We The People
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 party's nomination.

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.

"No 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.

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