2014 is an election year in Florida, and Examiner.com is sitting down with some of the candidates for key races so that the voters will be able to make informed decisions. The next in this series is a phone interview with congressional candidate Mark Wichern, running with no party affiliation for The First Congressional District of Florida.
Wichern has been a small business owner and developer for the past 20 years. He started A1A Water Damage Restoration with only $500 and grew it into a $1.2 million company. He also has a background in teaching courses on business development, marketing and management. He is married with a daughter, a son, and a stepson.
We spoke with Wichern by phone about his run for congress.
Why are you running for office?
The main reason I’m running for office is our current representative and what he’s done, and not done, with the VA. In addition,he voted for the Patriot Act and NDAA in 2012,which essentially eliminated our Bill of Rights. I had a choice of running two businesses and making a lot of money or getting directly involved. After spending the last six years studying the economic policies of our country and the financial mess the country was left in after 2008, I was motivated to take up an active role in the democratic process and to make this country a better place for my family and the young people that are coming into adulthood. These people are struggling, and politicians are turning a blind eye to their plight.
What are your qualifications?
First of all, as far as creating jobs go, I’ve built three multi-million dollar companies. I started one with almost no money and hit the million dollar mark within 18 months. In addition to my own personal successes, I have also served as a business advisor and consultant. In this role, I have helped to develop and grow 36 other companies with my expertise. . Outside of the businesses, I’ve studied the Federal Reserve, the IRS, and have read a multitude of books on economic issues in the last few years. They don’t teach the inner workings of the monetary system in primary school, secondary school, or in college, for that matter. Changing that fact will be one of my priorities.
In addition to that, I am a proven leader with a strong internal sense of morality. I believe that what may be right, may not always be popular, and what is popular may not always be right. My competitor, on the other hand, is an establishment party member. He votes according to the party ideology 97 percent of the time. Oddly enough, he also has not sponsored or cosponsored any legislation since 2011. Instead of leading, he is following, which cannot stand in a district such as Florida’s First Congressional District. We are a military-centric community that believes in building leaders and trimming the fat where possible. One of the biggest reasons I wanted to run with no party affiliation was to bring people together. If you’re running as a democrat or a republican, you’re isolating 50 to 60 percent of the people, regardless of your position. We know who controls them, what we really need is a third option.
Third party candidates have a reputation for being spoilers for the two major parties. Do you agree with this assessment?
No, not at all. The title of “spoiler” that is given to third party candidates is more of a reflection of the flaw in our “first past the post” voting system. This system is built to encourage a two-party election cycle, the very same cycle that George Washington warned us about in his presidential farewell speech.
Government is not, and should not be a two-dimensional race between the left and right. It should be a three-dimensional race with all facets considered and negotiated upon, and policy constructed based on what is best for the people.
Why do you think that you have a better chance than past third party candidates?
First of all, I’m a constitutional conservative, and this area is predominantly conservative. Even though I disagree with how party republicans have managed their position of policy on the national level, I'm still a conservative. Republicans really have not tackled the issues that cause corruption. They just put bandaids on it, at best I think we’re going to win, I teach in addition to running, my idea is to inform everybody on the IRS. I think once people read the pamphlets I’ve printed, they will be irate enough to act. Through taxes and inflation, all of our money is being stolen by the corrupt banking system Meanwhile, the representation in Washington does nothing to alleviate the plight of the common man. Instead they bicker amongst themselves and try to point the finger at the other side of the aisle. I do not want my message to be obscured by a grand party ideology.
Secondly. [Current Representative] Jeff Miller, as the head of the VA Oversight Committee, failed in his position as overseer and allowed the VA scandal to develop. The people of District 1 see this. They know that United States veterans needlessly died because they weren’t getting the care they needed from the very VA that Jeff Miller was supposed to be overseeing. . I also have some plans for the vets. I’d like to see vets get a card like the ones congress has so they can wherever they want for service. I’d like to see the VA shut down and the bureaucracy erased.
Same-sex marriage appears to be heading toward legalization in most states. What is your stance on the issue?
My stance is simple: there’s nothing in the constitution that authorizes congress to deal with this. It is a states’ rights issue, clean and clear, under the Tenth Amendment. I won’t stand in the states’ way, regardless of what they choose to do. The American people need to understand the role of the Federal Government, which is limited and finite in scope. Specifically, the Federal Government in Washington should only be responsible for maintaining national security and regulating interstate commerce. Beyond that, the states are responsible for developing policy on their own.
What is your opinion on oil fracking?
I've been doing a little bit of research, I see positives and negatives. The positive is that it can give us oil, the negative is that it’s destroying our water. I think we need to hold off on it, at least until there is more research. For now, I don’t see the positive outweighing the negative.
Do you support an increase in alternative forms of energy, including green energy such as solar and wind?
Yes, I would like to see that. As a matter of fact, the state of Florida has a law that you can’t be off the grid. I’d like to see that stop. I’d like to see us break away from the mandates of using private utilities. The people should have access to multiple options for energy.
Self-reliance and ingenuity are the catalysts that this nation has used to accelerate past the rest of the world in the wake of two world wars, the cold war, and the global financial crisis. There is no reason why we cannot use those two values in our energy sector and develop a smart energy grid that utilizes current, as well as future methods of production.
