Gary Johnson Quotes

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Gary Johnson
29th Governor of New Mexico
In office
January 1, 1995 â€“ January 1, 2003
Lieutenant Walter Bradley
Preceded by Bruce King
Succeeded by Bill Richardson
Personal details
Born Gary Earl Johnson
(1953-01-01) January 1, 1953 (age 64)
Minot, North Dakota, U.S.
Political party Libertarian (2011–present)
Other political
affiliations
Republican (before 2011)
Spouse(s) Dee Simms
(m. 1977; div. 2005)
Domestic partner Kate Prusack (engaged 2009)
Alma mater University of New Mexico, Albuquerque

The voice of the Republican party is up for grabs. It's a contest right now.
Gary Johnson
In a zero corporate tax rate environment, if the private sector doesn't create tens of millions of jobs, then I don't know what it takes to create tens of millions of jobs.
Gary Johnson
I think we should balance the federal budget tomorrow. I'm optimistic. I think Americans are optimistic. We went to the moon; we can balance the federal budget.
Gary Johnson
Any movement at all that reduces disease, that reduces overdoses, that reduces property crime, that reduces violent crime, is good.
Gary Johnson
I was raised a Christian. I'd like to think I have Christian values. I don't attend church.
Gary Johnson
We do live in an environment of crony capitalism, and the main reason we do is that loopholes are for sale, and both parties have their hands out through those loopholes.
Gary Johnson
Balance the federal budget now, not 15 years from now, not 20 years from now, but now. And throw out the entire federal tax system, replace it with a fair tax, a consumption tax, that by all measurements is just that. It's fair.
Gary Johnson
There's an unintended consequence when it comes to drone attacks in Yemen. Yeah, you take out the al-Qaida stronghold, but you also wipe out the other half of the block. That makes Yemenis against the United States for the rest of their lives and all their descendants.
Gary Johnson
Medicaid and Medicare both need to be devolved to the states.
As governor of New Mexico, I would have – I signed a bill banning late term abortion. I've always favored parental notification. I've always favored counseling. I've always favored the notion of no public funds used for abortion.
Gary Johnson
It is clear from the reaction to our campaign so far that our message is resonating. I look forward to continuing to take this message to all Americans, and showing them that I can be as successful running the country as I was running the state of New Mexico.
Gary Johnson
I believe in a strong national defense. But it's my belief that neither Iraq nor Afghanistan poses a threat to national security, and we shouldn't be involved in either area.
Gary Johnson
I have not watched Glenn Beck. I don't watch him.
As I told the students every time I visited a campus, you are the director of your own movie, and if you aren't enjoying what you are doing, change it.
Gary Johnson
I believe we can, and must, strike a balance between our shared American values of religious liberty and freedom from discrimination. My concerns lie with the possible consequences of politically-driven legislation which claims to promote religious liberty but instead rolls back the legal protections held by LGBT Americans.
Gary Johnson
We are a nation of immigrants, and if the truth be known, don't we need a whole lot of immigrants to be buying homes and to drive our economy and to take jobs that U.S. citizens don't want?
Gary Johnson
Marriage equality – I think that it's a constitutionally guaranteed right. Let's end the drug wars. Let's balance the federal budget, and that means reforming the entitlements – Medicaid, Medicare.
Gary Johnson
Do I favor the death penalty? Theoretically, I do, but when you realize that there's a 4 percent error rate, you end up putting guilty people to death.
Gary Johnson
I reject the insurance model. I think we should have a free-market approach to healthcare.
Gary Johnson
If we had zero corporate tax in this country, tens of millions of jobs would get created in this country for no other reason.
Gary Johnson
If there's a clear genocide somewhere, don't we really want to positively impact that kind of a situation? Isn't that what we're all about? Isn't that what we've always been about?
Gary Johnson
I was your C student. I paid attention in the classes that were about how to get elected.
Gary Johnson
I'm one of the people that, when I hear Republicans talk about repealing Obamacare, I just want to roll my eyes. Republicans talk about reform to the healthcare, and they talk about selling insurance across state lines, and that's their solution?
