Candidate Profile
Joe Dehn

Libertarian , California


Joe Dehn
U.S. Rep., Dist. 17

Panel Rating

Moderate Information icon



Libertarian Party of Santa Clara


Please note: Responses are entered electronically by the candidate and are listed verbatim.

Right to Life

Human life begins at conception and deserves legal protection at every stage until natural death.

No Answer   

Abortion providers, including Planned Parenthood, should not receive taxpayer funds or grants from federal, state, or local governments.

Strongly Agree   

I support the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, which requires health care providers to provide life-saving treatment for infants who survive an attempted abortion.

No Answer   

Under what circumstances should abortion be allowed?

I do not consider this a question to be decided by politicians. It is a decision that must be made by each family, according to their own beliefs. I understand the viewpoint that it is equivalent to murder, but this is not the consensus of society and government action must be limited to things on which there is general agreement, otherwise we create even worse problems. It is not the job of government to fix every problem. People who oppose abortion should work against it by persuasion and other peaceful means. But at the same time they should certainly not be forced to participate, even indirectly. In particular, government should not be paying for abortions using tax money, or forcing anybody to pay for them through insurance.


It is the government’s responsibility to ensure everyone has a livable income.

Strongly Disagree   

Free enterprise and the right to private property are essential elements of a productive economic system.

Strongly Agree   

How would you guarantee Social Security benefits for future generations?

The current Social Security system should be replaced by private, voluntary approaches to retirement planning.

What government spending would you reduce in order to balance the budget?

All of it.

Under what circumstances should taxpayers help pay off existing student loans?

Taxpayers should not be expected to pay off any student loans. The government should not be involved in any way in funding or promoting student loans. All existing government programs of this type should be abolished.

Religious Liberty

Governments should not discriminate against individuals, organizations or small businesses because of their belief that marriage is only a union of one man and one woman.

Strongly Agree   

Religious liberty is at risk in the United States and deserves the highest level of protection in the law.


I promise to protect the freedom of Christians to share the Gospel and to practice Biblical principles.


What does "separation of church and state" mean to you?

Church and state should be NATURALLY separate, not artificially kept separate by ever more complicated and ridiculous laws and court decisions. The proper role of "church" is to organize a community of people who share religious beliefs. As part of that, they may choose to regulate their own behavior in ways that make sense to them, and they should be free to preach their beliefs to anybody else, but "church" should have no power to use force to control the lives of other people. "State", on the other hand, is all about using force to control people, and the only way we can have freedom is to put severe limits on how that force can be applied. A state that goes beyond that, and tries to dictate beliefs or morality, is in effect becoming a kind of church. A church that goes beyond guiding its own members and preaching to outsiders and tries to control everybody is in effect trying to become a state. If neither acts that way - no problem.


It is the government’s responsibility to ensure everyone has health insurance.

Strongly Disagree   

I support the elimination of private healthcare insurance.

Strongly Disagree   

How would you promote healthcare coverage that is adequate, affordable and accessible for all?

Health care should be provided through the free market, just like any other service. By encouraging use of technology and organizational innovation, this would lead to greater availability at lower overall cost.

National Security

The best way to maintain peace is through a strong military.

No Answer   

What should the United States do to help eradicate the threat of radical Islamic terrorism?

It is impossible to entirely eliminate the possibility of "terrorism". With respect to Islamic terrorism in particular, the United States can reduce the risk in several ways. (1) Stop trying to be "policeman of the world" -- Muslims have been fighting each other for centuries and there is no practical way for us to impose peace among them. (2) Stop supporting Islamic dictatorships -- these countries cannot be true "allies" of the United States because their governments do not share our basic values. (3) Decentralize our own government and economy so that there are fewer attractive targets against which Islamic terrorists can take effective action.


I am in favor of construction of a wall and other necessary infrastructure on our border that gives complete control over entering and exiting the United States.


Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) should be abolished.


State and federal funds should be denied to any public or private entity, including but not limited to sanctuary cities, that are not in compliance with immigration laws.

No Answer   

Employers should be required to use E-verify to confirm the eligibility of their employees to work in the United States.

Strongly Disagree   

Who should be allowed to immigrate to the U.S. and under what circumstances?

Anyone who is willing and able to live a peaceful life, earning their own way, to make a better future for themselves or their families, should be welcome in the United States.


Taxpayer-funded public education should be guaranteed through college.

Strongly Disagree   


Judeo-Christian values established a framework of morality which is necessary for our system of limited government.


I support adding sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression as protected classes in non-discrimination laws.


Briefly describe your spiritual beliefs and values.

The personal religious views of candidates for public office only matter if they intend to impose them on other people. I do not want government to be imposing any beliefs or rules on anybody, other than that they respect the life, liberty, and property of their neighbors.


When you consider your views on a wide range of issues from economic and social matters to foreign policy and immigration, which of the following best describes you overall?

No Answer   

Please provide publicly available information validating your answer to the previous question.

My answer to the liberal/conservative question is "no answer" because I do NOT consider myself to be in either camp. Libertarians have a political philosophy that has much in common with the ideas on which this country was founded, but to which the words "liberal" and "conservative" as they are used TODAY in the mainstream political media do not meaningfully apply. As for information validating this answer, please see any basic presentation of libertarian ideas, such as the one at:

Have you ever been convicted of a felony or been penalized for sexual misconduct? If so, please explain.


Is there anything else you would like voters to know about you?

Yes -- I am a square dancer. Square dancing is a great thing, and the government should force everybody to be a square dancer. It should be part of "Common Core" so that everybody in the country is forced to learn it in school, and there should be a law requiring everybody to attend a square dance at least once a week. THAT'S A JOKE. Except for the part about being a square dancer -- I really am a square dancer, and I do recommend that people try it. But that should be THEIR choice. Government should NOT be running schools, should NOT be dictating what is taught in schools, and should NOT be deciding what people do with their time, money, and lives. If you consider the idea of government requiring you to be a square dancer to be crazy and absurd -- well, that's exactly how libertarians see most of what government has become today!

Criminal Justice

Mandatory minimum sentencing should be required and enforced for violent crimes.

No Answer   

2nd Amendment

What restrictions on gun ownership are needed to protect public safety?

The right to keep and bear arms is a civil right protected by the 2nd Amendment. This right must be treated as seriously as other civil rights and not abridged except under the most extreme circumstances and through the application of the due process of law, e.g., upon conviction of a violent crime.

Other Important Issues

I support BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanction) against Israel if they refuse to allow the creation of a Palestinian state.

Strongly Disagree   

I support the legalization of recreational marijuana.

Strongly Agree   

Reparations should be given to people on the basis of race.

Strongly Disagree   

The Electoral College should be abolished.


In priority order, what three areas of legislation do you propose to author or sponsor if elected?

1) Cut federal spending across the board (with accompanying reduction of taxes). 2) Get the U.S. out of the business of fighting wars for other countries. 3) End the internal "wars" that are turning this country into a police state, starting with the "War on Drugs".

Is racism a threat to domestic security in the United States? Why or why not?

Racism can certainly be a cause for interpersonal conflict, but it does not have to be a "threat to domestic security" in general. Most Americans are accepting of differences, and have no desire to actually cause harm to people of other races. By most measures relations among the races have been getting better with time without government intervention, and some attempts by government to "fix" this problem have, regardless of good intentions, as a practical matter, backfired. Racism is still a problem in some ways, but it is not the job of government to fix every problem! Other institutions can do a better job than government in addressing this issue. Government should stick with enforcing laws that apply equally to every individual regardless of race.


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