Editor’s note: This is one in a series of profiles on candidates running for Congressional Districts in Texas.
Wedding photographer and political newcomer Clark Patterson is the Libertarian candidate for Congressional District 35. He said he hopes his campaign serves as a wake-up call for Democratic and Republican politicians.
Patterson said he is showcasing third-party solutions to partisan issues such as immigration, health care reform and taxation.
“I honestly believe that Libertarian solutions are the only real solutions to everything that ails the U.S. politically,” Patterson said. “These issues we are seeing have to be addressed with much more than just lip service.”
Patterson said he is particularly concerned about the financial situation of the United States. He is advocating for all “entitlement programs” to be phased out over the next few generations. These entitlement programs include government-funded health care, pensions and higher education.
“We’ll be dead in 30 years but the millennials will just be getting started,” Patterson said. “And they’ll be dealing with problems my generation began. We thought we’d be better than our parents’ generation and quite frankly we’ve dropped the ball.”
Patterson said he believes the federal government should not have a role in higher education spending, and funding for public universities should be drastically reduced. A college education is often more meaningless than useful, and companies should hire and train workers at a fraction of the cost instead, Patterson said.
“In America, we are the most over-credentialed, under-educated society in world history,” Patterson said. “You have the proverbial situation where you have a barista at Starbucks with a college degree … Libertarians would argue that the reason that is the case is all the money poured into higher education.”
Libertarians believe national defense is the only acceptable use of government funds, which should be raised solely through voluntary citizen donations instead of taxation, Patterson said.
In addition, he said as life expectancy increases, raising the retirement age is another solution to easing the financial burden.
Patterson said he hopes to see some of his campaign principles adopted in the next few generations to make headway on solving any national problems.
“When the major parties even talk about entitlement reform it’s always something way down the road,” Patterson said. “Well, that’s crazy. We need to tell people that we simply do not have the money. It needs to start now.”