Steven Peterson, Libertarian candidate for North Dakota’s seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, said the America of August 2020 is not the America he grew up in.

A former private investigator from Fargo, Peterson spoke about festering division. It contradicts the forgotten “we swing together or we swing alone” attitude that built America, he said.

“I don’t run for me, I run for you,” Peterson said. “You can call me up, contact me. Your property rights are yours. Do you get that today? I don’t know.”

Peterson is facing incumbent U.S. Rep. Kelly Armstrong, R-N.D., and Democratic-Nonpartisan-League candidate Zach Raknerud. In this election, Peterson said, it does not matter how anyone voted previously.

“I want people to remember before they mark that page that each mark on there determines how we all treat each other. I’m tired of both choices. I’m tired of holding my nose and choosing the least worst of two evils,” Peterson said.

Overall, Peterson said he wishes we were better. He said he is tired of the “brinksmanship” coming from the White House and Congress.

“I’m tired that you and I and others are the pawns and that we don’t have a representative,” Peterson said. “It’s more disturbing, the things we see in our country today. We are in danger because of this. Trump is doing things that are beyond the U.S. Constitution.”

Peterson cited action against refugees (“I want to see an America where we can allow families to stay together.”) and plans to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) for drilling as U.S. policy he’s appalled at.

“Look at how small ANWR is. Do you think we need to drill for oil there? Look at Lake Sakakawea. It’s an ego position. Look what we did to that poor caribou. That’s not a politics thing. That’s an ecological, science thing. We’ll never come back from that. Why are we increasing our production in ANWR when we can’t even get our Bakken output out?” Peterson asked.

Additionally, Peterson is “absolutely upset” at how the Republicans and Democrats in Congress are behaving while Americans await COVID-19 relief.

“Someone like you could be losing your home because of an argument between two egos in Washington,” he said.

Peterson, interviewed by phone, said he had consumed medical marijuana for back pain. If he didn’t have a card permitting so, it would be a misdemeanor-level crime. Saying that and other limitations on individuals are wrong, Peterson endorses the legalization of cannabis.

“Colorado has not burned down,” he said. “Satan has not come up onto the earth. We have refugees within our own nation because of cannabis laws. They want to come home but because of the laws, they cannot.”

Peterson was among the advocates in Colorado before and after cannabis legalization, he said. They spoke in the courtrooms, they had the talks with citizens. They talked about economic impact, the impact of current laws on individuals (including “the kids, the college kids caught with an ounce of weed”) and more.

“Mexico, their supreme court, determined that cannabis is a human right. Their congress is more corrupt than ours, but they have a different perspective on life and on cannabis. You can eat it, you can chew it, you can smoke it. That needs to be included in the U.S., the human right to cannabis.”

Raknerud is scheduled to visit Wahpeton Saturday, Aug. 22. He will hold a 3 p.m. meet and greet at the Chahinkapa Park Band Shelter. Armstrong visited Wahpeton earlier in August. Peterson said he is open to a visit.

With less than three months until Election Day, look to Daily News for coverage of North Dakota and Minnesota’s campaigns, candidates and items under consideration.


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