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Libertarian candidates for gov., lt. gov. meet voters

Libertarian gubertnatorial candidate Matt Hackenburg, left, and lieutenent gubernatorial candidate Tim McMaster speak with guests at a campaign event at the Hardwood Cafe Saturday in Penn Township. Seb Foltz/Butler Eagle

PENN TWP — The Libertarian Party’s candidates for governor and lieutenant governor spoke with interested Butler County voters Saturday afternoon.

Matt Hackenburg, the party’s gubernatorial candidate, and Tim McMaster, the Libertarian candidate for lieutenant governor, gathered with interested voters in the Hardwood Cafe from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.

Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Matt Hackenburg, left, and lieutenent gubernatorial candidate Tim McMaster speak with guests at a campaign event Saturday at the Hardwood Cafe. Seb Foltz/Butler Eagle

Some in attendance wore shirts emblazoned with the phrase “Defend the Guard,” model legislation advanced in numerous states which would prohibit the use of state National Guard units in foreign conflicts. Such legislation is a key part of both Hackenburg’s and McMaster’s platforms.

Hackenburg, a former Army National Guardsman, said he became interested in running for governor when tensions increased between Russia and Ukraine.

“I don’t think the U.S. should be involved (in the Russia-Ukraine war), but at the very least Pennsylvanians should not,” Hackenburg said.

While Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was Hackenburg’s impetus for running for governor — both he and McMaster were nominated by the state Libertarian Party in early March — Hackenburg said his interest in politics was driven by the state government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The COVID hysteria sparked a major interest in the (Libertarian) movement, including me,” Hackenburg said.

McMaster echoed Hackenburg’s comments about the state National Guard, and said he would be a quality lieutenant governor because of that position’s role as chairman of the state’s Board of Pardons and the Libertarian Party’s push to decriminalize minor crimes such as marijuana possession.

“As part of our decriminalization plan, having a Libertarian on the Pardons Board” would further the process, he said.

McMaster also advocated for reducing — or completely eliminating — property taxes.

"Quite honestly, it’s a sin that you buy a property and pay for it for 20 to 30 years, and then you have to rent it from the government,“ he said.