Questionnaire Responses

Josiah L. LaRow

We reached out to just about every candidate that we ranked with a questionnaire specific to the office they are running for. Here are the answers Mr. LaRow provided.

Mr. LaRow is a Libertarian. He's running to represent Nevada's 20th Assembly District.

Tell us about your background. What are your qualifications for this position?

This is my first time running for office. I graduated from university with a degree in political science in 2007. From 2010 to 2015 I worked in restaurant management and spent 2015-2021 working in non-profit in a variety of roles.

What qualifications really matter when running for office? I put forth that a desire and commitment to further the fight for freedom is on the top of that list. I am not enthused about the actual politicking. That is the source of the corruption in the system, which itself, provides the mechanisms for governmental growth. Having a firm grasp of the ideals and goals of the liberty movement is the first step. Second, being able to convey those ideas to others in a way that is understandable and digestible will be the best way to move the agenda forward. This includes both the general public and potential colleagues in the event of an electoral victory.

Being confrontational and controversial can be a good tool, but that alone cannot lead to success. A good line from one of the Captain America movies speaks a lot of truth: “Compromise where you can. Where you can’t, don’t. Even when everyone is telling you something wrong is right. Even if the whole world is telling you to move, it is your duty to plant yourself like a tree and say: No. You move.”

Anyone that cannot work with, or at least constructively engage with, others, is not necessarily suited for this position. There is a time and place to be obstructionist, particularly when in the minority, but if someone cannot be aware of opportunities to work with opposition, then opportunities to deliver on the goals of the movement will be lost. I believe that I am well suited in this regard.

Do you agree or disagree with the measures taken by state officials in response to the COVID-19 pandemic? What do you think should have been done or done differently?

I could not disagree more fervently with the measures that were instituted in response to the COVID-19 scare. Working under the system that currently exists, the proper response should have been openness and transparency from the federal agencies involved in public health. Since that did not happen, the role of state agencies would be to advocate for the people of the state against federal overreach and demand transparency. Any communication to the public from state agencies and officials should have been on a non-binding recommendation level with open participation from all members of the community. An environment of open inquiry and scientific curiosity should have been fostered. Had this happened, we likely would have seen more unique and wide-ranging solutions to the issues that arose.

School, business and other forced closures should have never happened. Each individual, family, and business should have made the decision that they felt was in their best interests. State mandates of any kind are unacceptable. Furthermore, the state of emergency that was instituted and used as a way to justify the violation of civil liberties should have been fought by the legislature. The role of the executive lends itself to power-grabs more so than other positions. One of the roles of the Assembly is to hold that power in check, particularly during times of crisis.

Many voters are unhappy with our public school system. What policies or actions would you prescribe to repair or replace the existing system? Do you support “school choice” policies such as educational savings accounts? Why or why not?

Like many things, over generalizations can be harmful. There are good teachers and good schools in Nevada. The problem is that the system is broken and does not work for the teachers, schools, or especially for the student. School choice is a great step in the right direction. Breaking apart CCSD is also another option.

The best option is to remove the government from the education system altogether, but until that can be achieved, any move to give parents and families more power in the decision-making process for their children is a win. School choice, educational savings accounts provide the opportunity for the development of a more competitive educational marketplace which will ultimately provide better educational opportunities for students of all backgrounds. Specialized schools and custom curriculum will spring up and give rise to a happier student, reduction in school violence, and better results across the board. I imagine more magnate schools that cater to student interests and set them up for careers or additional education in their fields of choice. I would love to see our community come alive with a renaissance of learning opportunities, students seeking out new ways to challenge themselves and grow. This is not possible in the current system. It needs to change.

Please briefly describe your political philosophy. What are your guiding principles?

I have 4 guiding principles: Protection of private property rights, individual sovereignty, the non-aggression principle, and voluntary association.

These make the foundation of every policy position I have and lead directly to other beliefs I hold, like the commitment to free-market capitalism, which requires a commitment to the four principles listed above. Outside of political philosophy, I have a personal passion for helping our fellow man. I strongly believe in personal responsibility and encourage people to develop a sense of responsibility to their community. I have faith in people in general, perhaps naively. I really do think most people want good things to happen to others and most people are willing to help when needed.

