A young Republican, unleashed

'At Liberty' now publishing multiple times weekly

I have good news for some of you, and bad news for others.

Good news if you enjoy reading this column, or if you enjoy emailing me to explain why I’m wrong. Bad news for those of you who think my face is a waste of ink and newsprint.

Starting now, my column will be published multiple times each week in this newspaper. I’m excited to say I started last week as a full-time member of The Gazette’s editorial team.

You will be seeing more of me, but my goals remain the same — foster civil and substantive policy discussions; give voice to the concerns of young Iowans; and highlight libertarian and conservative solutions to the important issues facing our state.

I wrote my first column here in February. That’s not a long time, but in the political world, it was forever ago. Remember, Donald Trump was then a still a brand-new president, and Terry Branstad was still working on this continent.

I hoped to establish a diplomatic tone in that first column. I asked readers, “Let’s not let the things we don’t agree on get in the way of the things we do.”

Months later, it sometimes seems hard to find things we agree about. In many ways, Americans seem more divided than I can remember in my 27 years.

You may have noticed that I don’t usually write here about Trump, or even about Congress. That’s not because I don’t have opinions about what’s going on in Washington, D.C., but I’m doubtful that I can say much about national politics that is original and impactful.


As a disciple of free market economics, I often find myself interpreting real life through the laws of supply and demand. In those terms, there is obviously plenty of demand for commentary for or against the Trump administration, but so too is there plenty of supply. I seriously doubt there is a shortage of outrage in the national news.

Instead, I believe the best use of my time and talent is to focus on state and local issues, and hopefully to provide a fresh perspective. That’s where there seems to be unmet demand in the modern media environment.

I readily admit that my fellow Republicans have often failed to put forth a satisfying vision for local government. The movement for limited government has made important advances at the national level, but we haven’t always done a good job of explaining how our values might be carried out at city hall or the county courthouse.

I’m not very old, but this already marks my second career in journalism. I started my professional life as a news reporter in Iowa City, then left the news business for a few years to work for nonprofits and political organizations.

I was fortunate to support causes I’m passionate about, but still sometimes found myself holding back. When politics pays your bills, you’re inevitably mindful of what future employers might think of your hot takes on Facebook.

But now I’m unleashed. I’m fortunate to be able to focus full-time on the important questions facing Iowans. And I’m glad you’re along for the read.

• Comments: (319) 339-3156; adam.sullivan@thegazette.com


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