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Two Libertarians from Riverton file in 2012 elections
May 2, 2012 - By Martin Reed, Staff Writer
There's no need to remind Riverton's Richard Brubaker and his family about that old saying involving no politics at the dinner table.
Brubaker, a perennial Fremont County candidate in elections, usually for the Wyoming Legislature, is back again this political season, but this time he's got his daughter in tow.
Libertarian Party members who gathered for their state convention April 21 in Casper picked Brubaker to be their candidate for Wyoming's lone U.S. House of Representatives seat, which is held by Republican Cynthia Lummis.
Additionally, the party nominated Brubaker's daughter, Bethany Baldes, 25, of Riverton, to be the Libertarian candidate for Wyoming House District 55 occupied by Republican David Miller.
Baldes is hitting the political ground running, seeking public office for the first time and acting as her father's campaign manager.
"We definitely are bouncing a lot of ideas off one another," she said. "This morning we were on the phone for an hour going back and forth."
For the father-daughter duo, the political apple doesn't fall far from the ideological tree. "I'm definitely a product of my parents as far as politics go," Baldes said.
Both are ready to take to the voters their Libertarian Party message that counters the popular two-party system that permeates elections nationwide.
"We need to return to a responsible and accountable society," said Brubaker, 58, who works as a truck driver. "We need to return to our religious beliefs and stop looking at government for solutions. We need to respect freedom of religion."
He wants voters to look to Libertarian Party candidates as a remedy for the problems plaguing government.
"My personal feelings are we've turned away from ourselves and everyone else. We're government dependent," Brubaker said.
"Government is the most addictive substance in the world. Everyone is addicted to it. It's going to be painful getting off of it," he said. "We need some solutions and not just more problems, and I cannot do it alone."
As a demonstration of his commitment to his political beliefs, Brubaker has signed a pledge that calls for supporting no federal budget that exceeds 45 percent of anticipated revenues.
"We've got to get rid of the deficit," he said.
His pledge also includes term limits and maintaining his home and lifestyle in Wyoming. He will earn no more than 15 percent in excess of his current income level, and he will pay his own health insurance and contribute to Social Security.
"I plan on retirement being only what I acquired privately and my Social Security," he said, adding that his "expenses incurred while serving the people in the Capitol will be openly displayed."
Baldes, a married mother of two who has a home-based network marketing business, said she felt compelled to enter the political arena after the last election when the House District 55 incumbent faced no competition.
"That's when this all started getting in my head. We need to start getting our names on the ballot, and people need to starting running so people have a choice," she said.
Voters should have more options that simply candidates with an "R" or "D" beside their names, she said.
"I guess for me the biggest thing right now is just that there might be things I agree with in the Republican and Democratic parties. I just feel like they have too much of a stronghold," she said. "Also, people don't have to research their candidate any more. It all just turns out to be a vote for the party, and I don't believe in that."
As a Libertarian candidate, Baldes said she wants to reduce the size of government.
"We have to get the debt down and start taking the uncomfortable steps we have to take, and everybody has to suffer," she said. "And that's not an easy thing to do."
Baldes wants to see more people become politically active.
"My biggest thing for why I'm running is I think it's important for people in this generation to start getting up and being active," she said. "You can tell with the stuff that happened on Wall Street, they want to be doing stuff, we're just kind of lost in what we can do. Public office is an awesome way to express yourself and be productive."
Baldes said she is ready to help the Libertarian Party get its message across to the voters.
"I think we just don't have a lot of people who know what it is," she said. "I think people think it's all about people who are anarchists. It's not.
"I feel like the message I have to bring is something nationwide. It's not even just for Riverton. It's for all younger generations to know they can stand up," she said.