Mindy Finn is an American conservative entrepreneur and digital media strategist, who is a candidate for Vice President of the United States in the 2016 election as the running mate of Evan McMullin.
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I am a proud Texan who moved to DC to work in politics and communications. I’ve worked with President George W. Bush and Mitt Romney, as well as Twitter and Google. I started and sold my own business, and I founded the organization Empowered Women to give voice to a bold, new generation of American women in civic life. Although I never thought I’d find myself running for Vice President, when Evan McMullin asked I knew I had to stand up with him to create this new conservative movement.
What is the #1 issue you think both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are not addressing, or fail to solve in either of their platforms, that yours does?
Technology. Our economy has been transformed by technology over the last 20 years, and yet many of our laws were written when computers had punch cards or your email could store 100MB. We need to roll back onerous regulations and tax schemes to allow innovators to start, grow and scale their companies. We need to invest in research and enable new industries to explore and experiment. We also need to update our privacy laws and secure our systems, working across multiple governmental agencies to address cyber-threats and attacks, while enabling public and private entities to educate about the public about their own personal cybersecurity. We have to major party candidates who don't understand the world as it is today. Donald Trump calls addressing online threats "the cyber," and Hillary Clinton never learned to use a personal computer and compromised classified national security information through her personal server.
How do we prevent the Alt-Right/Alt-Reich from becoming a permanent voice in American politics?
We have an opportunity to stand up to them right now. We would not be running if we did not see this election as a national emergency. When our leaders enable and normalize a candidate who indulges the Alt-Right, our leaders help these poisonous voices go mainstream. In addition to building a new conservative movement, we call for a new era of civic engagement where we identify the leaders we want to see in office--the type of leaders who will repudiate racism full-stop--and promote and work to get them elected into office.
In creating a new Conservative movement which values do you see as being central to being "conservative". Which things would this movement be for, and which things would they be against? Things that come to mind are: Climate Change, Gay marriage, Wall street, student debt, Money in Politics, gun rights etc. EDIT: added more options
Do you intend to operate within the Republican Party or as a grassroots movement?
Fundamentally, conservatism is standing for the idea that all men and women are created equal and endowed with the same rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I think it's sad that in 2016 we still have to make that clear, but it's one of our main points on the campaign trail because it's not universally embraced in our politics right now. We also believe that not only do you need to welcome people of all races, backgrounds and faiths but you need to value and respect them. It's not about saying you care, it's about showing you care. We do that by prioritizing policies that matter to communities beyond a white, male demographic e.g. anti-poverty programs, namely criminal justice reform so that non-violent offenders may return back to their families and communities and have an opportunity to support them, welfare programs that don't merely help people survive poverty but instead help them get out of poverty, and education reform that allows parents of children in failing schools to choose alternate options. Re: climate, we believe the climate is changing, and it's impacted by human activity and it's an issue that should be addressed by empowering scientists and innovators to tackle it. We have grown quite skeptical that we can operate within a Republican Party who so casually embraced Donald Trump despite his campaign of sexism, racism and religious bigotry.
What is your opinion on NASA and the space program in general?
I am a fan of NASA and the space program. The discoveries made through NASA help us across many areas such as telecommunications, health care, agriculture and life sciences, and it's important in terms of American competitiveness around the world. Plus, they inspire some of our best movies!
What would you say to people who believe third party votes are wasted votes? What actions are your party taking to compete within a seemingly two party system?
I believe voting for someone who doesn't share your principles is a wasted vote. Voting for the lesser of two evils is still evil, and as long as we continue to approach our votes as a lesser of two evils, we will get terrible leaders. Many people talk about wanting change, and to break the deadlock of the two party system that is not serving us well; your vote is your chance to act on that desire for change.
We are running an unconventional campaign in many ways. One of those ways is that we're not running with a major party behind us, and yet we started from nothing and by standing on principle and for what we believe and have attracted a truly national movement of supporters and volunteers who are the lifeblood of our campaign.
What will you try to do moving forward? Do you hope to start a new party?
We are building a new conservative movement that will usher in a new generation of leadership in this country made up of individuals who stand on principle for basic constitutional principles such as re-balancing power between the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government and returning power back to the states, increasing government accountability and empowering each us in our own lives. If the Republican Party fails to repudiate Donald Trump's bigotry, and supporters like the white nationalists who have been emboldened by Trump, then yes, we will need to start a new party that can embody true conservative ideals. The Party of Lincoln will cease to be and will need to be created anew.
Love seeing a strong, intelligent, conservative woman running for VP. As Evan McMullin's running mate you get to see him under all sorts of conditions. What impressions and/or insights into his qualities as a person and leader would you like to share with prospective voters?
Evan is a steady, thoughtful and resolute leader who is calm under fire. With him, what you see is what you get. He talks a lot about respecting all people, men and women regardless of their race, background or faith, and he walks the walk. He's kind and courteous while also being dogged about standing up for what is right and good. He has a good sense of humor too, which is often needed in the midst of campaigning.
I am unfortunately out of time. I apologize that I couldn't get to all of your questions. We have to get back out there. If you haven't voted already, please do your research and give us a look. We are building a movement to last. You may follow me on Twitter at @mindyfinn and Evan at @Evan_McMullin.
What politicians do you think the Republican party should be modeled after?
