska

By James A. Herrold

One of the few refreshing things to happen during the pandemic last year was a tacit acknowledgment that over-regulation by the state hurts small businesses. For example, regulations regarding off-sale liquor transactions were relaxed for restaurants, bars, and breweries to help those establishments while they were forced to shut down operations of their in-person patronage. By doing so, the state was admitting – albeit without coming right out and saying so – these regulations hurt businesses. 

Now regulations on small businesses are starting to creep back into the political forefront. One of the most visible ways this is happening is with new occupational licensing. For decades in Nebraska, several industries and occupations require a state license for an individual to operate. The requirements vary from occupation to occupation, but in most cases, one must pay some kind of fee to the state for the privilege of operating legally within the industry in Nebraska.

Now State Senator Steve Lathrop is championing a bill in the legislature (LB423) that would require home inspectors to be licensed in Nebraska. The bill would require a registry of licensed home inspectors who would be required to provide proof of liability insurance and pay a royalty to the state of up to $300. 

These types of laws are touted as “public safety” bills. The argument is the people who work in these particular industries pose a special liability to the general public, and, therefore, must be licensed to operate in the state, which allegedly makes the public safer (somehow). In the case of home inspectors, by paying a fee, getting placed on a registry, and carrying insurance, the state will pretend that a home inspector magically becomes more qualified to inspect a home.

Unfortunately, this type of regulation does not necessarily improve public safety or create a better experience for the consumer. Rather, it creates a revenue stream for the state, generates more costs to the public, and creates more bureaucratic hoops for business people to jump through. And it’s all done under the guise that it is improving customer experience. 

On the contrary, the best way to “regulate” businesses is via a free market. In a free market, the profitable businesses thrive and the ones which lose money do not. The profitable businesses are the ones that provide the best products and services to their customers. Exceptional businesses earn more money from repeat customers who were happy with their previous experience and from new customers who hear by word-of-mouth which companies are the best to patronize.

This happens in every industry, and it certainly happens in the world of home inspections. I work in the real estate industry (which is itself highly regulated), and I can attest that home inspectors garner a reputation within real estate professional circles. The good inspectors get touted and the bad ones get, well, bad-mouthed. Real estate is an industry where referrals and recommendations are quite important. If a home buyer has a bad experience with a home inspector, it is highly unlikely he will use that inspector when he buys his next home. Not having that repeat business hurts the profitability of the home inspector and hurts his chances of surviving in the market.

But what about first-time homebuyers who have not experienced a home inspector’s performance before? How do these rational market actors know which company to choose for their home inspection? Of course, the answer is they’ll ask friends and family for a recommendation. People naturally want to pass along good recommendations to their friends and family. Again, the good home inspectors will be touted, will be more likely to garner new business, and will ensure more profitability to survive and thrive in the market. In the real estate industry particularly, if the first-time homebuyer is working with a real estate agent, the home buyer is likely to ask her agent who she thinks is a good home inspector to work with. An experienced agent knows who the good inspectors are and which ones should be avoided. The agents are also incentivized by the market to provide good recommendations because they, in turn, want the repeat and referral business that comes to them if they provide good service to their clients – and making good recommendations on items like choosing a home inspector is a big part of good real estate agent customer service.

Another way the market regulates itself in many industries (including the niche industry of home inspections) is through third-party private certification. For example, the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) offers certification for home inspectors who have passed examinations and agree to abide by a code of ethics as a member – criteria that are even more important than simply paying the state’s fees and becoming added to the registry. Joining organizations like ASHI is voluntary, but in many cases, it will behoove a home inspector to join – and practice his craft in a way that will ensure he can remain a member – so the public gets reassurance that he provides a good service. Likewise, ASHI and other private, third-party certification entities have a market-driven incentive to provide a good service in order to thrive in the market. These private ways of regulating industries in the marketplace are more effective and less coercive or corruptible than state regulation.

These are just a few of the many ways industries are regulated in a free market, which regulates better than the coercive and highly corruptible state does. Libertarians champion reducing state regulation over industries to help create a better experience for the consumer by allowing market self-regulation to happen freely. In her years since leaving office, former Libertarian Nebraska State Senator and current Platte Institute Senior Fellow Laura Ebke has led the charge in Nebraska in reducing the number of burdensome occupational licenses in Nebraska precisely to reduce red tape and create a better experience for consumers. The results of her efforts and the efforts of others have been felt in a positive way across the state. We should all be focused on ways to improve the business climate by rolling back regulations instead of finding ways to add new ones.

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Volunteer request

We have several people announce their intentions of running next year for various offices both this year and next. We have real need for volunteers, whether it’s help on social media, literature drops, parade walkers or even door knockers. Our biggest need now is building teams for several candidates across Nebraska. If you feel that you have some time to spare for any candidate and some talent to share, please let us know by emailing either the chair: chair@LPNE.org or the District 1 coordinator: D1@LPNE.org

 

District 1 Report: The Unique Character Of D1 Counties

District 1 has more larger cities and is more compact than District 3, but is less urban than district 2, and both of these facts combined with our capital as a central point to the district add to its character. While we are certainly more rural than Omaha we can’t really claim an understanding of someone in Cherry county, and although we have larger cities than most of District 3 we certainly aren’t a bunch of small Omahas. It certainly is nice to have these medium-sized cities in each of our counties because it makes affiliate meetings and launches much easier. Many of our affiliates have experienced quite a bit of growth and have been getting more involved with their local government including Dodge partnering with their city council to create a project for a shed and play equipment to be maintained in one of Fremont’s parks, counties advocating for 2A sanctuary and testifying against the overreach of various city councils. We still need to get some other communities involved, if you are in one of the counties in D1 please reach out to me and I’ll get a meeting set up! D1@LPNE.org

