Jasen Wunder said he is running for Maryland’s 8th Congressional District seat to minimize the government’s role in citizens’ lives.
The Libertarian candidate from Sykesville outlined his legislative goals as reducing the size of the government, ending foreign wars and eliminating federal taxes.
Asked why he got into politics, Wunder said, “I have children and I want to leave the Earth and the United States better off.”
Wunder, 34, said he would push to lower taxes, end the war on drugs and strengthen gun ownership rights.
“The taxes in this area are ridiculous,” he said. “I think the government is just taking more and devaluing the currency.”
Wunder said he would push to eliminate federal taxes, much of which comes back to the states through block grants. States would have to fund themselves, he said.
He suggested that states pay a tax to the federal government based on square mileage. The states could raise that money any way they choose. That would be used to maintain the military and other purely federal functions.
Wunder said he strongly supports gun rights.
“I actually don’t believe that the government should be involved in the gun business,” he said. “I would work to eliminate all gun restrictions.”
Wunder, a paramedic, favors decriminalizing all drugs and doing away with certain agencies fighting the drug war, such as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. His platform also includes the immediate release of anyone in prison for a nonviolent drug crime.
He said he would try to increase privacy by extending Fourth Amendment protections to paperless communications, including all emails and phone calls. He would work to eliminate the National Security Agency.
Term limits are a good idea, he said, to eliminate having the same ideas year after year.
Internationally, he would aim to end wars and having the U.S. doing nation building. His agenda includes closing foreign military bases, which, he said, would enhance America’s security.
“Most of the problems we have stem from being in other countries’ business,” he said.
Wunder, who has no previous elected experience, cast himself as a fresh voice for the 8th District, which has been represented by Rep. Chris Van Hollen since 2003. This election, Van Hollen is running for the U.S. Senate seat that will be open because of Sen. Barbara Mikulski’s retirement.
Wunder said he had nothing personal against Van Hollen, but “he’s voted many times to increase surveillance to a degree” and hasn’t fought to eliminate the drug war.
A Van Hollen representative declined to comment on the statements.
Wunder said he would advocate for congressional representatives to be paid a median wage of around $51,000, although he acknowledged such a proposal was not likely to generate enough support to succeed.
Members of the House of Representatives earn $174,000 and serve two-year terms.
Other candidates in the race are Democrat Jamie Raskin, Republican Dan Cox and Nancy Wallace from the Green Party.
The election will be Nov. 8.