Libertarian Party

Robert Sarvis, campaigning under the Libertarian Party, is vying for a seat in the U.S. Senate in this year’s general election.

Sarvis grew up in West Springfield, Virginia, and graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology. Sarvis completed his undergraduate studies at Harvard University and the University of Cambridge, where he received his bachelor’s degree in mathematics. He then received his master’s in economics at George Mason University and his Juris Doctorate at New York University School of Law.


Sarvis has worked in a slew of different capacities, according to his website, including working as an entrepreneur, a small-business owner, a software engineer, a mobile-app developer, a math teacher and a lawyer.

Sarvis ran for governor of Virginia in the 2013 race, gleaning 6.5 percent of the vote, totaling 146,084 ballots cast, compared to Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s 1,069,789 votes and Ken Cuccinelli’s 1,013,354 votes. After the hard-fought race, Republican supporters accused Sarvis of being a stooge for the Democratic Party, claiming the votes he garnered likely would have gone to Cuccinelli.

Sarvis shot back in a Richmond-Times article, saying it was a groundless claim.

“We can put the truth out there, but we still get a lot of responses from conservatives who claim that I was a Democratic plant and that I am again this year,” Sarvis said. “The most you can do is to say, ‘Well, it’s not true.’”

Sarvis has been pushing forward values that focus on balancing the budget, simplifying taxes and reforming entitlement programs. He has also been emphasizing the need to end surveillance programs on American citizens and increase personal liberties.

Sarvis responded to the July 26 debate between Gillespie and Warner, pointing out the lack of discussion concerning mass surveillance programs.

“There is zero daylight of difference between Mark Warner and Ed Gillespie on civil liberties and mass surveillance, but Virginia voters won’t know that from the debate because those issues didn’t even come up,” Sarvis said. “I’m the only candidate in the race even talking about these issues, and I’m the only candidate in the race who will fight to protect liberties.”

Sarvis currently resides in Annandale, Virginia, with his wife and two children.

Q: Why should a college student vote for you?

A: College students did not put us in the mess we are in — the $17 trillion national debt, the wars, the surveillance state, the highest incarceration rate in the world. Both Democrats and Republicans share responsibility. But young people are the ones who will bear the cost either today or tomorrow.

Voting, for me, is also an investment in improving Virginia politics. The bipartisan problem is not just in Washington, D.C. It is in Richmond, too. Both parties are embroiled in the scandal about offering a state senator competing enticements to encourage him to resign or stay in his post. On average, nearly 50 percent of House of Delegates races and 40 percent of Virginia Senate races go unopposed. A third major party could shake all that up and make Virginia elections more competitive and clean up politics in Virginia. But the Republicans and Democrats have schemed to stack the deck against third parties. That would all change if I get more than 10 percent (of votes) Nov. 4.

Q: What, if any, legislation could be considered to give religious institutions, such as Liberty University, the right to be exempt from federal mandates that violate their conscience?

A: The main problem is that we have too many mandates. The recent healthcare controversy is a government-created problem. Religious liberty, like liberty more generally, is threatened whenever government gets involved in every detail of our lives and our personal and economic affairs. Everything becomes political, people dig their heels in, and Republicans and Democrats demagogue the issue. If elected, I would be a principled advocate for liberty across the board. For instance, religious liberty is also jeopardized by a mass surveillance state.

Q: What plans do you have or support to help alleviate student loan debt while simultaneously ensuring quality higher education?

A: One of the problems with higher education is there is very little incentive to limit costs. That tends to happen when you have third-party payers, and that is essentially what you have with student loans. There is a tremendous amount of bureaucratic bloat in higher education, and tuition keeps going up and up as we continue to subsidize an outdated, 20th century model of higher education that does not work for everyone. With the technological advances we have, costs should be decreasing,
not increasing.

I am optimistic about some of the reforms former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels is trying at Purdue University: freezing tuition, cutting administrative bloat and creating incentive prizes for academic departments that develop three-year degrees.

Q: What is your position on abortion?

A: There is no role for the federal government to ban, regulate or subsidize abortion.

Q: With the recent spread of terrorism, particularly ISIS, how do you think the U.S. should respond?

A: The United States must resist more foreign policy adventurism. Any new military engagements should be authorized by Congress, as required by the Constitution. The power to declare war lies with Congress, but both major parties have let the executive branch get away with launching new campaigns without authorization.

Q: What are your thoughts on the use of executive action?

A: Presidents in both parties have exceeded their executive authority, and Congresses in which both parties have had majorities have failed to hold the executive branch accountable.

You hear more conservatives complain about it now, but just a few years ago, it was liberals complaining about executive overreach under George W. Bush. Now, Democratic partisans look the other way. I believe that neither major party, and certainly neither Mark Warner nor Ed Gillespie, can be trusted to rein in executive overreach. The Senate needs a leader who is willing to fight it, no matter what the letter is next to the president’s name.

Q: What are your top three priorities concerning congressional legislation?

A: It has been more than a year since the revelations about the size and scope of the surveillance state. We keep hearing about reform, but it has not happened. The U.S. House passed a very flawed bill. The Senate has yet to have a vote on anything. I would immediately fight to end bulk data collection and restore civil liberties.

It is also shameful that Congress has abandoned its constitutional responsibility and allowed the president to unilaterally launch new military campaigns. If elected, I would fight to end the imperial presidency and hold the executive branch accountable.

Finally, we face a $17 trillion national debt. Both parties keep kicking the can down the road. I pledge to make debt-reduction and balanced budgets a priority. I support simplifying the tax code, reforming entitlements and cutting bloated budgets — including military spending. And I support a balanced budget amendment and protections against accounting gimmicks.

Q: What separates you from other candidates?

A: I am the only candidate in the race actively talking about issues like civil liberties. In fact, not a single question was asked about the surveillance state at any of the three debates. If elected, I would fight to defend the entire Bill of Rights.
Washington is broken, and I am the only candidate in the race who, if elected, will do anything to fix it. Warner has not been the radical centrist he promised he would be, and Gillespie is the ultimate Washington insider. I am effectively running against two incumbents. Both share responsibility for the $17 trillion national debt, the wars and the mass surveillance state.

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