Interview with Robert Sarvis

Late last month, I e-mailed the campaign of 2013 Virginia Libertarian Party gubernatorial nominee Robert Sarvis for a joint Wikinews/IPR interview.  Within minutes, the campaign’s Communications Director J.V. LaBeaume approved the request, but asked that I submit no more than five questions due to Sarvis’ busy schedule.   I did so three days later, but did not receive an immediate response.  I resubmitted the questions this past Tuesday to LaBeaume, who then sent them to Sarvis.  Yesterday morning Sarvis provided the following answers to my questions.  The interview has also been posted at Wikinews with a more formal introduction to Sarvis and the campaign.

William Saturn: What is the most important aspect of your background that voters should know about?

Robert Sarvis: I am the only candidate born and raised in Virginia, but also the only candidate who embodies both physically and philosophically the growing diversity of the commonwealth. (I am mixed-race (half-Chinese) and in an interracial marriage.) I am the only candidate who has studied both economics and law, and the only candidate with a background in technology entrepreneurship. Because of my academic and professional background, I understand the issues and challenges facing Virginia much better than the other candidates, and I am offering real solutions that can be appreciated across the political spectrum. I am the only candidate who believes in both economic freedom and personal liberty and the only candidate who stands on principle against cronyism and corporatism and in favor of the rule of law.

WSS: What are your thoughts on the job Bob McDonnell has done as Governor of Virginia? What would you have done differently than him?

Sarvis: McDonnell did well early in his term pushing back against Senate Democrats who wanted huge tax increases in response to major revenue shortfalls during the recession. Those early budget efforts are his highest achievement as Governor. More recently, he erred in accepting a transportation bill that had huge flaws and huge tax increases, rather than prioritizing spending and seeking more rational, efficient, decentralized transportation decision-making. He could have shown much greater leadership in pushing for tax reform, regulatory reform, and school choice. Of course, he showed ethical lapses in judgment.

WSS: Compared to previous third party candidates at the gubernatorial level, you have done exceptionally well in opinion polling. What do you attribute that success to?

Sarvis: Voters see the two-party system for the sham it has become. They are sick of the partisanship and nonsense and the total lack of substance in modern campaigns. Voters see the two major party nominees as exemplifying what is worst about their respective parties, and they want something better. Voters who meet me and hear me speak know that I am sincere, know that I understand the issues deeply and have workable solutions, and know that I stand on principle against cronyism and corporatism and in favor of the rule of law and the public interest. People like the fact that I stand for a Virginia that is both Open-minded and Open for Business.

WSS: If elected governor, how will you be able to implement your agenda while dealing with a hostile legislature?

Sarvis: There are precedents of independent governors dealing effectively with the legislature, and indeed a wise third-party governor can have greater effectiveness than a major party governor. Libertarians share many policy positions with each of the major parties. Working together with both Republicans and Democrats, we can get the good aspects of each party while rejecting the bad parts of both. Moreover, electing a third-party governor represents a repudiation of politics as usual, and the major party legislators will face changed constraints and incentives, meaning that much more is possible than many people assume, especially with strong leadership.

WSS: Which previous Virginia Governor(s) do you most admire and why?

SarvisThomas Jefferson. He was incredibly learned and was a strong advocate for freedom and the rule of law. He would be a Libertarian today.

10 thoughts on “Interview with Robert Sarvis

  1. George Whitfield

    Excellent questions and answers. I am very satisfied that I have donated to Robert Sarvis’s campaign. I hope he will receive over 10% of the vote and make the Libertarian Party a major party under Virginia law.

  2. Richard Winger

    Yes, these are good questions and very good answers. I would have asked Sarvis the details about the rules for being included in the debates. My impression is that the rules were fuzzy to start with, and one can make a logical argument that he qualified. I would have asked him if he considered suing on the basis that he had met the conditions. That worked in 2006 for the Reform Party candidate for Governor of Florida, Max Linn. Linn persuaded a federal court that he did meet the pre-conditions for debate inclusion. Court convened at 4:30 pm on the day of the debate. At 5 pm Judge James Whittemore ruled he must be included. The debate started two hours later. Chris Matthews was the moderator. All the sponsors had to do was add a chair and another microphone. Linn v Media Group Corp, 8:06-cv-2005, middle district.

  3. Rick Adams

    Virginia debate sponsor vouches for Robert Sarvis’s inclusion:

    Conservative blogger Shaun Kenney writes OP vouching for Sarvis’s inclusion too:

  4. paulie

    Via LP national facebook:

    The VOICE of the PEOPLE is being heard in Virginia! Developments in the Sarvis campaign for Governor . . .

