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Sunday, April 21
The Indiana Daily Student

city politics

Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Donald Rainwater wants to represent the Hoosier individual

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Editors note: This is part of a series of stories covering the 2024 elections. Read the rest of the stories on our website.

If Donald Rainwater gets his wish, Indiana’s future governor will come from outside the two-party system and be a real political outsider, he said, unlike other candidates. 

“I don't have millions of dollars in my campaign fund; I'm not connected to Eli Lilly or to the Indiana State Teachers Union, or any other special interest,” Rainwater said. “I'm just a Hoosier who realizes that somebody has to stand up for the individual in this state. And if nobody else is going to do it, I will.” 

The 2024 Libertarian candidate for Indiana governor received 11.4% of the vote when he ran in 2020, a historic total widely attributed to Republican voter discomfort with state COVID-19 restrictions. Four years later, Rainwater is back in, and wants to stand up for Hoosiers who don’t feel represented by other political parties. 

“I believe that that was an awakening,” Rainwater said. “And I believe that the citizens of the state of Indiana, even though there's no more pandemic, they are still seeing on a very regular basis, if not on a daily basis, where the Republican supermajority or the Democrat party in Indiana no longer represent them.” 

Rainwater believes political candidates aren’t on an equal playing field: Candidates who aren’t Democrats or Republicans have to deal with “a whole different set of rules,” he said. To him, people should be able to vote for anyone who wants to run for office, regardless if they win a major political party’s primary, as long as they believe the candidate to be qualified. 

And Rainwater believes he’s that candidate. He sees the governorship as a project management job, something he has a background in. He’s held management roles in real estate, retail and software engineering, according to his website, and he holds certifications in project management. 

“I believe that we need a governor as a chief executive of the state who is willing and able to analyze every state agency, all of the non-legislative regulations that those state agencies execute on a daily basis and determine where we are spending money we shouldn't spend,” Rainwater said. “I can do that type of analysis and really look at ‘how can we have a better government, not a bigger government?’” 

In that way, Rainwater’s political positions align with nationwide Libertarian beliefs. There’s a focus on individual liberties, small government and personal privacy.  

One of his highest priorities is taxation — specifically property taxes. He wants to establish a cap on residential property taxes of 1% of the purchase price for a maximum of seven years. Right now, the average tax rate was 1.97% in 2023, but the highest in Indiana was Lake County’s Gary-Calumet tax district at 9.59%, according to StatsIndiana.  

“What we see time and time again is that the state of Indiana government is taking money from the average citizen and redistributing it to corporations that are making a profit,” Rainwater said. “I find that to be really backward.” 

Rainwater also wants to abolish asset forfeiture, which is the seizing of personal property by the government, and which can cause people to lose houses they’ve paid off the mortgage on if they can’t pay taxes. Additionally, he opposes personal income tax. 

Rainwater said he believes the current state government goes back on its promises to the people in favor of aiding economic development.  

He cited an example: earlier this month, the Family and Social Services Administration proposed cutting a program that financially supports parents caring for children with disabilities due to a billion-dollar shortfall. Families and Indiana Lieutenant Governor Suzanne Crouch, who is also running for governor in 2024, criticized this move.  

At the same time, Indiana sent a billion dollars over the next two years to the Indiana Economic Development Corp., an economic development agency whose nonprofit arm is sponsored by major energy corporations. Rainwater sees a connection there.  

“To take that same one billion dollars and say, ‘well, we don't have this billion dollars that we thought we had, but oh, we gave a billion dollars to the Indiana Economic Development Corporation for the year of 2024,” Rainwater said. “I just find that completely unacceptable.” 

Rainwater also supports decriminalizing and legalizing marijuana, a prominent libertarian position. It’s a question of states’ rights for him — he doesn’t believe the federal government has the authority to restrict its use. Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb has refused to pardon marijuana convictions because of the lack of federal law change, despite President Biden’s push for governors to issue these pardons. 

He also supports universal school choice, abolishing standardized ILEARN testing and localizing education to school boards and school districts, according to his website. He is anti-abortion. 

The Indiana where Rainwater grew up doesn’t exist anymore, he said. He believes it’s much harder now for young people to start a successful business because of government action. That’s something that, if elected governor, he wants to change.  

“I want to try to reverse even just a small bit of the constant government interference in our everyday life,” Rainwater said, “so that the generations to come have the true opportunity to pursue the American dream in the state of Indiana.” 

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