Former New Mexico governor to speak in Columbia

Friday, March 19, 2010 | 6:09 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — A former governor will continue his tour of Missouri with a speech at 7 p.m. today at the top of The Tiger Hotel. Former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson will speak about the Our America Initiative he is heading.

Johnson, a Republican, is the honorary chairman of the Our America Initiative, a political advocacy committee that aims to increase the amount of discussion and involvement regarding important issues, according to its mission statement. Some of those issues are the economic crisis, civil liberties, the war on drugs and immigration, Johnson said.

“I don’t hear anyone else putting a voice to these issues, and someone needs to,” Johnson said.

Johnson plans to talk about the many issues that relate to the economy, including health care, national defense and the legalization of marijuana. He also said that he had “a strong belief in free markets.”

“The issue of the day is the economy,"  Johnson said. "It will never be easier to address this issue than now.”

The speech was organized by the mid-Missouri chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern Missouri. The doors open at 6 p.m., and admission is free. There will also be free food and an open bar, said Dan Viets, the president of the mid-Missouri chapter of the ACLU.

Johnson has spoken in many states across the nation and several cities in Missouri about the initiative. He also spoke Thursday night at the MU School of Law.

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