August 19, 2022

Stewart pledges to be CEO of Iowa

On his way to a parade in Hampton on July 12, Libertarian candidate for governor Rick Stewart made his way through Osceola with a stop at the newspaper office to discuss his campaign for governor of Iowa.

Running history

This isn’t Stewart’s first time running for office in Iowa; it’s his fifth. Stewart first ran against Joni Ernst and Bruce Braley in 2014, coming in third out of six candidates. At the time, Stewart rode his bike across Iowa and hit all 99 counties.

“I was in really good shape, but not the most efficient method of campaigning,” said Stewart.

A resident of Cedar Rapids, Stewart ran for Linn County Sheriff in 2016, and in 2018 ran for secretary of agriculture. He ran against Ernst again in 2020, receiving 2.2% of the votes in that year’s election. Stewart said his previous four runs were all just prep for 2022, and this is the year for him to prove that he can get 2% of the vote. To be a major party in Iowa, a candidate must continually receive 2% of votes.

“No Libertarian has ever gotten 2% in Iowa before,” said Stewart, adding that being a major party is good for Libertarians, as they can then nominate people at conventions and get more media coverage.

War on drugs and mental health

A big focus for Stewart is that of the war on drugs, which he says ties into everything, and is also “the worst idea America ever had.” He discussed how greed got in the way of good, safe products that are contributing to the overdose crisis the United States sees today.

“I’m going to end the drug war immediately in Iowa,” said Stewart, putting it as a day-one initiative.

Stewart said that mental health goes hand in hand with the drug war. He is in favor of allowing psych nurses to prescribe psychiatric medication to patients. For Stewart, he said that great medical use can be gained by allowing the use of psychedelic medicines such as Psilocybin, MDMA, and LSD. He also thinks that each county in the state needs 24/7 access to acute, mental health services.

Clean water and local control

On the topic of clean water, Stewart said he plans to create watershed co-ops, and it will be up to the members of each co-op to make sure the water that is coming out of the watershed is as clean as it was going in.

“I don’t care how you do it, you gotta get it done,” said Stewart.

Along the lines of how to handle clean water, Stewart trusts in allowing local governments to take care of local issues. What works for one city is not going to work for the next, and Stewart said that is why it’s important for him not to keep out of what he doesn’t need to be involved in.

“Give Osceola the freedom to be a really good town and figure it out,” said Stewart.

Eminent domain; education

Other topics Stewart touched on were eminent domain, which he disagrees with on allowing private companies to use it.

“I’m not going to allow taxpayers to fund the bill for a private company to make a lot of money,” said Stewart.

As for education, Stewart said education starts with good teachers, not schools. He thinks that allowing the parents to choose the teacher they want for their children is the way to go.

“We have a teacher shortage because we’ve made it miserable to be a teacher,” said Stewart, who adds that the government should remove itself from schools entirely.

About Stewart

Stewart was born in Postville, Iowa, and grew up in Maquoketa. He graduated from Andover Academy in Massachusetts in 1969 and spent several years off and on in college and travels before obtaining a degree in Agricultural Mechanics from Kirkwood Community College. In 1976, he started a small company in Norway, Iowa that is still active today, and during his time there he said he ran the business: “on the basis of we’re all here to be a member of one large family organization that cares as much about you and your family as we do about me and our job.” He plans to run Iowa the same way.

“Bring back nice to Iowa politics,” said Stewart. “3 million Iowans, and I plan on being the CEO for the state.”

Candra Brooks

A native of rural Union County, Candra holds a Bachelor's Degree in English from Simpson College and an Associate's Degree in Accounting from SWCC. She has been at the Osceola newspaper since October 2013, working as office manager before transitioning to the newsroom in spring 2022.