By Rob Kendall of WYRZ Radio

On Tuesday, I was invited by the Gary Johnson Campaign to Purdue University for an interview with the Libertarian Nominee for President. The former Governor of New Mexico was the guest of our former Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels. I was invited for an exclusive interview before the two spoke to a crowd of more than 1800.

Johnson is determined to have a profound influence on this year’s election. Not since Ross Perot has a third party candidate had nationwide impact. Johnson finds himself in a much different position than Perot. The former governor is the face of a party. Where Perot was a one man band, Johnson’s success could lift the fortunes of hundreds, if not thousands of candidates. It is important for the future of the Libertarians than Johnson have a strong showing.

Johnson genuinely loves running for president. He cherishes the message he is able to deliver and the people he can reach. Before the event, I watched a line of college students shake hands with the former governor. With each of them, Johnson smiled, engaged in conversation, and posed for photos. He recognizes his campaign is as much about inspiring a new generation of people. If the Libertarians are to become a viable political entity, millennials will be the voting block to do it.

Johnson and I talked about the importance of his inclusion in the debates. While close, he is currently short of the 15 percent polling threshold required to participate. Johnson was quick to note more people are expected to watch the debates than the Super Bowl. Though he still struggles with name recognition, inclusion in the debates would give him instant nationwide name recognition. Being allowed to participate could mean as much as a 10 point boost.

Johnson also has a genuine disdain for the status quo. While often a talking point in campaigns, Johnson’s is legitimate. He proved it with his liberal use of the veto pen while Governor of New Mexico. He is sick of the two party system and recognizes America will struggle to thrive as long as they go unchallenged.

Johnson and I also talked about his passion for adventure and physical fitness. A veteran outdoorsman and mountain climber, Johnson is no stranger to taking on steep challenges. His seemingly ho-hum attitude towards scaling some of our world’s great wonders was fascinating. It offered a glimpse that he relishes, not fears tough moments. He also does not waste much time celebrating once complete. Rather, his focus is on conquering the next obstacle. He would govern in much the same way.

Gary Johnson is a compelling political figure. He is worthy of a look from every voter. He deserves to be allowed to participate in the debates.

Rob Kendall is the host of “Central Indiana Today” on WYRZ-FM 98.9. He is a former member of the Brownsburg Town Council, having also served on the town’s redevelopment and planning commissions. Kendall is also the owner of AudioSportsOnline.com.