Michigan gubernatorial primary candidate John Tatar featured in the ‘Sentinel’

John Tatar headshot, wearing dark suit, yellow tie, looking at camera, light brown backdrop as in photo studio (color photo)

John Tatar, one of two 2018 Libertarian candidates for governor of Michigan

Michigan Libertarian John Tatar’s local newspaper, the Redford Sentinel, has run a feature story on his bid for the Libertarian Party nomination for governor. From the article, “Redford’s Tatar making bid for governor’s office as Libertarian” (June 11):

Cutting taxes, bolstering individual and states’ rights and restoring America as a constitutional republic are among gubernatorial candidate John Tatar’s top priorities. The Redford resident is seeking the Libertarian Party’s nomination in the Aug. 7 state primary.

Tatar taught several subjects in the Livonia Public Schools for 31 years. Throughout his teaching career, he also served in the Army reserves as a Lt. Colonel and was activated during Operation Desert Storm.

Now, the 69-year-old wants to continue serving by fixing a political system he believes is broken. Tatar thinks the Republican and Democratic parties have had a lot to do with messing things up.

“The only way we can change what’s going on in the system is … through political will,” he said. “We need to get people involved that are like-minded, that are not corrupted and aren’t chasing the almighty dollar. We need people that are interested in fixing the problem and going back to the republic. That’s the only way we’re going to do this.”

Tatar isn’t the only Redford resident running to replace Rick Snyder as Michigan’s governor. Green Party candidate and Redford Union Schools Board of Education President Jennifer Kurland is also on the campaign trail.

Not his first dance

As for Tatar, he has lived in Redford off and on over the years and returned about a year ago.

“The neighborhood is great,” Tatar said. “People are wonderful here. It’s quiet and I have good neighbors.”

He said he has received positive feedback on his campaign in the township and around the state. Tatar is not a political novice.

He ran for state representative as a Republican in the 1980s and as a Libertarian for U.S. Representative in 2014 in Michigan’s 11th District. Tatar is bringing a little more wisdom to the race for governor, but still believes in keeping the campaign about people, not radio and television ads.

“My trick of the trade, I believe, is actually going out and shaking hands and talking to people,” he said. “This time, I’m out more than I was when I ran for Congress.”

While those at the top of the Republican and Democratic parties tend to control their candidates, Tatar said the Libertarian Party has let him “run his own show.” He said Republican candidates are “backstabbing” each other to get the party nomination, while he and his Libertarian rival get along just fine.

“We meet together, we sit at the same table and we talk,” Tatar said. “We’re not enemies with each other. We’re trying to push forward a political process, an agenda to fix what’s going on in our country, not to fight each other to get the job.”

Tatar’s priorities

Tatar said his biggest goal as a Libertarian candidate is to “drain the swamp in Michigan.” He thinks state government isn’t being run efficiently. Lansing is all about “tax and spend,” in Tatar’s opinion.

“They don’t need (more) money,” he said. “They need to control spending. You and I that live in a household, when we run out of money, we’re done. They should be living on a budget just like everybody else.”

Holding those who run state government accountable for their spending is key, Tatar said. His other objectives include:

  • Eliminating the state income tax
  • Eliminating Michigan’s state senate
  • Cutting property and sales taxes
  • Rebuilding the state’s infrastructure
  • Decriminalizing recreational marijuana

Reducing residents’ tax burden would have a positive impact, according to Tatar.

“The economy would boom in Michigan,” he said. “People would start wanting to buy. People are going to spend it here. They’re going to buy new houses, new cars, and new appliances.”

Tatar, like many Libertarians, is also for reducing the power of the Federal government in favor of increased states’ rights. He would like to see the 17th Amendment — which allows for the election of U.S. Senators by popular vote instead of state legislatures — repealed.

Tatar is an NRA member and a strong advocate for the Second Amendment. Tatar believes gun safety should be taught in school.

“I’d like to see a shooting program in the state of Michigan,” he commented.

Tatar also believes the first amendment is vitally important and that people should be allowed to express themselves the way they want, as long as it doesn’t impede the rights of others.

“America was built on the right of free expression,” he said. “This is critical to the re-establishment of our republic.”

The Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable searches and seizures is being violated frequently, Tatar said.

“The only way we’re going to protect our country and our people is to give us back those rights,” he said, “that we’ve be given to by God.”

We the People

Third-party candidates seem to always face an uphill battle. While Tatar acknowledges he won’t have the campaign war chest of the Republican and Democratic candidates, he thinks he still has a chance.

“I think we have a shot this year,” Tatar said, “better than we’ve had in a long time because of the people I’ve ran into on the street that said, ‘yeah, I’m going to vote for you.’ ”

If he does win the governor’s race, Tatar believes he and other elected officials should follow a new oath of office. It should include a pledge not to take bribes or “promise anything once elected to that office.” Politicians that violate the oath, he said, should be subject to criminal prosecution.

John Tatar 2

Whatever changes can be made need to start with the people of Michigan, Tatar said. Their will and voices must be heard in Lansing.

“It’s going to take the people to say, ‘yeah, we need a change,’ ” Tatar said. “We need to bring back the republic. We need to bring back sanity in the government because it doesn’t exist right now.”

The distinction of America being a constitutional republic is important in his mind.

“We have a republic in this country, not a democracy,” Tatar said. “I’m very strong for the republic. In a democracy, it’s two wolves deciding which sheep is for dinner.”

He believes factions form within democracies and waste time and resources fighting each other. Tatar thinks the focus should be on individual rights, rather than group rights.

“In a republic, we have individual rights and they can’t be taken away because they’ve been given to us by God when we were born,” he said. “They can’t be taken away by government and they can’t be voted away, which is what they’re trying to do right now.”

Tatar has already invested about a year of his time into the election. He said he has traveled to numerous festivals and gun shows to talk to voters and personally gather signatures needed to run for office. Tatar said he wore a distinctive yellow shirt at many of the events he went to.

“It says, ‘I’m not a Democrat; I’m not a Republican; I’m an American and I want my country back,’ ” he said. “People resonate with that.”

The primary election will be held on Aug. 7, and the general election, on Nov. 6.

Learn more at Tatar’s campaign website: JohnJTatar.com