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"We have way too many in prison,” says Libertarian gubernatorial hopeful Bill Gelineau

Bill Gelineau
Bill Gelineau for Governor

The slate of candidates vying for attention in the state’s gubernatorial race, of course, extends beyond Republican and Democrat.

Bill Gelineau is seeking the Libertarian Party’s nomination. He joined Stateside today to talk about taxes, the Michigan Strategic Fund, marijuana, and more.

Listen to the full conversation above, or read highlights below.

On reducing spending and taxes in the age of deteriorating roads

“One of the big areas of concern for me has been our prison system,” Gelineau said. “There’s many people even outside of politics and academia that look at the number of people we have housed in our prison system, well in excess of our surrounding states. That would be one area where there’s a lot of room to cut.”

He anticipates legalizing marijuana. If this doesn’t happen, he’d like to form to create a board to pardon many who have have not committed a violent crime in conjunction with their drug offense.

“I believe that we have way too many in prison and that we should work toward providing an alternative sentencing and other mechanisms for just clearing the sheer numbers of people that we have in prison,” he said.

On the Michigan Strategic Fund

The fund is used to make grants and loans to business districts and businesses, and the state says it needs these kinds of incentives to compete with other states for business.

Gelineau thinks it’s unnecessary.

“We’ve got a very tight job market, and the notion that we need to attract more businesses when existing businesses are having a hard time finding staff to me doesn’t fit with reality,” he said. “And some of the states that don’t do these things seem to get by just fine.”

“One of the things, as a libertarian, we have real issues with is the subsidies that are used to provide moneys to existing businesses and new businesses that are profitable,” Gelineau said. “If businesses need to exist, they should go out into the marketplace and do the things they need to do.”

On legalizing marijuana

Gelineau calls the prohibition of marijuana a “budget-wrecker.”

“It’s tied up our courts, it requires an awful lot of police overtime, and probably my biggest concern is the degree to which it’s ruined the lives of young people,” he said. “You get marked with that red badge of drug offense, and it makes it difficult in terms of your trajectory, whether it be college or just your work life.”

On National Guard troops and  foreign conflict

Gelineau has indicated that, if elected, he would block the President of the United States from using National Guard Troops in a foreign conflict. Part of the reason the federal government depends on the National Guard is due to difficulty in recruiting for voluntary armed services.

“I just feel that, constitutionally, as well as morally, it’s the responsibility of our governor, who is the commander in chief of the Michigan National Guard, to be proactive in preventing that federalization to be done unless the congress has declared war,” he said.

When asked whether or not this would bring back the military draft, Gelineau responded that, on libertarian principle, he would like to see troops from many of the 165 countries the U.S. has a military presence in be sent home.

“Ideally, if the mentality that I’m advocating were to take hold, we would need a much smaller force overall because we wouldn’t have troops all over the planet,” he said.

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Stateside is produced daily by a dedicated group of producers and production assistants. Listen daily, on-air, at 3 and 8 p.m., or subscribe to the daily podcast wherever you like to listen.
Originally from New Jersey, Lara is a senior at the University of Michigan studying English and Spanish. She's an Online News and Investigative Intern at Michigan Radio and a recent alum of The Michigan Daily, where she's served as Managing Editor of The Statement Magazine and Summer Editor in Chief. When she's not at Michigan Radio, she can be found listening to Bruce Springsteen or exploring a national park.
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