Guest Columnist

Give freedom a chance

Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Marco Battaglia speaks during a forum for Iowa gubernatorial candidates for the Democratic and Libertarian party primaries hosted by the League of Women Voters of Iow at Ballantyne Auditorium on the campus of Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids on Saturday, April 21, 2018. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)
Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Marco Battaglia speaks during a forum for Iowa gubernatorial candidates for the Democratic and Libertarian party primaries hosted by the League of Women Voters of Iow at Ballantyne Auditorium on the campus of Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids on Saturday, April 21, 2018. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)

We were born, raised, and educated in Iowa. We have many political allies from all over the state and ties to both city and rural Iowa. My father grew up on a family farm just north of Iowa in Minnesota. My mother immigrated here from Italy when she was a toddler.

We are both small business owners. We have experience with local, state, and federal political campaigns. Farica is a mother and a grandmother. I am a father. I live on an acreage on the south side of Des Moines where I have tried my hand at various types of farming. I am an avid reader and somewhat of a jack of all trades when it comes to experience in economics, finance, insurance, and home mortgage. Since my time as a media major at the University of Northern Iowa I have been in radio and journalism.

We are running for office because we are passionate about addressing mental health, the opioid situation, human trafficking, the nitrate issue, teacher pay, and cannabis and hemp freedom. We want to move toward increased revenue from specific goods and services and away from less voluntary forms of taxation. We know that we can bring in revenue by allowing for hemp and cannabis freedom, by ending certificates of need, through occupational licensing reform, and by allowing for sports betting and online poker.

We have made championing mental health improvements and medical access a focus of our campaign. We believe in the Club House Model of mental health rehabilitation as one way to fill in the gaps. We are fighting to not only restore access and services to mental health but to expand access. We know that we need mental health services available to communities throughout the state. We are taking part in project #IAMNOTASHAMED to address the stigma associated with mental health struggles.

We want to work with Democrats and Republicans to come to agreement on the nutrient reduction strategy. We will foster agricultural freedom so that more varied fruits and vegetables, cover crops, perennials, grasses and cold weather crops can compete. This will be a boon for our water, soil, pollinators, and farmers.

We will address civil and criminal justice reform. We want to rein in the war on drugs and simplify the tax code for all Iowans. Iowans will soon be paying more taxes for fewer and worsened services if we do not address and modernize our taxation and our entitlements. As it stands now the Iowa income tax return is only three fewer lines than the federal tax form. Just imagine the money that will flow into our communities and the Iowans that will further their education and start their own businesses.

Under my plans we can dramatically raise teacher pay without raising taxes and allow for much more state level and community level control. Iowans should be able to set their own high bar in terms of education standards. State and local governments should be able to lead the way by measuring and supporting teacher and leader effectiveness, re-evaluating the skills that children are taught, and closing achievement gaps. Iowans are now competing with the rest of the world for jobs and we need to make these changes to strive to have some of the best students and teachers in the world once again. Phasing out the income tax entirely will help businesses, large and small, and individuals alike. Individuals will have more money to save or to invest in education whether it be at home, charter, private education, or public education. Learn more at www.marcoforgovernor.com

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• Marco Battaglia is a Libertarian candidate for governor. Farica Robertson is a candidate for lieutenant governor.

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