Interview with Amanda Swafford, Libertarian seeking U.S. Senate Seat
(APN) ATLANTA — Amanda Swafford is the Libertarian candidate for Georgia’s U.S. Senate seat also being sought by Michelle Nunn, the Democratic nominee, and David Perdue, the Republican nominee.
Prior to this campaign, Swafford was a City Councilmember from 2010 to 2011 in Flowery Branch, Georgia. She was elected in a Special Election. She was one of three new Council Members that restricted city employee contracts that were at that time unsustainable.
In addition, from 2000 to 2002, Swafford held a Central Committee position for the Libertarian Party in Sacramento County, California, where Swafford represented the county on issues related to ballot initiatives and voter issues. Also in Sacramento, she served on a Citizens Advisory Committee on Land Use.
Swafford is currently a full-time paralegal. Her campaign website is www.amandaswafford.net.
APN has reported extensively on Nunn’s campaign, and her tendency to take Republican positions on issues:
APN has also reported on Perdue’s campaign and his troubling business career:
Swafford is the only candidate to respond to an APN interview request:
WHAT IS YOUR POSITION ON NUCLEAR POWER?
It’s a technology that has failed to get additional research put into it. It’s an area we need to explore. I’m in favor to alternative pursuits to that energy resource.
WHAT IS YOUR PLAN, IF ANY, TO INCREASE SOLAR AND WIND POWER?
We need to reduce a lot of the restrictions and barriers from participating in the marketplace. If you wanted to provide your house with solar, for example, there are certain communities you couldn’t do that with… building codes for example… that you would have to use another form of electricity and power because of those barriers. One of the reasons the market hasn’t expanded, is because of that. Local municipalities all have their own codes… I would like to see reduced standards for sources of energy and freedom to use alternative energy.
DO YOU SUPPORT GMO LABELING?
(In support of voluntary labeling and state referenda; not federal legislation.)
Yes. Of course. If the company wants to put a label on the product of what it includes… I don’t want to get in the way of any of that legislation. Consumers have a right to know what it is in their products. There should be a referendum on the ballot; that shouldn’t be taken away from the citizen’s right to choose.
From a federal standpoint I’m not in favor of requiring labeling for GMO’s or anything else. If an individual has an issue with a food product, they have the power to find out that information before they make that decision. We are a diverse nation… to mandate every issue can be so overwhelming, it hampers the marketplace to freely participate, offering as many choices as possible. By definition, you are reducing the options that are out there.
DO YOU SUPPORT A VOTER-VERIFIABLE PAPER AUDIT TRAIL FOR ELECTRONIC VOTING?
Most definitely. Voting is a very important central right. We need a verifiable paper trail to back up our electronic system. Technology is great, but no system is perfect. We have redundancies in every important system. I am disappointed the State of Georgia doesn’t have a paper trail.
DO YOU SUPPORT RESTORING VOTING RIGHTS IN FEDERAL ELECTIONS FOR FELONS AND/OR EX-FELONS?
(Yes, if felonies for victimless crimes.)
Most definitely. This is something we need to look at. Libertarians have always been very strong opponent the of the drug war, that’s a prime example. You have situations where young adults have a small amount of marijuana, or a controlled substance and not hurting anyone in the process. They end having a felony conviction on their record… like firearms crossing state line… they have violated a law on the books and have lost their voting rights for the rest of their life. This is one thing that would help in restoring voting rights. If there were no victims involved, life, property or liberty involved, those convictions should not revoke your voting rights.
DO YOU SUPPORT A CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT IN RESPONSE TO THE CITIZENS UNITED RULING, CLARIFYING THAT CORPORATIONS DO NOT HAVE CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS; AND ALLOWING FEDERAL, STATE, AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS TO LIMIT CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS BY CORPORATIONS?
No and let me tell you why. If you take a look at a candidate who is truly grassroots and has the power of the people of their side and is anti-corporation and doesn’t want to go with established media, with progressive issues behind them, in that situation, anytime we put a restriction on donations, it hampers their ability to compete.
Running for a federal office for example, the limit is 2,600 dollars. If one individual gives you a higher amount you wouldn’t have to go to so many individuals. I have to work doubly hard to get what one candidate could get one donation from. The disclosure system runs much too slow. You don’t know who is getting what funding in a timely fashion. What defines a corporation? A group of citizens that have come together to support an anti-corporate candidate, when they’re a corporation themselves. You get into slippery territory and using the power of force of the government through provisions on corporations restricts the power of the individual. Sometimes corporations are not these huge multinational conglomerate, they could be the very sources that any particular candidate has to rely on for support.
