As a service to the Delegates to the LP Convention in St. Louis this coming weekend, I sent a candidate questionnaire to the 5 declared candidates for Chair of the Libertarian Party. The candidates full answers are below, a slightly condensed version will be available in hard copy at the convention.
All candidates were asked:
1) Why are you running for LP Chair?
2) What are your qualifications?
3) Why should someone vote for you?
4) Do you support a top-down or bottom-up approach to political activism? How will this affect how you act in your role as Chair?
5) Would you be willing to work with the BTP (the Boston Tea Party, the political party formed in 2006 by Thomas Knapp with the one sentence platform “The Boston Tea Party supports reducing the size, scope and power of government at all levels and on all issues, and opposes increasing the size, scope and power of government at any level, for any purpose.”) on press releases and events that promote the general ideas of freedom & liberty?
1) I’m running for a number of reasons. First and foremost, I have the background to turn around the LP so that it is once again, the premier organization within the broader libertarian movement. We need to end the infighting that’s plagued the LP for the last 4 years. I’m the only candidate that has any hope of doing this. It won’t be easy, but it can be done. I’ve done it before here in California.
The LP needs to set goals, create plans to achieve those goals, and then execute. Simple to say, hard to follow through. However, that’s just what I did as the Chair of the largest state party between 1997 and 2001. I set 3 goals: 5,000 dues paying members, a budget of $150,00, and hire an Executive Director. We focused on those goals until they were accomplished. Simple, but not easy. We had a team of paid professionals and dedicated volunteers that made it happen.
2) I have 36 years of leadership experience in the Libertarian Party. That’s more than all of my competitors combined. I’ve served in just about every role in the LP, from County Chair, Campaign Manager (the first one after California achieved ballot status in 1980), Newsletter Chair, Northern Vice Chair, candidate 8 times (6 partisan and 2 non-partisan), 6 years as Chair of the LP of California (LPC), and served a total of 10 years on the National Committee. I’m the only candidate for LP Chair who has ever served on the LNC.
3) Libertarians attending the LP convention in St. Louis, MO should support my candidacy if, and only if, they want any or all of the following: 1. membership growth (it tripled under my leadership while LPC Chair), 2. increased revenue (quadrupled under my leadership), 3. regular and timely issues of LP News (the LPC newsletter was published every month while I was LPC Chair), 4. more elected Libertarians to office (while LPC Chair, we ran Operation Breakthrough which elected a record number of Libertarians to non-partisan office, 5 (where allowed by law), a record number of registered libertarians (increased due to record levels of activities, not through any voter registration drives).
4) Both. There’s a division of labor within the LP that must focus our energies where it’ll do the most good. For example, staffing an Operation Politically Homeless booth is a local activity. Running candidates for non-partisan races is a local activity. Opposing statewide bond measures would normally be done by a state affiliate, not the LNC or by the local LP. Likewise, there are areas where the LP HQ can shine. Under project Archimedes, the LP membership (and revenue) soared to record levels (twice today’s membership numbers). Massive membership growth has only occurred via a top-down plan. In the history of the LP of California there were two times where massive membership growth occurred (once doubling in just over a year and the other time (under my leadership) it tripled to over 6,300.
If someone discovers that he or she is a libertarian after taking the World’s Smallest Political Quiz at a Operation Political Homeless table (a local activity), someone needs to follow up with an inquiry package (the state affiliate or the LNC) and a membership solicitation. But, what if there’s no local organization? Then, perhaps the state affiliate will step in to provide seeds money and training to get a local organization up and running (top-down). Or perhaps the state affiliate is defunct and the LNC needs to step it and find new blood and provide organization help or to help them gain ballot status (top down).
All levels are needed to growth the Libertarian Party and to expand our influence on the body politic.
Anything less and we fail.
5) I’ve worked with Greens, Democrats, Republicans, Union Activists, and Religious leaders to successfully pass an anti-Patriot Act (SJR 10) through both houses of the California legislature. I’ll work with just about any group that shares a common interest with the Libertarian Party and who are willing to work with us to achieve our mutual goal(s).
John Jay Myers
1) I didn’t think that either of the likely candidates who could win would be good for the Party. The party needs someone who represents both the left and the right, someone who is an activist but also a concerned with the politics of getting people elected. I would like to have the warring factions work together: 1 set can be the activists, 1 set can be the educators and 1 set can get those activist educators elected.
