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Jonathan Parrish, a 33-year-old graphic designer from Lynchburg, is seeking the 23rd District House of Delegates seat as a Libertarian candidate. He’s a 1999 Jefferson Forest High School graduate who earned a bachelor’s degree in communications, with a concentration in graphic design, from Liberty University.
“This is my first time ever seeking elective office,” he said.
Parrish said he has been a “armchair Libertarian” for a long time but officially joined the party early this year. He said he did this because he began seeing things on a national level that bothered him.
“I wanted to give voters another choice,” he said.
Parrish said he is running for the House of Delegates “to show people in the area that the Libertarian Party is active.”
“I’d like to see marijuana reform,” Parrish said.
He believes a lot of money is currently being spent to prosecute and incarcerate people for what he termed a victimless crime.
“I would support legalizing and regulating marijuana like we regulate alcohol and cigarettes,” Parish said, explaining his position on cannabis.
Like alcohol and cigarettes, Parish does not believe minors should be allowed to buy marijuana. Marijuana would be kept behind the counter at stores and adults would have to show an ID to buy it.
Although he supports legalizing marijuana, Parrish said he will do what his constituents want him to do. If they say “no” to legalized marijuana, then he promised he would vote against any bill to legalize it.
“I don’t smoke marijuana,” he added.
“Whoever goes to government is supposed to represent the people,” Parrish commented. “If the party says vote one way and the people say the other way, I will vote with the people. That’s what you are supposed to do.”
In order to assess constituent wishes on legislation, Parrish would like to see a data base created with every registered voter in it. Voters would be able to submit their opinion using a voter ID as a password. The voter ID would keep outside groups from getting in. No record would be kept associating the ID the opinion that was submitted and the system would only collect the minimum amount of data from each voter needed to make sure that nobody votes multiple times on the same bill. Parrish said this would allow voters to vote on a list of bills under consideration and make comments.
He would also like to see education reform.
“I’ve talked to a lot of teachers who are unhappy with the SOLs,” he said. “I’d like to see them done away with.”
Parrish wants to see all bills before the House of Delegates placed on the Internet 48 hours before any votes are taken on them.
“I’d like to see a bill like that for all bills,” he said. “It’s a good, common sense bill, I think.”
Parrish wants to look at how school money is spent. He believes communities should have more control and would give schools more autonomy about how education funds are spent. Parrish thinks state control of school money results.
Parrish likes charter schools, but he does not like voucher systems. This is because he believes that, if public money goes to private schools, there is a risk that regulation will follow it.
“I’m open to the idea of tax reform,” he said.
Parrish said he would like to either lower or abolish the state income tax. He also thinks lower business taxes will help create jobs.
“I also support term limits,” he said. “I don’t think we need any more career politicians.”
Parrish said he can’t think of a situation in which he would recommend that anyone have an abortion, but he opposes making abortion illegal because that would just drive it to a black market. The demand for abortion would still be there, but making it illegal would drive the supply to places where it would be more dangerous. However, he said he would vote for restrictions on abortion if his constituents want them.
He opposes gun control.
“I think people should be able to purchase and own whatever they like,” he said.