HOTSEAT- Sime time: Libertarian takes on Hanger

Arin Sime is drinking coffee out of a "Don't tread on me" mug in his office that overlooks the heart of downtown Crozet. 

He's an independent businessman and– in case the cup didn't give it away– a Libertarian. And he's challenging three-term Republican state Senator Emmett Hanger in 2007.

"The state Senate is out of touch on a number of issues," Sime says, calling that august body "irresponsible" in raising tax rates.

More clues to his Libertarianism: "Eminent domain is important to me," he says. The 2005 Kelo v. City of New London Supreme Court decision allows states to enact eminent domain reform. "Only 11 states haven't, and Virginia is one of them," he grouses. 

Some people think Libertarians favor no government, but Sime dispels that notion. He calls Libertarians the "party of principle," and then acknowledges, "It's easy to stick by your principle when you're not in office." He says the party needs to do a better job of offering solutions to problems.

Sime served as chair of the local Libertarians for two years and now is vice chair. He claims the group's mailing list is around 100, with about two dozen active members. 

Libertarians are perennial third-party candidates. So what makes Sime think he can take on an established incumbent like Hanger?

"He hasn't had a strong challenge," explains Sime. "We're starting a lot earlier, we're better organized. It's a conservative district, and I think it's a vulnerable seat."

He's hitting parades. He's talking to Republicans. And he has a sticker: "Time for Sime." 

"Our issue is name recognition," he says. "It's a big district, and we want to get out there knocking on doors. We're raising good money, and we're going to be on par with [Hanger]." 

Age: 31

Why here? My wife and I met as undergrads at UVA.

What's worst about living here? Property taxes

Favorite hangout? La Cocina del Sol or King Family Vineyards in Crozet

Most overrated virtue? Obedience. Sometimes you have to swim upstream to do the right thing. 

People would be surprised to know: I sported a mullet in the late '80s.

What would you change about yourself? I'd go jogging more often.

Proudest accomplishment? Living the American Dream– I actually have a white picket fence around my house.

People find most annoying about you: If you get me going on one of my favorite stories, you might want to take a seat and get comfortable because it could be a while before I'm done.

Whom do you admire? This might sound cheesy to some, but I really admire the people who founded this country and wrote our Bill of Rights.

Favorite book? Lord of the Rings

Subject that causes you to rant? Eminent domain

Biggest 21st-century thrill? Being able to start a business that primarily exists on the Internet, I can carry on my laptop, and I can do anywhere I want.

Biggest 21st-century creep out? Biometric identification and the implications it has on our privacy. The National Animal Identification System will potentially implement tracking for farm animals. The possibility of our every movement being traced is very frightening. Privacy and freedom require a certain amount of anonymity to have any true meaning.

What do you drive? A Honda Civic hybrid, Ford Explorer, and an old motorcycle

In your car CD player right now: Cake in one car, and Eric Clapton in the other. Hip-Hop Happy Day for the kids.

Next journey? Outer Banks

Most trouble you've ever gotten in? I'm not going there, but I will say I have never had a criminal record. So any opponents I face will be wasting their money looking that up.

Regret: I try not to look at life that way. Learning from mistakes is a good thing, but to me the word regret implies dwelling on your mistakes too much. That will only hold you back from achieving your potential.

Favorite comfort food: Peanut butter, graham crackers, and ice cream

Always in your refrigerator: Yogurt. I live on yogurt. But not with any of that Splenda in it.

Must-see TV: The World Cup. Anything on Fox Soccer Channel.

Favorite cartoon: Pinky and the Brain

Describe a perfect day: I had it last week. I was at a beach with my family. I played in the surf with my younger son and built pretend sand houses for crabs with my older son. It was actually more of a mini-luxury resort for them. We built a little pool, filled it with saltwater, and made little lounge chairs and a diving board out of sand around it. Then we smashed it all up. Later we all went out for ice cream.

Walter Mitty fantasy: Driving to Alaska again. When I did it last time during college, I slept in the back of my pickup truck for seven weeks. I'd do it pretty much the same way this time, except on a motorcycle.

Who'd play you in the movie? If he were still alive, I hope John Belushi would take the part.

Most embarrassing moment? I was sitting at the O-Hill cafeteria with a girl. Her friend sat down next to her and when I reached out to shake her friend's hand, I spilled my drink on both of them.

Best advice you ever got? The key to success in your career is to never quit a job, no matter how much you don't like it, until you have a different job lined up first.

Favorite bumper sticker?  "It's Time for Sime" (coming soon to cars near you!) 

Arin Sime gets some campaign help from Drew Sime, left.