The Libertarian candidate for governor is spending time this week in Upstate New York positioning himself as a viable third option in November’s election. Larry Sharpe told WAER News in an interview he feels the time is right for many voters to get away from two-party thinking.
Sharpe is looking to flip the script on New York’s government from Left or Right, which he says just makes people angry. And he says he’s fine this election with being the Anti-Cuomo.
"I want government to be responsible and people to be free. We have the opposite right now. People are responsible for everything, and the government is responsible for nothing. The government is free...it just taxes and taxes and taxes”
He nearly won his party’s Vice Presidential nomination in 2016 and welcomes comparisons to then-presidential Candidate Gary Johnson. Sharpe says his brand of libertarianism focuses on long-term solutions to problems Democrats and Republicans are failing to solve. In public education Sharpe says students should have a wider range of options to pursue before high school graduation.
“Some kids should be studying AP history and advanced science, of course. And some should be working as a plumber. And some should be under the hood of a car. And some should be working in an office. And some should be creating apps on a smart phone. But we shouldn't assume they should spend two more years in high school. What's stopping them? Albany is stopping them”
Sharpe also plans to take on the problems he sees in the criminal justice system by pardoning those convicted of what he calls “victimless crimes.” He wants to end the disruption to New York families caused by incarcerating non-violent offenders.
"This county was built on the idea that they would rather have a guilty person go free than an innocent man be in prison. We've forgotten that. I haven't forgotten that. Is it more important to put a guy in jail because he had a plant in his pocket? Or is it more important to have a father in a household. I want a father in a household. I'll take that every day of the week”
He also wants to re-examine regulations to help grow the economy and give more people access to their own American dream.
"Look at most licenses. They have nothing to do with safety. It's about control. Drivers licenses make sense. There's a test. People could die. Why do you have to have a license for a vape shop? You have to have a license to braid hair, walk a dog. It's just control. We create more barriers to entry, and now less people can have the American dream.”
In a state where Democrats have won the last 19 state-wide elections, Sharpe says he’s really New York’s sole opportunity for a change from another Cuomo-led government.
“The republican party is dead in this state when it comes to statewide elections. They're not going to win a statewide election at all. So, they're gone, they're not even part of it. It's me against Cuomo. I said that months ago when I started running. People will either choose the current king or they will choose the kid from the Bronx.”
The Libertarian party will officially select a nominee at its convention this April.