In 2006, when I first joined the Libertarian Party of Iowa, you couldn’t even register to vote as a Libertarian. In 2008, we finally won that ability.
Growth was slow at first. In 2014, we had only about 2,500 registered voters. Recently, our voter registration exploded. Today, it is more than 11,000.
Before last year, we were considered a minor party. We could not hold caucuses or primaries, and the media would often ignore us. Now, we are a major party. The media usually give us fair coverage. And I am polling at 7 percent in the race for governor.
What does this new political party believe? Why are we growing? To answer these questions, we must look at where the state is headed.
Over the years, government has rapidly expanded and intruded on our 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 services have been cut. Our emergency funds are being obliterated due to bad budgeting by the governor and 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 bicker back and forth like children while ignoring these issues. When they do address them, 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 to large, financially sound corporations. We need tax reform for the poorest Iowans. The governor’s office should look at every board and agency, 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.
I am campaigning on the issues that matter most to Iowans and will vigorously defend the rights of all Iowans regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, religious affiliation or what political party you associate with.
• Jake Porter is the Libertarian candidate for governor of Iowa.