Libertarian candidate for Governor Cliff Hyra held an impromptu press conference this morning to discuss his opponents’ negativity and to ask voters to look to him as the true voice of the people.
Criticizing his opponents for their aggressive attack ads, Hyra wants to bring meaning back to this election in the remaining five days of Virginia’s gubernatorial campaign. According to Hyra, Virginians care about the economy, health care, criminal justice reform, and education, not the vitriolic attack ads and discussions about monuments and Enron.
“From now until election day, please join me in focusing on real issues that have a meaningful impact on the material well-being of Virginians,” said Hyra, standing in front of the bell tower at the Virginia Capitol Square.
Citing a conversation with his seven-year-old daughter, who asked, “Do grown-ups really fight like that?” Hyra shared his concerns about the negativity not only as a candidate but as a parent. Over the past few months, the tone of this election has become one of anger and aggression and has steered away from the critical issues that need addressing throughout the Commonwealth. The name-calling and mudslinging have turned this campaign into a playground fight that has attracted national news, instead of a gubernatorial debate over substantive policy issues.
“Our political opponents are not demons,” said Hyra. “They are our brothers and our sisters, they bleed like we bleed, and they want, at a high level, most of the same things that we want. And I wish that the other candidates felt the same way.”
Like many Virginians, Hyra is fed up with the negative campaigns and concerned about where politics are headed.
“I fear for the future of the Commonwealth and our nation when even the most staid candidates feel they have to [descend to] this level of discourse to win an election and are willing to do so,” said Hyra in conclusion.
After the press conference, RVA Mag got some one-on-one time with Hyra to discuss issues affecting our readers. One of our primary questions was how the other candidates have become so wrapped up in the vitriol of this election instead of focusing on what is important to Virginians.
“Well, I think they are convinced it’s effective and I think they there running a consultant-driven campaign and someone along the line told them if you want to win you have to do this,” Hyra said. “The most important thing to them is that they win, and I understand, I feel the same way… It’s important to win, that’s the way I feel I can do the most good for the people of Virginia. But not at any cost. Because there are bigger things at stake than just this one election. I think our whole culture and society have been heading the wrong direction over the past few years.”
When asked his message to young people his mood lightened, even though he made it clear that most young people (like himself) were really turned off by the tenor of the campaign, which he said his opponents probably wanted.
“I think strategically, they are trying to drive down the voter participation. I think it’s a real concern that people are going to stay home, and it’s a really important election for the future of Virginia,” he said. “The governor has so much power here, and there are so many things that we need to change. So I’m encouraging them to ignore all the noise you hear on the TV and the radio. Look at the positive statements the candidates are making based on the issues, and show up and vote based on that.”
Hyra concluded his one-on-one with RVA Mag by stressing that people should get out there and vote for a candidate who doesn’t engage in the mudslinging.
“If you don’t like the attack ads, if you’re not happy with the way the candidates are behaving, please be aware there is a third candidate who is not doing that, who represents a different kind of politics,” said Hyra. “If candidates see they are losing votes because of that, they are going to change, so if you want positive change and you want things to be different, come out and vote.”
*Photos by Landon Shroder