Gary Johnson
I think there are plenty of Libertarians that are socially conservative.
New Mexico is 2-to-1 Democrat. I got elected as a Republican. I think I did a great job of showing people that government doesn't have to spend money to make you happy, that government really needs to be providing a level playing field.
Gary Johnson
This is something that I witnessed out on the campaign trail for three years, which is that there is a total disconnect between the rhetoric regarding immigration and the reality. And I'm speaking as a border state.
Gary Johnson
All I suggest is to make K-12 like higher education. Higher education in the United States is the best in the world because these institutions compete with each other for your tuition dollar. Let's just bring competition to public education.
Gary Johnson
I never, ever, when I entered this process of running for president of the United States, thought I would be excluded from the debate table. Ever. What does two terms as governor get you?
Gary Johnson
Our government should not be spying on the electronic communications of American citizens. Nor should our iPhones or Android devices be subject to unreasonable searches and seizures.
Gary Johnson
If China wants to spend $10 producing a product and sell it for a buck, who benefits from that? I think we do. I'm the free market guy. I think free markets work.
Gary Johnson
My vision of the border with Mexico is that a truck from the United States going into Mexico and a truck coming from Mexico into the United States will pass each other at the border going 60 miles an hour. Yes, we should have open borders.
Gary Johnson
By bringing about a rational drug policy, we'd be freeing up a lot of resources for real crime. Drug disputes would get played out with courts rather than with guns. So it would make this country a much better place overnight.
Gary Johnson
Religious beliefs have played a vital role in forming America's character as well as my own. I was raised as a Lutheran, and I believe in God and consider my faith and involvement with organized religion to be an important part of who I am.
Gary Johnson
I'm not a stone-thrower when it comes to Hillary Clinton and her emails and her server. I don't think there has been criminal intent on Hillary Clinton's part. I don't see an indictment.
Gary Johnson
I'm finding myself really angry over spending and the deficit. I'm finding myself really angry over what's happening in the Middle East, the decision to stay in Afghanistan indefinitely. I'm angry about cap and trade. And I've been on record for a long time on the failed war on drugs.
Gary Johnson
I just think everything we do has an unintended consequence. We take out Saddam Hussein in Iraq, and Iraq was the check against Iran.
Gary Johnson
Most Americans are fiscally conservative and socially liberal. I'm advocating a balanced budget. But along with that, look, there should be gay marriage equality. A woman should have the right to choose. Let's not build a fence across the border.
Gary Johnson
I had a 'Mr. Smith Goes to Washington' experience as governor.
I ran two campaigns for governor in a state that's 2-1 Democrat where I did not mention my opponent in print, radio, or television. I don't know if any other politician at a gubernatorial, congressional, or a senatorial level can make the claim.
Gary Johnson
I climbed Mount Everest. I don't quit.
I just feel abandoned. And I feel, I don't feel represented by the Republican Party. I have always had to defend the social side of the Republican Party by saying that it's not the majority, that it's not their focus, when everything suggests just the opposite.
Gary Johnson
At the base of Ron Paul support, in my opinion, are people with brains.
Having been governor of New Mexico, I know that legislation gets passed to benefit those who have money and influence. Then they buy more money and influence. That's one reason why, as governor, I vetoed more than 750 bills and thousands of line items. I did it to keep crony capitalism away from government.
Gary Johnson
I just see religious freedom, as a category, as just being a black hole.
We should be open to a discussion on keeping guns out of the hands of the mentally ill. I don't know how that manifests itself, but I'm looking to get elected president of the United States. I just want to let people know I have an open mind about how we might – how government might – interject itself in a lot of the problems we have.
Gary Johnson
I had my freedom, and I had my comfortable life, but I couldn't accept the fact that the politicians were making it increasingly difficult for my kids and millions of others to achieve their dreams as I had achieved mine. So, in 2012, I ran for president.
Gary Johnson
I think the government should be out of the marriage business and leave marriage to the churches.
