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Meet Tiffany Hayden, LP Congressional Candidate From Detroit

Tiffany Hayden is the Libertarian Party’s candidate for Michigan’s 13th Congressional District. She is the Director-At-Large of the state of Michigan’s Libertarian Party, and is the CEO of Enable, “a for-profit, start-up venture positioning to be the first provider of emergency financial infrastructure.” Ms. Hayden took some time to answer Being Libertarian’s questions about her campaign.

1. What is your background? Work, family, hobbies, etc…?

I’m a homeschooling mother who is interested in liberty, justice, and financial technology. It seemed like an odd combination up until now. The technology exists to make all public spending completely transparent and easy to audit. Taxpayers could know with certainty where every dollar was sent and why. This technology could build the framework for eliminating secrecy, exposing fraud, and sharing data. The possibilities are almost endless. It gives me goosebumps!

2. Why are you running for office? Why should Michigan’s 13th District consider you?

I’m running for office because the system is utterly broken.

Last winter, my children and I spent time volunteering and donating water for the Flint Water Crisis. They were terrified to learn that an entire city had been poisoned and wanted to know how and why it happened.

I didn’t have answers but I reassured them that the problem would soon be solved and that people just needed to pull together and help each other out in the meantime.

Day after day they wanted updates on Flint. Did the government know what happened yet? Was it fixed fixed? Had anybody died? Could that ever happen to our water?

I respect my children and I don’t lie to them. There wasn’t a non-horrifying way to explain the situation, but I tried as best I could and promised them that, no matter what, I wouldn’t stop trying to help.

I never wanted anything to do with politics. But when the opportunity to run for office presented itself, I knew I had to grab it. I hoped that, at the very least, running would provide a platform for my voice to be heard.

The voters in Michigan’s 13th District deserve better than what we’ve had lately.

I’m not going to sugarcoat things: There’s plenty wrong with our cities and our district — most of it caused by career politicians and their corporate taskmasters. I am ready to tackle the corruption, the lies, and the erosion of our civil liberties.

I hope that the voters of my district will choose to do something different this time around. John Conyers had fifty years already… he’s earned his retirement.

3. You’re the Director-at-Large for Michigan’s Libertarian Party. Could there be any conflict of interest with you as an executive in the party and running for office as a member of it?

Not that I can think of. It’s always been a goal of the LPM to recruit the strongest candidates. Federal law prohibits the party from helping candidates financially. If that were to change, I could see how a conflict of interest might arise and that’s an issue we would need to address.

4. If you wanted to help Detroit out of its doldrums, would it not be more appropriate to run for state or local office?

I want to bring transparency and financial accountability to government. To find the source of almost any problem, follow the money. While Detroit seems to be a worst case scenario for when transparency and financial accountability are nonexistent, the corruption that has been allowed to breed there can – and most likely does – occur anywhere and everywhere.

5. What specific federal legislation and/or regulations have helped to cause Detroit its woes?

It’s hard to point out any specifics because of the sheer number of regulations. There are hundreds of thousands of one-size-fits-all rules that bureaucrats in D.C. have imposed on us and which are choking our economy and killing our future.

Detroit was once the epicenter of the automotive industry and one of the drivers of the American economy. What changed? Not the people — we are made of the same stock as our parents.

The problem is our government. It created these problems and it pretends that only it can solve them.

6. Democrat John Conyers, Jr. was first elected to Congress in 1964, and has represented 3 different districts. Ballotpedia lists the 13th as “safely democratic,” and other political scoring sites say the same thing. If he wins re-election, he’ll begin serving his 53rd term. What realistic chance do you have against him, or against the Republican nominee you also have to compete against?

I don’t believe in “safely Democratic” districts. Voters are thinking people, not sheep to be herded into D or R pens.

Do you know how many people don’t even know that the Libertarian party exists? How many of those people have views that are aligned by libertarian principles but vote D or R because they don’t know they have an alternative and they just straight-ticket vote a party?

Libertarians need to challenge the status quo in every district and in every race. We may not win every race, but we will make our voice heard and if our message resonates — and I believe it does — we will increase our voter share with every election going forward.

