Guaranteeing every citizen has the maximum amount of freedom is crucial for Republican Kevin Midbust, who is seeking U.S. Rep. Doc Hastings' District 4 seat.
That means taking the federal government out of most of the areas where it's currently operating, Midbust said. Welfare, taxation, marriage licenses and other matters should be governed by states, if they exist at all.
Midbust thinks the best way of achieving freedom for everyone is eliminating the Federal Reserve banking system. It would solve numerous problems, such as lagging cleanup efforts at the Hanford site, a broken immigration system and gun violence, he said.
"You'll no longer be enslaved to this system," Midbust said.
Midbust, 27, of Richland, is one of 12 candidates in the Aug. 5 primary election. Ballots will be mailed to registered voters beginning July 18. Washington state has open primaries for partisan office, meaning all candidates regardless of political affiliation compete against each other. The two candidates receiving the most primary votes go on to the general election.
Midbust graduated from Hanford High School in 2005 and has lived in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. He earned an associate degree in general studies from Columbia Basin College in 2011 and is currently a shift supervisor for Rite Aid. He has never run for public office.
While registered as a Republican, it is the Constitution and not political ideology that most concerns Midbust, he said. His concern about making the federal government stick to the Constitution is what led him to file for office rather than just writing in his own name or that of his cat, as he has in past elections.
"The Constitution sets forth exactly what the federal government can and can't do," he said.
That's led to Midbust's focus on the Federal Reserve, which he said has usurped the government's responsibility to protect the money of citizens. The Fed, which is run by presidentially appointed governors and which nationally chartered banks must join, is overseen by Congress.
Getting rid of the national banking system would allow the nation to return to a gold- and silver-backed currency and increase the value of the dollar, as bankers would no longer be able to artificially cause inflation, he said.
Eliminating the Federal Reserve was Midbust's answer to most questions posed to him by the Herald editorial board. He said it would be a boon to the economy and therefore reduce gun violence as fewer people resort to crime to support themselves, improve the immigration system by creating more jobs, and improve energy policy as companies will have more money to develop technologies.
Cleanup efforts at the Hanford site could also be improved by eliminating the Fed, Midbust said, though he didn't specify how.
U.S. representatives are paid an annual salary of $174,000 and are elected for two-year terms.
Midbust had not raised any money as of the most recent filing deadline, according to the Federal Election Commission.
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-- Ty Beaver: 509-582-1402; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @_tybeaver; Google+: +TyBeaverTCHerald