Jake Crocker has been a small business owner in Richmond for years, and currently owns three restaurants (Uptown Market & Deli, F.W. Sullivan’s and Lady N’awlins) in the city. Now, however, he is venturing out to try something new: he is running as a Libertarian candidate for the House of Delegates’ 69th District.
Crocker has been involved in politics at the local level for years, particularly as president of both the Uptown Civic Association and the Fan Area Business Alliance.
“I’ve been very involved, and very passionate about small, community-owned businesses,” said Crocker. “And Richmond is filled with businesses that are not only in the city, but are owned by guys like me.”
Having pushed local issues for years, Crocker decided that now was the time to run for public office. His stance is uniquely libertarian and his concern is about limiting bureaucracy, which he says is “strangling small businesses.”
He finds that both the Democrats and the Republicans are responsible for this supposed government overreach, and that the problem stems from a lack of entrepreneurs in the General Assembly. Instead, Crocker claims that state government is composed mostly of “career politicians” who don’t understand how their legislation impacts the communities they serve.
Crocker’s belief in libertarianism stems from his beliefs in small government, claiming a “live and let live type of mentality” which removes government interference in citizens’ personal lives. As an example of this, he referenced the transgender bathroom debate that is currently buzzing around the country, saying that the government should not be involved in “what’s going on in your bedroom and your bathrooms.”
Crocker said that this downsized form of government “is where most of America is at right now, and that’s why you’re seeing the Libertarian Party gaining strength.”
Crocker is running against the Democrat incumbent for the 69th District, Betsy Carr.”My opponent has been in office for many years and been nothing but encouraging of my businesses, so I have no ill will toward her,” said Crocker. “I just think it’s time that we see a small business guy like myself get in there and help the rest of the General Assembly understand what we’re going through, and help our communities and our commonwealth thrive.”
He has identified as both a Democrat and a Republican in the past, but it was always libertarian ideas that intrigued him the most. He sees this as an advantage on election day, believing that, “as one side moves farther left and one side moves farther right, you have this big middle ground.” He does share some interests with the GOP, however, especially in terms of the kinds of fiscal conservatism that the party abandoned back in the 90’s.
“But the Republican Party has not preached that in quite some time, they’re a little all over the place these days,” he said.
Crocker’s libertarian ideals also overlap with the Democratic Party’s philosophy of social justice. He said that he decided he liked the Libertarian Party the best because he found it used the best concepts from both parties.
“Libertarians are the party that really makes sense to most people when you really get into their personal views and their personal politics,” said Crocker in conclusion.
The general election for the House of Delegates will also share a ballot with the gubernatorial race, which will take place on November 7, 2017.
Photo by Ryan De Neff