More specifically to your point: I’m not a politician. I didn’t choose to run by consulting statisticians, by running focus groups and spending lobbyist money or by getting my friends in the legislature to gerrymander a district just for me. I chose to run in the district where I live, and John Conyers simply happened to be the Representative there.

I chose to run because I genuinely believe that we have problems that the politicians — people like John Conyers — created and are not inclined to solve.

And I suspect that the district that’s supposedly “safely Democratic” would become a swing district very quickly if the media bothered to confront John Conyers on the issues and ask him to explain his positions and what he wants to do that he hasn’t gotten done in the last fifty years.

7. Why not run a primary campaign against Conyers as a Democrat so that if you could win the nomination you’d have the backing of the major party that kept Conyers in power for so long? In other words, infiltrate the Democrats and make common cause with Congress members who are partial to liberty?

Those are games that politicians play. I am running openly and honestly, with the party that I feel best aligns with my political philosophy.

I’m not seeking power. I’m seeking to make a difference but want to do it in a way that’s consistent with my principles.

8. If you are elected, what would be the first piece of legislation you’d want to introduce or co-sponsor?

I want to impose hard limits on the use of facial recognition systems and biometric data. At least half of American adults are pictured in facial recognition networks, which are almost completely unregulated. Nothing prohibits police from using facial recognition to surveil people engaged in political, religious, or other First Amendment protected activities

Despite the FBI dramatically expanding its biometrics programs, there aren’t any specific federal biometric data collection laws. The FBI and DHS have been building a massive database of personal and biometric information. The database, called “Next Generation Identification,” includes fingerprints, face recognition, iris scans and palm prints — collected not just during arrests, but also from millions of Americans for non-criminal reasons like immigration, background checks, and state licensing requirement.

This poses an extremely dangerous threat to our privacy. Researchers have compared the use of facial recognition to a perpetual line-up, where everyday, law-abiding citizens are pulled into law enforcement investigations without their consent and, in many cases, without their knowledge.

Even worse, biometrics can be compromised due to a data breach. But unlike other identifiers, such as a social security number, biometrics cannot be changed. Once they are compromised an individual has no recourse, which can lead to identity theft, impersonation, or worse.

As a reminder, just about every level of government has been hacked.

  • Hackers broke into the Office of Personnel Management and obtained information from the security clearance applications of 19.7M people plus another 1.8M of spouses and partners. Fingerprints and extraordinarily intrusive polygraph data were compromised.
  • Hackers targeted the FBI and DHS, publishing contact information for 29,000 employees on Twitter.
  • One of NASA’s drones was hacked and data on over 2,400 employees, along with flight log and aircraft videos, were released.
  • The IRS was hacked and an estimated 700,000 social security numbers and other sensitive information was stolen.
  • The NSA’s hacking group was hacked and its hacking tools were put up for auction online.

9. If Gary Johnson wins 5%, the LP will receive federal funding in 2020. Is this a violation of libertarian principles?

I believe that the role of the government should be limited. I don’t believe that “financier of political parties” is a proper function of government, even when that party is my party.

But, the law is what it is, and if it entitles us to Federal funding next year, it would be foolish to turn it down and send money that would have otherwise gone to the Libertarian Party to the Democrat and Republican parties instead.

10. Tell us something funny or interesting about yourself. A weird talent, something you are most proud of, or an embarrassing moment.

When I was kid, I was obsessed with the Incredible Hulk. My room was green and my favorite toy was an Incredible Hulk Big Wheel. I may or may not have had a framed picture of Bill Bixby *ahem* Dr. Banner, next to my bed.

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Dillon Eliassen is the Managing Editor of Being Libertarian. Dillon works in the sales department of a privately owned small company. He holds a BA in Journalism & Creative Writing from Lyndon State College, and needs only to complete his thesis for his Master’s of English from Montclair State University (something which his accomplished and beautiful wife, Alice, is continually pestering him about). He is the author of The Apathetic, available at Amazon.com. He is a self-described Thoreauvian Minarchist.

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