by Crash Casey
Late in August, while the rest of you were riding around with great frivolity and having all kinds of fun, I was involved in a valiant ruse. That is trying to pass myself off as a legitimate member of the press to gain access to one of the Gubernatorial Candidates. Summoning every trick I ever learned as a phone salesman and a repossessor of cars, I gained access to the candidate–actually, I called his P.R. person and he came over to my house a couple of days later. There he was loud and huge (especially from my 3 1/2 foot view from a wheelchair). Yes, the Reform Party Candidate, Jesse Ventura.
M.M.M.: How many bikes have you had and what were they?
J.V.: Okay, the first one was a ’64 Sportster which I lovingly refer to today as a Piglet because we used to laugh and say if a Hog and a Sow, which was a ’45 Flathead, mate, you get a piglet (laughs). So I had a ’64 Sportster, then I had a ’49 Panhead and then I sold that when I went overseas–my second tour overseas. When I came back, I got a ’66 Shovelhead. I started my pro wrestling career a few years later so I took a hiatus for a number of years. Finally, I finished with a ’90 Springer Softail.
M.M.M.: Do you remember your first ride?
J.V.: Yeah, learning how to drive down the alley on the Sporty. I had never ridden a Harley in my life before and I bought the Sportster not even knowing how to ride. I lived in Coronado, California then, and I went up and down the alleys (laugh). And you would kind of drag your feet until you got your balance and felt comfortable enough to ride. Yeah, so that would be my first ride–going through the alleys of Coronado learning how to ride.
M.M.M.: Tell me about your most memorable ride.
J.V.: Oh, the most…oh, my most memorable ride without a doubt…my most memorable ride was me and my best friend taking off from Minneapolis. This was on my ’66 Shovel, which was a rigid. I mean the old real rigid frame, the 5/8 rake in the neck, 12″ over Wide Glide and we rode from here down to Burlington, Iowa where my brother worked, spent the day there and then we road to Sandusky, Ohio to visit a friend I was in the service with. Then from Sandusky we came back to Minneapolis. If I recollect right, it was about a ten day to two week adventure. It was most memorable because if anyone has had the pleasure of riding a natural rigid frame for a period of two weeks… (laughter)…and it was also the most memorable because we made it all the way and had just crossed the bridge on 94 coming back to Minnesota on the last leg. The sun was setting, and I lost my rear tailpipe. We had to find some bailing wire laying in the ditch and wire it up so I could chug it back home. I remember I didn’t get back on it for two weeks after that. I went out and looked at it and felt every creak in my body.
M.M.M.: You’re probably a good one to answer this. Does size really not matter, or have they been lying to us?
J.V.: Does size really not matter, or have they been lying to us?…I would think that…uh…size does matter when you’re on a Harley, very much so because you know if you don’t have good size on a Harley, that means you’re riding a piglet, which is a Sportster naturally. But anyway, I would have to say that…I don’t know whether they have or not (lied), who could ever get that question? I think it’s one of those questions that will go down in the annals of men and women and we’ll never really know the answer.
M.M.M.: Navy Seals, wrestling, movies and mayor. How have these roles prepared you to be Governor?
J.V.: Well, I think that first of all, they’ve made me very intelligent towards the private sector. They’ve made me know what it’s like to have changed careers three or four times and I like to think it’s street smarts. They have allowed me to go out there and see the world. Vietnam. I spent 17 months in southeast Asia in a variety of countries, Korea, Thailand, Philippines, Guam. I got to many, many countries. Wrestling allowed me to get to all 50 states. I’ve seen the United States. I have a very diverse lifestyle that has allowed me to meet people from many walks of life which (translates) into being Governor, where you deal with the whole state of Minnesota and many different people and many different walks of life.
M.M.M.: What is your view regarding helmet laws?
J.V.: Ah, my view regarding helmet laws is very simple. If you’re under 18, you should be required to wear one because you’re not an adult. But if you’re an adult, it will always be in my mind a freedom issue. You have the freedom to wear one or not wear one. That should be left up to the individual and not up to the government and I, as Governor, would veto any helmet law for adults.
M.M.M.: It’s been said during an election, a president can only effect 3 or 4 major changes. What 3 or 4 major changes would you make?
J.V.: The first major change for me would be to stop the growth of government. Government is growing at a pace that is far too quick. It’s growing at a pace faster than the private sector can handle so I would like for my term to stop the growth of government for four years.
I would also like to see more tax money left in people’s pockets. People don’t realize that when they give their money to the government, that does nothing for the economy. Government is a middle man. Government doesn’t create one dime. They simply take from one group and give to another. They are a middle man. That is all they do. So I think that would be another thing I would like to do, see places where I could cut taxes. Cut out the pork of government and actually see it get smaller.
The third thing would be to get our public education system back on track. That’s why I got Mae Schunk, a 36 year schoolteacher, as my Lt. Governor running mate. She is a teacher who’s been teaching for 36 years in the trenches with the kids. She’s not a bureaucrat sitting upstairs sending down mandates not knowing if they’ll work or not. She knows what will work, she knows what doesn’t work. I would like to see the pride back and the criticism out of our public school system for our kids.
