Florida candidate for governor Adrian Wyllie made waves this week when it was announced the Libertarian will take part in the October televised debate alongside current Gov. Rick Scott, former Gov. Charlie Crist and former Florida Senate Minority Leader Nan Rich, both Democrats.
Wyllie was in Key West on Wednesday to express his pro-marijuana legalization, support for marriage equality, and views on fishing regulations as part of his vision for Florida and the nation. He is politicking across South Florida and the Keys in an effort to get the word out on his campaign.
The 43-year-old Pinellas County native, former U.S. Army and Florida National Guard soldier and journalist didn't mince words. The father of two sons, ages 14 and 20, faces strong competition from Scott and Crist, but Wyllie said he was polling at 16 percent approval ratings as of Wednesday.
"I see Rick Scott and Charlie Crist as virtually identical, and neither have proven good for the people of Florida," Wyllie said. "I see virtually no difference (between the primary political parties) anymore. When I go to street festivals and I'm on the campaign trail, the first question people ask me is whether I'm a Republican or a Democrat. When I say neither, their demeanor totally changes.
"It's wonderful," he said. "People are so disillusioned. I think if we had the money, we'd win. We just don't have the hundreds of millions to spend."
He then weighed in on several key issues of the campaign:
"I think the public at large, and this is very true of the people of Florida, realize that marijuana is not the bogeyman that the government has made it out to be, and that has really shaped people's views of medical marijuana," Wyllie said. "The bottom line is that freedom is the issue, and it's insane to draw up comparisons or make conclusions about marijuana being a gateway drug when we know that's not the issue, because the numbers just don't add up."
On gay marriage, he said: "If you look at Black's Law Dictionary, a license is permission to do something that is otherwise illegal, and I'm saying the government doesn't have the authority to dictate who we chose to love and cherish. Marriage licenses were introduced after the Civil War to prevent interracial marriage. I would do away with marriage licenses."
When the subject of fishing regulations arose, Wyllie referenced his proposed Florida Intrastate Commerce Act, which if passed would certainly elevate some complaints made by Keys commercial fishermen that they are overregulated.
The act as per his website is described as: "This act will provide that any product that is grown, manufactured, constructed, fabricated, or assembled in Florida, and distributed and sold in Florida, will be completely immune from any federal regulation whatsoever. Any commercial or professional service that is provided exclusively within Florida's borders will also be immune from federal regulation. This means that everything from food, to firearms, to health care, will be completely exempt from federal regulation."
It's important to note that fish sold across state lines or across national borders, such as lobster sold to China, will be subject to federal regulation, Wyllie said. He was emphatic that less government is the answer to much of Florida's woes.
"I really love the spirit of the Keys and the concept of the Conch Republic, which I think is the spirit of rugged individualism and freedom that I think everyone in Florida is ready to move toward," Wyllie said.
Information about Wyllie's platform can be found at wyllieforgovernor.com.