Lesser-known Republican presidential candidate Fred Karger, a long-time political consultant and the first openly gay person to seek a major party’s nomination, likes what he sees at “Occupy Wall Street” in New York City.
Karger joins fellow long-shot Republican candidate Buddy Roemer, a former governor of Louisiana running on a “get money out of politics” platform, in supporting the movement.
“It was an incredible thing to see as an old anti-war demonstrator,” Karger told The Daily Caller on Tuesday after touring Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan. “It was inspiring… I had no idea how much activity would be going on there.”
“I think it’s a wonderful thing, as long as it’s done peacefully. I think it’s important that our elected officials hear from the people,” he said. “Government is not helping and the private sector is scared and not helping either.”
During his visit, Karger said he talked with unemployed people who have encountered a discouraging job market. “We need a wake-up call,” he said.
There are two concrete steps that the government should take in reaction to the outcry over jobs, he said, noting that he recently learned at a Clinton Global Initiative event in Chicago that there are “3.1 million jobs out there that need to be filled.”
“Government should help facilitate that: Put a website together, ‘jobs.gov.’ Help match up the employers with the employees,” he said. (RELATED: Roemer says he stands with ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement)
Aside from easing the job search for unemployed Americans with a centralized website, Karger would also like to see tax credits given to those who need to relocate to find a job.
“A lot of these jobs are unavailable because people are not residing in the town or the city where the jobs are,” he explained.
Karger additionally expressed displeasure with the outsourcing of American jobs. “We need to stop these massive layoffs,” he said, adding, “I’m for either incentivizing corporations or even considering penalizing corporations to keep those jobs in America.”
Asked if he objected to several Republican leaders’ criticism of the protests, Karger said, “I think Washington needs to wake up and listen to America… We need to listen to these concerns.”
Attending the protest gave Karger a dose of nostalgia for his college days in Denver.
“In 1970, when I was a student at the University of Denver, we took over the green at our school and built little shacks and tents and stayed there for many days protesting the Cambodian incursion,” he recalled. “The National Guard cleared us out, then we rebuilt that same afternoon. It’s just very reminiscent of that.”
He added, “Activism needs to be done peacefully and I think the message will be heard and will effect change.”