In 2008, John Monds made an unsuccessful run for a seat on the Public Service Commission but garnered more than 1 million votes, a first for a Libertarian Party candidate.
A graduate of Morehouse College with a degree in finance, Monds, 45, lives in Cairo, where he is a stay-at-home dad. He home schools his four children, the oldest age 13 and the youngest 4.
Q: You are a fifth-generation Georgian. Tell me about the first.
A: I have traced my family roots to Talbot County. How they got there is still a mystery. I think most of them came from Virginia. My “guestimation” is that they were slaves. A lot of farms in Virginia were failing at that time because of soil erosion. A lot of slave owners sold off slaves to raise money to pay debt.
Q: How many home schooling, stay-at-home dads from South Georgia like you do you know?
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A: We belong to a home school co-op. Typically, I am the only father at most of the events. I am very accepted by the moms.
Q: Why did you decide to go that route?
A: You can tailor your teaching to the child. In the government system, you don’t have that type of flexibility. Also, you can instill a moral foundation not only to their life but to their learning.
Q: What have you learned from your kids?
A: All of us when growing up are just trying to get through. I can learn or relearn things that maybe weren’t covered so completely in my school. You learn from the kids themselves. You get to know their personalities and their differences.
Q: What is a Libertarian?
A: The easiest and shortest definition is someone with a fundamental respect for the rights of individuals.
Q: Wouldn’t Republicans and Democrats make that same claim?
A: Talk is cheap. Time and time again, they have proved that that is not true.
Q: Name one key issue where you would disagree with Republicans.
A: A lot of people look at Libertarians and Republicans as similar. I think Republicans want to control people’s social lives. I just think that is wrong.
Q: Are you anti-government?
A: My philosophy is the less the better. Is there a role for government to play? I would say yes. But the role should be very minimal.
Q: Why should voters select your name if most don’t think you have a chance of winning?
A: That is what we call the wasted vote thing. If the citizens of Georgia want different outcomes from what they’ve been getting in the past, they can’t continue to make the same choices. If they truly believe in less government intrusion in their lives, if they want to see the tax rates go down, I would be the only choice. If they vote for my opponent, that is a wasted vote.
Q: What would it take for Libertarians to gain majority status in Georgia?
A: To get full party recognition. Right now, we don’t have the same ballot access as the other major parties. That makes it difficult for us to run more candidates.
Q: What are your thoughts about the tea party?
A: I like any group of citizens willing to stand up and become active in the process. I feel at home with the tea party folk.
Q: You don’t consider members of the tea party racist?
A: Most people who have talked about the racist aspect of the tea party probably haven’t participated in the events. Even though it is not a largely diverse group, it is still diverse.
Q: How did you get 33 percent of the vote in your PSC race against a Republican incumbent?
A: It was the circumstances of the race — I won’t deny that. There was no Democrat running. With President [Barack] Obama’s candidacy, there was a lot of activism on the Democratic side.
Q: You want to get rid of the income and property tax and run the state on sales tax alone. Is that possible given the current budget crisis?
A: I would like to. The problem is finding a feasible way to do that. I have talked about transitioning away from Georgia income tax and offsetting that with a freer market.
I think there are several examples where we would be able to grow the economy. I am in favor of casino gambling. I am in favor of Sunday sales [of alcohol]. The horse racing industry would love to build up horse- racing in Georgia. I am in favor of that. I may not support any of these industries. Right now we have a government that says we don’t like your industry. That is not for government to say; that is for the marketplace and individual to make those kinds of choices.
Q: You are the first African-American to appear on Georgia’s General Election ballot for governor. Is that particularly meaningful to you?
A: Absolutely. I don’t run away from the historical aspect of my candidacy. I don’t think that it is the No. 1 thing that should draw people to why I am running or to vote for me.