3 Questions to Ask Before You Open Your Mouth. – Kim Leatherdale

The Hidden Power of Questions part I

By Josh Sexton

Social Media, the 24-hour news networks, and Political talk shows have defined political discourse for a generation. It is talking (and yelling) AT people. We “communicate” by waiting for the other person to finish speaking so we can say our thing, then they do the same. No one is listening unless it is to find the point that confirms what they already believe to be true. The concept of the echo chamber becomes real and all information counter to preconceptions is dismissed as fake news, liberal lies, or conservative conspiracy theory.
We, as Libertarians, are not immune from this style of rhetoric. Someone talks about the need for a Vaping Ban, we respond with my body my choice, they say it’s bad for people, we demand our liberty, they yell about the children, and on it goes with no one changing minds. Fill in any issue and that is how the dialogue goes. We speak as if we are the comment section on a Facebook thread. No one is hearing what the other is saying and no one walks away with their mind changed, instead we just end up more hardened behind our original battle lines.
But there is a magic secret tool that no one remembers how to use. The almighty question! There is an adage in advertising, “No one cares what you think until they know you care.” Asking questions instead of responding with your position immediately opens up the other person in a conversation, now they know you care about what they have to say. People are so numb to debate (in the way we have been doing) it for so long this engagement now feels different, it feels genuine, honest.
But that is just step one, step two is to keep asking questions, lots of questions, and really listen to what they say. We live at a time when facts and statistics mean very little. You aren’t going to win an argument by being right or having the best data on your side. Think about your goal in a debate, you want to change the other person’s position, when was the last time someone changed yours? People change their own minds you can’t change it for them. In part two I will break it down with an example.

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Keeping people interested after a presidential election

It’s something that happens after an election: people lose interest in politics and go back to being regular humans with jobs and families to obsess about instead of a president. The key is how to get the folks who were involved during the run-up to November engaged beyond. Our counties have been having really great turnout to the meetings because our chairs have been so very welcoming to new faces. Here are some ways to keep the existing members and new faces involved:

• Exchange information with each person, whether it’s their email, phone number or becoming friends on Facebook

• Start a county chat to follow up with members to thank them for coming to a meeting or event and remind them any upcoming dates. This can also be used to discuss local issues or future events and agenda items.

• Have goals for your county and things for members to do to achieve those goals. Examples:

  • Create a watchdog committee that looks into the city council agendas and decisions.
  • Have a social media team that creates original content
  • Have a volunteer force looking into volunteer events
  • Keep your county Facebook page active, even if it’s just asking discussion questions or sharing news alerts or information pertinent to your community. Reminders of events are essential.

These are only the basics and each county is unique in their focus, but the thing that each of these points have in common is communication. That is the essential element, people who feel they are a part of your affiliate’s community become invested in making it better. If you have any questions or comments, please reach out to us at chair@lpne.org   Feel free to use our Standard Operating Procedures document as a guide as well!

Buck v. Bell in the Age of Vaccine Passports

By: Morgan J. Williams

Ninety-four years ago in the spring of 1927, the Supreme Court heard the case of Buck v. Bell. The plaintiff was a young woman named Carrie Buck. At the age of seventeen Carrie had been living with a foster family, the Dobbses, when their nephew raped her. The Dobbses proceeded to throw her into a mental institution. The institution wanted to forcibly sterilize her, which Buck tried to fight in court (Richards). 

Unfortunately, Carrie Buck lost, and her basic human reproductive rights were stolen from her by our government. To quote Mr. Justice Holmes on that horrific day: “It is better for all the world, if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime, or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind. The principle that sustains compulsory vaccination is broad enough to cover cutting the Fallopian tubes. Jacobson v. Massachusetts . . . Three generations of imbeciles are enough” (Buck v. Bell).

You may not have known our grisly history before today, but you will know it now. Mandatory vaccinations in this country led directly to the forced sterilization of not only Carrie Buck, but to tens of thousands of Americans. According to Lutz Kaelber, who is an Associate Professor of Sociology from the University of Vermont, “American eugenics refers inter alia to compulsory sterilization laws adopted by over 30 states that led to more than 60,000 sterilizations of disabled individuals.” This does not even include the Native Americans sterilized in the 1970s, in which it’s estimated that more than 25% of reproductive-aged women were sterilized (Kaelber). There is unfathomable damage, and it was all made possible by the precedent of compulsory vaccination. 

If a company is able to ask “are you vaccinated?” then they’re also able to ask “are you on birth control? Have you had an abortion? Have you been sterilized for the greater good of society?” If we are going to sit idly by and permit businesses to discriminate against people for their vaccination status, what medical condition are we going to let them discriminate against people for next?

As a disabled woman, I have the most to lose when the state starts making medical decisions for the “welfare of society”. It is women much like me whose reproductive rights were stolen from us, against our will. I stand today with all who say “my body, my choice.” Without our right to bodily autonomy, we own nothing. Without our right to self-ownership, there is nothing that the state cannot compel one to do.

Works Cited

Kaelber, Lutz. “Eugenics: Compulsory Sterilization in 50 American States.” The University of Vermont, U of Vermont, 2011, www.uvm.edu/~lkaelber/eugenics/. Accessed 15 Apr. 2021. 

Richards, Penny L. “Carrie Buck.” Encyclopædia Britannica, 11 Aug. 2014, www.britannica.com/biography/Carrie-Buck. Accessed 15 Apr. 2021. 

United States, U.S. Supreme Court (U.S.). Buck v. BellUnited States Reports, vol. 274, 2 May 1927, p. 200. Legal Information Institute, Cornell Law School, www.law.cornell.edu/supremecourt/text/274/200. Accessed 15 Apr. 2021. 

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