DO YOU SUPPORT A NEW VOTING RIGHTS ACT SECTION FOUR DEFINITION? IF SO, WHAT SHOULD IT BE?
No. State decisions regarding voting requirements should remain within the sovereign authority of the states and under control of the people in those states. Giving the federal government the power to intervene in a state’s voting decisions artificially delays the will of the states. It can also have the effect of preventing liberalized voting choices from being implemented as well. Decisions related to our important voting rights should not be made by a federal department far removed from the states.
WHAT IS YOUR POSITION ON NSA SPYING ON U.S. CITIZENS, INCLUDING THE PRISM, TELEPHONY METADATA PROGRAM, AND OTHER RECENT REVELATIONS?
The NSA programs that I’m aware of appears to be a strong violation of our Fourth Amendment rights, I would not support of any of those programs that have blanket attempts to collect data on all American citizens.
DO YOU SUPPORT AN INTEREST RATE CAP OF FIFTEEN OR EIGHTEEN PERCENT ON CREDIT CARDS?
No. That was my issue with the Frank-Dodd legislation. [Editor’s note: Frank-Dodd did not include an interest rate cap. The U.S. Senate did vote on an amendment to the CARD Act for an interest rate cap in 2010, but the amendment failed.]
We’ve seen the conflict that this poses. The businesses have caps and fees, which can’t effectively allow us to make a purchase unless it’s under ten dollars, for instance. A lot of us don’t use cash anymore. It’s real difficult. It’s hard to pay a high interest. A lot of people don’t have access to cash and this is the only way they can get by. That individual is effectively shut out to resources that could be available to them. That is a real concern. You don’t want to encourage people to get into a bad situation [payday loans], but those may be the only options that they have. High interest loans on their tax refunds, for instance. That is sometimes the only option that they have. If we put a cap on it, there would be no flexibility to even compete.
DO YOU SUPPORT LEGALIZING CANNABIS (MARIJUANA) AT THE FEDERAL LEVEL FOR MEDICINAL PURPOSES AND/OR PURPOSES?
Yes. Most definitely. It’s so important. We are seeing what the individual states want to do. The federal government is trying to stop the state law and tell them what to do, the problem is enforcement. You’re at the mercy of the federal rulemakers at that particular time depending on what administration is in office. You have no sovereignty as a state. It’s not an effective way to regulating this business. Prohibition of marijuana has not worked. From a health perspective as well. There are health benefits of cannabis and the use of marijuana. Individuals should have the power to choose how to be treated between them and their doctors. There should be no more prohibition on weed then on what type of Tylenol someone wants to use to treat an illness. Someone that doesn’t know you, in the Capitol Building in D.C., thinks they know what the best thing to use for your illness? The Libertarians came out in favor of the cannabis oil legislation this Session.
WHAT IS YOUR POSITION ON IMPLEMENTATION OF THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT? SHOULD THERE BE A DELAY IN IMPLEMENTATION OF CERTAIN COMPONENTS, AS MICHELLE NUNN HAS SUGGESTED?
[Should be delay.]
Delay till 2436! I do not support the ACA in any way whatsoever. Some measures are good to increase choices and competitiveness. One piece legislates the insurance industry… it’s controlling so much of your health. That’s what’s been missing in the debate… when you and your doctor aren’t the only players at the table. You lose personal control and freedom to make those choices for yourself. Whether it’s car or health, if there’s a catastrophic failure, insurance doesn’t always pay out. You have all the power and the responsibility to choose and you should be able to choose. A lot of our costs could be freed up by limiting prohibitions.
DO YOU SUPPORT SAME-SEX MARRIAGE?
Yes absolutely. Project Q already identified that I’m the only candidate that is unequivocally for that. If you look at how government got involved in restricting marriages… It was racist to be frank. Having the government involved making decisions on who should get married and who gets benefits is wrong. If churches want to have their say that’s fine, but Libertarians do not believe government should be involved in marriage decisions at all.
WHAT WAS YOUR POSITION ON INVADING SYRIA, PRIOR TO ITS ANNOUNCEMENT OF AN AGREEMENT WITH RUSSIA?
(Opposed to invasion.)
Initially when that was done, I did not support any action in Syria. In general, that’s the position I take on most war policy intervention issues. That’s not saying we wouldn’t be involved, but we as a country have been involved in far too many conflicts of questionable national interest to America and should show much more restraint. Instead of using our defensive resources for things we shouldn’t be involved in, we should conserve our resources for a threat that we truly should be involved in.