Jackson man announces presidential candidacy today in Washington
by Peter Case
There is something presidential up the sleeve of the newest candidate to
announce for the highest office in the land. Jeff Peters, 51, of Jackson,
will announce today at the National Press Club, in Washington, that he has
filed the necessary forms to run for president. No, he's not kidding. By
filing on the last allowable day, Peters hopes to make the point that
presidential campaigns go on too long. "They are also too costly," Peters
says, "and that is the real problem."
Because of the level and length of
the competition, obscene amounts of money are required to stay in the
race," he explained over the phone from Washington. Peters says that he
agrees with Bradley and McCain that major contributors, such as
corporations and unions, give money, but not freely. They do so for the
access that is implicit in such a gift.
Peters marched with "Granny D," of
Dublin, for a part of her cross-country trek and he is very pleased at the
attention she has brought to this "most critical" issue. Granny D, also
known as Doris Haddock, is walking from Pasadena, Calif., to Washington to
bring attention to campaign reform. She will arrive on her 90th birthday
on January 24, 2000. She touts, at every public appearance and on her web
site, that special interests have no right to control legislative
decisions by paying into campaigns where their own interests are
represented or where the size of a donation guarantees the cooperation of
influential law makers.
This is the cornerstone of Peters' campaign. Both
Granny D and Peters believe that public financing of candidates, which he
calculates will cost each tax payer $10, is the best way to eliminate the
power of special interest groups. Peters, who graduated Harvard, cum
laude and has a masters degree in government, says, "This is not about my
ego." He believes he has developed a plan that can be put in place as a
fall back mechanism if neither Bradley nor McCain win their respective
Bush and Gore have said little about the negative
effects of influence peddling through campaign contributions. Peters
proposes to recruit either McCain or Bradley to "We The People," an
independent political party that he founded with his wife Cici, and is
looking at this campaign from a few different, and unorthodox, angles.
independent candidate has ever won the presidency without belonging to a
registered party. Abraham Lincoln won, from the newly formed Republican
Party (1860), with 39 percent of the vote," he said. He pointed out that,
more recently, former pro-wrestling champion Jesse "The Body" Ventura
became governor of Minnesota as a Reform Party candidate, by capturing 36
percent of the vote. "The interesting thing is, that Governor Ventura
initiated enough interest in his campaign that 15 percent of all
non-voters in the state registered on election day and voted for him. This
made the difference," he offered as proof for his postulation.
In the last
election, 60 percent of eligible voters stayed home. "In New Hampshire, I
could run against either of the other two parties as a 'favorite son
candidate'. If I get even 10 percent of the vote, I will have enough
leverage to throw my weight toward the candidate who is most against
special interest," he said.
He ended with a pledge that summed up the
purpose of the "We the People" party: It is important that we have a
candidate with the goal of full public finance for full public service,
not private financing for private interests.