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Candidate Conversation: Craig Bowden for Senate

Editor’s Note: This is the third of a 12-episode series of Candidate Conversations with the Voices of Reason Podcast in which hosts Amy Donaldson and Jasen Lee talk with Utah candidates running for federal office. The podcasts offer unique depth into the candidates’ priorities, backgrounds and reasons for running to represent the citizens of Utah. This is an effort to help voters learn more about those running for office and their positions on critical local and national issues.

SALT LAKE CITY — Craig Bowden began to see the wisdom in the Libertarian philosophy when he was serving his country in the U.S. Marine Corps.

“I served nearly eight years,” said Bowden, who is running for the U.S. Senate as a Libertarian Candidate. “I did two deployments to Iraq and an advisement mission to Morocco. …My job, while I was in the Marines, was actually infantry, so I was right there on the front lines, holding the rifle, enforcing foreign policy. That …is one of the first things that kind of brought me into exploring libertarianism as a philosophy.”

Bowden’s commitment to public service has been a theme throughout his life. Instead of lamenting the lack of options as a voter, he decided he’d step forward and try to champion some of the issues he feels need addressing.

The father of six discussed his decision to run for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Orrin Hatch in order to bring a practical approach to problems that too often get politicized, like health care for veterans.

“I think that the medical side of the V.A. has been failing our veterans,” he said. “Veterans should basically be given an identification card with their disability rating and information on it and have the ability to go to any hospital.”

Bowden said the long list of issues, including hiring doctors with suspended professional licenses and not having enough OB/GYN care for female veterans gets debated but never solved.

“This isn’t a partisan issue,” he said, noting that getting rated, which allows veterans to access the V.A. healthcare system, can take years. “We’re talking about psychological care. That’s one of the biggest ones. There’s 22 veterans a day – on average – every single day that are committing suicide. And it’s not getting addressed. There’s no plan that’s been put in place. There’s tons of promises being made, but nobody actually comes up with anything concrete.”

Bowden suggests a zero rating for every veteran who “operated in a combat theater” because that allows them to immediately access services.

“It costs the government nothing to write them at zero percent,” he said. “So it’s something that could be done really easily, really quickly. And again, this is a non-partisan issue. …It’s something every single American agrees on, that when somebody serves their country and they’re injured in the line of duty, they should be taken care of.”

Bowden discusses ideas issues, like criminal justice reform and his support of Proposition 2, the ballot initiative legalizing medical marijuana in Utah, in Episode 3 of the Voices of Reason Candidate Conversations.

“We need to have more transparency,” he said in asking for the votes of Utah citizens. “We need to have more communication. …I’m an open person, and that’s one of the things that I’ve pledged I would be.”

To hear the full interview with Bowden and other candidates running for congressional office in Utah, subscribe to the Voices of Reason podcast wherever you find interesting podcasts.