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Rupert Boneham campaigns at Greencastle Eagles Lodge

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Rupert Boneham, made famous by appearing on the CBS reality show "Survivor," spoke about his gubernatorial campaign at the Greencastle Eagles Lodge on Sunday afternoon.
When Rupert Boneham pulled into the Eagles Lodge parking lot on his motorcycle Sunday afternoon, trailing his RV and flanked by fellow riders, it was clear Boneham is a different kind of gubernatorial candidate.

The former reality-TV star said that's exactly what he's counting on.

"If you're disenfranchised with the Democrats and the Republicans," Boneham said, "there is another choice. And we're called Libertarians."

With a limited campaign budget and lacking the support of one of the bigger parties, Boneham has had to get his information out without big advertising campaigns.

"I'm out campaigning the old style," he said. "I am getting out across the state and meeting as many people as I can."

Although he may be meeting them for the first time, much of his audience feels like they already know him.

Boneham appeared on three seasons of the highly-rated CBS series "Survivor," first in 2003 and returning twice in "All-Star" formats.

Sometimes polarizing, he was such a beloved character fans voted to award him $1 million after his second season.

"Being Rupert from 'Survivor' has been a great door-opener, but you need to have something to say once you get inside," Boneham said, "I'm not running for governor for fame and fortune, I'm running to make a change."

Rupert Boneham, made famous by appearing on the CBS reality show "Survivor," spoke about his gubernatorial campaign at the Greencastle Eagles Lodge on Sunday afternoon.
Boneham said, at times, his biggest challenge has not been financial, or trying to win as a third-party candidate, but rather that no one knows his last name.

He certainly hasn't shied away from fame -- traveling with a Rupert For Governor campaign bus, passing out tie-dye T-shirts -- but Boneham is trying to make a name for himself as a serious contender.

Boneham, never previously involved in politics, said he decided to run for governor last summer.

"I've been working within the program," he said. "For years, I've been saying, 'We're starting that underground revolution that's changing the system from the inside out.'

"We can't change it from the inside out. We need to be the policy makers."

Boneham has been involved with social work for the past 20 years. He said he used the money he earned from "Survivor" to start the mentoring program Rupert's Kids that, according to its website, "emphasized personal responsibility, work ethic, education and respect."

When Boneham spoke to the crowd at the Eagles, he focused on similar ideas.

Although he said his main goal will be to cut spending by 20 percent across the board, then use that money to fund programs, he also touched on his plan to educate, instead of incarcerate, non-violent criminals and move education away from standardized testing and toward learning skills.

Boneham said he had heard before campaigning that the economy would be the biggest issue, but he has discovered something different.

Rupert Boneham, known for wearing tie-dye, posed with Women's Auxiliary members (from left) Terry Tuttle, trustee, Joy O'Hair, auditor and past madam president, and Jody Proctor, secretary, after they gave him a T-shirt. "Real men can wear pink," Boneham said.
"Every time I'm out in front of people, I want to give them a chance to speak," he said. "The thing they talk most about is education."

He is proving his willingness to learn and respond beyond appearances, inviting voters to contact him directly by email at Rupert@rupertforgovernor.com.

His website, rupertforgovernor.com, also gives voters -- and fans -- a chance to learn about his life, and his stance on issues.

When his brief speech closed, Boneham stayed to sign autographs and take donations for his continued campaign, posing for pictures and sharing stories.

He said he used his time on "Survivor" to motivate both the children he mentors and himself, telling stories about never giving up and overcoming obstacles.

Boneham said when his campaign began, the audience wasn't sure what to make of the reality TV star.

But with election day approaching, and the first debate -- which he'll participate in -- on Wednesday, Oct. 10, Boneham said his focus is only on winning another public vote.

"I've got 30 days left to get me a new job," he said. "For the last six months, every question has been policy. People I talk to are getting serious. And that's a good thing. I want them to be.

"I am."

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I used to work on bikes for Rupert (dba Rupert's Kids) when I worked in Indy at Bike Wave. I really like the guy. He's genuine, he's energetic, he's driven, and he can talk like a pirate pretty well...

-- Posted by PlatyPius on Thu, Oct 11, 2012, at 1:44 PM

This may be the first time the Libertarian Party has backed a winner. Given the available choices...he has my vote.

-- Posted by Carla Hurst-Chandler on Fri, Oct 12, 2012, at 8:17 AM

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