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The Washington Times
Monday, July 17, 2000


Hagelin seeks 'powerful coalition' among third parties

By Teresa Joerger

The Washington TimesPhysicist John Hagelin has developed theories explaining the mysteries of the universe.

For him, politics should be easy.

Mr. Hagelin is the Natural Law Party candidate for president. He is also battling Pat Buchanan for the Reform Party nomination. He is seeking the backing of both parties to create a more unified third-party alliance.

"My goal has been to forge a powerful coalition among America's third parties to powerfully challenge the two-party stranglehold on our political process," said the Fairfield, Iowa, resident.

The Reform Pary primary ballot is being mailed to almost 1 million registered Reform Party members, including the Independence Party of New York, the largest Reform Party affiliate. It officially endorsed Mr. Hagelin's candidacy on July 6.

"New York's Indepdendents can make a big mark on presidential politics this year," Lenora Fulani, Independence party and Reform Party leader, said at last week's endorsement. "For us, it's not the big names, but the big vision for democracy and inclusion that counts."

Mr. Hagelin, who ran for president in 1992 and 1996, feels he is in a better position this year. If he gets the Reform Party nomination, he could raise $20 million for his campaign, he says. Without it, he believes he could raise between $6.5 million and $7.5 million.

The physicist's area of expertise is natural law, which he describes as the way nature governs complex ecosystems without difficulty.

"I believe that government should be about what works, not what's bought and paid for by special-interest groups, not what's politically expedient, but simply the most up-to-date and effective solutions to problems in health care, in renewable energy technology, sustainable agriculture, crime prevention, and education," he said.

In 1992, Mr. Hagelin helped to establish the Natural Law Party, which has almost 1,000 candidates on the ballot in all 50 states this election.

"The Natural Law Party and my candidacy are founded upon the same core ideals [as the Reform Party], but my platform is a broader one, on which the vast majority of Americans comfortably stand."

Mr. Hagelin would like to see preventative care included in the nation's health care system, which he describes as a "disease care system."

"If you're on Medicare and you have high blood pressure and you're at risk of heart disease, you can't get a $200 reimbursement for a trainer and a treadmill, but if you wait nine months, you can get a $50,000 quintuple coronary-by-pass operation," he said.

He also wants to eliminate political action committees and so-called "soft money" from campaign financing.

"The moment we eliminate PACs, we'll have 535 public servants on Capitol Hill again, not service to special interests," he said. "Ninety percent of PAC money goes to incumbents. Incumbents, therefore, are not going to voluntarily burn that bridge which affords them the electoral advantage. It's going to have to come from the outside."

Other points in his platform include removing harmful chemicals from agriculture, eliminating genetically engineered foods, packaging trade with labor, environmental and human rights concerns, and reducing taxes.

Mr. Hagelin is waiting for a decision on a 1996 lawsuit that could make it easier for third parties to be included in October's nationally televised debates.

"The debates commission is not nonpartisan, it is bipartisan. It is co-chaired by the former chairpersons of the Republican and Democratic parties. The criteria that they're putting forth for inclusion in this election period is so brazenly partisan that their nonpartisan status should be yanked by the FEC and this sham organization should be shut down," he said.

Mr. Hagelin has challenged Mr. Buchanan to a series of debates, but Mr. Buchanan has declined so far due to Mr. Hagelin's dual candidacy....

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