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News: 10/15/2010

Local Libertarian runs for State Attorney General

While’s he’s only been actively involved in Libertarian politics since 2008, Tim Hannan is now the party’s candidate for California Attorney General, based on his relatively strong showing in the Sixth District Assembly race that was his first outing into the world of election politics.

Hannan has been a Kenwood resident since 1988, living next to the St. Francis vineyards across from Adobe Canyon Road in a house he bought with his wife, attorney Mary Gavin. The couple have raised their son Steve, now 15, in Kenwood and Sonoma Valley and love living here.

A San Francisco native, Hannan grew up in Sacramento. He attended the University of San Francisco before heading east to earn his Juris Doctorate at Georgetown University, in Washington, D.C. He served three years and four months on active duty with the U.S. Coast Guard and another eight years as a reservist, working as an intelligence and legal officer.

After returning to San Francisco, he practiced business law for five years, then moved to Santa Rosa to open a school for contractor license applicants, in addition to his law practice. He has engaged in a general law practice dealing with contracts and litigation. Hannan is admitted to practice in California and Federal District Courts. He does not do family law or criminal law, but does handle personal injury cases as well as real estate, construction, and business cases.

A long-time Democrat, Hannan came to the Libertarian Party from a firm conviction that government is too big and spending too much money. He began listening to Gene Burns’ radio talk show on KGO about 1994 and was attracted to conservative thinking of the day. In 1995 or 1996, he switched his registration from Democrat to Libertarian, but did not become active in the party until the Assembly race of 2008, when he ran against Jared Huffman (D) and Paul Lavery (R) and tallied a respectable 13,970 votes, or 6.5% of those cast.

“Most people don’t know the Libertarian Party or what it’s about,” Hannan said. “Some people think we’re kooks shooting guns in Montana.” Libertarians share a common belief and confidence in the individual. “We think people are at their best when they are free, and happiest when they are self-reliant and independent of government.”

He quoted a statement by Thomas Jefferson to the effect that “That government is best that governs least.”

“Individuals are more capable than given credit for,” he said.

How do Libertarian ideas apply to the job of Attorney General, the top law enforcement official in our government?

“There is a proper role for government. We are not anarchists. Government should be limited to constitutionally defined roles, protecting citizens from violence, invasion, fraud, and providing mechanisms to enforce contracts. Maintaining order is necessary so that we may peaceably live the lives we choose.”

Hannan says the role of the Attorney General is to apply the rule of law so that free enterprise can flourish. While people have a right to decide for themselves who they like, they are not free to be unfair to others in the arena of public interaction. He believes in civil rights and the right of people to be free from discrimination based on anything that is inherent to their natures; i.e., race, gender, age, nationality or religion.

He also holds that anti-trust laws should be enforced, keeping monopolies out of the free market, and keeping markets competitive and free from fraud.

Third parties serve a purpose in America, Hannan said. “If you want serious reform of the government, don’t cast your vote for the major parties.” When enough people show support for third party positions, Democrats or Republicans often co-opt those positions to gain voters, and that’s when real reform happens, he said.

He doesn’t see much difference between the Republicans or Democrats, since both parties spend big no matter who’s in charge. “The (state) Legislature has less than a ten percent approval rating, yet most incumbents will be re-elected. They have a lock on those seats.”

Libertarians, Hannan said, stand for limited government and maximum freedom, “an invitation to voters to live boldly and not look to someone else to take care of them.”

You can learn more about Tim Hannan and the Libertarian party at his website, You can learn more about the race for Attorney General at the League of Women Voter’s website, Search for California, Sonoma County, and the State Executive races on the ballot. Besides Libertarians, Republicans and Democrats, there are also candidates running on the Peace & Freedom, Green and American Independent party tickets.


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