And finally, I guess, I uh…will make the fourth one a fun one. I want to ensure that…I want to be the Commander in Chief of the National Guard and being the Governor and the Commander in Chief of the National Guard, that means they’ll face me for PT (physical training). We’re going to bring a little more Navy into the Guard. It’s high time the National Guard finds out what it’s like to be led by a Navy man.
M.M.M.: I noticed that during the DFL candidate debate at the State Fair, you seemed to be overlooked by the candidates. How do you feel about this?
J.V.: I don’t like it at all. I think it’s a disservice to our citizens. I’ve heard the Republican candidate over the radio say I’m a wasted vote. I would like to remind people of this–150 years ago the Republican party was the third party and they had a candidate back then, I want everyone to think about that candidate, if you overlooked the 3rd party 150 years ago, that candidate was Abraham Lincoln, and imagine if we had overlooked Abraham Lincoln as the President of the United States.
I think it’s high time for a third party to rise up. It’s long overdue to give us three choices rather than two. Our country has grown in size immensely yet we’re only given black and white, two choices to choose from. And I think that’s the battle I’m going to win over the media. Because when I become Governor, they will have to recognize the third party. And so I feel…I mean I’ve qualified for everything that qualifies you as a major party and yet they still want to overlook us and pretend we don’t exist. Well, I’ve been out at the State Fair now for five or six days and rest assured we are not being overlooked by the people. And if you took a look at the morning paper the other day, they listed where we got our campaign contributions from and mine were overwhelmingly by individuals. Whereas the other candidates had most of their contributions from large donations. I think I have the basic people behind me and it’s going to show up in November.
M.M.M.: I’ve heard you have a secret weapon. What is it?
J.V.: The last I heard, Mae Schunk was my secret weapon. Mae is the direct opposite of me. I think we play off each other well. I’m full of testosterone and very errrrraaaawww and all of that. Mae is very dignified, well educated, book-smart and a sixty-four year old school teacher. When you look at her you realize she is everyone’s school teacher. And I think that is what they are referring to when I would unleash my secret weapon. We laughingly refer to her, because she is so low key and soft spoken, that we tease her about being Jesse’s secret weapon.
M.M.M.: What do you think is the biggest issue facing Bikers today?
J.V.: I think it’s cars looking out for them. That everyone has a right of way out there. If you are occupying a position out there on the road, you have the right of way. And because you are a Biker you don’t have two tons of steel protecting you. I think the biggest issue facing Bikers today is safety. You know, and not necessarily from them. I think the majority of riders when I see them are within the law. Rarely do I see them breaking the law. But I think the major issue is safety and insuring that the roads are safe for them because they pay taxes and are entitled to be there like everyone else.
M.M.M.: What can be done to raise drivers awareness of motorcyclists?
J.V.: Education. Talking about it. Getting the word out there. Bumper stickers are great. The ones you see out there telling you to watch for motorcycles. It’s a good reminder to always check your blind spot. I think on the whole it’s a matter of educating and reeducating people on courtesy driving and driving defensively instead of offensively. You know we all have to go out there with an attitude of driving defensively. It’s an old cliché but old cliché’s sometimes never wear out.
M.M.M.: Why should our readers vote for you?
J.V.: You should vote for me because our system is set up in a three prong check and balance system: Judicial, Executive and Legislative. And they are to check and balance each other and it makes no sense to elect your Governor from the two parties of the Legislature. Because number one: you’ve already created an adversarial position with the other party, no matter what happens. If you elect a Republican, the Democrats are going to be adversarial and vice versa. Where I, in the Reform Party, represent the private sector. Also…I mean all my opponents in this race are career politicians or career government check collectors. So they earn their living with a government check. So they see it as imperative to make the government grow and grow and grow. Because that’s their business. Yet I represent the private sector. Everyone pays taxes of course but the private sector pays bill after bill after bill to the government. And I think they should be represented.
And again in the three prong system when a bill comes to my desk as Governor, being an almost neutral party or private sector head of the executive, I can sign that bill if it’s good for Minnesota or veto it if it’s bad for Minnesota, and which party originated it will be irrelevant to me. I couldn’t care less. I am looking for substance in the bill and what it’s going to do. Not party politics. And by electing me it will not only send a message to the Democrats and Republicans of Minnesota, it will send a message across the country. That we are in charge. Not the Democrats and not the Republicans. I have a fun slogan. It’s: “Let’s put Minnesotans first. There’s more of them than there are Democrats and Republicans”. It’s time for a change and the only way you can do that is to do something a little out of the ordinary, and that’s to elect me Governor of Minnesota.
M.M.M.: Is there any other information you’d like to impart to our readers?
J.V.: The only other thing is again on voting for a third party candidate. They tell you it’s a wasted vote. But in reality the only wasted vote is not voting your conscience. That’s a wasted vote. Don’t vote because you may think one guy may win or vote against someone else. Let’s shock the world. Let’s take a huge step forward and elect a third party Governor. Rest assured you won’t have to worry about me dallying with an intern.
To learn more about Jesse’s bid, Call (612) 585-0102, (888) 868-3537 or visit www.jesseventura.org
O.K. Listen. I’ve been accused before of being a sexist pig (wrongly of course) but I am getting sick of begging for a chance to exonerate myself. One last time: I would love to interview a female rider to round the year out. Call me at (612) 750-5988, e-mail me at email@example.com or write me at the paper. Adios.