On Jan. 28, Republican gubernatorial candidate John Klar spoke at Hoff Hall after being invited by Tyler-Joseph Ballard, vice president of Castleton University’s Pre-Law Club.
Klar kicked off his talk by advocating for bipartisanship.
He then introduced the list of priorities central to the “Agripublican platform” including the economy, schools and the opioid epidemic.
The values of frugality and personal responsibility featured prominently throughout his 30-minute address, as well as during the period of time in which he answered questions from the audience.
According to Klar, governmental imposition of responsibility onto citizens is ineffective because it creates and rewards dependency.
Klar used his background as a lawyer, farmer and drug counselor to add context and weight to his positions. He invoked multiple personal anecdotes about families he had known struggling with addiction.
And speaking from his experience as a drug counselor, he stated that the government cannot fix the opioid crisis, but that Vermonters as a community can and should volunteer to aid each other.
He went on to discuss that his school policies would be to determine what benefited each school on a case by case basis, instead of the “one-size fits all” policy that he refers to consolidation as.
Klar’s main point of contention with policies put forward by liberal leaders is the disputable practicality of those plans.
“We can’t get away from economics by instituting well-intentioned social plans,” Klar said. “There’s always a disconnect between policy and reality.”
He also said he believes that fixing the economy is the real solution to gun violence, instead of further restrictions on guns.
Despite this criticism, Klar acknowledged several times that he believes both liberals and conservatives share many of the same goals, such as improving schools and better health care for Vermonters, and that he wanted both parties to work together.
Klar ended the event by summarizing what the Agripublican movement was about.
“It’s farmers. We put our boots on and go and clean up the crap in the bloated dome and pop the tick belly and make sure we get the head out,” he said.