2) I am small business owner (my business has been profitable for the last 7 years), the Vice Chair of the Dallas County Libertarian Party (a county that raises more money than most states) I am on the Texas Executive Committee (our budget in Texas is 1/3 the size of national).
I am running for Congress against Pete Sessions, and I believe I have the personality that will bring the Party together around a common goal…. liberty.
3) To save the Party. We can not afford to be divisive at a time when 80% of the public is fed up with government. We can not afford to tag along with the Tea Parties so at any time the GOP rug could be pulled out from under us.
Now more than ever it’s time to mobilize our own grass roots agenda. It is time to let our message be heard which resonates well with both the left and the right . We also can not afford to make our issues page look like the national enquirer. Anyone should believe what they like, but our message should be simple regardless of what you believe the answer is less government and more freedom.
4) Bottom up, I think establishing a site that connects County, State and National that will act as a county chairs hand book and allow us to attract a chair to every county in America is crucial. The site would also create template websites for candidates and guide them through their local election processes. It will also serve as a way to share information gathered at either of the 3 levels.
5) Why wouldn’t we? Yes.
1)Our National Party has great opportunities, but it is facing an existential threat. In the last ten years, we’ve lost 75% (real dollars) of our income and more than half our dues-paying members. We cannot go on as we have. We therefore organized the New Path Team, people being deployed in places appropriate to their background, experience, and special skills. My place, as a long-time libertarian strategic thinker, former state chair, and former candidate for our Presidential nomination, was to run for Chair. We as a group constructed a program, a party business plan, the plan I am pledged to put into place as Party CEO if I am elected. That plan is about us helping you, not you giving to us. Most recently we have been advertising our program, our web pages, and the team that stands behind them.
2) Libertarian Association/Party of Massachusetts: State Committee Member. Former Executive Director (1996). Former State Chair. State Treasurer. State Membership Secretary. Reversed long-time decline in the size of our organization, so membership has almost doubled since Summer 2009 and treasury has roughly doubled since 2008.
Candidate for Congress, 1998. Had a dozen debates and joint appearances; press said I won. One rebroadcast coast to coast on CSPAN.
Editor-in-chief, Liberty for America magazine. Editor, Let Freedom Ring! Editor, Libertarian Strategy Gazette. Editor — Mass Liberty (LPMass magazine). Editor — CMLC.org (my older web site).
Co-founder: Pioneer Valley Libertarian Association, Liberty for Massachusetts, Freedom Ballot Access 527 organization, Liberty For America Federal PAC
3) We have a team and a program, not a one-man show about me. The team (and the friends we support for At-Large) includes candidates for almost every LNC position. The Program was developed with zero-base planning methods, and represents an entirely fresh look at how to build a strong national party. We talk about operations, not platform stands. As candidate for Chair — that’s party CEO — my contributions to the program, team recruitment, and the nominating campaign were a keystone for our results to date.
4) We need BOTH! We absolutely need top-down *and* bottom up organizing. The national party cannot do bottom up organizing, though it could have a staff of community organizers if we had enough money, but in can supply materials and organizer training to make things easier for people working from the bottom. You can see downloadable trifolds and a downloadable candidate web site available right now at LibertyForAmerica.com. My opponents talk about downloadables; we are giving out samples.
5) I am happy to be agreeable, but have reservations about whether we can make it work. Negotiating the contents of a joint press release sounds like a bear — perhaps agreeing on certain topics and dates would be less painful to the planners. Events are more a state/local issue, up until we try a march on Washington — or perhaps ‘join the Libertarian March from Washington’, a March starting at the Washington Monument and heading out of town.
Wayne Allyn Root
Responded by saying he wouldn’t answer, “I cannot find 5 minutes. I answered I think all of these in LP News…and at IPR on numerous occasions. My schedule is that of a busy media personality, business owner, father, husband and candidate. I cannot answer any more questionnaires. I host a huge radio show all next week. If I can spare 15 minutes I’ll try- but doubtful. I’m sorry but no candidate can answer everything multiple times…and have time left to campaign too.”
Additionally, Chuck Moulton will be “printing out enough copies of the LNC attendance, LNC roll call vote, and LNC mail ballot charts for every delegate.
They are now complete for this LNC term and I think the information is both useful and newsworthy.
Viewing how LNC members voted in the past is critically important for deciding who to re-elect and who to boot out of office.”