Kenneth Reed Armstrong

Note:  This is the fourth in a series of six profiles of each candidate that participated in the South Carolina Libertarian Party Presidential Debate on November 2nd.

Ken was born in Pasadena, California.  He enlisted into the Coast Guard and became a Commissioned Officer after graduating from Hawaii Pacific University.  During his military time, Ken worked joint commands that included all five military branches.  During the Bosnian War, he served as a NATO & UN adviser on foreign ships.  Also, some of his joint service was under the VPOTUS George H.W. Bush.  Ken worked alongside the U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop as a federal health care executive.  He’s been elected twice to the Honolulu County Neighborhood Board.  Ken was also Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity’s Hawaii statewide organization.  He has been a columnist for Pacific Business News for a time.

You can also find out more about Ken before the November 2nd debate from his website…


  1. What do you like to do in your spare time when you are not spreading the cause of Liberty?
    A. Sleep!  Campaigning keeps me busy!  But also, Dawn and I love to travel and meet people.  This campaign has given us a lot of both, which we cherish.
  2. What would you do on your first day as the POTUS?
    A. In my inaugural address, I will tell Congress they have 30 days to properly declare war where they want us to fight it, and absent that declaration, I will be bringing our troops home.  End military adventurism for expansion and profit!
  3. What sports do you like to follow or participate in?
    A. Many, but particularly baseball and (college) football.  I enjoy the occasional pick-up game, but mostly watching.  I’m also a terrible golfer, but I enjoy the sport anyway, when time permits.
  4. What brought you to the LP?  When?
    A. The longer version of the answer is on my website at – the short version is that I ended up leaving a party in about 1998, where I held a high level state office, to pursue “small l” libertarian values in my state, and later found the party to be a good fit (became a registered Libertarian about 12 years ago).
  5. What is the biggest challenge facing the federal government currently?
    A. There are many, including excessive control; however, if we don’t get the deficit under control, the other issues won’t matter.
  6. Who is your favorite singer and what are your favorite song?
    A. Very situational.  I like every kind of music that you like and most that you don’t, from old to new.  But I’d have to say that I love hearing Louis Armstrong sing, “What A Wonderful World.”  That’s sort of our unofficial campaign song.
  7. What have you personally done to spread Liberty?
    A. As a writer, speaker, military officer, non-profit executive, college instructor, and more, I have worked my whole life to inspire people to personal and professional empowerment – especially people who have been marginalized in society.  More specifically, in elected office as well as public and private positions, I have emphasized the role of the individual in their own lives, and in creating a voluntary culture, where “Big Brother” is not necessary to achieve our goals.
  8. What is your favorite vacation spot?  Why?
    A. Hmmm.  Wherever my wife is works just fine for me.  Beyond that, I love Italy and Greece, Mexico and the Caribbean, and most of the beautiful beaches in the United States.  I love parks like Yosemite, but I’m not excited about the crowds.
  9. What is our most important right?
    A. “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.” (Declaration of Independence)–The most important right we have is the right of self-determination, including the right to throw off tyranny.
  10. Who are the four people, living or dead, you would invite over for dinner?  Why?
    A. It’s hard not to blow smoke on this answer and just tell you what I think sounds good – maybe include a symbolic early Libertarian, just to impress.  As a history-lover, I would have hundreds of people on that list, both famous and infamous, to probe the depths of their thoughts.  Kings, generals, theologians, tyrants, and criminals.  Political figures, writers, poets, industrialists, inventors, philanthropists and explorers.  But, okay, I’ll play along and try to give four genuine answers…
    1. Thomas Jefferson – I’d like to explore his thoughts on foreign relations, and on the role of government (and especially the courts).  But I’d also like to put him on the spot and explore how he could write and speak such lofty words about the inherent freedoms of mankind, while still owning slaves.
    2. Mary McLeod Bethune – This great philanthropist and civil rights leader helped to set the stage for the civil rights movement that included people like Martin Luther King and Medgar Evers.  She met with presidents, founded educational institutions, and blazed a trail at a time when doing so as an African-American and particular as a woman put her life constantly at risk.  I’d just like to hear her story from her own lips, and perhaps get her views on our failures and successes, and the way forward.
    3. Albert Einstein – This man, known mostly for his contributions to physics and cosmology, was a great philosophical thinker about the human condition.  He also had a peculiar way of using the power of his brain to solve complex problems.  These days, when we tend to go for buzz phrases and simple solutions, I’d love to know how he engaged his deeper brain for problem solving.
    4. Jimmy Carter – In many ways, President Carter is considered one of the least successful presidents in my lifetime, despite being one of the most admired former presidents.  In many ways, a lot of his policy moved the government generally toward Libertarianism.  I’d like to talk to him about his own review of how he used his time in office, and what he might do differently today.
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