Good question. I would have had a decent list for you before this election, but several of the people who I viewed as models for the Republican Party have used their credibility to enable Donald Trump. They did so because they feared giving up any of their own power, and some even said they were "afraid" that Donald Trump or his supporters would criticize them and send them "mean tweets." This is just another reason why we need a new generation of leadership in this country who guards their principles and puts the American people before their own interests.
Favorite/least favorite moment of the campaign so far?
My favorite moment of the campaign so far was standing with state legislators and mayors in Utah who had courageously agreed to put principle and country over party and endorse our campaign. They signed a letter and stood with us in the Capitol in Salt Lake City to express their support. My least favorite moments are saying goodbye to my family to hit the campaign trail, but I feel confident that we're doing the right thing, and when my kids are old enough to understand it, they will too.
What your and Evan's plans for after the election? How do we organize this movement and make real political changes either to the Republican party or outside of it?
What do your sons think of mom running for VP?
No matter the outcome this election, we are most excited about building the new conservative movement, and it's possible that could take the shape of a new party. Some people will have to run for office as part of that movement; we're not wedded to the idea of that being us. The parties are in a place right now where they are like a business that has stalled because it's too focused on the way it's always been done, stymied by fear of change and caught up in inertia rather than it's core purpose; in the case of political parties, their core purpose is to be the body of a set of principles and ideas that Americans can unite around and that will serve the common good and move American forward for the better. They are like the taxi cab industry before Uber came along.
Re: my sons, they are young and don't fully understand what running for Vice President means. Fortunately, that means they are also too young to witness the horror that has been the 2016 election. However, their favorite President is Abraham Lincoln, and my 4-year-old has told me I am like Lincoln. It can't be because of the beard, so I'll take it.
Thoughts on Donald Trump vs Hillary Clinton?
Sorry for the quick Edit adding in "vs Hillary clinton"
I believe that both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton will take our country in the wrong direction: they are both deeply corrupt and both take a command and control approach to government whereby the executive branch has power to make decisions that our Founders envisioned would be the power of the legislative branch and the states. They are dishonest. America is at a crossroads, and we are in this race to try and block them both from the presidency. In the past, I have voted for Republican candidates and worked within the Republican Party, but I am an American with conservative views above all else, and Donald Trump does not represent my values, and more so mimics the world's worst authoritarians with his rhetoric and condemnation and cruelty of those who do not look like him. We are in this race to right the ship and set American back on course to upholding and defending equality and individual liberty.
What would be the McMullin-Finn approach to Syria and the refugee crisis?
My running mate Evan has a lot of expertise on the ground in this area of the world. He published an op-ed just a few days ago explaining in detail his Syria policy: http://foreignpolicy.com/2016/10/31/how-to-turn-things-around-in-syria-evan-mcmullin-for-president/
Evan also had a detailed conversation recently with S.E. Cupp at CNN about this same topic: http://www.cnn.com/2016/10/13/opinions/mcmullin-conversation-utah-cupp/
What is your ticket's energy and environmental policy?
For starters, I think it’s important to acknowledge that we’re seeing a revolution in energy production in the United States. Ten years ago, no one expected we’d be producing more oil than Saudi Arabia. The benefits of this revolution are clear for everyone who has a car — when I went on a road trip with my family to the beach this summer, prices at the pump were a lot more manageable than they were a few years ago.
Despite all this progress, the problems of crony capitalism have had a regrettable impact on energy markets. The federal government provides more than $13 billion in annual subsidies to renewable energy producers, while providing $3.5 billion to fossil fuel producers. And worse, the subsidies often flow to politically connected corporations. Evan and I would end federal subsidies for both renewable and fossil fuel producers and let consumers decide what’s best for them.
Now there’s an environmental aspect to this issue as well. Evan and I believe that climate change is real, yet we believe that private sector innovation is the best way to fight it. For instance, the natural gas boom has driven down CO2 levels to where they were in the 1990s. What we don’t need are more taxes and thousands of pages of new regulations, which is what Hillary wants. We have an obligation to be stewards of the natural environment, but smart stewardship relies on markets and technology, not government control.
I've read some of McMullin's policies and have a question. Evan seems to have the 'if it needs it' approach to regulation and laws, but doesn't really define what it means. For instance, on his issues page under Jobs he has:
"As president, Evan McMullin would direct federal agencies to identify a clear problem that needs to be fixed before resorting to further regulation. If an agency believes regulation is necessary, it would still have to prove that the benefits of a proposed regulation are greater than its costs. The same test would also be applied to existing regulations, which would be lifted if they were not achieving their goals."
As a conservative/libertarian I worry about government overreach and programs that intrude on individual rights in the name of "helping". In yours and McMullins policies, is the only qualifying ideal behind a regulation is whether it is cost effective?
No. No regulation is ever more important than Constitutional rights; that includes the 10th amendment which means returning most of the regulatory power back to the states to empower individuals vs the federal government; there is a role for federal regulation but any regulation needs to be limited, well-executed and effective.
What are your opinions on the latest poll from Monmouth that puts you in third behind Trump and Clinton in Utah?
We don't pay too much attention to any one poll. There has been little consistency in them all along, and none of these pollsters are used to tracking a 3-way race. For example, Monmouth had us at 20% a few weeks ago when other polls had us at or near 30%. Now Monmouth says we're at 24%. So by their numbers, we're gaining not losing, and that's good, but nonetheless their methodology seems out of step with other polls. We have an amazing, energetic group of volunteers on the ground that far surpasses the other campaigns, and continue to stay focused on reaching as many voters as we can and turning them out by Election Day.