Gary Johnson
I would abolish the federal Department of Education and very quickly. People don't realize that the federal Department of Education gives each state 11 cents out of every school dollar that every state spends. But it comes with 15 cents worth of strings attached.
Gary Johnson
Everyone else is parsing it in terms of lowering the corporate income tax. Eliminate it. It's not that big of a generator of income, and it's a double tax. Get rid of it, and you would have an explosion of hiring.
Gary Johnson
We're on the verge of a financial collapse unless we balance the budget, and that means some really, really tough decisions.
Gary Johnson
Immigration is a good thing. We should make that as easy as possible.
Tonight was a great opportunity to take on the political status quo that has given us trillion dollar deficits and put millions out of work. Our objective was to inject some common sense into the conversation among Republicans at a time when business-as-usual simply won't work.
Gary Johnson
There's no way that a third party wins without being in the presidential debates. I think the vast majority of Americans are Libertarian; they just don't know it.
Gary Johnson
It costs more money to put a person on death row than it does to lock them up for the rest of their lives because of attorney fees.
Gary Johnson
Would the world be a better place if all drugs were legalized tomorrow? Absolutely. But pragmatically speaking, you're not going to go from the criminalization of all drugs to the legalization of drugs overnight.
Gary Johnson
My opinion, having done this now for two cycles, is I think the national media really likes me and likes what I have to say. But, at the end of the day, 'He's a Libertarian,' and that denotes some loose screws, maybe.
Gary Johnson
I would say that a wasted vote is voting for anybody you don't believe in. If you believe in the third party, that's the guy you need to voice for. That's how you change things.
Gary Johnson
It's not 2038 that Social Security is bankrupt. It's now.
I don't want to close the door that if any of us were president of the United States that we would sit idly by and watch something like the Holocaust go down. I don't want to close the door on the United States involving themselves and putting a stop to that. Can we spend money on that? Yeah, I think so.
Gary Johnson
Using a broad brushstroke, I think Libertarian – most of America are socially accepting and fiscally responsible. I'm in that category. I think, broadly speaking, that's a Libertarian. A Libertarian is going to be somebody who's really strong on civil liberties.
Gary Johnson
I would have never signed the Patriot Act. I would have never signed the National Defense Authorization Act allowing for arrests and detainment of you and me as U.S. citizens without being charged.
Gary Johnson
Unlike President Obama, I am not afraid to state, without a wink or a nod, that the government has no right to tell us who we can marry or not marry.
Gary Johnson
I am actually one of those who took President Obama at his word when he first ran – that he would get us out of ill-advised wars, that he would do something about health care costs, and that he would protect civil liberties. Like many Americans, I was disappointed.
Gary Johnson
People are clamoring to hear good ideas as opposed to the lesser of two evils… Either the Democrats are going to win or the Republicans are going to win, but the losers are all of us out here as citizens that really do want meaningful change, and none of it's happening. There's no dialogue regarding meaningful change.
Gary Johnson
If there were no government-guaranteed student loans, college tuition would be much lower.
Gary Johnson
I don't smoke marijuana anymore. I don't drink. Marijuana is a handicap. So is alcohol. Alcohol is a terrible handicap. But in spite of being a handicap, it shouldn't be criminal.
Gary Johnson
I am totally a fringe candidate, and so is Bill Weld: you know, two Republican governors serving in heavily blue states, outspoken, small government guys, outspoken on the social liberal side. We're fringe, totally. We're fringe.
Gary Johnson
New Mexico is the second Hollywood. No, it is, it is. They built all sorts of film studios.
Gary Johnson
I don't seek the counsel of God. God doesn't speak to me on what I should or shouldn't do.
Gary Johnson
My next-door neighbor's two dogs have created more shovel-ready jobs than this current administration.
Gary Johnson
I don't personally have a sense that life starts at conception. I don't personally have that sense.
Gary Johnson
I'm outraged that we're building roads, schools, and hospitals in Iraq and Afghanistan, and that we're doing it with borrowed money from China that we're paying interest on. I'm outraged.
