7th District candidate spreads his message

Outsider Martin Buchanan says time is right for Libertarian Party policies

Posted 4/17/16

A Lakewood Libertarian and longtime information technology specialist said he thinks his party’s “socially liberal and fiscally conservative” policies are an apt alternative for voters who are — possibly more than ever before — defecting …

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7th District candidate spreads his message

Outsider Martin Buchanan says time is right for Libertarian Party policies

Posted

A Lakewood Libertarian and longtime information technology specialist said he thinks his party’s “socially liberal and fiscally conservative” policies are an apt alternative for voters who are — possibly more than ever before — defecting away from mainstream partisan politics.

Martin Buchanan was nominated last month at the Libertarian Party convention in Colorado Springs as candidate for Colorado’s Congressional District 7 on the Libertarian ticket. Colorado Libertarian Party campaign director Jack Woehr filed Buchanan’s paperwork was filed last month.

He faces Democratic incumbent Ed Perlmutter, first elected in 2006 as representative of the district, which covers Denver’s northern and western suburbs, including Westminster, Thornton, Northglenn, Arvada, Lakewood, Golden and Wheat Ridge. Bruce Baker, a Westminster city councilman who had filed for the race, lost the nomination for the Republican candidacy when voting delegates at an April 7 district assembly in Arvada nominated former Army officer George Athanasopoulos to challenge Perlmutter. (Look for a profile on Athanasopoulos in an upcoming edition.)

At the most basic level, Buchanan’s campaign platform is rooted in simple Libertarian philosophy: “I’m running to share the Libertarian message,” he said, “that we should have a much smaller and more limited government.”

A U.S. traveler

The Japanese-born Buchanan has spent 40 years in information technology, including programming, software engineering, technical writing, quality assurance, source code review and oversight and management.

He grew up in Washington, D.C., reading The Washington Post.

“(I was) closely following public policy from an early age,” he said. “It helped to grow up in a home with thousands of books.”

Even though first political activity was protesting the Vietnam War, his low draft lottery number during his second semester at Massachusetts Institute of Technology “encouraged” him to enlist in the Army. He was sent to Korea.

The armed forces and then four years volunteering in the Army National Guard kept Buchanan from finishing his degree, but he added he was “thankfully never in combat.”

Since that time, Buchanan and his wife have been U.S. travelers, living in New York City; Washington, D.C.; Portland, Oregon; Olympia, Washington; Boise, Idaho; Folsom, California; and Denver, where they came in 2004 to care for Buchanan’s mother-in-law. “We did that for eight years, including the final years of her life with Alzheimer’s dementia,” he said.

A political activist

Aside from protesting the Vietnam War, Buchanan said he has written initiatives for school choice, tax limits and terms limits while living in Oregon, where he was also founder and chairman of Oregonians for School Choice. It was there that Buchanan took his first stab at public office, running unsuccessfully for Oregon Secretary of State as a Libertarian in 1988.

After moving to Colorado, Buchanan wrote a book about the federal budget — “To Save America: How to Prevent Our Coming Federal Bankruptcy,” linked on his website at www.buchananforcongress.org. In 2008, Buchanan campaigned for a seat in the 1st Congressional District — a campaign he said was focused on cutting federal spending and balancing the budget.

Buchanan garnered just over 12,000 votes and 4 percent of the electorate, losing to still-sitting Democratic Congresswoman Diana DeGette.

The odd man out?

That said, Buchanan is familiar with losing a tough race to a popular incumbent, and he’s aware of the popular reputation that precedes Perlmutter.

But, Buchanan said, being a “nice guy” doesn’t make Perlmutter’s policies any more sound or his support of big-government programs like the Affordable Care Act any more palatable.

“My understanding is that Ed Perlmutter is a nice guy — a nice guy who voted for the $800 billion bailout and for the Affordable Care Act,” Buchanan said. “I would have opposed both of those.”

Perlmutter’s office says the incumbent continues to follow voters’ lead.

“One of the great things about our democracy is that everyone is free to participate,” said Perlmutter’s campaign manager, Clinton Thomas. “We feel confident that Ed’s track record clearly shows that his focus is and has always been on helping the hard-working folks in the middle. And we’ll be running a campaign based on getting that message out to the voters of the 7th Congressional District.”

Colorado Libertarian Party Chairman Jay R. North believes the time is right for alternative candidates like Buchanan, and referred to a recent increase in support for Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson as evidence. The New York Times reported last week that Johnson believes this upcoming election is a favorable one for third-party candidates providing an alternative to polarizing candidates like Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton, and North agrees.

Johnson “is polling at 11 percent for president, and we believe this will be an exceptionally good year for Libertarian candidates,” North said. “Voters who are looking for better judgment and freedom-focused policies from their candidates should not only take a look at Martin Buchanan, but also consider voting for him and all the other (Libertarian Party) candidates this year.”

Buchanan’s military experience and background as a computing expert and writer, North said, give him “considerable public policy knowledge, as well as a solid grasp on Libertarian principles,” providing contrast to “Perlmutter’s support of the Democratic Party line.”

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