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Virginia Gubernatorial Candidate Visits Campus

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Andrew Stoddard ‘14, Copy Editor

It’s not every day that a politician running for a major government office visits the Hill, but that is exactly what happened on October 15 when Robert Sarvis, the Libertarian Party candidate for governor of Virginia, stopped by to speak at Crawley Forum.

At the talk, sponsored by the organization, Students for Liberty (SFL), Sarvis spoke for about 20 minutes about his platform and campaign for the Virginia governorship before opening the floor to questions.   The audience of about 40-50 students, faculty and staff was very engaged by Sarvis’s rhetoric, as they raised several questions.  The visit to H-SC is part of Sarvis’s speaking tour to colleges across the Commonwealth, including prior visits to CNU and JMU as well as future visits to VCU, U of R and UVA.

“The purpose is to reach as many votes as possible and help spread my message,” Sarvis said.

Mr. Sarvis possesses a diverse and fascinating educational and vocational background.  After graduating from Harvard in 1998 with a Bachelors degree in mathematics, Sarvis took his studies abroad to attend Cambridge University, where he earned his master in mathematics.  Sarvis also has a Juris Doctor from New York University and a Masters degree in economics from George Mason University.  In between his educational pursuits, Sarvis has worked as an attorney and a software developer.

When asked how his extensive resume helped his political career, Sarvis said, “I think a lot of times that my entire life has been in preparation for this race.  [My education and job history] has equipped me with the ability to understand and offer good solutions and articulate them for different audiences.”

Sarvis commenced his political career in 2011 by contending for the State Senate in Virginia’s 35th district as a member of the Republican Party. Though his campaign was unsuccessful, Sarvis put up a valiant effort against Democratic incumbent Dick Saslaw in the heavily Democratic 35th.  However, after that race, Sarvis switched party affiliations from the Republican Party to the Libertarian Party, citing a difference in ideologies between himself and the Republicans.

“The Republicans haven’t done much of use on economic issues and have taken a hard right turn on social issues.  They use rhetoric of liberty, but don’t really believe it,” Sarvis said.

Sarvis’s platform covers a variety of issues, but his main points are universal school choice, pro-gun rights, pro-gay marriage and he is against the war on drugs.  When asked to summarize his platform, Sarvis said, “it is really about greater economic freedom and personal liberty.”

Being a third-party candidate, Sarvis has a bit of an uphill battle to contend for the governorship against major party candidates Republican Ken Cuccinelli and Democrat Terry McAuliffe.  Besides winning the governorship, Sarvis has a few secondary goals in mind for his campaign.

“We would like to achieve major party status for the Libertarian Party, which would require 10% of the popular vote.  Furthermore, I want to show the value of a campaign based on hard work and inspire young people to be part of the solution.

The Virginia Gubernatorial election will take place on November 5.  For more information on Robert Sarvis and his campaign, visit his website at http://www.robertsarvis.com.

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