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Carla Howell Speaks at MIT

Libertarian Senate Candidate Hopes to Downsize Government

By Shefali Oza


Carla Howell, the Libertarian Party Candidate for the US Senate in Massachusetts, spoke at the Tang Center Tuesday night to about 25 people. Howell will run against incumbent Democrat Ted Kennedy and GOP candidate Jack E. Robinson on election day.

Howell emphasized her “small government is beautiful” motto during the speech, which was sponsored by the MIT Society for Political Awareness. An hour-and-a-half question-answer session followed the speech.

“Rarely ever do [politicians] talk about what we can do for the government,” said SPA President Christopher D. Smith ’01 as he introduced the speaker. One of the key features of Howell’s campaign is her support of government downsizing.

Big government causes problems and small government creates solutions, Howell said in her speech. “Since big government makes things worse, small government will make things better,” she said.

Howell said that almost all of the existing big government programs are ineffective because they “squander and waste” the nation’s money. She, instead, promoted “small government programs that [would] give a hand-up instead of a handout.”

If elected to office, Howell said that she would attempt to get rid of the federal income tax and would support any steps to the absolute downsizing of the government.

“A vote for Carla Howell is a vote for small government on every issue, every time, no exceptions, no excuses,” the candidate said.

Howell said she prefers bold and immediate steps towards small government because gradual reductions lead to “intense lobbying by people from programs about to be cut.”

Libertarian Steven M. Stern ’04 was impressed with Howell’s speech in general and said, “[She did] much better than I expected.”

Howell for gay rights, free market

Although Howell’s twenty-minute speech did not cover her stances on many issues, the audience grilled her on these issues during the question-answer session.

Howell is a big advocate of privatizing property wherever possible, “equality under the law” for gay rights, and the free market economy instead of government funding.

She said that a free market economy without government intervention would bring about better research results, more affordable medicines, lower tuition at colleges, and help the nation in general.

Howell concluded her speech to the mostly libertarian audience by encouraging people to vote for her and thanking them for their attendance.

In response to Howell’s speech, Scott Schneider ’00, former president of MIT Libertarians and Radicals for Capitalism, said, “I think [Howell] did fairly well. I especially liked what she said about research and how the free market can bring about much more efficient research.”

Jeff Vachon, a volunteer for the Howell campaign, said that “[Howell] is very popular at the universities” and she “drew a fairly good crowd at MIT for a Tuesday night.”

However, when asked about her chances at winning the election against thirty-eight year incumbent Ted Kennedy, Howell admitted, “It’s a long shot .... I believe if Ted Kennedy had debated me three times, then I would have had a much better shot.” Howell went on to say that “the media’s neglect in covering the race may send Ted Kennedy back to Washington with a walk.”

Students inspire interest in politics

Smith, speaking about why the MIT Society for Political Awareness brought Carla Howell to MIT, said, “We’re trying to educate the student body about the elections.”

He added that “we had Jack Robinson a couple of weeks ago and we anticipate having Ezola Foster, the Vice Presidential Candidate for the Reform Party, on November 1.” Smith said that the response from MIT students has been moderate thus far.

Howell has served as Chairman of the Libertarian Party in Massachusetts from 1997-1999. According to Smith, her efforts have helped make the Libertarian Party the third most popular in Massachusetts.