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San Diego Union Tribune
July 15, 2000


By Philip J. LaVelle
San Diego Union Tribume Staff Writer

Quantum physicist John Hagelin, who specializes in the exploration of nature's deepest laws, is hoping to upset a law of contemporary American politics -- that third-party insurgencies, while interesting, don't win national elections.

Hagelin, the presidential candidate of the Natural Law Party, is gaining momentum in his bid to also wrest the Reform Party nomination away from Pat Buchanan. If he succeeds, it would mark the first time in American history that a presidential candidate will have borne the mantle of two parties.

"I think I have moved from the clear underdog in the Buchanan-Hagelin race to having the edge," he said in an interview yesterday at the U.S. Grant Hotel.

This week, Hagelin, 46, the sole challenger to Buchanan, secured the backing of Reform Party leaders in San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego -- a hotbed of third-party activity in the 1990s -- in a California tour that concluded here yesterday.

In addition to California leaders, Hagelin has the backing of Reform Party leaders in New York and Colorado; 90 percent of party members live in these three states.

If he wins the Reform Party nod at its national convention in Long Beach Aug. 10-13, Hagelin (pronounced Haig-lynn) hopes to combine the forces of both parties to advance a "common-sense" message that includes ending the "death grip" of monied special interests.

"In every area of national concern, there are common-sense, field-tested solutions that have the overwhelming support of the American people, solutions that'll never see the light of day under Republican or Democratic administrations bought and paid for by special interest groups," he said.

Hagelin's platform calls for reforming health care to emphasize preventive medicine; moving toward clean energy; scaling back the U.S. Department of Education into an agency showcasing what works in successful public and private schools; and converting to sustainable farming methods and imposing strict controls on genetically engineered foods.

"As a nuclear physicist, I'm not technology-shy," he explained, "but I am scared to death . . . of what is happening to our food supply," including new dangers from viruses, bacteria and other foreign agents in genetically engineered foods.

In foreign policy, he calls for moving from weapons exports to exports of intellectual know-how, to achieve "a more flourishing and harmonious world family."

This is Hagelin's third turn as the Natural Law Party's presidential candidate. The party was founded in 1992 by followers of Transcendental Meditation leader Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, but "was never intended to be a meditation party," Hagelin said. "It was intended as a mainstream alternative to the Republican and Democratic parties."

Hagelin, who lives near Fairfield, Iowa, said he meditates every day, calling it "a very effective technique to take deep rest at will."

"I think George W. could use some," he quipped about the Republican nominee-in-waiting, Texas Gov. Bush....

"The Natural Law Party is the fastest growing, newest, freshest party in America," he said. It is currently on the ballot in 34 states; Hagelin hopes to be on the ballot in all 50 states by November.

© Copyright 2000 Union-Tribune Publishing Co.

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