As early voting gets underway this week to replace key San Antonio legislators—Leticia Van de Putte and Mike Villarreal—we're continuing our periodic Q&A series with candidates hoping to replace Villarreal in the Texas House of Representatives. The Libertarian candidate is Roger Gary, former chairman of the Libertarian Party of Texas.
Your website says that you aren't a "career politician." Tell us about your professional background and how that plays a role in your seeking the legislative position.
When the founders created our system of government, I do not believe that they intended to create career politicians. I think that legislators should focus on serving their district for a short time as a community service, instead of as a means to personal gain. I have worked in several industries, including the railroad industry, real estate, and sales and marketing. However, I think my background of community service qualifies me for this position more than my career. I have served on the San Antonio River Authority and on numerous neighborhood association boards. I have followed politics closely for most of my life, and I look forward to the challenge of serving as a state legislator.
What other roles have you played in the San Antonio community and how will those influence you if elected?
I have served on the Board of Directors for several neighborhood associations, as well as the President of the Board for Unity Church and Finance Chairman at Laurel Heights Methodist Church. I was elected to serve on the San Antonio River Authority for six years and have been active in the Lions club for decades. I have lived in this district for nearly my entire life, and I have worked hard to make it a better place for my daughter and my grandson. I understand this district...I have watched it grow and change for decades.
Our government operates as a two-party system. How do you see the Libertarian Party fitting in to Texas government?
As a Libertarian, there are some stances on issues that I share with Democrats, and some that I share with Republicans, and some issues that the old parties don’t even bother to address. I am more than willing to work with other legislators from either party in order to serve the needs of the district. However, because I am not beholden to either party, I will never have to sacrifice integrity to vote along party lines.
What will your top priorities be if elected to the Texas Legislature?
There is one bill that has been introduced already that will help end this disastrous drug war that has killed or harmed so many and cost the taxpayer far too much. House Bill 507
will eliminate arrest, jail time and criminal records associated with the possession of personal amounts of marijuana (less than one ounce). Folks would get a citation, could pay their fine by mail and move on with their lives. I will do everything that I can to get this bill through committee and before the legislative body. Our current drug policy leads to police violence, invasion of privacy, crowded prison systems, and violence along the border. If elected, I intend to work every day to change that. I will also make sure that I do everything within my power to stop the construction of toll roads on highways that taxpayers have already funded.
What differentiates you from your opponents?
The biggest difference between myself and my opponents is my motivation for seeking office. I do not want to use this office as a stepping stone to something bigger. I don’t seek this office for personal gain. I simply want to serve the community. This special election, in which only a few thousand voters are expected to turnout, is a rare opportunity for voters. As I’ve been going door-to-door, the part of my message that is resonating with voters the most is the fact that I don’t belong to one of the old parties. The two major parties think that they are entitled to these offices…on January 6, voters can show them that they are not.