ELKO — Policies and ideologies such as upholding Second Amendment rights are cornerstones of what Janine Hansen said the third largest party in Nevada hopes to bring to the forefront.
“We wouldn’t have a party if it weren’t for our foundational fundamental beliefs, because that’s why we exist — to promote basic American values and the Constitutional principles,” she said.
The Independent American Party wants to not only protect the rights granted to Americans in the U.S. Constitution — and adhere to them in their original form — but maintain the meaning of the family unit in Nevada legislation.
It is a state affiliate of the national Constitution Party.
“We focus on the real issues that affect the everyday Nevadan, and so it’s important to us to run for office … and it’s important for us to continue to hold our elected officials accountable by challenging them in the election,” said Hansen, a Nevada State Senate hopeful for District 19.
“There are a lot of issues that are never discussed unless we’re in the race,” she said.
Calling the promotion of such issues the purpose of the party, Hansen said they include: cutting taxes, as the Republican majority passed the largest tax increase in Nevada’s history; protecting the borders to stop illegal aliens; protecting parental notification; and the rights of gun ownership — including campus carry for women to defend themselves.
Another law that was questioned by the IAP is “an anti-bullying law that the governor pushed through that essentially takes away the privacy and the safety of the students in the schools, because it forces the issue that a transgender can go to any locker room, any shower, any bathroom they want whether they’re biologically a girl or a boy,” said Hansen. “It doesn’t matter. That disregards the right of the average student.”
She told the Free Press the IAP has approximately 70,000 registered voters and maintains the objective of keeping “our politicians honest.”
Adhering to the Constitution
“We consider ourselves to be Constitutionalists. We’re very interested in maintaining our Constitutional liberties and the structure of the Constitution,” said Hansen.
“I think most of the problems we have today — like massive government, massive debt, massive taxation, all of these social programs that we have — are because we have not adhered to the Constitution,” she said, when asked if the document still has a place in today’s government and society.
She cited examples such as the government overreaching on Nevada’s lands, having a massive federal debt, weighty taxation, why there is not a better economy, and federal interference in education.
“The Constitution is the foundation of the American Republic. It limits government, provides for the separation of powers, and guarantees our God-given rights. All laws should comply with the U.S. and Nevada Constitutions,” states the Nevada IAP platform.
It continues to explain that the power of the president to issue executive orders should be limited as well.
Essentially, while party members may come from diverse backgrounds they agree on the Constitutional platforms proposed by the IAP.
“That’s not necessarily the case with every single candidate we have, but almost, because they have to support the platform or they can’t run on our party,” she said.
In line with this belief in adhering to the Constitution, the IAP is opposed to a bill for an Article V Constitutional Convention of the States.
Hansen explained this proposed convention would be an anomaly. It has never been done before.
“The only historical event would be the original Constitutional Convention and it could put many of our basic rights, like the right to keep and bear arms, in jeopardy,” she said.
A convention, such as this, is not limited in the Constitution as this article allows for government bodies to propose amendments to the document.
“We do not feel that there are any safety measures that would protect our Constitutional liberties in such a circumstance,” she concluded on the subject.
The Las Vegas Sun reported a decrease in the number of candidates for the party.
However, Hansen said the IAP is not on the verge of losing its qualifications to be on the election ballot because of the almost 70,000 registered voters maintaining its eligibility. She said only one percent of registered voters are required.
“We have to keep working in order to build the party,” said Hansen.
According to the Nevada Secretary of State’s Office, the number of active voters registered in the party is up by 6,035 compared to March of 2012.
Many local offices, such as county treasurer, and statewide offices are not up for election this year.
“This is an off-year for state elections so there aren’t as many races to run for,” she said.
The IAP does not have a primary when selecting candidates.
“For minor parties in the state of Nevada, our candidates are selected at our state convention and then they go directly to the November ballot,” said Hansen.
This year nine candidates were selected. The party’s state convention was in March in Elko.
“We’ve had as many as 54 candidates. We got back on the ballot in 1992 and we’ve been building since then. We have a candidate for U.S. Senate, all four congressional seats, and then local offices,” she said, explaining it is essential for candidates to run to maintain party status.
However, the IAP tries to swing the pressure from a migration to the left and push it back to the right “to go back to the Constitutional mean of limited, self-government.”
She said as the GOP moves farther left, the IAP tries to “bring them back to limited self-government.”
Hansen’s run for office
Hansen is running against incumbent Pete Goicoechea, R-Eureka, in the Nevada Senate race for District 19.
Hansen’s campaign platform is “in exact alignment with my party. We don’t allow people to run in our party that don’t agree with our platform, unlike the Republicans or the Democrats.”
She added the Democrats mostly align with their party but the same is not necessarily true of the Republicans.
“There wouldn’t be anything in the (party’s) platform that I wouldn’t agree with,” said Hansen.
A native Nevadan and an experienced candidate, Hansen was a citizen advocate for the Nevada Legislature from 1971 to 2013, and since 1991, she has been a full-time volunteer citizen lobbyist for Nevada Families/Eagle Forum and the IAP.
“In understanding the process, and in knowing the people and the staff, and how it works, I think I can be a very effective advocate for the people,” she said, explaining depending on the issue, she works with both parties.
“You don’t get anything done by yourself,” said Hansen.
In running for office, members of the IAP create a conversation on many issues. Hansen said she agrees with Goicoechea on some major issues: he voted against the tax increase and is an advocate for returning the control of public lands to Nevada.
“I’m not really running against Senator Goicoechea I’m running to promote these issues and these principles and to have a public discussion of why they’re important. When you run for office, there’s an unprecedented opportunity for a soapbox,” said Hansen, explaining this is an opportunity to educate, inform, find like-minded individuals and to work together to “restore and protect our Constitutional liberties.”
Running for office is far more than the simple act of doing so for Hansen. She has 13 grandchildren and she wants to “have a free America for them.”
“I think most of the problems we have today — like massive government, massive debt, massive taxation, all of these social programs that we have — are because we have not adhered to the Constitution.” — Janine Hansen