by HANNAH NELSON//Staff Writer
Issues such as hemp production and gun control were discussed during a Congressional forum recently held on the Levelland campus of South Plains College.
The event featuring Troy Bonar, a Libertarian Party candidate for District 19, was hosted by the Social Science Department, with Drew Landry, assistant professor of government, serving as moderator.
Bonar grew up in Michigan, but he has been residing in Abilene, Texas for 22 years.
“I grew up on farms, and then I joined the military in 1993 right after I graduated high school,” Bonar told the group on Oct. 7 in the Sundown Room of the Student Center.
His position is what brought him all around Texas and to Bosnia, where he was able to help people and contribute to the military until 1997.
Bonar became interested in the Libertarian party once he felt the Republicans were not representing him. He also took the “world’s smallest political quiz.” He then became more interested in his party. He started going to meetings and volunteering as a way to become a part of the process.
During the forum, he gave a brief description of the party, comparing it to what we learn as children.
“Treat each other as you would like to be treated,” Bonar explained. “Don’t take other people’s stuff.”
He states that many aspects within the party come from self-ownership.
“Each individual has the right to control his or her own body, actions, speech, and property,” says Bonar. “The government’s role should be to help individuals defend themselves from force or fraud.”
One of the main points within the Libertarian party that Bonar emphasized is mutual respect. Just because people have different choices does not mean they should be threatened, he said. Bonar said he believes that the government should be put to this same standard.
Throughout the forum, Bonar discussed a variety of issues, including Bi-Partisanship, or what he refers to as the B.S. in the forum. The two major parties, Democrats and Republicans, are going against each other again and again.
“Keep on voting Republican, keep on voting Democratic, you are going to get the same results,” said Bonar.
He explains that with a system such as this, there is no process to be made. The two-party system keeps the same political game in the process.
“We have got to cut through the B.S, the bi-partisan system,” Bonar said.
Another topic that was discussed by Bonar was gun control.
“There used to be open carry… and it wasn’t restricted.,” he explained.
Bonar believes the problem with guns lies within society. To him, responsibility and the value of life is what taught him to be responsible with a weapon.
“You have to have those values, but where are we learning those values?” Bonar said. “Unfortunately, we’ve failed society. We are failing our children. We are failing each other.”
A main point that was made during the forum was the production of hemp. Bonar discussed his viewpoint on farming and the government involvement. He believes that with farming, they are not succeeding. A main problem that he sees is the amount of restrictions and regulations that are put on farming, plus the explicit growth of cotton and other specific crops.
“If we want to make some significant changes, and actually bring some profit to West Texas, we need to be able to grow hemp,” says Bonar. “One acre of hemp fiber equals about three to four acres of cotton.”
A benefit of hemp, in Bonar’s eyes, is that it is drought resistant, and it also does not require pesticides. Hemp has a variety of purposes, including fuel, building material, and paper.
“It’s interesting that we are uneducated about the possibilities and economic potential of hemp products,” said Bonar.
For more information about Bonar, go to his Facebook page. He also has a website that has material and information available.