Libertarian candidate Randall L. Hodgkinson is seeking a senate position, he said, so he can defend the constitution and individual rights, practice fiscal responsibility and reform energy policy.    

    Hodgkinson was born and raised in Hutchinson and is a fifth-generation Kansan. He graduated from Wichita State University and attended law school at Arizona State University. Hodginson has spent much of his career as a public defender and is also very involved with his church, wife and children.

    The Globe interviewed Hodgkinson Thursday about his decision to run, his position on energy policy and personal freedom, and what he would support if elected. Here are those questions and answers, which have been edited for length.


Libertarian candidate Randall L. Hodgkinson is seeking a senate position, he said, so he can defend the constitution and individual rights, practice fiscal responsibility and reform energy policy.    
    Hodgkinson was born and raised in Hutchinson and is a fifth-generation Kansan. He graduated from Wichita State University and attended law school at Arizona State University. Hodginson has spent much of his career as a public defender and is also very involved with his church, wife and children.
    The Globe interviewed Hodgkinson Thursday about his decision to run, his position on energy policy and personal freedom, and what he would support if elected. Here are those questions and answers, which have been edited for length.

Daily Globe: What is your relevant experience for this position?
Randall L. Hodgkinson: I'm an attorney and I work in Topeka. I've been an appellate public defender now for about 10 years, so in that position I represent clients before the state appellate courts, before the Kansas Court of Appeals and before the Kansas Supreme Court. So I spend sort of everyday of my career working on defending the constitution and defending people, and I think that experience will be helpful for me if I am representing the people of Kansas in the Senate.

DG: Why are you seeking this position?
RH: I'm seeking this position because I'm tired of being represented by special interest funded Washington D.C. insiders and over the last eight years I've felt like the administration, the current administration, has been extremely fiscally irresponsible. I think they have made wrong decisions about the environment and they've gutted our constitutional protection, and I don't think that my senator has done anything about that. So at some point, I said, "Well I would like to be able to vote for a regular candidate who will actually represent and protect the people of Kansas." So I said, "I'll try to put my name on the ballot." 

DG: What would be your priorities for the state and the country?
RH: The three things that are my priorities are fiscal responsibility, environmental sustainability and personal freedom.

DG: What would be some of the things you would pursue for each of these?
RH: For fiscal responsibility the main thing is, it's not that hard, even for personal finance. If you want to get out of debt, you have to stop borrowing. So I would certainly support a balanced budget amendment. I would vote against any budget bill that doesn't include revenue to pay for it.
    Congress has run up now a national debt of $10 trillion. When you have a debt of $10 trillion that means you're paying hundreds of billions of dollars of interest every year. There was that big debate in Congress about whether we should spent several hundred billion dollars to bailout Wall Street; we're paying that much every year in interest on this huge debt.
    I don't think it's that complicated. You just don't borrow money, you don't spend more than you take in.
    With regard to environmental sustainability, I think our country needs to refocus away from our current focus and federal energy and transportation policy, which focuses on dirty energy sources, toward the future which I think are cleaner sources both for our electrical and energy needs and for our transportation needs.
    And you know, I guess people can debate about whether they believe global warming is happening and whether or not it's dangerous. Even if you totally discount the environmental impact of dirty energy sources, from just a national security and economical standpoint I think it makes a lot of sense to try to get away from reliance on dirty energy sources, most of which are foreign oil.
    So I think I would try to work to get our federal energy policy, for example for our transportation policy to look more at, instead of building more and bigger highways that at least some, and it's certainly an increased amount of our transportation dollars, need to go toward building more mass transit and other more efficient ways of transportation.
    With regard to the protection of personal freedom and establishment of the Rule of Law or reestablishment of the Rule of Law, my judgment is that the administration broke the law, ignored the constitution and Congress let them get away with it. I would repeal the Patriot Act in its current form and I would absolutely ban torture by our government. I can't believe I live in a country that thinks it's okay to torture people. So I think it's important for our country to want to obey it's own laws and to obey international law with regard to the way we treat people.
    And again even if you disagree with me about whether you think it's justifiable, if we're torturing people we're saying that we think it's okay to torture our soldiers. That's exactly what we're saying, and I don't agree with that. I want to protect our soldiers and I don't think the course that our administration is taking is doing that.

DG: How are energy policy and the economy related?
RH: If we want to be successful and look toward the future we have to look towards switching our economy to more clean energy sources, so I do think there's some connection there.
    If we continue to rely on foreign oil and other dirty energy sources like that, the problem is we're competing against other countries in the next 20 to 50 years for those same resources. It seems to me that we would be much more economically better off if we're in control of our own energy as opposed to being in this competitive market with the rest of the world. So I think it's just a matter of making ourselves independent, both from an energy and economic standpoint.

DG: What should be the country's next step in Iraq?
RH: We have certain international obligations by being an occupying force there, but we need to end those as soon as possible and start removing our troops from Iraq as soon as possible. You know, we can look in retrospect and say, I think it was a mistake to go to Iraq. Now that's kind of water under the bridge though. The real question is what should we do next. Should we continue a mistaken policy or do we choose to end the mistake and start a new policy with regards to our use of force?

DG: Anything else that you would do differently than the incumbent?
RH: Whoever the next president is, I'd like to think that I could be counted on by the people of Kansas to hold that administration accountable to our own laws and international law, whoever it is. That's the real problem here.
    I'm running as a Libertarian, I've been a Republican in the past, I've voted for a lot of Democrats. I'm not big into party identification, but I think loyalty to the people of Kansas and the Rule of Law is the most important thing. And I haven't felt that we've had that from our current senator.

Reach Cherise Forno at (620) 408-9931 or e-mail her at cherise.forno@dodgeglobe.com.