    WDBJ “would certainly entertain an amendment to the agreement allowing Mr. Sarvis to debate.” And the “McAuliffe campaign is fine with Mr. Sarvis’s inclusion”.

    It seems that the barrier to a fair debate is Ken Cuccinelli. According to the Washington Post, “Cuccinelli’s team has pushed all long to exclude him” and Cuccinelli’s chief strategist has said “Voting for Sarvis is essentially throwing your vote away.”

    Demand that Cuccinelli do what is best for Virginia and allow Robert Sarvis to participate in the debate. Make the Call, Make it The Libertarian Moment.

    Read the latest at:


  5. Rick Adams

    Looks like Robert Sarvis will get the chance to meet face to face with his major party opponents, but it won’t be at Virginia Tech. There will be a gubernatorial candidate forum next Saturday, October 26th at the Virginia War Memorial in Richmond from noon to 2pm. For more details on this event, please click on the links below:

  6. Rick Adams

    Paulie, I’m glad they made another meme for McAuliffe so they don’t think we’re only hammering on the Cooch.

  7. paulie

    It was thanks to my suggestions on the social media page. I don’t make graphics, but I pushed the concept until it happened.

  8. paulie

    Paulie Cannoli McAuliffe and the TV station now say they both want Sarvis in the debate. Ask people to make them prove it. They should have McAuliffe debate Sarvis, and Cuccinelli shows up or not, his choice…or it does not get aired. Put pressure on McAuliffe and the TV station to come to that kind of agreement, since Cuccinelli seems dead set.
    8 hours ago · Like

    Paulie Cannoli McAuliffe has already debated Cuccinelli a bunch of times and he has a solid lead, so he can afford to debate Sarvis one on one if Cuccinelli decides not to show up.
    8 hours ago · Like

    Jay Wilson Matt Hasty Here’s that thankyou for today!
    Jay Wilson’s photo.
    7 hours ago · Like

    Paulie Cannoli Looks good, can we combine it with a call to additional action?
    7 hours ago · Like

    Jay Wilson Yeah, that was the plan for the caption of the photo. Otherwise I think it’s just too much text.
    7 hours ago · Like

    Matt Hasty The call to action is that the tv station passed the buck to the candidates, and McAuliffe quickly kicked the ball into Cuccinelli’s court. SO THE ACTION MESSAGE THAT SHOULD GO WITH THIS IS:
    “Your calls cracked the ice. Thank You to all who took action. NOW the holdup for getting Sarvis into the debate is down to ONE MAN holding up the show: Cuccinelli. CALL HIM TWEET HIM POST ON HIS FB WALL!”
    Something like that.
    7 hours ago · Edited · Like

    Paulie Cannoli Actually McAuliffe should be pressured too. I already said this above so I apologize for repeating myself. McAuliffe has already debated Cuccinelli a bunch of times and he has a solid lead, so he can afford to debate Sarvis one on one if Cuccinelli decides not to show up. Have everyone ask McAuliffe to agree to debate Sarvis, with or without Cuccinelli.
    7 hours ago · Like

    Jay Wilson I don’t think Cucc is gonna respond, honestly, he couldn’t care less and I know the Republican camp does not want him to debate a Libertarian. We’re their worst enemy, even acknowledging us isn’t allowed. They’re pretending we aren’t here, and hoping we’ll go away.

    I think we should keep pressuring the TV station, because honestly they only care about sponsors and ratings. If people keep calling saying “I won’t watch unless Sarvis is included” they’ll realize that loss of revenue, and so will their sponsors.
    7 hours ago · Like

    Paulie Cannoli I agree. But the TV station can only do so much…one candidate is not a debate. That’s why the real target should be McAuliffe. It’s a win win for him…either he debates Sarvis one on one, which makes Cuccinelli look like he’s ducking the debate (which he is) and thereby taking another bite out of him….or Cuccinelli relents and shows up, which still benefits McAuliffe as the clear front runner. Now all he needs is a few thousand people to help persuade him on this.
    7 hours ago · Like · 1

    Jay Wilson That’s good too. I think McAuliffe is more than willing to debate, he doesn’t stand to lose as much as Cucc. We should encourage McAuliffe in a positive way.
    7 hours ago · Edited · Like

    Paulie Cannoli Exactly. He will make Cuccinelli look bad if he debates Sarvis without Cuccinelli. The only alternative Cuccinelli will have left if that happens is to face his worst fear and come out looking just as bad as he knows he will in the presence of a candidate who actually wants to make meaningful cuts to government instead of just paying lip service on the economic side while making government far more intrusive on the personal liberty side. Let’s point out to McAuliffe that it is in his best interests to make Cuccinelli face his fears.
    7 hours ago · Like