Gary Johnson
Imagine a libertarian president challenging Congress for meaningful immigration reform.
Gary Johnson
Part of being out there, campaigning, talking to people, is being able to read body language.
Gary Johnson
Getting elected Governor of New Mexico, I really did enjoy that job. I thought I made a really big difference, and I think the same running for president of the United States – that I could make a really big, positive difference.
Gary Johnson
I'm a plodder, one foot in front of the other. Life is all about understanding that anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. And it's your ability with how you deal with that adversity that ultimately affects your success.
Gary Johnson
I'm one of those who believe the bumper sticker: If you outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns. The first people who are going to be in line to turn in their guns are law-abiding citizens. Criminals are going to be left with guns.
Gary Johnson
There was a big difference between Ron Paul and me when it came to the 'no.' His 'no' was philosophical. It was reasoned. It was right. My 'no' actually put a stop to legislation. It cut spending. Mine carried further than just no.
Gary Johnson
I support gay unions. I think the government should get out of the marriage business completely – leave marriages to the churches. And grant civil unions to gay couples, grant civil unions to a man and woman.
Gary Johnson
The retirement age needs to be raised. A portion of Social Security ought to be privatized, if not all. And there probably needs to be some means testing. It's a Ponzi scheme that's not sustainable.
Gary Johnson
The excitement right now is coming from the Liberty movement. And the Republicans want a piece of it.
Gary Johnson
I don't believe there should be any restrictions when it comes to firearms. None.
Gary Johnson
In New Mexico… I may have vetoed more legislation as governor of New Mexico than all the other governors in the country combined.
Gary Johnson
Given the divisiveness and pain that have accompanied several state religious freedom laws, I approach attempts at legislating religious exceptions to anti-discrimination laws with great sensitivity and care.
Gary Johnson
Imagine a libertarian president ending impediments to free markets.
I've always considered myself a Libertarian. While I was running for governor of New Mexico, the Republicans were totally inclusive of me; the party was open-armed, but they never thought I'd win. I delivered in a really big way; I exceeded their expectations and think I'm still highly regarded by the GOP in New Mexico.
Gary Johnson
Let's abolish the IRS, let's eliminate income tax, let's eliminate corporate tax, let's balance the federal budget, and if we need a tax, it can be one federal consumption tax.
Gary Johnson
I think the world looks down on Republicans for their socially conservative views, which includes religion in government.
Gary Johnson
I'm going to make the claim that I'm stronger than Obama when it comes to civil liberties, and I'm going to make the claim that I'm stronger than Romney when it comes to dollars and cents.
Gary Johnson
Every time you pass a law, it is a little bite out of freedom.
Politics is a herd mentality. Politicians don't really lead. Politicians reflect what they think is consensus opinion.
Gary Johnson
I'm ready for a different America.
I majored in political science and English, but starting from the age of 17, I've paid for everything that I've had in my life. It was a personal choice. My parents would have helped me in any way whatsoever, but for me, you know what? I can make my own way.
Gary Johnson
My issue with campaign finance is 100 percent disclosure. Wear a suit with patches from your big contributors. Depending on the size of the contribution, that's how big the patch should be.
Gary Johnson
I see the demographics increasing, and by that I mean the notion of social acceptance is growing, not decreasing; I think the notion of fiscal responsibility is growing, not decreasing. And Republicans seem to be moving further away from those two categories than closer.
Gary Johnson
That's the first sign you know you're a Libertarian. You see the red light. You stop. You realize that there's not a car in sight. And you put your foot on the gas.
Gary Johnson
One of the things government should be around for is to deal with catastrophes. It should do that well. To me, that's a government function, and we shouldn't be playing political games with it.
Gary Johnson
Millennials – who will soon be a full one-third of American adults – may be especially ready to become engaged in politics with a candidate who wants to give them a government that will leave them alone and get its finances in order so that they don't inherit an economic collapse.
Gary Johnson
I'm absolutely a Ron Paul fan.

Every time you pass a law, it is a little bite out of freedom.
