Andrew Ian Dodge believes that a growing movement in Maine politics has been without a voice in Washington for too long. Dodge is one of six candidates who’d like to replace retiring Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe this fall. A self-described Libertarian, he believes that government cannot create jobs or fix the economy. Nor does he believe that it should prevent gay people from being married, or citizens from using marijuana or hallucinogenic mushrooms. Keith Shortall has the latest in our series of Your Vote 2012 candidate profiles
Months before Maine’s senior senator made her surprise announcement earlier this year, Andrew Ian Dodge (right) had already entered the GOP primary to challenger her. Then, when Snowe bowed out and a slew of other Republicans started jumping into the fray, Dodge decided to leave the Republican fold, and run as an independent.
“I’m running for U.S. Senate because I don’t really think that there’s a valuable ‘liberty’ choice in the race,” Dodge says. “People in Maine deserve a choice and there is a big liberty-slash-Libertarian-limited-government movement in Maine.”
Dodge says that growing up he lived all over the world, but his family’s roots are firmly planted in Maine. He’s 44 years old, and says his Libertarian beliefs go back to his college years at Colby, where he says he led the fight against “political correctness.”
“I challenged the Colby establishment who decided that the CIA and various other government agencies – anybody they disagreed with – shouldn’t be able to recruit graduates,” he says. “And I pointed out that my parents were paying them to educate me, not to tell me who I could work for after Colby.”
Dodge went on to earn a graduate degree from Hull University in England, where also worked for the Bow Group, a conservative think tank. He now works as a freelance writer, and lives in Harpswell with his wife, Kim Benson. On policy, Dodge believes that the problems facing the U.S. cannot be solved by government.
“I always fear when politicians say ‘I’m going to create jobs.’ Or presidents say, ‘I’m going to create jobs,’” he says. “Unfortunately, government tends to prevent the creation of jobs rather than helping it by taxation, over-regulation. Many industries and small businesses in particular have been affected, like Kingdom Ice. And people aren’t spending because they’re worried about their future. So the best way of stopping that is to get the economy going again, and the best way for the government to do that is to get the hell out of the way.”
Dodge says he supporters a “flat tax” system, in which anyone making over $15,000 would pay 15 percent. He would also support across-the-board cuts in government spending, including cuts in the military budget. He supports expansion of domestic energy sources, including offshore oil exploration.
“And by the way I’m not one of these people who is against all alternative energy. I disagree with wind farms. They’re inefficient for Maine. Tidal energy, now that makes sense,” he says. “However, government should not either give bailouts, subsidies, or anything with taxpayer’s money when they’re $16 trillion in debt.
Keith Shortall: “Do you support nuclear power?”
Andrew Ian Dodge: “Yes.”
Keith Shortall: “Expansion of nuclear power?”
Andrew Ian Dodge: “Yes. If it’s good enough for the French, it’s good enough for us.”
Dodge says he does not support the Affordable Care Act championed by President Obama, and instead favors reforms that he says would increase competition and lower costs, such as tort reform and allowing the purchase of health insurance across state lines.
Medicare and Social Security, he says, may require means testing. And he’s open to considering higher age requirements. And Dodge says his belief in personal liberty extends to “self medication.” Specifically, he would decriminalize marijuana, and hallucinogenic mushrooms.
“Obviously, when it’s manufactured – when you’re talking about ‘ecstacy’ and things like that – there I can see a very clear reason why we ban it, but marijuana? Please. I mean, it’s just ridiculous. There’s the prohibitionary instinct which is not logical, not reasoned, and there are medical benefits to marijuana as well. And busting people for trying to help themselves so they don’t puke up their guts when they’re on chemo is just ridiculous.”
“From what I know of his views, he certainly adopts a kind of classic Libertarian position,” says Mark Brewer, an associate professor of political science at the University of Maine.
He says while it’s true that the small-goverment Libertarian movement has shown its presence in recent months, it’s not clear whether Andrew Ian Dodge is their man. But Brewer says Dodge and fellow independent Danny Dalton could pull some support away from GOP candidate Charlie Summers come November.
“Do Dodge or Dalton have a legitimate chance to win this election? No,” Brewer says. “On the other hand could they poll one, two or three percent each? Sure. And if they take that predominantly from Charlie Summers as opposed to, say, Angus King or Cynthia Dill, that’s a big problem for Summers. And I think, he – Summers – more so than King or Dill is the one candidate who has something to kind of worry about here with both Dodge and Dalton.”
The other independent candidate in the race is Yarmouth businessman Steve Woods.
Originally posted on MPBN