Government

Libertarian candidate for Iowa governor Jake Porter says he's addressing issues others ignore

Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Jake Porter 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 Jake Porter 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)

CEDAR RAPIDS — Ask him, and Libertarian candidate for governor Jake Porter will share his thoughts on the state budget, school funding, water quality, tax reform and Medicaid privatization.

But he also wants to talk about issues — and Iowans — he thinks are being ignored. That would include prison crowding, which he said has implications for the state budget, and making it easier for Iowans convicted of non-violent crime to clear their records so they can get jobs and support their families.

“That hasn’t been brought up a lot by Hubbell or Reynolds,” Porter said, referring to Democratic gubernatorial candidate Fred Hubbell and incumbent Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds.

For example, the major party candidates don’t talk about the overrepresentation of blacks in Iowa prisons.

“Reynolds likes to talk about we’re No. 1 in that U.S. News and World Report,” he told The Gazette Editorial Board Tuesday. “They never say we’re No. 1 in racial disparities. We should say we are No. 1 and we’re not proud and we’re not going to stand for it.”

Porter, a 30-year-old Council Bluffs business consultant, said restoring voting rights would be one of his first actions as governor.

“We oftentimes act like these people are not part of our society,” he said. “Maybe people did make mistakes in their past, (but) just because someone did something stupid years or decades ago, especially if they didn’t hurt anyone else, we shouldn’t hold it against them for the rest of their lives.”

Libertarians have gained party status in Iowa as a result of their presidential candidate, Gary Johnson, getting more than 2 percent of the statewide vote in 2018.

Porter hopes to maintain that and noted the recent Iowa Poll showed 7 percent of Iowa voters backing his candidacy.

That makes him optimistic about the future of the party in Iowa.

“I think we’ve accomplished quite a bit this year,” Porter said.

He’s met with several newspaper editorial boards and, for the first time in party history, received the primary endorsement of the Des Moines Register. He and his opponent, Marco Battaglia, had a debate on public television and participated in forums with Democratic primary candidates.

“We receive more media coverage than ever,” which exposed the party’s political philosophy to more people, he said.

Libertarian voter registration numbers in Iowa have “exploded” — from about 2,500 to more than 11,000 — “and it keeps growing,” Porter said. The party is running more than 30 candidates — more than in any previous election.

“We don’t expect to take over overnight,” Porter said. “We don’t expect to be elected governor in just one year of having (party status). Democrats and Republicans have 150 years of organization they’ve been able to build up.”

For more on Porter, go to jakeporter.org.

l Comments: (319) 398-8375; james.lynch@thegazette.com

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