Leighton Radner is running for one of two vacancies on the Seward City Council. Radner is a night auditor who is active in the Libertarian Party. He has experience conducting candidate training at the Gold Rush 2021 Libertarian Event and at the 2021 Youth Americans for Liberty Revolution.
During an interview with the Clarion at the Seward Community Library and Museum on Aug. 27, Radner said he’s a part of the Libertarian Party’s Mises Caucus, which advocates Ron Paul-style libertarianism, including cutting government spending, letting private citizens take over the aspects that were cut and city fees for things like business licensing.
Those are the types of actions he’d like to see the Seward City Council take.
“I’d like to privatize the sectors of Seward that are doing things, not very well,” Radner said. “These are places like utilities departments, road maintenance, stuff like this. These are things that the city is supposed to be doing, that, in my opinion, can be done better by private citizens.”
Radner said he was motivated to run for the council in part because of how the city responded to the COVID-19 pandemic. He criticized the implementation of a citywide mask mandate and capacity limits for Seward businesses, which he said harmed the economy and affronted personal liberties.
“Everybody’s opinion on COVID is different and I respect that,” Radner said. “My point of view is if you want to get the vaccine, get the vaccine. If you want to wear a mask, wear a mask, but it should be voluntary. It shouldn’t be up to some overarching power to tell you what you can and can’t do with your body.”
Radner said he was especially troubled by the city reducing business capacity during the pandemic, adding that he has considered opening a business. More broadly, he said it would be good for Seward to invest in small business owners and not “put all of (its) eggs in the cruise ship basket.”
“Ultimately, what makes up small towns like Seward is small business owners, it’s not giant conglomerates,” Radner said.
If elected to the council, Radner said he hopes to limit the role of government in residents’ lives and cast what he calls “principled” votes. He spoke in opposition to politicians saying one thing and then voting in a different way.
“My whole political philosophy is principles,” Radner said. “If you’re a Democrat or Republican, I don’t have a problem with you, I just want you to be principled. I want you to vote and do the things that you say you’re going to do, and I don’t feel like that’s happened here.”
Among Radner’s principles, he said, are lowering taxes, which he said is “theft” from residents and privatizing city services.
He said he’d originally planned to run for city council next year, but that the small applicant pool for the upcoming election helped inform his decision to run. If nothing else, Radner said he hopes to garner more name recognition for whenever he runs for office again.
“I’m not going to leave till I win as far as that goes because this has to be fixed,” Radner said. “It’s my point of view that the only way it’s going to happen is if somebody runs.”
The municipal election is on Oct. 5.
Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at firstname.lastname@example.org.