    Matt Hasty The edited video we made in the video group just hit the main page a moment ago…. if you have not seen it. CHECK IT OUT…
    7 hours ago · Edited · Like

    Paulie Cannoli There should be separate posts targeting McAuliffe, Cuccinelli and the TV station. The thank you theme is good for the TV station, but we should follow up by asking them not to air any debate that does not invite all three candidates. That may be a tough sell, since another TV station could pick it up, but it is what it is. We already know how to call out Cooch for being chicken. Hopefully I have explained what we should ask McAuliffe to do and why in a way that makes sense.
    7 hours ago · Like · 1

    Matt Hasty SO to summarize: Our next action should be to apply pressure on McAuliffe to NOT debate cuccinelli unless Sarvis is included?
    7 hours ago · Like

    Paulie Cannoli Yep. Cuccie can’t credibly say McAuliffe is ducking, when McAuliffe has debated him a bunch of times before and is willing to do so again. He needs this debate more than McAuliffe does, since McAuliffe is in the lead. So it would put him between a rock and a hard place and McAuliffe has nothing to lose…he just needs a push.
    7 hours ago · Like · 1

    Paulie Cannoli Also, by offering to debate Sarvis one on one if need be and holding a podium and mic open for Cuccie if he decides to show up McAuliffe visibly demonstrates that he is not afraid to debate…which is a good position for a front runner to take. Cuccie looks like a weasel either way, but them’s the breaks.
    7 hours ago · Like

  9. paulie

    Here is another one I am suggesting (see at the end) if anyone can do the graphics…..

    Jeffrey Bathe
    I wanted to share a little nugget of information with the group as we have seen many people post about how Libertarians are stealing votes from Republicans, allowing Democrats to win.

    An examination of the last two weeks of polling data in the Virgina gubernatorial race has shown an interesting thing. Cuccinelli (R) is on average 7.4% behind McAuliffe (D) when paired head-to-head. When Sarvis is added to the poll, Cuccinelli is still 7.4% behind McAuliffe. Robert C. Sarvis is taking 2% from each side and drawing a significant number from the undecided voters.

    So at least in the eyes of the polls, the only thing hurting the GOP is the GOP.
    Like · · Unfollow Post · 4 hours ago
    Seen by 14
    Matt Hasty and 2 others like this.

    Paulie Cannoli This is actually very typical. There are a few other examples of polls showing the same thing if you scroll down at and there are many, many other examples I have seen but don’t have a handy link to.

    Campaign Resources
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    4 hours ago · Like · Remove Preview

    Paulie Cannoli Additionally, I have seen Republicans still blame Perot for Clinton being elected. Actually exit polls were that Bush and Clinton would have had 38% of Perot voters each, and the rest would not have voted for either Bush or Clinton even if Perot had not run — which is typical of the LP vote as well.
    4 hours ago · Like

    Rebecca Paddock “Stealing votes” … am not sure where that phrase came from. And I’m not sure which party should be more insulted by it. The party being accused of theft? Or the party being accused of “paying for” votes? After all, how else could they “own” the votes being “stolen”?
    4 hours ago via mobile · Like

    Paulie Cannoli Republicans just want someone besides themselves to blame for their lack of appeal to voters. Unfortunately for the NSGOP even if they keep us out of the debates and off the ballot they would still lose. Unfortunately for us, many of them are too ignorant to realize this and too thick headed to look at the evidence.
    4 hours ago · Like

    Paulie Cannoli And I also still run into a lot of Democrats that can’t tell the difference between the LP and Nader. Not that Nader cost them the election either, but that’s another story.
    4 hours ago · Like

    Paulie Cannoli “”Stealing votes” … am not sure where that phrase came from.” Actually they try to steal our votes every time they keep us off the ballot or otherwise create an uneven playing field. They have the notion that our votes are their property. Everyone should feel rightfully insulted.
    4 hours ago · Like

    Jeffrey Bathe It just dispels the myth that we are just pulling from the republicans, which the Cuccinelli’s camp has claimed.
    4 hours ago · Like

    Paulie Cannoli People love to blame someone else for their failures. It’s the old entitlement mentality at play.
    4 hours ago · Like · 1

    Paulie Cannoli Actually come to think of it can we make that a meme? Do something along the lines of portraying an elephant welfare recipient saying he shouldn’t have to work to earn our votes, he should just be entitled to them. And a caption about the entitlement mentality to go with it. Then the accompanying text could show those poll results, with and without Sarvis (or in the future fill in the blank LP candidate). Alternatively, put in Cuccinelli instead of the elephant.
    3 hours ago · Like

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