A self-employed author, consultant, and political activist is one of two candidates to challenge Alderwoman Adella Gray for her Ward 1 seat on the Fayetteville City Council.
Paul Phaneuf, 65, said he is a strong believer in individual liberty and limited government.
“The footprint of government must be no more than what is necessary to properly execute our responsibilities,” said Phaneuf.
“It is not coercion and central planning that make for a vibrant culture but rather a free people pursuing their dreams unimpeded by meddling micromanagement by public servants.”
Phaneuf and his wife moved to northwest Arkansas from Rhode Island two years ago to be with his two daughters, 11 grandchildren and two great grandchildren. He has been living in Fayetteville for about 11 months, and said he’s fallen in love with the city and the people who live here.
“The Ozarks are beautiful and I didn’t even take a snow shovel from New England,” he joked.
He’s spent over 40 years advocating for minimal government control.
As an author, he’s written over 50 blog posts for Tea Party Nation (Phaneuf’s Tea Party Nation author name was changed from “Paul Phaneuf” to “Malcolm Swift” on Nov. 6, 2014 and the author photo, which previously showed Phaneuf’s face, was changed), and recently published a book called, Sovereign Under God: A Christian Patriot’s Manifesto.
When asked why he’s running for election, Phaneuf was quick to mention his opposition to Fayetteville’s new anti-discrimination ordinance.
He is one of three City Council candidates, along with Joshua Crawford and John La Tour, who spoke against the new law during a 10-hour City Council meeting last week.
Phaneuf called the ordinance “shameful in its shoddy construct” and said it is “a flagrant assault on individual liberty and religious freedom.”
“Quite frankly to me it is a first step at silencing the Christian voice and starts by confining Christian ideas to church property and out of the public discourse,” he said.
Both of his opponents in the Ward 1 race – Alderwoman Adella Gray and Sonia Davis Gutierrez – spoke in support for the ordinance last week. Gray voted in favor of the new law, which passed with a vote of 6-2.
Phaneuf said he enjoys nature, is a lifelong musician, and wants a Fayetteville that is prosperous while respecting the freedom, diversity and creativity of its people.
Voter registration for the Nov. 4 general election runs through Oct. 6. Early voting begins Oct. 20.
Profile: Paul Phaneuf
Position sought: Ward 1, Position 1
Residency: Fayetteville resident for about 11 months
Employment: Owner, Liberty Consulting, LLC
Education: Attended Providence College in Providence, R.I.
Political Experience: None
3 Questions for Paul
We send each candidate three questions after receiving their announcement. We post their answers here once they respond.
What made you decide to seek election to the council? Is it something you’ve been considering for a while?
I came to my decision after I was asked to run by two state representatives who are very familiar with my firm position on personal freedom. I’ve been an activist for individual liberty and limited government for over four decades. I’ve written a book about the liberty paradigm called “Sovereign Under God.”
I testified against the so called Fayetteville Civil Rights ordinance on Tuesday, August 4th. I’m not an attorney, but I am acutely aware that our federal and state constitutions codify and protect those unalienable rights from our Creator. This ordinance is shameful in its shoddy construct. Furthermore, while it was proposed by Alderman Petty, it was written by interests outside the state that have submitted similarly worded legislation in other cities.
Additionally the night of the 4th I witnessed an Alderman arrogantly berate the citizens of Fayetteville from the seat of power that we the people literally pay for. On our time and our dime she had the unmitigated gall to call us haters with hearts of darkness because we spoke out passionately, but civilly, in defense of our freedom. Her tirade is on video in Fayetteville’s archives and is shameful and embarrassing.
It revealed what I see as a deep seated problem in the understanding of the limits of government that the passage of 119 and the Alderman’s gratuitous, self indulgent rampage confirmed.
Is there anything in particular that drove you to reside in Ward 1? How would you describe that part of town?
We were looking to relocate, my wife heard about The Cliffs. I’ve never lived in a large complex and didn’t think I’d enjoy it. At her insistence we looked at their facility, found it to be comfortable, well managed and maintained. Our unit overlooks a park like setting; I don’t have to do repairs, mow lawns, or clean the pool. Yippee!
We love Northwest Arkansas. We love Fayetteville. The people are great. The Ozarks are beautiful and I didn’t even take a snow shovel from New England. Prior to looking at the political maps, I never thought of wards, I only thought, “We’re home.”
Are there any recent citywide or Ward 1 council decisions you agree or disagree with?
Obviously I think the misnamed and inappropriate Fayetteville Civil Rights ordinance is a can of worms that will be a costly mistake for Fayetteville. I believe sincerely that it will be bogged down in lawsuits, bad press and the Council will regret that they passed it. I believe it is glaringly unconstitutional and is a disturbing assault on natural rights. Quite frankly to me it is a first step at silencing the Christian voice and starts by confining Christian ideas to church property and out of the public discourse.
I read the Arkansas constitution in the first 30 days I was a resident. The ordinance in question is a flagrant assault on individual liberty and religious freedom that is so blatant as to be, in my opinion, virtually obscene. I will always fight for equal protection under the law for all people. You can’t be an advocate for liberty, which I wholeheartedly am, without embracing the reality that natural rights inure to all men and women. Unalienable rights, being as they are inherently inviolable, assailing God given rights is never an acceptable option to solve problems. If real problems exist, we must seek out remedies that are not a cure that is worse than the disease. Destroying the foundation is no way to repair a leaky roof.
News Release: Paul Phaneuf
FAYETTEVILLE MAN TO RUN FOR CITY COUNCIL TO PROTECT RIGHTS OF RESIDENTS
Paul Phaneuf, Of Fayetteville, Filed for Candidacy In The Upcoming City Council Race
Paul Phaneuf, a Fayetteville resident, has declared his candidacy for the office of Alderman for the City Council in Ward One.
Phaneuf chose to run for office because of his passion to serve and his adamant belief in the freedom of individual citizens.
“I will be a public servant,” Phaneuf said. “Servants do not rule. The proper role of government is to maintain the peace, protect individual liberty and facilitate, not control, commerce.”
Phaneuf has had a lifelong passion for the personal freedoms of individuals. He has been self-employed most of his life and has vast experience exercising his rights and limitations as a citizen.
“I am mindful that at every point, the footprint of government must be no more than what is necessary to properly execute our responsibilities,” Phaneuf said. “I believe in free enterprise as an engine of job creation. I am a traditional conservationist. I love nature and want to protect it, but I am concerned about the property rights and freedoms of individual men and women and will not violate them in the name of obscure, unverifiable speculations.”
Phaneuf and his wife Yvonne moved from Rhode Island to Northwest Arkansas two years ago to be with his two daughters, 11 grandchildren and two great grandchildren.
Phaneuf is a lifelong musician and fits right into the culture of Fayetteville.
Since moving to Arkansas, Phaneuf has continued to pursue his passion of advocating for personal freedom and limited government.
He is the owner of Liberty Consulting, LLC which offers insights into the proper role of Liberty in the American culture and how to communicate those principles.
Phaneuf chose to run because he believes that the history of America demonstrates conclusively that the greatest good for the greatest number is to be found in maximum freedom and minimal government.
“It is not coercion and central planning that make for a vibrant culture but rather a free people pursuing their dreams unimpeded by meddling micromanagement by public servants,” Phaneuf said.
Phaneuf wants a Fayetteville that is prosperous while respecting the freedom, diversity and creativity of its people, he said.
Phaneuf filed as a candidate on August 14. Elections will be held on November 4, 2014.