By LESLEE BASSMAN, Four Points News
With his May 23 Federal Election Commission filing, Brian Newnan of River Place, formally declared his candidacy for the United States 2020 presidential election.
The 23-year River Place resident’s declaration lists his affiliation as a Democrat and Newnan joins 743 other candidates who have registered for the race as of June 3. Newnan has no previous experience holding a political office.
“This is new for me,” Newnan said. “I wanted to find out, ‘could a citizen, without money, actually be able to run for an office. I thought there’s no better office to run for than for president.”
He said he desired to challenge President Donald Trump for the office as well as use this action to encourage other residents to become acquainted with the issues the country is facing and vote.
Newnan, who lives on China Garden Street, said he won’t accept any campaign donations because those funds would influence his decision making. He donated only $1 dollar to his campaign.
“I won’t take any more money than that because I might then be influenced by money,” Newnan said. “I will not accept any donations.”
By not accepting funds, he said he is limited in renting space for a town hall meeting and printing banners, using only the printing paper he has resourced.
“I don’t really see this campaign going very far other than as a citizen running for the president,” Newnan said. “I want to get people engaged. I go on my walk every day and I talk to many people on my walk and I get them engaged about topics. My point is get the people out to vote. Vote your interest.”
Of Scottish heritage, Newnan moved from California because of the state’s high tax rate and his desire to build his retirement fund, he said. As a publisher specializing in professional licensing reviews for engineers and textbooks in economic analysis, Newnan said he wanted to be near a university that housed sources for his material. He and his wife moved to River Place in 1996. Newnan retired in 2000 and, by 2004, he “was completely tired of doing nothing.” He found an opening in the city’s appraisal district and, with an additional background in business brokering, took the position for 10 years before retiring once more in 2014.
He said U.S. President Donald Trump has “about the skill level” as Newnan but in different places, with Trump in real estate and Newnan in publishing, manufacturing and engineering.
“So he has a different point of view than I have,” Newnan said.
Here’s how Newnan falls on some of the major issues facing the country today.
- Tariffs Newnan disagrees with Trump’s tariff plans, saying “the economy is going to take a big dip if he continues down this path.” Goods from China and Mexico will be affected by higher prices for consumers, Newnan says, a shame since these countries are “real partners” for the U.S. He said the U.S. is currently buying more goods out of Mexico than any other country and a proposal of tariffs ranging from 5-10 percent will reduce the Texas economy.
- Education Newnan supports lowering the student loan interest rates to a maximum of 2.5 percent — a policy he said is espoused by Julian Castro, Democratic presidential candidate and former San Antonio mayor — and takes this idea further to grant free education for all. “I truly believe education is the way you take people from one place and put them in a totally different environment; that is, middle class and higher environment, entrepreneurship and what have you.” He said free education from pre-kindergarten through four years of college should be a “right” and a “privilege” for everyone, with a maximum 2.5% loan available for student living costs.
- Healthcare Newnan said he “believes everyone should have their healthcare paid.” He said pharmaceuticals and medical corporations are making a lot of money and pointed to the cost of insulin as an example. “The idea that insulin can now cost $1,000 a month for someone (with) Type 1 diabetes (who) must have the insulin—this is a 75-year-old drug and it should cost $30 a month,” Newnan said. He said individuals who like their healthcare plan should be able to keep the plan they have “but (healthcare) should be accessible to everybody at a cost that’s reasonable.”
- Border security Newnan said he is for ‘open borders,’ saying “we’re a country of immigrants.” “This idea that we cut back only to about a million people coming in legally by so many people by country that we allow to be admitted—that’s ridiculous,” he said. “For people who are seeking asylum, they should be able to come into the United States,” Newnan said, adding these immigrants can help the much-needed labor force in this country.
- Minimum wage Newnan said he supports a $15 minimum wage. “You have to have a living wage,” he said. “You can’t have to work two and three jobs to support your family. It’s just not fair.”
- Federal budget Newnan touted 2012 Republican presidential candidate Herb Cain’s 9-9-9 plan as a way to balance the country’s budget but said “it didn’t go far enough.” He said the plan includes a 9 percent flat income tax, 9 percent corporate tax and a 9 percent sales tax on top of the existing sales tax applicable to some goods but not groceries. “Whereas that might seem a lot, for the low-income people, they’re buying primarily food,” Newnan said. He advocated a 10 percent tax, with a $50,000 exemption per wage earner. He said corporations, at 10 percent tax, should not be granted exemptions. “All people should be paying essentially the same amount of tax rate,” Newnan said. “Why should the burden be any different at the various schedules of people?”
- Abortion Newnan said he is “all for the choice of a woman, it’s her choice.” He said the process should be available to all women regardless of the state they reside in and a national law should be enacted to prevent Roe v. Wade from being overturned.
- Climate change Newnan prioritizes the New Green Plan — a resolution to bring U.S. gas emissions down to zero and meet all of the country’s power demands through renewable, zero-emission energy sources by a certain date. Newnan said some experts estimate of a carbon-neutral country by 2045 is a challenge but possible. He said the country should not have pulled out of the Paris Climate Agreement, a plan to combat climate change by investing in actions that will leave a low-carbon footprint in the future.
- Space program Newnan said space shouldn’t belong to one country. “Space is universal, it’s for everyone,” he said. “No one should take control of the moon or Mars or the space above us. The universe is free to everyone.”
Newnan said he would like to see Democrats and Republicans “just cooperate together,” citing the 1980s and 1990s as cooperative years on The Hill, with Congress passing many laws.
“We have to learn to get together and be civil and work through our differences,” Newnan said. “For the Republicans in the Senate to just take the stand and (say), ‘we’re not going to even talk to you, Democrats.’ And, for the House, the Democrats saying, ‘we’re not going to talk to you on the Republican side.’ People should be talking to each other and working through their differences. We work things out.”