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Libertarian Presidential Candidate Gary Johnson Makes Campaign Stop For Purdue Q&A

Sarah Fentem

 At a Purdue-hosted forum Monday night, Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson spoke to hundreds of questioning students who wanted to know what it could mean to have a Libertarian president.

Johnson focused many of his remarks on giving power to the states instead of the federal government.

The former Republican governor of New Mexico says he pushed for school choice and voucher systems in his state. If elected president, he says he’d eradicate what he calls the Department of Education’s way of solving problems.  

“Deal with it in the state of Indiana and 50 laboratories of innovation and best practice – the states,” he says. “You’ll actually have some fabulous innovation. I’d like to get the federal government out of the educational business completely.”

Johnson says he’d also leave the decision to require vaccinations at Statehouse doorsteps, but on a federal level he would make cuts to Medicare and medical research.

That’s part of his plan to balance the federal budget by cutting every line by 20-percent, including agricultural subsidies.

He says in some cases, federally-awarded ag money – some of which his Purdue hosts receive -- has dictated unhealthy eating habits through making some products more available than others.

And while he may not have gotten the hype that Bernie Sanders did during his Purdue visit earlier this year, but the former Republican New Mexico governor says he still believes he can poll high enough to get into this year’s debate.

An ABC News-Washington Post poll last showed Johnson at 9-percent. He needs an average of 15-percent to qualify.

He says Purdue president Mitch Daniels is the only member of the Commission on Presidential Debates who has been open to listening to a third-party candidate.

But Johnson says he and running mate Bill Weld – a former Massachusetts governor -- would not still be in the race if they didn’t think they had a chance at winning the office.

In a Monday night forum, Johnson said he would not sign off on a religious freedom bill, such as Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, that was what he calls “thinly veiled discrimination.”

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