For Immediate Release – William Drummond is a well spoken man with subtle hints of his Southern raise. He pronounces each sound perfectly except he occasional “thanks” an idea or uses a local argot that would be unknown to those outside the region.
He is polite, and speaks with genuine enthusiasm unlike most politicians, but then again he has never held a political office. His political experience comes from holding positions in the Reform Party, which he joined because he believed in Ross Perot’s principles. As the treasurer of the Reform Party of Florida, he is tasked with overseeing the financial integrity of periodic filings, and as the Southeast Representative of the National Reform Party’s Communications Committee, he aids in building the party’s message and image.
Last year William Drummond II, known as “Cleave” by his friends and colleagues, decided to run for office in Florida’s Second Congressional District. The second district is expected to be heavily contested this year by his Republican and Democratic oppression as it seen as a tossup race. Incumbent Republican Steve Southerland and Democratic challenger Gwen Graham are expected to spend millions of dollars as they battle it out.
William Drummond is looking for victory on the Reform Party line, and hoping to cause an upset. I had the pleasure of speaking with him on the phone, and asked him several questions.
Q. Why are you running as a member of the Reform Party rather than a Democrat or a Republican? Wouldn’t you have more resources if you ran on a major party ballot line?
I would have more resources, but I would also have more strings attached to me. My backers would use those strings to make me dance like a puppet. I was a Democrat once, and I saw how the major parties operate. They are in bed with the special interests.
As a Democrat, I watched the morals of honest men waiver in return for donations from Political Action Committees and bundlers. I don’t wish to be one them. That’s why I believe in the principles set down by Ross Perot in his 1992 and 1996 runs for the presidency. He wanted to get rid of the PACs and reign in the special interest influences.
Q. Mr. Drummond, what do you expect to change if you are elected to office?
Please, call me Cleave…I would like to create a government that is fair and representative of all Americas, not just a select few. The major problem is that special interests control our representatives. Our representatives are working for the few people that donate millions of dollars to their campaigns, and not the millions of voters that vote in the polls. If we got rid of the special interest influence, we’d have fair and equal representation.
Q. Let’s talk about the economy. Our economy is currently in a slow recovery. What would you do to help strengthen the recovery and create jobs?
The biggest economic engine is the American consumer. The economy is powered by people like you and me purchasing goods and services. In order to strengthen the economy, we have to look at the tax code. Our current tax policies are unbalanced, and strangling our largest consumer base – the middle class.
Our middle class is taxed unproportionally high when you look at the ratio of assets and income to taxes compared with the higher classes. If we restructured the tax code to be fair, it would allow the middle class to have more disposable income and drive economic growth via higher consumption. As the economy grows, more jobs will be created and economic growth would accelerate.
We also need to look at the needs of small businesses. I know a lot about this, because I am a self-employed graphic and web designer. The economic playing field is unbalanced, and treating larger business entities with more benefits. This is absurd. It’s not only unfair, but American small businesses employ a majority of the work force. If the playing field was balanced, these businesses would see more growth and employ more people. This would also cause economic growth.
Q. The healthcare debate is hot right now. This issue has been the subject of much debate. What would you do to help people afford better healthcare services?
The American healthcare system is flawed. People pay premiums for health insurance, and the pay thousands of dollars for deductibles before their insurance starts covering costs. This causes people to pay for insurance that they never use. For this reason, I am an advocate for the single payer system.
Q. Social Security is seen as the third rail of American politics, but you do live in Florida. If you win the election, you will have to represent a large number of retirees and cannot avoid this issue. What are your thoughts on Social Security?
Social Security is insolvent, because it keeps getting raided to pay for other programs. It has been threatened with dismantlement, mismanaged and used in politically motivated games of chicken. I would secure social security by making sure that every dollar paid into social security goes into an account with your name on it. That account would work like a treasury bond so that any money borrowed from social security accounts would be paid back with interest.
Q. That kind of social security system could only be paid for if the budget is balanced. Right now America has a 17 trillion dollar deficit and a more then 600 billion dollar deficit.
I know! and that’s one of the many reasons that I would work to balance the budget. Our congressional representation is spending America into bankruptcy. We can’t keep up with spend and spend policies.
I would do something unpopular. I would restructure the tax code to close loopholes and tailor tax rates to be what they were under the Clinton Administration. Then I would start cutting by reorganizing the government’s agencies and departments to reduce overlap, and cut unnecessary government programs. In addition I would cut 92 billion dollars worth of corporate welfare giveaways.
Unlike the war hawks, I have no problems cutting national security spending. National defense is not dependent on how much we spend alone, it is also about how we spend that money. Without taking any money away for equipment and military personnel, we could cut tens of billions of dollars by streamlining administrative practices, and reducing unnecessary expenditures for items the military neither wants nor needs.
Q. You said you were a supporter of Ross Perot’s principles. He was an advocate for transparency and an accountable government. What do you think about those ideas?
Government should be open. It should have few secrets, and those secrets should be reserved for ongoing operations were the lives of American assets are at risk.
Q. Let’s switch gears and talk a little about foreign policy. What are beliefs?
I believe that America is trying to be the police force of the world. America has enough problems of its own, and we are involved in too many fronts in areas we shouldn’t be. This is causing us to spend money that we can’t afford, and risk American service members to do things other countries should be doing for themselves.
Q. What do you think of the American education system?
The American education system is failing. When I was in school, people were taught how to learn. We were taught to read, comprehend what we read and use that to form abstract thoughts. That was a great foundation for education, and teaching people to think for themselves helps students in the long term.
Today’s education system teaches how to pass a test. It forces students to memorize facts rather then comprehend the world around them. That, in my opinion, the greatest flaw.
Q. Last question. I’ve read a lot of the Reform Party’s statements, and they hit trade a lot. What are your thoughts on that?
America is giving away its jobs, its manufacturing base, and all of its economic production. The government has created a trade system that favors the consumption of cheap, mass produced goods over American jobs. It’s a joke. The politicians in Washington should be ashamed.
America hasn’t had a trade surplus since the 1980s. Our trade deficits have increased by almost 2,000 percent since we signed NAFTA in 1994. Our manufacturing jobs are being lost because of it. Manufacturing companies used to be the largest private employers in the United States, and now the largest employer is Wal-Mart, which makes its money selling cheap imported goods.
CAFTA is another great example of this. Before America signed CAFTA into law, we had a trade surplus with every nation involved with that treaty. Now we have trade deficits with every single one. Two years ago, we signed a free trade agreement with Korea, and their exports to the United States jumped by three billion dollars while our exports to them fell.
We can’t keep this up. Our trade deficit is the second biggest threat to this country, and stands only behind our 17 trillion dollar debt in importance. We have to raise protections. We have to bring our jobs back home.