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article imageA U.S. Senate seat in Arkansas and an Independent's pursuit Special

By Michael Krebs     Dec 3, 2009 in Politics
With Republicans seeking a big Senate seat win in Arkansas, one man - a former Green Beret who served in Afghanistan - has put his hat in the ring as an Independent candidate for senator, demonstrating why democracy still matters.
Arkansas offers an interesting litmus test in modern American democracy. The battle for one Senate seat has implications for long-term American domestic and foreign policy, and for these reasons Republicans are eager to win in Arkansas.
Trevor Drown, a former Green Beret who served in Afghanistan, has his own perspectives on the Arkansas contest. Mr. Drown put together an exploratory committee earlier this year to determine if he should run for the U.S. Senate seat and represent his Arkansas district. He has since announced his intention to run as an Independent, put his positions together on a dedicated web site, and is scheduled to appear before members of various Arkansas Tea Parties in Little Rock next week.
I reached out to Mr. Drown for an interview on the nature of his candidacy and on his perspectives on the state of American politics.
Krebs: You were a green beret in Afghanistan. Can you please share how that experience positions you for the role of U.S. Senator?
Drown: Green Berets are often in inhospitable lands with little or no support. One of their primary tasks is to build bridges between groups that are nearby each other but are historically at odds with one another. They seek for a way to find common ground and negotiate in order to meet a desired end state.
Green Berets are also subject matter experts in a variety of areas. One of those areas is a talent of understanding how multiple resources are combined together. They are not just outside of the box thinkers, they are multi-dimensional forward thinkers.
Krebs: As a green beret serving in Afghanistan, how would you advise the U.S. strategists to continue or discontinue the efforts there?
Drown: Conventional forces have one way they operate and unconventional forces (Green Berets) another. I have not been on the ground in three years and have not seen the updated intelligence. Until I do I will reserve judgment.
Krebs: Having seen what a lack of democracy means in Afghanistan, how would you better our republic - noting that we are not an unencumbered democracy?
Drown: We are an encumbered republic. We have strayed far from our core, Constitutional principles, and my aim is to get us back. E.g., for any government – local, state, or federal – to dictate what light bulb Americans can use in their own homes is a daunting and oppressive act. Laws like these need to be stopped. My goal is to serve the interests of the good people of Arkansas, and limit the scope and breadth of the federal government.
Krebs: Given what appears to be Republican principles in your philosophy, why are you running as an Independent?.
Drown: What is a Republican? In one state it is one thing in another it is something else. In Arkansas, the state GOP is a poorly lead, corrupt group of opportunists dedicated to serving themselves, their party, special interest groups and the people last. In many past elections at state and federal level, they have failed to provide even one candidate against the Democrats. Because of this, they gave up the right to be Arkansas’s conservative voice years ago. Finally, Arkansas’ registered voters are primarily made up of independents 95%, less than 3 percent are Republicans. I’m running as an independent because I will not bend on my core principles to scratch the back of another party member or pet project. I will do what’s right for Arkansas and America, irrespective of party leanings.
Krebs: You mention on your exploratory site that you intend to balance the debt without new taxes. Are you prepared at this time to share more details on how that would work?
Drown: Pretty simple: Cut spending. Governments have an unusual ability to spend in good times and bad. We’re in a recession but we hear of not one, true cost-cutting measure coming out of Washington, and we’re peppered daily with colossal entitlement programs dedicated to spending money that hasn’t yet been earned. Remember something: Any dollar spent by government was first earned in the private sector. If you can’t spend your way out of debt in your personal life, how can the government?
Krebs: Tapping again into your military background and the objectives you have with regard to reducing the country's debt, do you believe that we should close our older bases that reside in environments that have not seen combat for decades - like those in Europe, Japan, Korea, and elsewhere?
Drown: No. Not having seen combat for decades is no justification for giving up a strategic position. What would happen if we were needed, but were no longer there? Cuts in spending can come from organizations and departments like ACORN, most of the IRS, the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Education Association, etc.
Krebs: Can you please explain "enforceable accountability" over Congress and how that may be implemented?
Drown: I am for fiscal responsibility. However, the term is so overused that it’s meaning has been diluted. In most areas of life, people are accountable for their actions or inaction. If you consistently fail to do your job, you’re out. Making Congressmen accountable means if they act or vote against what they promised to their constituents, they should be removed from office. Congress need to holds its members accountable despite party lines. Their credibility is at stake. I would support a bill for US Senators a two term limit in office. Furthermore, there needs to be greater insight into the performance of government workers at every level and encourage customer service, cost cutting and seek buy-in and ownership from them in cutting wasteful spending.
Krebs: What are the issues that Arkansas faces on the national/global stage, and how will you address them?
Drown: Arkansas’ unemployment is currently 7.6%. While this is lower than some states, it’s an unacceptable but fixable problem. Arkansans want to be left alone, to go about their lives without government intrusion. I intend to address issues like taxes, education, the environment, and health care. I would do this by shrinking the size of government and giving back to the states the powers given them in the Constitution.
Krebs: In many ways your sentiments are similar to those of Ron Paul - and this could very much make you a national person of interest - particularly around your interpretation of the Constitution. How do you intend to implement the values of the Constitution as a U.S. Senator
Drown: The Constitution contains a series a negative powers, in other words it lists what the government can’t do. I would work rigorously to overturn or dismiss any law that breaches that trust. In Arkansas the state motto is Regant Populus, “The People Rule”. I am a firm believer in that concept and plan on exercising my leadership with that in mind.
Krebs: You mention a "fair flat tax" on your exploratory site. Can you explain that more fully at this time?
Drown: There’s a distinction that needs to be made. The Fair Tax is a national sales tax that begins with eliminating all income tax. it’s essentially a consumption tax. The Flat Tax is a flat, one-time percentage on income, the range of which we’re seeing is generally between 13% and 17%. Among the countless other benefits, as the Heritage Foundation has said, “imagine politicians having no ability to put loopholes in the tax code in exchange for campaign cash.” When Russia implemented a flat tax of 13%, government revenues went up 60%. This is an important concept to remember: You let Americans keep more of their money, and the government actually takes in more. You have to put money in the hands of the American people where it has the greatest impact. We are far more resourceful than any government entity.
Krebs: Thank you for your time and for your insights. Good luck in your pursuit.
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