WILKES-BARRE — Dale Kerns will turn 35 in November and the Libertarian candidate for the U.S. Senate hopes he will have more than a birthday to celebrate that month.
Kerns, of Ridley Township, Delaware County, works as a project manager in electrical construction. He is the third candidate in the race that also features two-term incumbent U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Scranton, and Republican challenger U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, of Hazleton.
Asked if he feels he can pull off an upset, the third party candidate said, “Yes, I absolutely believe I can win. We have a path-to-victory plan and we’ve exceeded all of our expectations so far.”
But with just $20,000 in his campaign fund, Kerns knows he has a lot of work ahead of him to get his name out to voters.
“We have no paid staff — we’re all volunteers,” he said. “We have been going into communities and knocking on doors. So far we have visited 30 of the state’s 67 counties.”
Kerns said voters have told him they are pleased to have another choice.
“The voters are looking for new ideas,” Kerns said. “They like that we are out in the community and asking them for their input. I think people relate to that approach.”
Kerns said he still working 50 to 60 hours per week at his construction job and all his free time is dedicated to campaigning.
”I’m not controlled by anybody,” he said. “I’m like one of their neighbors. The response has been tremendous.”
On the issues
National defense: Kerns said he will prioritize national defense over adventurism. “Nation-building and the toppling of secular dictators have cost our country dearly, and too often at the expense of the brave soldiers who volunteer to give their lives in the name of serving their country,” he said.
Kerns also said he strongly opposes the use of unconstitutional wiretapping through the USA Patriot Act.
Fair and free markets: Kerns said he understands that American workers are the best in the world, but the skill set of the American worker differs from workers in other countries. Kerns is against the use of tariffs on foreign goods. “While tariffs may sound like a positive strategy to hit back at big business and as a means to ‘even the playing field’ for American manufacturers, the truth is that American consumers will pay the cost for these tariffs,” Kerns said.
Localizing education: Kerns supports charter schools, private schools, homeschooling, and any other possible alternative which can be used to make sure that power is taken away from bureaucrats and put back into the hands of teachers, parents, and children.
School safety: The candidate wants to address mental health issues among our young population. He said safety measures put in place by schools should be determined by parents, teachers and the community and Washington should have no role.
Addiction is not a crime: Kerns believes punishment has done nothing to solve addiction, and rehabilitation has been far more effective. “Rather than treating people like criminals and spending trillions of dollars, the criminal justice system should focus on treatment, not unlike the policies that have been successfully enacted by countries like Portugal and Switzerland,” he said.
Reach Bill O’Boyle at 570-991-6118 or on Twitter @TLBillOBoyle.