Do you support the legalization of marijuana?
That should fall back to the states. I will not stand in the way of a state’s decision, the people of the state should make the decision. Anything to do with drugs and with our individual persons shouldn’t have anything to do with the federal government.
Once again, and I do not want to sound like I am dodging the question, that is a states’ rights issue, and I am running for federal office.The Federal Government has become a large beast due to the fact that new bureaus are created to enforce laws that the federal government had no authority to enact in the first place. the federal government interferes with the individual will of the states, they are acting outside of the scope of their mandate under the U.S. Constitution.
What is your opinion on gun rights?
I believe that any regulation on gun ownership by law-abiding citizens is a violation of the Second Amendment. We need the Second Amendment in order to protect the rest of the amendments. The amendment was written to protect our free society.
In fact, we are going to unveil a gun giveaway as part of our campaign in next few week. We are working with a few local gun shops, who will make sure all proper background checks are performed on the winners before they receive their prize.
My view on gun rights is simple: they are our guarantee of defense against the government. If the second amendment is revoked in this country, we will lose the ability to defend the rest of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. We are a nation of self-determined pioneers, and part of that success has been because the people were allowed to have the tools necessary to lay the foundation for freedom. A gun is not a weapon, it is a tool for defence of the individual. Unfortunately, just like any other tool, it can be abused for a malicious purpose.
What, if anything, will you do in order to make the Affordable Care Act more palatable to your constituents?
I would seek to defund it and get rid of it ASAP. The government has overstepped its boundaries, and there is nothing in the constitution that allows it. If states want to establish their own form of ObamaCare, I would recommend that the individual state establish it as we have seen with Mitt Romney’s Commonwealth Care in Massachusetts. This is an example of how the “laboratories of democracy” edict was supposed to work.
Do you support school choice in the form of vouchers?
I think school choice is a good thing. As far as vouchers, I would like to see state and local take care of that. I’d like to see the Department of Education eliminated, I’d defund and get rid of Common Core.
I believe school choice is a terrific idea, in that it allows for a family and/or child to have a vested interest in where they go to school, what they study, and the community they will be immersed in. By having the family “own” the decision of what kind of education the student is receiving, there is a greater chance that the student will incorporate that choice into their personal identity. Much like how people label themselves on their political party of choice, my hope is that kids, families and teachers will label themselves as a part of a beneficial community, such as the school.
In addition to kids and parents being able to choose their own schools I would like to see the Federal Department of Education abolished, and with it, the Common Core initiative. Once again, I would like to revert to my position on states’ rights and the laboratories of democracy. If a national standard is implemented for every student in America, where is the experimentation? I find these following line by General Patton to be rather enlightening regarding this subject: “If everybody is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.”
Do you support an increase in the minimum wage?
Absolutely not. We look throughout history and that’s one of the last moves before the destruction of a country, raising the minimum wage. The federal minimum wage is devaluing the dollar through inflation. What needs to be addressed it the Federal Reserve taking our money, devaluing our wealth through excessive printing of a debt-back currency. I’m a business owner, I understand what it is, I understand that it’s not enough to live on, but you’re not supposed to live on it. Unfortunately, due to the financial crisis, more and more people are working minimum wage jobs, as those are the only sectors of the economy that have experienced much growth. What really needs to be addressed is the systemic corruption tied with our nation’s monetary policy. The minimum wage debate is just another band aid on the problem to hide the real problem: our money just isn’t worth what it used to be. One fact I am proud of in my business is that not a single one of my employees makes minimum wage, and I treat them as family.
How would you handle the current immigration crisis?
First of all, we’ve got to secure our border, and that is absolutely a must. It’s not about immigrants coming, our borders are wide open to dirty bombs, deadly diseases. As far as immigrants coming into the country we need to increase border patrols, they’re now cutting back the amount they’re giving out border patrol. Long term I want to see our overseas bases closed and reopened here. Bring them home, dump our money here instead, help our economy. We would have the best security on our borders in the world.
First of all, we have to secure the border, and that is a huge priority. My opinion has nothing to do with the xenophobia of immigrants or racism against any particular group, but more so to do with the fact that we are a nation that has been at war with some particularly unsavory characters for the last dozen years. Our resources in the border patrol agency are being overrun and are required to provide humanitarian aid to kids and the less fortunate, and are not able to conduct their job, which is to defend the border. While the border agents are occupied with other efforts, it is possible that gun-runners, smugglers, human traffickers, and potentially even terrorists can trespass into our country and potentially cause havoc.
Do you have anything else you’d like to add?
I think the whole thing comes down the understanding the foundation of the corruption. We need to ban the IRS and the Federal reserve, as neither one are part of the the US government. Not one cent of our money goes into the government; it goes into the Federal Reserve banking system. They are creating money out of thin air and loaning it to our government with interest, then they take another loan from the Fed, with interest, to pay it back. That’s the first thing we need to address. It’s a perpetual debt system that can never be mathematically paid off. The more dollars that are printed, the less they are worth, and that’s what devalues the dollar.