DES MOINES — Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Jake Porter said Monday he thinks Iowans are ready to support candidates who are willing to look for bipartisan solutions to everyday problems rather that opt for candidates more interested in political attacks and growing state government.
“I think we’re going to appeal to people that are tired of the partisanship that’s going on,” Porter told reporters after speaking at the Des Moines Register’s Political Soapbox at the Iowa State Fair. He said he expects to garner support from independents as well as Democrats and Republicans tired of business as usual at the Statehouse.
“I want to make the state government more efficient. I want to make it more effective in what it does,” said Porter, a Council Bluffs business consultant making his first run for governor after two unsuccessful tries as a secretary of state candidate.
“There are a lot attacks going on right now, political attacks, partisan BS that happens,” he added. “We’re going to talk about the solutions to the problems that Iowa faces.”
Porter said his focus is on protecting and expanding Iowans’ personal liberties, restoring voting rights to offenders who have served their sentences, and streamlining state government by doing a “line by line” budget assessment to consolidate or eliminate boards, commissions and programs that no longer are relevant.
“We need to end the corporate welfare that’s being passed out. We should not be giving handouts to big businesses. There are businesses in this state that are not even paying taxes, but the state is cutting a welfare check. That needs to end,” he told State Fair onlookers.
“The tax bill shouldn’t be passed on to the poorest Iowans so large corporations can get handouts and get to write the regulations that put small businesses out of business.”
Libertarians took a major step in 2016 in landing major-party status, Porter said. While he conceded it’s unlikely he will win the governor’s race against Republican Kim Reynolds and Democrat Fred Hubbell, he noted the long game is a party-building plan for the future with several dozen other Libertarians running for lesser offices. He said the party has more than 11,000 registered voters, and he hopes to move that past 20,000 by November.
“Libertarians believe that you should be able to do whatever you like so long as you’re not harming anybody else,” Porter said. “You don’t have a right to harm your neighbors. You don’t have a right to harm your neighbors’ property, but you should have the right to live as you wish.”
He also spoke in favor of local control of schools and livestock confinements, allowing medical uses for cannabis and making criminal justice reforms, including substance abuse treatment rather than prison time for people who commit “victimless” crimes.