Haven BOE candidate says he was misrepresented but does not deny his Proud Boys affiliation – The Hutchinson News

Running for office made a local Hutchinson man rethink his affiliations.
Independent business owner, Josh G. Wells, put in his bid to run to become a member of the Haven School District Board of Education. Wells, who was a member of the Proud Boys and the Three Percenters, ended up having to explain his affiliations.
According to Wells, he was a member of the Proud Boys for two years and the Three Percenters for less than one year. After several months, he dropped out of the latter, an online group, saying it was not what he wanted. He also let his Proud Boys membership lapse, although he said he still believes in the organization’s principles.
In addition, Wells helped start a chapter called the Midwest Nationalist Party, his own group, which he said was meant to promote patriotism. He said he wanted a group of friends to get together at restaurants and talk or come together and shoot guns for sport. 
“Having a group of men who are like-minded, and like the same things…shooting guns, collecting guns… it wasn’t meant to be political,” he said. “It was more of a national (approach), like nations coming together, is what I was trying to do.”
Wells said since he started his campaign, some media outlets “have spread misinformation and false lies.” He said much of the information attributed to him on internet sites, with screenshots, was not written by him.
“All of those anonymous sources that (media organizations have on) screenshots, they’re not me,” he said.
Wells also said he is not a racist, claiming his wife is Hispanic, and believes “All individuals are formed in God’s image and are worthy of love and respect.” 
Along with his other political start-up groups, Wells has let his Proud Boys affiliation lapse. But, he said, he still goes by the four tenets of the organization.
According to a Proud Boys website, there are four degrees of membership within the organization, the Proud Boys first degree states: “You publicly declare you are a Proud Boy. This means you make your Western chauvinism public and you don’t care who knows it.”
The Proud Boys was founded in 2016 by VICE Media co-founder, Gavin McInnes. Having more than 100 chapters in 46 states, and having groups in other countries, Proud Boys chapters can be found worldwide. Wells states he is a chauvinist.
According to the Antidefamation League (ADL), the Proud Boys are an extremist organization. ADL reports this group is primarily misogynistic, Islamophobic, transphobic and anti-immigration, with some members harboring white supremacist and anti-Semitic ideologies.
The Southern Poverty Law Center states the organization said, “Any man – no matter his race or sexual orientation – can join the fraternal organization as long as they “recognize that white men are not the problem.” 
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According to the Three Percenters website, “Our goal here at Threepercenters.org is to build a community of like-minded patriots and offer a forum for people to communicate about all things America. Together we can return our country to the right path, and we will do this by any means necessary.”
This site also states it focuses on a mindset and not a movement. 
The ADL claims, the “Three Percenters are part of the militia movement, which supports the idea of a small number of dedicated “patriots” protecting Americans from government tyranny, just as the patriots of the American Revolution protected early Americans from British tyranny.”
“Three percent of the population were the citizens who stood up and fought against the British,” Wells said. 
According to the ADL, the group’s core belief centers “on the idea that the federal government is collaborating with a shadowy globalist and socialist conspiracy in order to strip Americans of their rights and freedoms, starting with their right to bear arms.”
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Wells said he was visited by the FBI on Jan. 5. He said they asked if he was going to attend the event in Washington on Jan. 6. 
“He had gotten my name from another guy. And I’ve never met this person,” said Wells, who did not attend the event. “I’ve never met any of the guys from out of state, Three Percenters, none of that stuff.”
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Wells said he is part of the community and judges people by their character. 
“I go by a man’s character. Never have I treated anyone differently based on the color of their skin,” he said. “For people to try to destroy not only my character but attempting to go after my family and businesses is cowardice at best.”
As far as why he wanted to run for office he said, “I want to do what’s right by the kids, and I don’t want to make it all about me.” 

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