The spirit of goodwill that I think exists in most everyone is something that I want to see bloom, and I think one thing that gets in the way of that is government intrusion. With the promise of safety and security, the people have forgotten what it means to be a community, and instead of helping out their neighbors, they clamor for the government to do something. In the process, they give up rights and infringe on the rights of others. Over time, the public, through voting for, what on the face seem like, good things, have created a system that bullies and targets people and stifled their own creativity and generosity. The mindset and understanding of our relationship to one another and the government has evolved into something very ugly. This is what I want to bring attention to.

Many voters are concerned about inflation and its impact. What could be done at the state or national level to address the root causes of inflation or mitigate its impact on the public?

The right step to take to address inflation is to end the Federal Reserve system. That step is beyond the purview of the Assembly, so other actions would need to be taken to, hopefully, force the hand of those with the ability to end that system.

One of those steps could be to invoke the 10th Amendment as often as possible to reduce the impact of the federal government in state affairs. The Assembly could use its power to refuse all federal funding for any project over which it has jurisdiction.

An additional step would be to take action to reclaim lands within the state that are currently held by the federal government and privatize as much as possible. Not only would this provide incentive for conservation in Nevada, but it would also reduce federal influence over the state and would provide incentive for capital investment in Nevada, leading to more jobs and influx of economic activity.

Further steps include reducing the state’s overall expenditures. This is related to refusing federal funds but would take it to another level by removing additional burdens on the people of Nevada. Reducing the state budget would allow the elimination/reduction of taxes, fees and other costs imposed by the state on the people.

What would be your top priorities in the Nevada state legislature?

An easy answer is that my priority is to further the cause of liberty in any manner and at every level that I can. To most, that is too vague. As such, I would prioritize the following items:

State licensing and fees – I would work to eliminate and/or reduce the barriers to entry for new businesses and individual entrepreneurs. There is no reason that one should need permission from the government to engage in voluntary economic exchanges. This includes dispensaries, as this is one of the most regulated and expensive businesses to start in Nevada today.

Education – Ending the government’s stranglehold on the educational system is important to me. Though there are those that receive a good education, the disparities are drastic, and the rights of the parents and students are consistently violated and ignored.

Government over-reach – This issue encompasses all of the issues that I would like to address, but in this instance, I am speaking directly to the incredible abuse of power that took place over the last 2 years by Governor Sisolak. The Assembly was either openly supportive or secretly complicit with the tyrannical actions taken by the governor. Action needs to be taken to prevent this type of authoritarian behavior from happening again.

Water – As many are well aware, the water situation in the Southwest is critical. As an assemblyman, I would fight to assert Nevada’s rights. Las Vegas and Southern Nevada have taken drastic steps to curb their water usage as the level in Lake Mead continues to fall. The same cannot be said of California, and to a lesser extent, Arizona. California has the ability and capacity to provide for their own water needs but refuses to do so. This is unacceptable.

Although the ultimate solution of private ownership is perhaps a ways off, there are steps that can be taken to create a better system that will help mitigate the water situation and limit the impact on individual liberty.

Constitutional Carry/Criminal Justice – Criminal justice has been a hot button issue for the last couple of years for the mainstream. It has been a topic of grave concern for libertarians since the inception of the party. We need to reduce the number of police/citizen interactions by eliminating laws for victimless crimes and eliminating qualified immunity.

There are good people that are cops, but the system lends itself to corruption and abuse of power. The type of treatment a person receives in the justice system should not depend on their socio-economic status, their role/position in government, their profession, or any immutable characteristic. The two-tiered justice system that currently exists is unacceptable and needs to be changed.

This includes treating gun-owners as potential criminals. The right to bear arms is not only a natural right, for which we need no government permission to express, but it is also, supposedly, a protected right under the Constitution. This needs to be codified in state statute; eliminating all state gun restrictions and ceasing all cooperation between state and federal agencies in the enforcement of any federal gun laws.

Who or what are the largest political special interests in Nevada, and which of these do you see as having a positive or negative influence?

In general, special interests have an overall negative impact on the state and how government is run. They support candidates that are willing to back their particular brand of authoritarianism, providing perks for their industry, while boxing out potential new competition.

It is not likely that as a third party candidate that I would have received any donations from such groups, but I have made it a point to state that any donation or support does not come with any quid pro quo.

State politics is rife with corruption. The two major parties are already both bought and paid for, which is why trust in them is reaching all time lows. It is time for change, a change in leadership, a change in perspective, a change in culture. This will not happen until the people stand up and say no more.