Will Hammer, running under the Libertarian Party, is looking to gain a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in Virginia’s 6th Congressional District in this year’s general election.
Hammer was born in Staunton, Virginia, and grew up in the area. Hammer received his bachelor’s degree in economics from Hampden-Sydney College. He also co-founded the Hampden-Sydney Classical Liberals, a libertarian group, according to his website.
Hammer has focused much of his efforts on topics closely associated with the Libertarian Party, including taking a step back from foreign wars, increasing personal privacy and governmental transparency and legalizing marijuana, according to the campaign website.
Hammer has spoken of the low Congressional approval ratings, highlighting the fact that, according to his website, more people are siding with Independents than Democrats or Republicans. Citing a recent Gallup poll, Hammer noted 42 percent classified themselves as Independent, compared to 31 percent Democrat and 25 percent Republican.
“More Americans are identifying as independent than ever before in history,” Hammer said in his campaign. “We need to rid ourselves of the two-party system that has greatly failed us.”
Hammer also plans to protect gun rights, saying the Second Amendment is the “great equalizer and allows for people to protect themselves against intruders, aggressors and tyrannical governments.”
Hammer has taken a firm stance on foreign policy change, saying that ISIL is a direct result of faulty foreign policy decisions and arming Syrian rebels without knowing their intentions.
“Fast forward to Syria where we backed and funded rebels who would eventually become ISIL,” Hammer said. “And now we are bombing a group we helped arm and fund in a country (where) we spent roughly $2 trillion.”
According to a Roanoke Times article, Hammer will be running a tough campaign against incumbent Bob Goodlatte, who is seeking a 12th term after being elected in 1992, as well as Green Party candidate Elaine Hildebrandt.
Q: Why should a college student vote for you?
A: More and more people are identifying as Independent every year. A Gallup poll that came out earlier this year showed that a record 42 percent of Americans identify as Independent, more than both Democrat and Republican. The two major parties have gotten us to where we are now. They may have tiffs in public and vary a bit on some issues, but when they are in Washington, they work together to pass bills that are not in the interest of the American people. It seems more like a one-party system with not much difference between Democrats and Republicans. I am only 27, so I understand what it is like for the younger generations. Student loan debt, paying into entitlements that will likely not exist once we are of age, endless war, and the list goes on.
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: I am against any mandate, whether it is for a religious institution or not. I want to reduce the size and scope of the federal government. Obamacare is just one of the mandates that needs to be repealed.
Q: What plans do you have or support to help alleviate student loan debt while simultaneously ensuring quality higher education?
A: The federal government grossly subsidizes and guarantees student loans, as it does with many things. This sounds good in the short term, but whenever you subsidize and guarantee something, you are going to increase demand, allowing college tuitions to rise well over inflationary rates.
Q: What is your position on abortion?
A: This has definitely been an issue that I have gone back and forth on and is not such a black and white issue, as most are to me. Personally, I am pro-life, as I do not think I could make that decision, and I want to protect those who cannot protect themselves. That being said, I am pro-choice in a policy matter, because I see that government cannot prohibit it with much success, as with anything you try to prohibit. Not banning abortion allows for those women to get that procedure in a safe and sanitary environment by a professional. I trust women in their decisions, as it is their body, and there are very few that actually take that
Q: With the recent spread of terrorism, particularly ISIS, how do you think the U.S. should respond?
A: The United States government’s foreign policy is the reason why ISIL, or ISIS, exists. We funded and armed them to fight against Syria’s Assad government. Plus, we created the power vacuum in Iraq. It doesn’t just stem from the last decade of bad foreign policy, but rather 100 years of meddling with the Middle East. It started with redrawing borders in the Middle East after World War I, then creating Israel, overthrowing a democratically elected government in Iran and installing a dictator, then backing Iraq against Iran, building military bases in the Holy Land and in the Middle East, and the list goes on and on. We need to stop intervening and allow countries to sort their own issues. The countries in the region have a vested interest in putting down ISIL. They do not need our help. Our foreign policy is what has caused this extremism in Islam and created more terrorists. We bomb and invade them, killing thousands, then wonder why we are hated in that region.
Q: What are your thoughts on the use of executive action?
A: I do not like the idea of executive orders. And even though they get a lot of headlines, they are actually down in the last few decades. Obama has actually issued less executive orders per year than Bush.
Q: What are your top three priorities concerning congressional legislation?
A: My top three priorities are privacy issues, foreign policy and the drug war. I want to protect our dwindling, or nonexistent, privacy. I will work to rein in the NSA and vastly limit their powers, or even abolish that agency. I will work to end the Patriot Act, which is anything but patriotic. In foreign policy, I am a non-interventionist. I want to keep us from having a reckless foreign policy that creates a lot of the issues that we face. The war on terror is an endless war against enemies that we have created. Continuing it will only create more terrorists, not stop them. I want to end the drug war. It costs too much.
Q: What separates you from other candidates?
A: Essentially, I am not a hypocrite, have firm morals and will not play party politics. I want to reduce the size and scope of government, not just talk about it. I want to represent the people and work for legislation that is in the interest of the American people, not my corporate backers (which I do not have). I want to work with coalitions to advance libertarian ideas, passing good policy and repealing bad policy. I want to be as transparent as possible and explain why I voted on bills (such as Justin Amash), not take donations from corporations and allow access to what I do at a level that no one in Congress would be willing to give.