It is long overdue that we have a woman as a legitimate contender for the White House. But Hillary Clinton is the definition of the establishment so many are determined to reject.
Gary Johnson
I hear that Donald Trump is watching the Olympics tonight. He's seeing how high the Mexican pole vaulters go.
Gary Johnson
I don't think you'll ever hear me invoking God in anything I do.
On Hillary's side, I don't think it gets more establishment than Hillary Clinton. If I had one word to describe Hillary, it would be 'beholden.' Nothing's gonna really change. Government's gonna have the answer to everything, and that's gonna mean taxes are gonna go up.
Gary Johnson
I think I view the system the same way that Ayn Rand views the system – that it really oppresses those that create, if you will, and tries to take away from those that produce and give to the non-producers.
Gary Johnson
Would this country be better off if no one drank? Yes, it would be, but we tried that; it doesn't work. I don't want to tell anybody that they can't have as many drinks as they want every single night of the week as long as they don't get behind the wheel of a car.
Gary Johnson
I don't want to put one innocent person to death to put 99 that are guilty to death. So philosophically I'm a tooth-for-tooth guy, but the reality is the death penalty as public policy is flawed.
Gary Johnson
I think Hillary is going to be more hawkish perhaps than Obama. Perhaps more hawkish than Trump. Trump, though, is really a windshield wiper. He says one thing that makes sense and then says something that doesn't make sense.
Gary Johnson
With regard to Trump, he's saying some things that I just think are ridiculous and would disqualify any other candidate.
Gary Johnson
I was opposed to the government mandating that restaurants not allow people to smoke, believing it becomes the customer's choice whether they go in or not. But then, I thought, 'What about the employees? Aren't they hostage to a smoking environment, even if they don't smoke?'
Gary Johnson
If Clinton is elected or if Trump is going to get elected, I think the polarization in Congress will be greater than ever. Nothing is going to get done. It is going to be so ugly, so partisan, so back-biting. Well what if you elect a couple of Libertarians?
Gary Johnson
Hillary – at the end of the day, isn't that going to be about bigger government? Isn't that going to be about more taxes?
Gary Johnson
I think a great starting point for a debate and discussion over a national consumption tax is, let's start with the Fair Tax, legislation that has been written up and, I think, signed up on by 80 congressmen and women.
Gary Johnson
I don't think you can climb Mount Everest with a broken leg, but I did break my leg prior to going to Mount Everest, so I was really climbing with a healing broken leg. I had the good fortune of climbing the highest mountain on each of the seven continents. That was a goal that I had.
Gary Johnson
This country would be a better place to live in if all the resources we currently put toward criminalizing marijuana were instead spent by law enforcement on protection from real crime, as opposed to victimless crime.
Gary Johnson
I think libertarians need somebody who can articulate getting from A to Z. But you know, if G is achievable, how about it? Let's get there!
Gary Johnson
The current prohibition laws are forcing drug disputes to be played out with guns in our streets. We need to put a stop to this criminal drug element in our country.
Gary Johnson
Am I not correct in saying that Iran has never voiced that they are developing a nuclear weapon, nor do they have any intention of using a nuclear weapon against the United States? That's never actually been voiced. I don't know where that has come from, but it hasn't been from Iran.
Gary Johnson
I leave abortion to the woman. I just fundamentally end there. I absolutely support a woman's right to choose.
Gary Johnson
America is big enough to accommodate differences of opinion and practice on religious and social beliefs. As a nation and as a society, we must reject discrimination, forcefully and without asterisks. Most importantly, as president, I will zealously defend the Constitution of the United States and all of its amendments.
Gary Johnson
At the earliest age, when I saw a 'wet paint' sign, I had to touch the paint to see if it was wet. When I get stopped at the stoplight in the middle of the night, and there's just no cars coming, and the light is red, I go. I don't think I'm putting anyone in harm's way, and I'll just take the consequences. Because I'm a Libertarian.
Gary Johnson
I hope that people will see that we don't have to sit by the sidelines and watch as the two major parties limit their choices to slightly different flavors of the status quo. It is, in fact, possible to join the fray, stand up for principles and offer a real alternative.
