"Independent candidate shares views with students"

March 28, 1999 Ė written by Terri Russo, Staff writer

Citrus County chronicle, Crystal River, Florida

A prospective independent presidential candidate made a stop on his tour through Florida Thursday morning to speak to students from Central Catholic School about his political ideas.

Jeffrey Peters, a third-party candidate under the We The People party, took a few moments to tell the students how his grass roots non-profit citizen membership organization makes decisions and how his party stands on some of the issues.

"If he gets it, Iíll be glad to know that I know him. Iíll be glad I know the president," said 14-year old Lysle Tower. "Iíve never actually seen a president before."

Peters said members of his party research, discuss and vote on each issue before taking a stand on it. The group must reach a consensus of at least 60* percent before taking a firm stand on an issue.

Tower asked Peters to tell him what his own position was on abortion after the prospective candidate told the students the group had not yet discussed that issue.

Peters explained to the class that he is trying to be different and stick to the principles of his party.

To preserve the opinions of others in the group, he said, he would not disclose his personal position about topics until a consensus is reached. "I respect every other personís point of view," he said.

Peters then explained some of the issues his party had discussed and approved. In response to peopleís concern that politicians are corrupt, Peters said he supports campaign finance reform. Full employment and term limits were the other two issues his party have approved.

The president serves two terms, and so why isnít it the same for the House and Senate? he questioned.

"I think government should earn our trust to spend our money wisely or not at all," Peters told the students as he discussed some of the areas he believes deserve governmental funding, such as schools.

After his presentation, Peters said one of the things he was most interested in discovering from the students was what their career ambitions were.

"When I was younger, I wanted to be the president of the United States," he said.

"I spent my life studying what it would be like to be a good president."

One of the tasks he said he plans to tackle is to improve voter turnout in the next election. "Two-thirds of the American people didnít voter at the last election. We have to reach just a little over half of those people who didnít vote and get them to stand up and vote and be counted," he said.

"I think the year 2000 could be a turning point in our country," he said, adding that he plans to make a positive difference for the American people before the end of the year 2000.

Peters offered the successes of Thomas Jefferson with the Democratic party and Abraham Lincoln with the Republican party as proof that a new party can succeed. He speculated that neither one of these former presidents would be very pleased with the political parties that exist today.

* Note: the percentage actually needed for consensus and passage on issues is 66%.