BAXTER — He may be retired and spending winters in Mexico, but Jesse Ventura said he’s far from mellow when it comes to defending his rights.
“I’m very vocal,” he said Friday at the grand opening of Discount Tire in Baxter.
His appearance at the opening for the new business, which also included Baxter city officials and pageant queens, was prompted by a request from his wife’s niece, Tiffany Diaz. Her husband, Jason, is the store manager.
Ventura said family is his “only link to Minnesota” since he’s not a big fan of winter in the north.
As evidence of his zeal, he ticked off various U.S. constitutional rights which he said he felt were threatened and policies he questioned.
The former Minnesota governor, wrestler, actor and current host of truTV’s “Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura” sued the Transportation Security Administration because of its security pat-downs on the grounds that his Fourth Amendment rights to be protected from unreasonable search and seizure had been violated. Ventura, 61, said the case was thrown out because the judge said she had no jurisdiction. He claimed that if the case had gone before a jury he would have won. Ventura said he had been flying 30 years, was an honorably discharged U.S. veteran and a former governor.
“I pose no threat,” he said.
Airports, he concluded, are no longer protected by the Fourth Amendment.
The TV host said he no longer flies because of his objections to TSA searches.
Addressing another rights issue, Ventura objected to what he termed the assault on the First Amendment when Occupy Wall Street protesters were “run off with pepper spray and dogs.”
The Second Amendment right to bear arms is also under assault, according to Ventura, by the call for a ban on assault weapons. The United States, he said, is the leading exporter of assault weapons and it would be hypocritical to enforce a ban. He said many more people die from misusing cars and there is no call to ban certain types of cars. Ventura said he has firearms in his gun safe but the weapons themselves pose no problem.
“They don’t go off by themselves,” he said.
Ventura said the United States has sponsored acts of terrorism against Cuba in the form of attempts to assassinate their leader and destroying ships in that nation’s harbors.
Cuba’s only purported wrongdoing was having a government the U.S. didn’t like.
The solution to many of this country’s ills is a simple one, he said.
“We can stop it,” the former Independence Party candidate who served as governor from 1999 to 2003, said. “We have the power. Stop voting for Democrats and Republicans.”
The two major parties have run the U.S. economy into the ground, he said. If major party politicians ran their personal budgets they way they have run the country’s economy they would be homeless people living on the street, he said.
Dressed in tennis shoes a blue denim shirt and jeans, Ventura posed for pictures with people attending the grand opening. He listened to Baxter Mayor Darrel Olson give a brief speech welcoming the new business, but declined to address he crowd himself.
Ventura said he misses the relationships he formed with security people while he was governor and the ability to make a difference in people’s lives.
“There wouldn’t be light rail if it wasn’t for me,” he said. “As far as mass transit, Minnesota is far behind. It’s laughable.”
He also said he lowered motor vehicle license tabs across the board during his time in office.
One of the negatives of the job, he said, was that it was difficult to go anywhere without people following.
“You’re in a moving jail,” he said of life as a governor.
Asked if he would ever run for public office again, Ventura said he would never say never.
“Not at this time,” he said. “I enjoy private life.”
The ex-governor was a frequent critic of the media while in office but was far from reluctant to talk with a reporter at Friday’s event.
“I’ve learned if you want to live a quiet life, don’t do media where you live.”