Libertarian Debate: Gary Johnson vs. Austin Petersen

Gary Johnson (Right)
Austin Petersen (Left)
Watch their debate in Oregon.


Gary Johnson

Governor Gary Earl Johnson is an American businessman and politician who is considering a run for President of the United States in 2016.

Johnson is a Libertarian, or classical liberal, as was President Thomas Jefferson. Like the majority of Americans, Johnson is more fiscally conservative than Governor Jeb Bush and more socially liberal than Secretary Hillary Clinton. Johnson believes in free enterprise, foreign non-interventionism, limited government, marijuana legalization, FairTax, balancing the budget, Second Amendment rights, civil rights, marriage equality, term limits, and abolishing the IRS, the Department of Education, the Federal Reserve, and many others.

Johnson attended University of New Mexico, was married to the late Dee Simms from 1977-2005, is the father of two children Seah born in 1979 and Erik born in 1982, and got engaged to his life partner Kate Prusack in 2009.

In 1976, Johnson founded Big J Enterprises, a one man handyman business, which he built it into a 1000 employee multi-million dollar company.

Johnson served as the 29th Governor of New Mexico as a Republican, in a 2-to-1 Democratic state, from 1995 to 2003. Johnson was known for balancing budgets and vetoing more bills than all other governors combined.

A lifelong health enthusiast and avid triathlete, Johnson climbed all seven of the Seven Summits including Mount Everest despite frostbitten toes. Johnson bikes extensively and abstains from all recreational drug use, caffeine, alcohol, and some sugar products.

In 2009 and 2013, respectively, Johnson founded “Our America Initiative” and “Our America PAC,” both focused on pro-liberty issues, as well as filing strategic lawsuits to allow general election debate access for third party candidates.

Johnson ran for President in 2012 as a Republican, but left the Republican Party when he received the Libertarian Party nomination. Johnson appeared on 48 out of 50 state ballots in the general election and received 1.3 million votes, or 1% of the popular vote, which was more than all other minor candidates combined. This was the most successful result for a third party presidential candidacy since 2000. It was the best showing in the Libertarian Party’s history by vote count.

Austin Petersen

Austin Petersen is the owner and chief executive of Stonegait LLC, a for-profit consulting firm specializing in photo and video services. Stonegait also provides executive consulting services for brands and campaigns.

Petersen is the former Director of Production at FreedomWorks and was an Associate Producer for Judge Andrew Napolitano’s show, “Freedom Watch” on the Fox Business Network. Petersen built Judge Napolitano’s social networks, boasting millions of clicks a month.

Petersen has turned The Libertarian Republic into a powerful online news source for the public, with an average of 1.5 million unique visits monthly. As a publisher and professional pundit, Petersen grew “The Freedom Report” podcast into a top audio news source, with an average of one million monthly downloads. As a creative content producer, business executive, and successful political organizer, Stonegait’s CEO has a lifetime of activism ahead, with decades of professional experience in a wide variety of industries.

His work has appeared in Getty, Reuters, the LA Times, NBC and Time Magazine. His famous “Toy Gun March” and charity fundraiser was an international news story, raising thousands for the U.S. Marines charity Toys for Tots and making a pointed statement, with a satirical twist, about the importance of 2nd Amendment rights.

He is also a frequent contributor on television appearing on Fox News, Fox Business, and on dozens of local radio shows. As a former male model and actor, Petersen appeared in Time Magazine for Microsoft’s 2005 infrastructure sales campaign, and represented designer 191 Unlimited’s premium summer fashion line. He also was a featured model for several couture bridal shoots, as well as appeared on major New York City-based soap operas.

Petersen made his feature film debut as an Executive Producer through Stonegait with the famous science fiction novel Alongside Night, starring Kevin Sorbo. As a product demonstrator and Toy Soldier at FAO Schwarz in Manhattan, Petersen moved from the sales floor to management in six months, and was again promoted to the corporate office’s buying team less than six months later. He even appeared on the Conan O’Brien show.

Austin grew up on a farm in the Midwest. He was born in Independence, and raised in Peculiar near a town called Liberty. Austin won Samuel French’s “Critic’s Choice” award for playwrighting a one-act dramatizing the events of 9/11. Graduating from Missouri State University with a degree in Musical Theatre, Petersen moved to New York City after graduation to a pursue a career in media. He currently resides in Missouri.

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