Declared 2016 



Entrepreneur


Jeremiah Pent was born in Arlington, Texas, and raised in Fort Worth. After graduating from high school and marriage, he and his family moved several times around the country, and currently reside in Pennsylvania. He briefly studied at Texas Christian University, but would eventually earn his Masters Degree (in Divinity) from the Westminster Theological Seminary. Professionally, he is an entrepreneur, having founded and run several businesses in a number of industries including agriculture and toy manufacturing.

Pent speaks in broad terms of the need to address the social and economic issues facing the US. He believes the biggest problem currently plaguing the nation is its own lack of unity, and that all other challenges can more easily be overcome if the divisions between religious and ethnic groups can be ameliorated. Other than admitting that this will be a difficult (but achievable) task, however, he offers few specifics on how it might be accomplished. Economically, he favors a balanced budget, advocating the maintenance of a federal government that operates within its means just as, he says, average American families must do. He believes this goal can be reached through middle class tax cuts and a careful restructuring and streamlining of the government's operations.

Pent is particularly preoccupied with the American educational system and its importance to the nation's children, and speaks at length of ensuring that schools are staffed by competent teachers able to properly guide and instruct their students. Once again, however, he is sparse on describing any specific changes which he feels should be made to or by the schools.

An independent candidate, Pent worries over the stark dichotomy between Republicans and Democrats, and claims that these two parties collectively represent only about a third of the American population. He points out the fact that George Washington, the nation's first President, was himself an independent, and that many Presidents immediately following him also did not formally belong to any political party. Concerned about the influence wielded over politicians by wealthy donors, Pent has pledged to accept campaign contributions only from individuals, not rich supporters who act through Political Action Committees and super PACs.

Due to Pent's reluctance to discuss his specific policy ideas, it is difficult to evaluate which voting demographics would be most likely to support and oppose him.
 
 
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Declared 2016 



Bus Driver


Benjamin Weigel was born and raised in Bakersfield, California. He is a graduate of Bakersfield High School, from which he counts several notable athletes and politicians as fellow alumni. After graduation, he enlisted in the US Marine Corps, where he served for thirteen years. He was both stationed domestically and deployed overseas numerous times, including to Ramadi, Iraq, where he saw combat. He spent two years in the Air Force Reserve following his time in the Marines, then chose to end his military career entirely due to injuries sustained during his service. He is presently pursuing a bachelors' degree while working full time as a bus driver.

As a candidate, Weigel comes down slightly right of center, but he is not firmly bound to any particular ideology. He is extremely pro-military, arguing that the United States cannot afford to reduce its armed forces in light of threats from terrorists and hostile nations, and he criticizes elected leaders for comprising, in their majority, people who have never served. He also values the role which veterans play in civilian industry and praises efforts such as the Wounded Warrior project, while calling for further initiatives and denouncing the ignorance of businesses who do not understand what former military people have to offer. He calls for a balanced budget, saying this can be easily achieved and blaming the deficit on the government's improper allocation of existing tax revenues. While he considers illegal immigration to be a border security issue, he opposes existing proposals such as the construction of border walls, and he does not support amnesty.

Weigel advocates for strong civilian oversight of law enforcement agencies, as a check against incidents of police brutality and racism. He specifically rejects internal and intra-agency investigations, as he says that law enforcement share a common culture of mutual protection, and thus their efforts to police themselves are not reliable.

Running as an Independent, Weigel avoids taking strong positions on controversial issues, but where he does commit, he is more right-leaning than not – particularly in his support of the military. Still, it is the centrist who will most agree with his platform, with those strongly right or left likely feeling the depth of his positions to be lacking.

 
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