Gary Johnson
Imagine a libertarian president challenging Congress to repeal the PATRIOT Act.
Gary Johnson
At the end of the day, Democrats go out and appeal to 30 percent of the far left; Republicans go out and appeal to 30 percent of the far right. Hey, there's a big middle ground here that's not represented. I think that, Bill Weld and myself, I think the Libertarian Party really occupies that ground.
Gary Johnson
We have the highest incarceration rate of any country in the world. 'America, land of liberty and freedom?' You know, that's baloney. More than 2 million Americans are behind bars now. Communist China has four times the population and they have 1.5 million people behind bars.
Gary Johnson
I was the Republican governor of the heavily Democratic state of New Mexico. I focused on good government, and I got it done – just like my running mate, former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld. The people of New Mexico reelected me by a comfortable margin. Ditto for Weld.
Gary Johnson
I have had the good fortune to be able to climb the highest mountain on each of the seven continents. I have enjoyed the freedom I had gained from building a successful business from scratch, making some money, and creating the lifestyle I wanted.
Gary Johnson
Politicians shouldn't spend most of their time in office trying to get reelected.
Gary Johnson
Every single figure on Mount Rushmore was a third party at one time or another, so third parties become major parties, and I think that the Libertarian Party may become my major party.
Gary Johnson
Regardless of my legislation, spending has to be stopped.
Where in the Constitution does it say that because we don't like a foreign country's leader, we should go in and topple the dictator?
Gary Johnson
I love Costco.
I think that the best that government can do for you and I as individuals is to empower you and I to make decisions that only you and I should make.
Gary Johnson
My fear is that people associate Rand Paul's social conservatism with libertarianism, when it's not.
Gary Johnson
It kind of scares me, the notion that we're going to be injecting ourselves into other countries' affairs when they're not posing a threat to our security. I wouldn't be telling Israel what to do.
Gary Johnson
If I was a state, I would like to see education left to the schools themselves, but I don't want the federal government involved in education. I think that it ends up setting standards that cost you time and money and don't make any difference in education. I want to stop that.
Gary Johnson
My supporters are people who believe in being fiscally responsible and socially accepting. I think most people are in that category. Speaking with a broad brushstroke, those are my supporters.
Gary Johnson
Regardless of who wins, an election should be a time for optimism and fresh approaches.
Gary Johnson
We need to understand the difference between freedom of religion – which is absolutely guaranteed and I would fervently defend. Sharia law is politics; it's not religion. If you say that a woman is voluntarily going to be of lesser value than a man, which is in sharia law, can we allow that?
Gary Johnson
We live in America. We live in a free society where we are able to make choices. It's about giving individuals freedoms and holding them accountable.
Gary Johnson
One of the biggest concerns that many voters have with both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, but particularly with Ms. Clinton, is the sense that she uses government power to advance her personal and political interests. She is the very status quo. Americans want that changed.
Gary Johnson
I'll be the first one to admit that if I have conclusions based on faulty premises, then let me know about that, and I'll be the first one to change it.
Gary Johnson
If I could wave a magic wand, we would eliminate income tax; we would eliminate corporate tax. We would abolish the IRS, and we could replace all of it with one federal consumption tax.
Gary Johnson
Involvement in Afghanistan, I thought, was totally warranted. We were attacked, we attacked back, but after six months of being in Afghanistan, I thought we had pretty well effectively wiped out al Qaeda.
Gary Johnson
We should make it as easy as possible to be able to get a legal work visa – not citizenship, not a green card. Just a work visa, with a background check and a Social Security card so that applicable taxes would get paid.
Gary Johnson
I agree that the two-party system stomps on any kind of competition. A great first step is to open the presidential debates to all qualified candidates, including the Libertarians. If that happens, the Libertarian party will experience unprecedented growth.
Gary Johnson
I'd like to think I would have signed the Civil Rights bill and wouldn't have had any issues with it.
Gary Johnson