Republican candidate Rand Paul is promising as president he would limit the government’s ability to seize private property for public or private development.
“I will not let the government take any of your property through eminent domain and give it to somebody else,” Paul said.
Paul’s declaration drew applause from a Friday morning crowd in Oskaloosa. A proposed airport in rural Mahaska and Marion Counties has sparked controversy in the area. Paul said one of the “worst” powers government has is “eminent domain” — the taking of private property if a landowner doesn’t voluntarily agree to sell to a private developer.
“We have one candidate, Donald Trump, who’s made his living building casinos, but he doesn’t go to town and ask you to sell your land. He comes to town and he says to the local authorities: ‘Condemn their land and give it to me,'” Paul said. “You don’t believe me? Ask Vera Coking.”
Coking was involved in a 1998 dispute over property Trump hoped to acquire as he was building a casino in Atlantic City.
“She’d lived in her house for 30 years. Donald Trump came to town, bought off the mayor. He said: ‘I’m building a casino.’ Vera Coking said: ‘I’m not selling.’ And he said: ‘Well, we’re going to condemn your land,’ and they took her to court. This little old lady had lived in her house for 30 years, she fought Donald Trump and she beat him.”
Paul also visited Boone on Thursday night to tout his opposition to eminent domain. Some Iowa landowners have gone to court to try to block seizure of their property for a proposed crude oil pipeline that cuts through Iowa.
(Reporting by George Henry, KBOE, Oskaloosa)