Jan. 2, 2015. Retired Lincoln County newspaper publisher Ken Fortenberry will run as a Libertarian candidate for governor of North Carolina in 2016 on a platform that calls for an end to the War on Drugs, lowering the state’s legal drinking age to 18 and cutting state income taxes.
Fortenberry, a grandfather of six who says he has never consumed an illegal drug, says it’s time to admit that the War on Drugs is a costly failure that has ruined millions of lives by labeling otherwise law-abiding citizens as criminals.
“As the do-gooders wage war on an activity that they believe is wicked and evil, the real criminals who rob, cheat and do physical harm to others are walking free because overworked law enforcement officers are spinning their wheels chasing down people who choose to smoke pot. The public would be far better served if officers had more time to hunt down and arrest violent criminals rather than locking up someone for a ‘crime’ that hurts no one,” Fortenberry stated.
Fortenberry says that he does not advocate the use of recreational drugs, but says that scientific evidence has proven that marijuana is actually safer than alcohol.
“Moving the sale and purchase of marijuana away from the hands of criminal gangs and thugs to commercial tax-paying stores makes more sense and is safer for all concerned,” he stated.
“Legalization of marijuana would provide millions of new dollars to the North Carolina treasury, create thousands of new jobs, and restore some sanity to a criminal justice system that is overloaded with nonviolent offenders,” Fortenberry stated.
He also believes the governor should pardon every person convicted solely of nonviolent drug charges, giving them a new chance at employment opportunities and assimilation back into the community.
Fortenberry also wants the state to lower the drinking age from 21 to 18.
“If a person is old enough to go to war and possibly die for this country that person is old enough to buy a beer,” he said. “Lowering the drinking age is long overdue, and North Carolina should lead the nation in telling the federal government to mind its own business in issues such as this.”
He is also calling for a fifty percent reduction in North Carolina personal income taxes over five years, and ultimately for the elimination of the tax entirely.
“If Tennessee, Texas, Florida and six other states can operate without a personal income tax, surely we can do half that in North Carolina,” he stated.
A Libertarian who has been both a Republican and a Democrat, Fortenberry said he became a Libertarian because the major political parties have lost touch with what’s important to real people.
“There’s really not a dime’s worth of difference between the Democrats and the Republicans. Both parties are focused more on grabbing power and reelecting career politicians than in doing what’s right for North Carolinians,” stated Fortenberry. “The Democrats want to be your mama and give you everything. The Republicans want to be your daddy and tell you how to live your life. What we need most is for the government to get out of our lives.”
Fortenberry, 63, lives in Denver, and ran unsuccessfully as a Republican for the U.S. Congress in 2012.
More information available at www.kenfortenberry.org