When local voters head to the ballot in November, they will have a chance to vote for a West Texas native.
Kerry McKennon, a Libertarian and proud West Texas native, is running for lieutenant governor with the aim of ousting incumbent Republican Dan Patrick. A U.S. Naval reserve veteran and alum of Texas Tech University, McKennon says that he is looking to take his "West Texas values" all the way to the State Capitol.
"I think when you're raised in a rural area, you not only take care of yourself, but you have to take care of those in need," McKennon said, describing what West Texas values mean to him. "We need to think about how we can be compassionate and take care of other Texans, without it always being about raising taxes."
McKennon is running for the first time in a statewide race, after seeking seats in the Texas Legislature in 2014. McKennon says that he thinks Texans are ready for a Libertarian statewide, as libertarianism is about more than just what meets the eye.
"Being a Libertarian means that I get to enjoy all of my rights, all of the time," the Hale County resident said. "It does not give me the authority to infringe on the rights of others."
For his platform, McKennon says that he supports legalization of hemp in Texas and the legalization of gambling. On the topic of cannabis, McKennon says that legalization will lead to a major cultural impact across the state.
"Nobody should go to jail for a plant," McKennon said. "Look at our prisons. Many of the individuals are there because of cannabis. If we could eliminate that, we could create cultural changes across the state."
McKennon also weighed in on Governor Greg Abbott's school and gun safety proposals during his interview with the Amarillo Pioneer on Thursday. The Libertarian says that while he wants to promote school safety, he also wants to allow freedom for teachers to legally carry firearms and address issues that otherwise have not been addressed.
"We're not addressing the mental health issues that go along with these tragedies that happen," McKennon said. "Dan Patrick wants to blame video games or the lack of public prayer in schools. Government always blames something instead of addressing the real issues."
The Libertarian candidate also says that he wants to work with parents and teachers across the state to ensure that there are positive changes for school safety in the future.
Finally, on the topic of property taxes, McKennon says that he supports abolishing property tax in Texas. The Libertarian says that the issue will likely be a "radical" one, but he believes that alternatives can be found to alleviate the property tax burdens in the state.
"When you have to rent something you own from the government, then you don't really own it," McKennon said.
McKennon says that he believes the legalization of gambling will not only create tourism in Texas, but will help pay for education dollars lost through the abolition of property taxes. The Libertarian also said that the lottery program in Texas should be reexamined to ensure that the dollars will go to fund education, instead of being used as a "slush fund."
If you would like to find out more about Kerry McKennon's campaign, please visit http://mckennon4texas.com. You can also find McKennon on social media at https://www.facebook.com/McKennonforTexas/.
For more information about the Texas Libertarian Party, please visit http://www.lptexas.org/.