“I think it is great the librarians have a party.” That was what a voter said just a few years ago when a Libertarian candidate visited their house. I have been involved with the Libertarian Party of Iowa since 2006. I can remember a time when most voters had never heard of us, or if they had heard of us they didn’t remember, or they thought we were something we weren’t.
A lot has changed in the past twelve years. When I first joined, you couldn’t register to vote as a Libertarian. In 2008, we finally won that ability. Growth was slow at first. In 2014, we only had about 2,500 registered voters. Recently, our voter registration exploded. Today, it is nearing 10,000. Before last year, we were considered a minor party. We could not hold caucuses, primaries, and the media would often ignore us. Now, we are a major party. We get invited to debates. The media usually give us fair coverage. And we are now having a contested primary for Governor on June 5 just like the Democrats and Republicans.
What does this new political party believe? Why are we growing?
To answer these questions, me must look at where the state is headed. Over the years, the government has rapidly expanded and intruded on our economic and personal liberties. The tax burden is passed to the poorest Iowans while the state hands out millions in corporate welfare to large financially sound corporations. Basic government services have been cut. Our emergency funds are being obliterated due to bad budgeting by the Governor’s office and the state legislature. Sick people are having difficulty getting cannabis oil because the legislature doesn’t care. Rape kits go untested. Our prisons are over capacity, and the problem will get much worse. Those who served their time and paid for their crimes are not getting their voting rights restored.
Democrats and Republicans often bicker back and forth like little children while ignoring these important issues. When they do address the issues, they often do too little to address the needs of Iowans.
The Libertarian philosophy is very simple. We don’t hurt other people, and we don’t take their things. We need to end corporate welfare handouts to large financially sound corporations. We need tax reform for the poorest Iowans. The Governor’s office should look at every government board and agency and consolidate the ones that are redundant, eliminate the ones that need to be eliminated, and make every agency that remains more efficient. Issues such as our overcrowded prisons cannot be addressed until the state stops prosecuting people for addiction and we allow people to get the help they need.
If I win the first Libertarian primary for Iowa Governor, I promise to campaign on the issues that matter most to Iowans and to vigorously defend the rights of all Iowans regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, or what political party you associate with.
As long as there are Iowans who believe in our state motto “Our Liberties We Prize and Our Rights We Will Maintain” the Libertarian Party of Iowa will continue to grow.
• Jake Porter is a Libertarian candidate for governor.