By Rachael Wilson and Cameron Sawyer
While the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates debated on national TV Wednesday night, Joe Schriner, an independent candidate for the presidency, was on the road.
Schriner’s 1974 Dodge van made a campaign visit last night to a house in Provo, where he addressed a small crowd of interested Provo residents.
“Average Joe,” as he likes to be referred to, said he has traveled over 18,000 miles, determined to reach the American public before the Nov. 7 elections.
He began his campaign for president after receiving a spiritual prompting that sent him on an eight-year tour around the nation.
“I went on a faith walk through the country. I received a spiritual inkling to be a reporter for God,” Schriner said.
His platform is unique from other presidential candidates.
“What we would like to see in America is a shift to 20 hour work weeks,” Schriner said.
Schriner said Americans would have more time for family and community involvement with a shortened workday.
He is also in favor of a house-sharing program, where more than one family would live in the same house. He said it would improve how people interacted with one another.
Additionally, he said the government needs to spend more money on educating kids on health.
“If you eat better, if you exercise more, say with a 20 hour work week, you will be healthier,” Schriner said.
He said people often ask about how well he would handle foreign policy based on his lack of experience.
“If you’ve been on the road with a 3 and 4 year old, you mediate a lot of conflict. Russia would be nothing in comparison to that—just give them a time out,” Schriner said.
And, while most politicians are promising to lower gas prices, Schriner said he supports raising the price of gas.
“Let prices on oil go up. If the price of gas is going to hurt you, car-wise, don’t drive,” Schriner said.
This attitude comes from Schriner’s concern for the environment.
“When we burn fossil fuels we are creating pollution. Let’s stop polluting,” Schriner said.
While Schriner is on the campaign trial, he is also on the lookout for a vice presidential running mate.
“We have asked a few people but no one has said yes yet,” Schriner said.
Schriner decided to come to Provo after attending a conference in Ohio where he met BYU student, Lisa DeLong, 25, a graduate student majoring in art history from Fullerton, Calif.
“I was interested in the phenomena of the average man running for president and wanted to learn more,” DeLong said.
Mark Troger, 23, a junior majoring in history from Reston, Va. attended Schriner’s speech.
“His drive and vision are somewhat idealistic, but he is still down to earth,” Troger said.
Even though Schriner is on a low budget campaign, requiring supporters to make their own signs, he said he plans on taking office November 7th.
“Something is going to happen between now and November 7th. It’s gonna be a Red Sea kind of thing. The waters will part and the van will pull in,” Schriner said.
Schriner said his family would not be moving into the White House when they win. He said they would be moving into an urban community in Washington, D.C.
He also expects to keep the fanfare of his presidency to a minimum.
“There will be no fancy dinner for the inauguration, we will be eating hot dogs and hamburgers,” he said.