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Rick Stewart says he'd end restrictions on drugs and abortions if elected governor of Iowa

Libertarian Rick Stewart discussed his run for Iowa governor on Iowa PBS Friday, August 19, 2022.
Kay Henderson
Iowa PBS
Libertarian Rick Stewart discussed his run for Iowa governor Friday on Iowa PBS.

Libertarian Rick Stewart said he would try to end government regulations on drugs, child care centers, and abortions if elected governor of Iowa.

He said during a Friday taping of Iowa Press on Iowa PBS that his top priority is ending the war on drugs. Stewart said adults should be allowed to buy drugs such as psilocybin, also known as magic mushrooms, at pharmacies without a prescription.

“The state of Iowa has a drug war that’s costing us an enormous amount every year in enforcement actions, in imprisonment, in taking people out of the workforce so they can’t pay taxes and forcing them to live in a cage,” he said.

Stewart said he would pardon every non-violent drug offender in the state and allow psychedelic-assisted treatment in spite of federal law.

He was arrested in May in Washington D.C.during a protest urging federal regulators to allow people with terminal illnesses to use psilocybin as an experimental treatment.

Stewart started and ran a natural foods company and retired in 1999. He lives in Cedar Rapids and has previously run for office and lost four times. This year, he is running against Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds and Democrat Deidre DeJear.

He said he would want to get rid of “almost everything” when it comes to state laws.

Stewart said he believes life begins at conception, but he believes governments should not regulate abortion.

“I would never give that decision to a politician,” he said. “I would obviously give that to the person who’s in the position of being pregnant.”

He also said Iowa should get rid of its regulations for child care centers because he said that would lower the price of child care.

Stewart said roads should be privatized as one way of limiting the role of government in Iowans’ lives.

The state of Iowa collects a fuel tax to pay for road and bridge construction. Stewart said people should instead pay tolls electronically.

“It’s really easy to do, especially with technology today,” Stewart said. “There’s no such thing as a free street. The one in front of my house, it’s not free. There was a lot of money put into that street. Why should I be able to use it for free?”

Stewart said every driver’s road usage would be tracked with a transponder, and then they could pay a bill at the end of each month. He said the government shouldn’t do things that private companies can do faster and better.

He said he would want to change the school’s education system into a model that allows parents to directly hire teachers for their kids, rather than paying taxes to fund the public school system. It’s not clear how Stewart would transition to that model, but he said he would want to start with a trial run and expand from there.

Stewart also said he opposes the use of eminent domain for private companies, including those that are proposing three carbon capture pipelines in the state. And he opposes all vaccine requirements, including those for children going to school.

Katarina Sostaric is IPR's State Government Reporter