Monday, June 14, 2010

Interview with Kurt Snyder

By Jon E. Easter

I was curious as to what Kurt Snyder's views may be, so I sent him an interview. What do you know? He's not like most politicians! He RESPONDED!

Editors Note about the interview: I only edited out a portion where he suggested I use the blog to help him get on the ballot. While I am sympathetic to his cause, I don't know if I want to go down that hallway. That was in the response to the first question. Otherwise, I did not edit his answers at all.

At this point, what is the likelihood that voters will see you on the ballot in November? I know that Indiana has very restrictive rules for fourth party ballot access. What obstacles do you face, and how can voters help you?

That is a good question. Right now, I am cautiously optimistic. To get on the ballot, I need to get approximately 4000 signatures from registered 5th district voters by June 30th. At that time, I will turn them over to the county voter registration office for certification. Their job is to ensure the signatures and information match what is on file in their office. Since some of the signatures will be rejected, at this point, there is some uncertainty as to how many signatures I need to collect. The more the better, no doubt. Thus far, it has been slow going. We have had several events adversely impacted due to rain. Once the signatures have been certified I will need to make my decision by July 15. In addition to collecting signatures I am trying to gauge the interest and willingness of people to support an independent candidate.

Insofar as helping – my main focus right now is getting ballot access. Any help in this regard would be greatly appreciated. My starter website is at and I have a Facebook page. Please fan me.

Naturally, if I do get on the ballot, I will need to get help from as many people as I possibly can. Beating a 28 year incumbent will not be easy. With that said, I think the circumstances are unique in the 5th for such a challenge.

Why should Democrats trust that you will represent their interests in Congress?

Let’s be honest – none of the people on the ballot in the 5th District are a good choice for Democrats. In November, they will have three choices. They can vote for Dan Burton, the Republican incumbent, who has provided us with 28 years of mediocrity. They can vote for Tim Crawford, the person that did an injustice to the primary system by running in a primary of the opposite party. Or, the Democrats can vote for the Libertarian.

Although I am not a Democrat, if I get on the ballot, I would be a far better choice than the three current choices. As I have said, I plan to run on a fiscal conservative socially liberal platform. Realistically, this probably is the best Democrats in the 5th District can hope for due to the fact that it is a heavily Republican district. It is my opinion that even if Dr. Hanna had won in the primary it was unlikely that he would have beaten Burton in the general election. Moreover, as an independent, I do not have to follow any party platform. I will freely take from the best ideas that both parties have to offer. If elected, my goal will be to work with both parties to solve problems.

Interestingly, the silver lining of Dr. Hanna losing is that Democrats will be free to support a candidate that, although is not squarely in their camp, is a better alternative to the incumbent.

How do you plan to pull votes from both parties?

It will be a tricky balancing act. First, I need to get name recognition. If I don’t get that, I will not be competitive. Assuming that I can do that, I think I will be a very attractive candidate for the voters in the 5th District. More and more, voters are identifying less and less with either party. Naturally, I hope to grab as many of them as possible. Moreover, I think many fiscally conservative Republicans will find my positions and focus on the debt and deficit appealing. The fact is the debt was approximately one trillion dollars when Dan Burton started in Congress – it is now thirteen trillion. I don’t think that is the fiscal leadership the voters in the 5th want. And, as I have said earlier, I think Democrats will find me to be more appealing than their alternatives due to my willingness to work with both parties and my socially liberal views.

What do you feel qualifies you to run for Congress, and why didn't you seek one of the party nominations?

I am not really sure if there is a recipe for success when it comes to qualifying for Congress. Congress is full of extremely well educated people with remarkable pedigrees that have failed to provide the leadership that we need. With that said, I do think that most would agree that it is helpful to have a proper balance of education, work experience, and real life experiences to serve as a starting point for becoming a member of Congress. I think I have this foundation. I am a graduate of Wabash College and the Indiana University School of Law – Indianapolis. I have worked for big entities and small entities. I have done work internationally and own my own business. I am happily married and have two children. Also, I think I am a good age for starting down this path. At 42, I am not too young like Crawford, nor am I too old like Burton. Finally, I was not born with a silver spoon in my mouth.

The pragmatic answer to why I did not seek one of the party nominations is that I would have lost. I am not a party insider and I have no desire to become one. And, as you know, primary voting tends to skew towards the far left and far right. This, in my opinion, is a major contributing factor to the polarization of the dialogue in Washington. I hope to buck this trend by avoiding the primary altogether.

It is also important to note that if elected I will be in a position to lead and effectuate change immediately since I will not be beholden to either party. I will be able to effectively bring together representatives from both parties around issues since they won’t have to be seen as a “traitors” for working with the enemy from the other party. In this way I can help lead change like no Republican or Democrat can currently do.

You say you are socially liberal. What is your opinion on key social issues such as abortion, gay marriage, don't ask don't tell, and unions?

I am currently working on the official language on a variety of issues and plan to post them along with my new website as soon as I can. I am hoping this will be done by the end of the month but my main focus right now is collecting signatures. With that said, I can assure you that I will have views in this area that are different than those of Crawford and Burton.

Anything else you wish to share with me?

I think my candidacy has the potential of making the 5th district relevant again. For far too long, it has been a source of embarrassment and frustration to the people that live in the District. The people of the 5th district deserve better! If I do get the signatures, I can guarantee you this – it will be an entertaining campaign. I will work tirelessly to earn the votes necessary to win.

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