Why I’m running as a Republican for U.S. Senate

I want to give Missourians — and indeed all Americans — the kind of government that is worthy of them.

Since President Donald Trump’s unexpected victory last November and Republicans’ triumphant return to congressional majority, Washington has returned to business as usual. After running on repeated promises of minimizing government and ending federal micromanagement of American lives, Republicans have shown themselves unable to pass any substantive reforms.

Missourians deserve better than this. They deserve a government that faithfully represents them, not one that favors lobbyists and special interests. They deserve a government that pushes for real reform, not one that accepts milquetoast, watered-down solutions. Above all, they deserve a government that trusts them to manage their own health care, their own religion, their own finances and their own lives.

This is why I’m running to represent Missouri in the United States Senate. I want to give Missourians — and indeed all Americans — the kind of government that is worthy of them. Although I ran for president in 2016 as a Libertarian, I intend to make this run for the Senate as a Republican. I have made this change in large part because after personally reaching out to over 4,000 of my supporters, more than 98 percent of them said that the party of Lincoln was the best fit for my pro-life, pro-liberty, pro-Constitution stands — and more importantly, the best way to bring change to Washington.

I bring a great deal of experience to the table, both inside and outside of the political arena. Outside the political arena, I created and currently run my own business — an online magazine dedicated to promoting the ideas of liberty — and I know too well just how hard the government makes it for ordinary citizens to do this. Inside the political arena, I’ve worked as a producer with one of the nation’s foremost experts on the Constitution, Judge Andrew Napolitano. I’ve helped manage grassroots campaigns and campaigns for public office. And in 2016, I ran for the highest office in our nation, fearlessly challenging establishment opponents for the Libertarian Party’s nomination.

Because of this experience, I offer a kind of commitment and clarity that few other politicians do. I make no bones about expressing my disagreement and fighting for my beliefs. I have critiqued both previous and current administrations, and I refused to endorse the Libertarian Party’s vice presidential candidate, Bill Weld, in 2016, despite massive pressure from party donors.

In a time when both social and mainstream media obscure the truth and obfuscate the facts, our state needs a voice that is unafraid of controversy and unafraid of being honest. What’s right isn’t always what’s popular, and what’s popular isn’t always what’s right. I am ready and willing to be that voice.

Ultimately, I’m running because I have a passion for liberty. Although I’ve spent a good deal of time analyzing the establishment elites in Washington and New York, at the end of the day, I’m a homegrown Missourian, a proud graduate of Missouri State and a longtime resident of Kansas City. I was born in Independence, and I grew up on a horse farm in Peculiar, a short drive from a town called Liberty.

I deeply believe in our core Missouri values of hard work, freedom and individualism. There is no worse insult than to tell people that they’re incapable of caring for themselves, bettering themselves and making their own decisions.

As I’ve said elsewhere, my vision for America is one where gay married couples can defend their marijuana fields with fully automatic machine guns. Technological and social changes notwithstanding, this is ultimately the kind of world that the Founding Fathers envisioned — where all lives matter from conception to death, and where all people are given the opportunity to make the most of their inherent liberties as rational human beings.

If I am elected, I will strive to put Washington in its rightful place — as the protector of our most basic liberties, not our political policeman — and put the people in their rightful place — as the true governors and shapers of their lives and destiny.

Austin Petersen is a Republican candidate for the United States Senate.

Originally published in The Kansas City Star.