There has been talk of which horse here in the Derby will be the top horse in 2012. But what about Gary Johnson? He was recently interviewed for The New Republic.

First who is he? Gary Johnson was the 29th governor of New Mexico, but before that he was just a regular citizen and small business owner. I also want to mention here as well, he financed his own campaign, with his own money too. He’s said he did that so that he wouldn’t be beholden to anyone. Nice. He also did some good things during his 8 years in office, some of which included:

  • Never raising taxes, in a very blue and very Democrat controlled state, but actually cutting them 14 times!

  • Cut over 1200 state government jobs without layoffs or furloughs (the latter of which, seem to be the current favorite of balancing the state budget and staff in the Land of Enchantment these days — the people of New Mexico thank you Bill Richardson).
  • Vetoing over 750 bills — some even sponsored by Republicans.
  • Advocating for school vouchers as a way to improve education. He actually vetoed the state budget one year because it did not include a school voucher program.

These days, he’s most known for his views on decriminalizing marijuana, and while I disagree with him on this and some of his other stands on social issues, I will say this, he left New Mexico in good shape. He shrunk the size of government here, and he took on the corruption that is endemic in the Land of Enchantment. He was a good governor and a nice guy too. In all of his house cleaning he managed to keep the peace and made very few enemies. We often look back on his governorship with fond memories, and wish for the Johnson days.

Gary Johnson is worth a look for 2012.