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My Views on Partisanship, Past and Present

I’ve received several questions about my past partisan political activity and candidates that I’ve supported. As I have with other issues, I want to be transparent about the choices I’ve made and why I made them. Voters can make their own decisions about my thoughts below and I respect that. My focus going forward will be on Iowa City and the issues we face.

I have voted for Democrats, Republicans, and third-party candidates in my life. I’ve also left races blank when there is not a candidate that has earned my vote. And I always show up and vote.

My Campaign Treasurer, Travis Weipert, is an elected Democrat. I believe most (if not all) of the endorsers on my website are registered Democrats. The people who have helped me include both Democrats and Republicans. I’m proud of all these facts as I am in my record of local, state and national service and advocacy for issues that I’m passionate about.

Until recently, I was a registered Republican. I’ve supported and donated to candidates in that party. I changed my official registration last October to “No Party” and, except for a couple donations, stopped being any real part of the Republican party 5 years ago. I have not voted for or supported Donald Trump at any time. I voted against him in the caucuses (which is part of the reason I didn’t change my party registration earlier) and then voted for Biden in the general. I did not support or vote for Kim Reynolds for Governor.

I believe the party left me as it no longer aligns with my views below strongly enough. I don’t anticipate registering with a party again for the foreseeable future.

I’m very passionate about fiscal responsibility, (concerned about budget deficits and debt), civil liberties and human rights (I'm Vice Chair of the Iowa City Human Rights Commission and past Iowa Human Rights Board Member), reducing both our military presence overseas, and the size and power of government, particularly executive power and at the federal level. I also want to end the drug war, legalize some drugs (like marijuana) and decriminalize possession of others, as I see this as the biggest contributor to our prison overpopulation and racial disparities in policing. I’m also a strong believer in free markets, free trade, and free enterprise, which I believe is the best way to reduce poverty and increase upward mobility. I believe in greatly increasing legal immigration and supporting immigrants here that are undocumented.

I don’t see either major party as a perfect fit for that mix of views, but I chose to advocate for them from within the Republican party. Party politics is a team sport and I worked for my team, even though I didn’t always agree with all positions or candidates. We have 330 million people in this country and two major parties, so many people don’t fit the binary choice well. Anyone who has been a public supporter of a party or candidates, regardless of which party, has had the experience of one of them doing or saying something they disagree with, sometimes strongly.

I abhor the “guilty by association” practice of tying any person to a cherry-picked view (or misdeed) of a candidate or elected official they have supported. I don’t participate in it at all and will not in this campaign. I am my own person with my own views and behavior, and I would hope to be judged based on those, as I do with others.

I publicly supported Ron Paul for President in 2008 and 2012 because his positions aligned more with my priorities above better than other candidates. The same for Rand Paul in 2016, though his actions since then have disappointed me greatly. My wife and I were public supporters of Joni Ernst in 2014. She was a fellow National Guard soldier and focused her first campaign on fiscal responsibility. We did not support her re-election campaign because we disagreed with too many of her votes and choices in her first term. I got to know her and still consider her a friend, despite those disagreements, and have every intention of maintaining a positive relationship with her. This is the same for any of my friends with whom I disagree. I have many friends that span the political spectrum, including elected officials in both major parties at the state and federal level. I believe this is to Iowa City’s benefit. It certainly is a fact that I cherish.

I believe strongly in nonpartisan offices being just that. I have written at length and taken positions in this campaign that might be labeled as “liberal” and some “conservative”, and likely some that have been both at some point or another.

I have always been focused on issues, studying them, and debating them. I work hard to be informed and am open to other points of view and changing my mind based on new data and more compelling arguments. I will continue to be focused on the issues facing Iowa City in this campaign and as a City Councilor.

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Gazette Endorsement

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