Below is the text of an interview
I did with Media Trackers Ohio in January soon after announcing my run. Again, my desire is to outline my views on issues as well as the approach I plan to take on key public policy issues impacting Columbus residents.
"MT: What motivated you to run for a Columbus City Council seat?
GL: I have followed public policy my entire working life and have been fortunate enough to play a role in real debates about real issues. I strongly believe that economic freedom advances overall freedom and personal fulfillment. That’s why I work at the Buckeye Institute and it is also why I wanted to use a campaign as an opportunity to have an additional platform from which to talk about these ideas.
MT: Could you name one or two City of Columbus policies that you feel are wrongheaded and should be changed or thrown out entirely?
GL: First, Columbus is a great city. It is an oasis of stability in Ohio and has been even during the dark decade of the 2000s when the state was busy losing over 600,000 private sector jobs. However, if we didn’t have Ohio State and state government in Columbus, I suspect that positive picture would change. We have a high municipal income tax that should have never been raised. This hurts smaller businesses, particularly those in disadvantaged sections of town where the unemployment rate is twice that found in the rest of the city. We should make sure there are no more increases and even consider scaling back over time and after we have fully replenished the Rainy Day Fund.
MT: What one or two beneficial policies would you like to see City Council pursue?
GL: I want to see the county and the city share more services and, possibly, personnel. With the talk that Franklin County may be considering a sales tax increase, the time to find savings is now.
I also think we will need to negotiate very aggressively all collective bargaining agreements as they come up for renewal. While we need public employees to be fairly and adequately compensated, we also can’t simply return to the days of old where compensation increases were baked into the cake automatically.
Finally, we need to talk about ward representation in Columbus. It is absurd that we are clinging onto an “at-large” system of representation in Columbus where each City Council member represents two to three times as many people as a member of Congress. It underserves many communities in the city by not affording them a real voice and is out of step with most other major cities of which nearly all have a straight ward system or a mixed system where they have wards and at-large seats on Council.
MT: How do you expect to impact a deep-blue city’s policy as a conservative candidate for City Council?
GL: Walter Russell Mead, one of my favorite bloggers and historians, talks about the death of the “Blue Model” by which he means essentially the post-WWII FDR and then LBJ progressive system of government. The fact is, our society cannot pay the bills associated with this model anymore. However, we also can’t change everything over night. A lot of people know no other way to visualize the world than through this prism. It is the task of a conservative candidate, or really conservatives writ large, to articulate the flaws of the system and argue for something better that gives people hope. I look to argue for things as opposed to merely being against things. Conservatives of whatever party need to stand for freedom and responsibility, but do so in a compassionate way that recognizes that there really are people who are suffering. To this extent, I think my campaign is as much about a moral conversation as it is specific policies. We need a renewal of real hope and social values if we are ever to hope we can pare government back. This is how we can, over time move from blue policies to something better.
MT: Based on what you’ve learned up to this point, what advice would you give to other libertarian-leaning individuals interested in elected office?
GL: Know your facts, know yourself, have passion and be open minded."