A personal injury attorney has launched a bid for state House in the 36th District, with the belief that, “the time was right to do more than complain.”

Magnolia resident Matt Dubin is running as a Libertarian for the seat now held by three-term Rep. Gael Tarleton’s, saying he’s become increasingly troubled by the breakdown of public conversation; that discussions on every issue devolve into an unproductive, “us versus them,” mindset.

“I’m concerned that we are getting increasingly divided on multiple fronts, and increasingly polarized to the point where our system is going to be more and more challenged to actually function,” he said. “And I’m concerned about the world that I’m leaving my son.”

It’s that mindset that informs his campaign mantra, “There is no them.”

“With tiny, tiny exceptions, we all want the same thing,” he said. “We all have to live in this community. I believe — and the same goes for our politicians, I believe they have good motives — I believe almost 100 percent of us want a happier, healthier, more prosperous community with greater opportunities for the maximum number of people.”

Though he wants his message to transcend any one individual issue, he does view homelessness, addiction, and property crime as three important, interconnected public matters. He believes current efforts don’t account for how those issues influence one another, and instead pit people against each other over the ideological need to solve problems in a certain way.

“What we’re doing isn’t working, but not only isn’t it working, it’s tearing us apart,” he said.

Dubin points to the debate over the future of Fort Lawton as an example, saying the way the housing project has been proposed has pitted community against community.

But without meaningful conversations between those who disagree on policy, he believes the problems at hand will only get worse. 

“I think it’s the diversity that makes cities so vibrant and is potentially our greatest strength, because it’s not just racial, ethnic diversity, it’s diversity of education, it’s diversity of culture, it’s diversity of faith, it’s diversity of ideas,” he said. “For us to appreciate the benefit of the diversity in our community, we need to allow each other to be authentically ourselves, and allow space for differences of opinion.”

He believes libertarianism embraces that diversity.

Despite running in a historically blue district — one in which Democratic candidates have consistently earned more than 80 percent of the vote — Dubin noted that a substantial number of eligible voters haven’t been casting ballots, a group he hopes to reach with his campaign.

“I want to appeal to the people in the 36th who are turned off by the whole political process, by the whole political establishment who don’t feel like there’s anybody who’s speaking for them,” he said. “I speak for them.”

He also believes his focus on, “real meaningful effective solutions,” sets him apart, and said he’s “absolutely convinced that if we can break through the political orthodoxy that we can find better solutions to our problems.”

While he’s running as a Libertarian, Dubin said his bid is about much more than party affiliation.

“I’m a proud member of the Libertarian Party, but I’m not running as Libertarian Matt Dubin,” he said. “I’m running as Matt Dubin, a father, a husband, a business owner, a neighbor, a member of your community who is just like you, and wants just what you want, and is also a member of the Libertarian Party.”

That’s in opposition to what he thinks many see from the Democrats and Republicans, as a fight to impose their worldview.

“I don’t think it’s an appropriate use of politics to force my worldview on anyone who doesn’t share it,” he said. “ … I think the message [is] that each person is important, and each person is valuable and their choices are valid for them, and we should be validating those choices as a society, not invalidating them.”

As opposed to the golden rule, Dubin said he tries to live by the “platinum rule,” or the idea of treating others the way they wish to be treated.

“To me, Libertarianism means loving each other enough to let each of us live the life that we choose for ourselves,” he said.

Though Dubin insists that he’s in to win — he’s already raised more than $20,000 — he has no doubt that regardless of the result, he’ll affect the conversation in a positive way. That alone, he said, will have been worth it.

“What’s wrong with the way we do politics now is that people of good faith, who disagree on policy, can’t have meaningful conversation anymore,” he said. “And without those conversations, we’re never going to find the solutions to our problems.”

For more information on Dubin’s campaign, go to www.thereisnothem.us. To comment on this story, write to QAMagNews@nwlink.com.