Fancy Ray McCloney said the race for governor in Minnesota is a joke.
A stand-up comedian, McCloney said he’s the most qualified person to run in a campaign that focuses solely on candidates with similar positions.
McCloney is not alone in his thinking. Beyond the three-way race between Democrat Hubert H. “Skip” Humphrey III, Republican Norm Coleman and Reform Party candidate Jesse Ventura, minor party candidates with big ideas and small budgets are trying to be heard above the din of politics as usual.
These candidates say they want to expose ideas that traditional politicians sweep under the rug. Concerned with overlooked groups and non-traditional ideals, these candidates want to be heard.
Speaking for people of color
McCloney devised his plan to run for governor on Independence Day. Talking with his friends and family about the election, McCloney said he realized there was no one in the gubernatorial race representing people of color.
“The major candidates weren’t talking about it,” he said.
McCloney performs stand-up comedy and hosts a cable-access talk show. Although he filled his campaign brochures with election jokes, he does have some serious objectives for the election.
McCloney’s campaign focuses on poverty and affordable housing.
He readily admits there are no easy answers to these large problems. But McCloney favors a plan which requires every new housing development to include low-cost units in exchange for landlord tax credits.
Although he approves of new programs which help welfare recipients re-enter the workforce, McCloney also emphasized the need for compassion for the poor.
The entertainment skills McCloney honed as a former lip-sync star and present-day comedian proved useful in campaigning. McCloney said he connects with voters by “hustling, getting out there and shaking hands, pressing flesh.”
McCloney also places education high atop his list of priorities. He advocates investing in schools — including the University — although he has no set budget ideas for the University at this time.
McCloney advocates diversity in academic environments. He favors affirmative action, but said he is against quotas.
“You shouldn’t have someone [admitted] because of color, but when you go into a school as an African-American and everyone is white, you feel disfranchised,” he said.
McCloney also wants children to know their choices for the future.
“Why are kids drug dealers? Because they don’t know their options,” he said.
McCloney said he would like the state to videotape professionals in their jobs and broadcast the programs on television like infomercials.
The gubernatorial candidate chose his mother, Toni McCloney, as his running mate. He praised his mother for her “effervescence and personality.”
“If I’m going to take pictures, I want someone as pretty as I am,” McCloney said with a grin.
A vote for liberty
Frank Germann was drafted into this election.
“My fellow Libertarians dragged me, yelling and screaming into this role,” he said.
Ironically, Libertarians like Germann don’t believe in the military draft, even in times of war.
Despite Germann’s initial reluctance, he said he now sees the election as an opportunity to publicize his party’s beliefs.
The Libertarian Party advocates limited government, fewer taxes, less government spending and more personal freedom.
“Working for the government for 31 years, I developed a healthy disappreciation for the mischief and wasted spending that government can be responsible for,” Germann said.
Now retired, Germann worked for the Federal Aviation Administration for 21 years, as well as other government jobs.
Germann said the public school system in this state represents one aspect of the problems with government. He and running mate Michael C. Strand said they believe education and the state should be separated at all levels.
Although Germann received state help to attend college and earn a civil engineering degree at the University in 1968, he said he now firmly believes all tuition assistance should come from private sources.
Germann, who sent his eight children to private school until they were in eighth grade, said politics play too large a role public education.
He opposes voucher systems and instead favors tax credits to avoid charging citizens without school-age children for education.
Germann’s party platform also calls for the legalization of all drugs and the right to conceal and carry weapons.
Germann, a Libertarian for 22 years, pointed to the 19th century as an ideal time in American history. He said with reduced government, the country could return to a time with private banking, lower taxes and free trade.
“Government needs to get off your back and out of your pocketbook,” he said.
A socialist view
Tom Fiske is a familiar sight to many University students, seated at a table on 15th Street and University Avenue.
Fiske and other members of the Socialist Workers Party set up a table full of party literature at the busy Dinkytown intersection to educate students about the socialist ideology.
Fiske and running mate John Hawkins said they believe working people need to take political power to create social and economic justice.
“There is a big social crisis developing in the world,” Fiske said. “Working people should defend themselves.”
He cited the lack of funding for higher education as a symptom of the capitalist system. He favors vast increases in higher education budgets.
Those in power want to keep the working class uneducated, Fiske said.
“The wealthy don’t want to fund higher learning,” he explained. “You don’t need higher education to drive a truck, or work a keyboard.”
Fiske attended Berkeley in the tumultuous Vietnam War era and participated in war protests. He said he sees a marked change in today’s University students as a result of modern world conditions.
“There is less political activity, but that’s because the big fights haven’t broken out yet. This fight is imminent,” he said.
Fiske advocates a shorter work week with no increase in pay, as well as a sliding scale of hours and wages.
Fiske pointed to the Cuban government as an example of a successful revolution by workers. Cuba is the most advanced political system that has broken from capitalism, he said.
“They’re fighting to build a society built on solidarity,” Fiske said.
Fiske wants the United States to end its embargo and travel ban of Cuba. He added that despite some economic troubles, working people in Cuba should serve as an example of what a socialist revolution can accomplish.