Republican presidential candidate James Peppe believes that he has what it takes to beat President Donald Trump in the upcoming presidential election. Peppe came to Keene State College on Thursday, April 11, and outlined his platform and why he was the best person for the job.
Peppe stressed that he was both a political outsider and a regular American.
“I am not a professional politician. I am not a wealthy celebrity. I am not a name you’ve ever heard of. I am just a regular American,” Peppe said.
According to Peppe, he was one of 12 children in a poor household, but his parents emphasized the value of education. He would eventually come to graduate from Yale University. Recently, Peppe has worked as an investment advisor and the majority of his career has been spent in the private sector, the one exception being an unsuccessful run for the Minnesota senate in 1992.
Peppe said the establishment had played the far left and far right against each other. Peppe hopes to tap into the dissatisfaction with the establishment which led to the election of Trump.
“Donald Trump was the wrong guy for the right reason,” Peppe said.
On education, he said he would be open to the idea of a K-16 program. He also suggested that to be more competitive with other countries, schools should eliminate summer break and go year round. On state college, Peppe said he believes it should be less expensive.
On trade, Peppe disagrees with Trump’s use of tariffs and said that while we may lose manufacturing jobs to China, a trade war will not solve the problem.
When it comes to health care he argues that while Medicare is not perfect, repealing it is not an acceptable solution.
The talk was also attended by three students from Utah via a computer. The students were from Weber State College and participated in the talk as part of The American Democracy Project.
The talk was arranged by Program Manager for Diversity and Multiculturalism Initiatives Kim Schmidl-Gagne.
“I think he is what he says he is, an unconventional candidate trying to run a grassroots campaign with no party or political organization behind him. I think he has a message and wants to be heard,” Schmidl-Gagne said. Unlike most campaign events she has arranged, Schmidl-Gagne had direct contact with Peppe when setting up the event.
Peppe said his biggest challenge will be convincing people that he has a chance to win against candidates with more capital and more name recognition.
“People believe it’s not realistic,” Peppe said.
“I think you (Peppe) paint a pretty accurate picture of the polarization in Washington and how vicious it’s gotten and I feel that’s really spilled over, unfortunately, outside of Washington,” said a Keene State College employee in attendance who wished not to be named for the article.
Peppe criticized his own party for their lack of resistance to Trump and for some in the Republican National Committee’s (RNC) attempts to change the rules and block any Republican from challenging Trump in the primaries.
“I am really embarrassed and saddened by the lack of backbone of people who I have respected for a long time,” Peppe said.
Despite the odds he faces, Peppe is confident that his message will attract people from both sides of the political aisle. “I think people will come to believe in the mission of this campaign,” Peppe said.
“I think he wanted to begin to connect with college students and share his message. He really wanted to have a discussion and I think that happened,” Schmidl-Gagne said.
Peppe asked attendees to check out his website Peppe2020.com and consider donating. “A little bit of money will go a long way for us,” Peppe said.
Teddy Tschauer can be contacted at