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Libertarian Stewart seeks U.S Senate seat

Candidate hopes to see peace, liberty, end to drug war

By Amy H. Peterson - Staff Writer | Oct 22, 2020

Rick Stewart is running as a Libertarian for U.S. Senate. Stewart stopped by the Estherville News office Tuesday to talk about individual liberty, responsibility for one another, and a proposal for a $1,000 universal basic income.

Stewart sees a Libertarian platform as a funnel through which individual liberties, economic freedom, individual responsibility, and caring for our neighbors directly all flow. The nutshell, Stewart said, is, “Don’t hurt me; don’t take my stuff.”

Stewart said, “We can live side by side in cooperation with one another under the premise, do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

Stewart had a message to all voters that divisiveness among the two major parties has led to the demonization of the other side. The fear driving elections up and down the line has made space for the many ads that have one party and candidate demonizing the opponent instead of speaking on their own ideas and policies, Stewart said.

“A public official should represent all 330 million Americans, not just the ones who agree with them,” Stewart said.

Stewart said, “The reason you can’t be partisan is that it creates an enemy – the people on the other side. If I’m partisan, it’s back to Chicken Little. If they get the power, the sky’s going to fall. Well, no it’s not. It hasn’t happened yet. The parties have fine-tuned the fear of the other party so much that people are not voting for someone they support, they are voting against someone they are afraid of. We can’t be afraid of what’s going to happen in the future. We need to be a strong people, a united people, one America.”

Stewart said he wants to solve problems and build consensus, to concentrate on policies, not clash over personalities.

“What works is consensus-building, and that takes a lot more work,” Stewart said.

Stewart also discussed his idea for a universal basic income of approximately $1,000 for each American age 18 and older. While this idea is generally not promoted by Libertarians, Stewart said he felt it would provide more freedom to Americans.

“Who says you have to retire at 65? If you wanted to retire at 55 you could. If you wanted to retire at 75 you could. This payment would come regardless of age and would not be a disincentive to work as most people would want to earn more than $1,000 per month. It would spark entrepreneurship, people would have more flexibility in raising their children, taking care of their elders, volunteering in the community, dealing with their health conditions, and more,” Stewart said.

On health insurance, Stewart also favors a single-payer universal program in which participants would have about $250 deducted from that $1,000 payment and purchase health insurance in the marketplace the way one purchases auto and other types of insurance. Those who did not want to purchase insurance on the marketplace would not have to take it, but they would still have the deduction to pay for it, Stewart said.

Stewart visited various spots in North Iowa Tuesday, including his stop at the Estherville News. The election is Nov. 3. Those wishing to request mail-in absentee ballots have until Friday to mail their request. The Estherville News will have election updates and results in the coming weeks.