Could you give us a little background on who you are?
I was born and raised in Saginaw, MI. I have spent the majority of my professional career in sales. I hold a Bachelor of Science from Central Michigan University in Psychology, with a minor in Journalism. I also hold a Master of Divinity from Minnesota Graduate School of Theology. I was raised Catholic, but left the Church while in college. After spending almost 18 years in the Protestant world (including many years as a part-time preacher), I returned to the Catholic Church in 2002. I am a part-time professional magician, and a published author (“A NEW DAWN: Weekly Wisdom From Everyday Life”). Politically, I spent the majority of my adult life as a conservative Republican. This past year, I began to rethink my political beliefs, realizing that they did not match up fully with the teachings of my faith. As a result, I discovered the American Solidarity Party.
What is the American Solidarity Party?
The ASP was founded in 2011 as the Christian Democracy Party — USA. They changed their name later to better reflect their ideals of Solidarity, Subsidiarity and Distributism.
What would you say is your most realistic goal for this election?
Our main goal is to build the party and gain national recognition for the future. Like all minor parties, we have no delusions that we will actually win the Presidency. We want to have our platform and ideas become a part of the national conversation. So far, we have been very successful. We have gained almost constant positive media attention, and our party has grown to have members in 45 states. After the 2016 election cycle, we will use this momentum to continue growing the party at the local and state levels. We will also begin recruiting candidates to run for local and state offices in the 2018 election. Finally, we are also continuing to work on ballot access, which can be difficult for a small third party.
Why should people vote for the American Solidarity Party? What would you say to the people who claim it would be a wasted vote?
The only wasted vote is a vote that is not cast. If you look around this year, you will see that this election has become toxic. The ugliness and venom that is displayed nearly every day is turning people off. The two major parties have staked out positions to the far right and to the far left. We used to call these areas the gutters.
The American Solidarity Party offers a platform and ideas that have broad appeal to the majority of the American People. We are solidly pro-life … but we don’t stop at simply opposing abortion. We believe that being pro-life is much more than that. We are pro-life for the WHOLE life. This includes opposition to euthanasia, the death penalty and assisted suicide. It also includes support for an adequate social safety net for those who are less able to care for themselves. Our platform is largely based on Catholic Social Teaching, and our economic ideas are gleaned largely from Chesterton and Beloc. With the American Solidarity Party, you can truly vote your conscience.
What would you say to liberal voters? What is appealing about the ASP to a liberal?
We strongly support an adequate social safety net. We oppose the privatization of Medicare and Social Security. On economic issues, we would be considered center-left for the most part.
What would you say to conservative voters? What is appealing about the ASP to a conservative?
We are 100 percent pro-life. We believe in the sanctity of life from conception to natural death. We oppose same-sex marriage. On most social issues, we would be considered center-right.
Why should young voters, especially college students, vote Maturen/Munoz?
We offer fresh ideas. We offer the ability for young voters to actually vote for a ticket that truly reflects their values, rather than choosing between the lesser of two evils (which is still choosing evil). This is their opportunity to vote for REAL change, and to begin reforms in the electoral system that will allow third parties to have a stronger voice in American politics.
How many states, and what states do you currently have ballot access? How do you plan on expanding that?
We are currently on the ballot in Colorado. We are authorized as write-in candidates (which means that the votes will actually be counted) in Michigan, Ohio, Texas and Georgia (and soon, Virginia, Kentucky, Massachusetts, New York and several others). There are several states (including Iowa, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, and Vermont) where we are automatically available as a write-in candidate. There are nine states, unfortunately, that do not allow write-in votes at all, which we believe reduces the voice of the American people.
Best-case scenario, you win the election and become president. How would you work with a congress that is all Republican and Democrat?
Because our platform has ideas and planks that have appeal to one or both of the major parties, I would work on those areas first. Choosing points of common ground will help us to move this country forward. Statesmanship and diplomacy are unfortunately missing qualities in modern American politics. I intend to bring those qualities back to the White House. Win or lose, I pledge to work with currently elected officials of both parties to forward those ideas that we agree on.
Have you looked at the strategies employed by previous minor party and independent candidates?
Just getting the message out is what is important at this stage. Both Ventura and Perot got out into the media, spoke what they believed with no compromise, and actually made a difference in the world at that time. Ventura even got elected.