A senior decided that his first step to making the world a more peaceful environment would be running for United States Congress.
Benjamin Gehlhausen, a senior in the School Of Management, is running for the Libertarian party in Indiana’s 4th Congressional District race, which includes Tippecanoe County. He compares his values and beliefs with those of Republican Texas Rep. Ron Paul. In 2007, Gehlhausen attended a session where Paul spoke and he liked that Paul cared for the whole country and put his individual needs last.
“I listened to what he had to say and he was just being the most honest person on stage,” Gehlhausen said. “He wasn’t trying to score political points, he was just explaining things in the way he saw them. I was attracted to his passion for being a statesman.”
Gehlhausen found that he and Paul had many of the same opinions, but one in particular stood out to him – their mutual dislike for the condition of the federal reserve. They both don’t like how it works because it has made America one of the highest countries with debt. Gehlhausen said Paul spent three years in Congress trying to raise awareness about the federal reserve, something which the candidate strongly wants to change.
“I think the biggest problem we have right now is the federal reserve because it has a loose monetary policy,” he said. “We are giving the government permission to do way too many things with our money. I would like to keep as much of my money and spend it as I see it fit, and I feel the same for my family and everyone sitting across from me. I don’t want to be taxed unnecessarily.”
When Gehlhausen’s mother, Lisa, found out that he was running for Congress, her main concern was that he might put his campaign before his schoolwork. He reassured her that his campaign manager would focus on the campaign, while he kept up with his studies.
“I wanted classes to come first and he assured me (of that),” she said. “He is 25 years old, so I can’t tell him what to do. I am proud of him (because) at his age he is involved in politics, (but) not many young adults are.”
Gehlhausen grew up reading and watching television shows about the United States government. From watching the 1992 debate, he learned about a party he grew fond of as he aged.
“My mom was watching the debates all the time and I would watch them with her,” he said. “I remember asking her, ‘Mom are we Republican?’ I was kind of liking what the Republican (during the 1992 election) was saying.”
During his campaign, the Boilermaker learned that the road to politics isn’t easy. Politicians usually don’t converse civilly with their opposing opinions. He hopes West Lafayette residents can learn from interacting with him that disagreements can be used in a respectful manner and not with raised voices. One day, he hopes to see all Americans speak to each other in a gracious manner.
“It’s like, there are two things you don’t talk about, religion and politics – but those are my two favorite things to talk about,” he said. “You have to talk about stuff like that to explore what’s out there and to find ourselves and find what we truly believe in. The main thing to keep in mind that’s helped me is respecting other people’s opinions. (It’s) a big part (of) cooperation.”
If the senior doesn’t win, that’s not going to tear him down. He said he will try again for the next term because he loved this term’s experience. He advises students to follow their dreams and not give up.
“Any student out there who is afraid to stand up for what they believe in shouldn’t be afraid,” he said. “Don’t stop pursuing your dreams because you might regret them in the end. Dream big and live big.”