In a simple pitch of what a Libertarian is, District 22 state representative candidate Josh Vergiels stated, “Libertarians believe you’re the person best equipped to make decisions about yourself and your life. And so, in all circumstances, the effort should be directed to put as much decision-making power and authority into the hands of the individual.”
In a Oct. 21 interview, he said a person knows more about their own medical history, family background or financial needs and on down the list than anyone else could ever know.
“So, any sort of system or enterprise that seeks to take that decision-making power away from you and put it into the hands of someone who has never likely met you, may not have even been to the region where you live, may not even understand your local culture or needs or priorities, we think that’s A.) working against the best interest of the individual, B.) probably sub-optimal for all parties involved and at times, in extreme cases, can lead to tyranny and all sorts of awful things that we would prefer to avoid,” he said.
Vergiels is a Hoosier by choice, having grown up in Ohio. He went to college in Indiana and found that he really liked it here. As his career got started, he had the opportunity to come to Warsaw to work in the medical industry. He has since lived in and around Warsaw for about 10 years and met his wife and started a family here.
His career background is in engineering and started out doing process engineering, analyzing systems and procedures and rules and trying to optimize them. He moved into project management and works in software now.
“There’s an interesting thread of like engineers and software developers and libertarianism. I think, personally, it’s because those folks have a very system-oriented mindset and they like to assess systems and sort of their –it’s like a hobby or interest or it brings them joy to optimize things and make sure they’re working appropriately and efficiently and that meshes very nicely with libertarian political leanings as well,” Vergiels said.
Vergiels faces incumbent and Republican Craig Snow and Democrat Dee Moore in the Nov. 8 general election. Whoever gets elected may face a whole host of issues in various bills that they may have to consider and vote on. A big issue this past year was abortion after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade and returned the matter to the individual states to consider. The Indiana legislatures approved a bill making most abortions illegal, and the governor signed it.
On abortion, Vergiels said the Libertarian party platform is interesting. “We used to have a plank in our party platform that was essentially a non-plank, basically acknowledging both sides make good arguments and it’s hard to say. That’s since been revised, I think at our last convention.”
Personally, he said, he doesn’t like abortion and would like to see the frequency of abortion reduced. “However, I disagree with my conservative counterparts in that I don’t think just passing a law that says, ‘Thou Shall Not …’ is going to fix it,” he said. “So this is a good example of lean engineering and problem solving. You have a problem statement: Abortion is bad. Well, is it bad just because you simply want to make a moral stance against it, is it bad and you would like to reduce how often it occurs, etc., so what’s the actual goal? In my opinion, the goal is to reduce how often it occurs … an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Let’s increase access to contraceptives, let’s try to knock down administrative barriers to people accessing whether it’s prescription birth control and things like that.”
On the issue of decriminalizing marijuana, Vergiels says he’s a straight-laced boring kind of guy and he just looks at it as a “dollars and cents” guy.
“I look at the negative consequences of marijuana use relative to the cost, both in terms of dollars and cents of policing, prosecution, incarceration and etc., and also the human costs of getting people plugged into the system. I’ve had a distant acquaintance who struggled with drug addiction tell me that when he went to jail it was like a job fair for drug dealers. So, I don’t know that prosecuting and incarcerating people is really the right path in reducing usage. I also know that there’s a larger than you would probably expect of people who drive an hour or two out of state to their dispensary of choice and they take their hard-earned Indiana dollars and put them into Michigan’s economy or Illinois’s economy or wherever else. So, for me, it’s a simple dollars and cents issue. We can take a cost on our balance sheet and turn it into an asset and all we have to do is say it’s no longer illegal for possession or personal use or pick your flavor. So we convert money lost into actual income in the form of sales tax and whatever else at the cost of nothing,” he explained.