Lessons Learned at the LPVA Convention

IMG_3166
Joshua Huffman & Gary Johnson at the LPVA Convention

On March 5th, 2016, the Libertarian Party of Virginia held their state convention in Sandston.  During the gathering, they presented a panel called “Lessons Learned” consisting of former candidates who spoke about their experiences running for office.  Seated from left to right, the panel consisted of: Andy Bakker (who ran for House of Delegates in the 46th district), Joshua Huffman (who ran for Harrisonburg City Council), Brian Suojanen (who ran for House of Delegates in the 87th district), and Mark Anderson (who ran for House of Delegates in the 33rd district).  LPVA Vice Chairman, Dr. Jim Lark, introduced the panel and LPVA Chairman Bill Redpath served as the moderator.

Although it has taken some time, I have acquired the video of that panel, which you can find below.  Hopefully, it will provide useful insight to those who are considering running for office or those who are interested in learning more about our political process.

I’d like to thank the Libertarian Party of Virginia once again for giving me the opportunity to join their panelists earlier this year.

The 2014 Libertarian Convention

On Saturday, February 8th, the Libertarian Party of Virginia held their annual convention just east of Richmond, Virginia at the Marriott Hotel in Sandston.  The main purposes of this gathering were to nominate a candidate for the November U.S. Senate race, elect new individuals to lead the state party, and conduct business of the state central committee.  In the back of the convention hall, the Virginia Citizens Defense League maintained a booth.

The night before, a multitude of Libertarians gathered at the hotel to socialize and greet old friends and new.

IMG_2466Attendance to this convention was a little more than eighty, about double the size of last year’s meeting.  Surprisingly, despite this up tick in attendance, there were merely three attendees from the Harrisonburg area, my corner of the state.

IMG_2470
Libertarian U.S. Senate Candidate Robert Sarvis

The only candidate to seek the Libertarian nomination for Senate was Robert Sarvis, the party’s 2013 candidate for governor.  Unlike some political groups, such as the Republican Party of Virginia, delegates could choose to vote “none of the above” thus forgoing a candidate for the election.  Speakers spoke in favor of and against Mr. Sarvis and the vote that followed was done via voice so the precise  count is unknown.  Nevertheless, Robert Sarvis easily captured a sizable majority of the crowd to become the Libertarian nominee.

Libertarian Party Chairman Chuck Moulton did not seek reelection to his position and so Bill Redpath, the 2001 Libertarian candidate for governor, was elected in his stead.  All other party leaders were reelected without opposition.  Dr. Jim Lark is the Vice Chairman of the LPVA, Marc Montoni is the Secretary, and James Curtis is the Treasurer.

Although not voted upon at the convention, several candidates announced their intent to run as Libertarians for the House of Representatives.  Ideally, the party is seeking to offer contenders in all eleven congressional districts, though presently it sits at a little less than half.

All in all, attendees to the 2014 convention seemed to enjoy themselves and the party seems to have swelled in membership, some joining shortly before the convention itself.

Was Sarvis’ record-setting 6.5% of the vote in 2013 a fluke or a sign of an emergence of an actual third party in Virginia?  How will Mr. Sarvis and the Libertarian slate fair in November?  It should be interesting to watch.

The Schmookler & Huffman Show (Episode VII)

Today, the radio program featuring Andy Schmookler and Joshua Huffman on 550 AM WSVA recorded its seventh episode.  As Andy Schmookler was out of town on business, filling in was Dr. Jim Lark who, among many titles, is the vice-chairman of the Libertarian Party of Virginia.

The program mainly dealt with thoughts about President Obama’s State of the Union address last night, though it also featured a call-in from 2013 Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Robert Sarvis.  Mr. Sarvis took this opportunity to officially announced that he is running for the Libertarian nomination to be the next U.S. Senator from the state of Virginia.

You can listen to the entire program at the following link.

The Radio Show Returns!

Tonight, President Barack Obama will give his State of the Union.  In response, it is rumored that the Republican Party will offer three differing opinions.  However, in what will likely be a far more interesting discussion, the Schmookler & Huffman show will be airing tomorrow morning starting at 10 AM on 550 AM WSVA.

With Andy Schmookler unfortunately out of town, tomorrow I will be joined by Dr. Jim Lark, the Vice Chairman of the Libertarian Party of Virginia.  In addition, we are slated to have a special on-air guest that you won’t want to miss.  Besides the State of the Union, I expect we will delve into a number of topics such as: the federal indictment against former Governor Bob McDonnell, some of the more interesting bills to emerge from this year’s General Assembly session, Attorney General Mark Herring’s stance against the Virginia Constitution, and more.  Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?

So set your alarms and I hope you can tune in tomorrow!

10 AM to 11 AM on 550 AM WSVA.

2013 ISFLC Recap

On February 15th, 16th, and 17th, Students for Liberty hosted the 6th Annual International Students for Liberty Conference, also known as the ISFLC.  I attended this event along with three students from Madison Liberty: fellow blogger Helen Shibut, Nick Farrar, and Reid Walker.

Rather than list every single event, person, and organization associated with this conference, which could take about as long as the conference itself, this article will highlight some of the more interesting and unusual aspects.

Party Milk
Dorian Electra

Friday kicked off with a rather bizarre performance called Party Milk by Dorian Electra.  Apparently, Students for Liberty awarded Ms. Electra a fellowship several years ago, but it was difficult to discern what connection, if any, the song has with the promotion of liberty.

John Mackey, the CEO of Whole Foods, was the featured speaker that evening.  He spoke about the morality and history of the free market, and his new book on the topic, Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business.

Saturday was easily the most jammed packed of the three days.  It featured six informational sessions where attendees could choose to learn about a wide variety of topics from a considerable range of speakers and organizations.

I first selected “The Teachings of Chairman Jim: The ‘Nuts and Bolts’ of Building a Libertarian Campus Organization” which was presented by Dr. Jim Lark, a professor at the University of Virginia and Chairman of the Libertarian Party from 2000 to 2002.  In this talk, Dr. Lark discussed, as indicated from the title, many of the challenges associated with both the creation and maintenance of a liberty group on college campuses.  Given that this topic would be vitally helpful to just about every student at ISFLC, it was a bit disappointing to find that more of them did not take advantage of this discussion.

IMG_1718
Jack Hunter

Second on the docket was “Why Conservatism is Worthless Without Libertarianism” by Jack Hunter.  Readers of this blog may recall that I first met Mr. Hunter while I worked for the 2007/08 Ron Paul campaign in South Carolina.  For those who don’t know, his work, first written under the moniker The Southern Avenger, was exceedingly inspirational to me and was one of the key factors that ultimately led to the creation of this blog in mid 2008.  He spoke at some length regarding the ideals and importance of constitutional conservatism as well as the damage done to both the Republican Party and the conservative movement by faux conservatives like Rick Santorum and Senator Lindsey Graham.

From there, I attended a taping of the Stossel Show.  Below is a short, introductory clip of this soon-to-be aired episode.

After lunch, I took considerable time to wander among the tables of the various libertarian organizations, speaking to a whole host of folks including: The American Conservative, Americans for Self Government, the Free State Project, and the Libertarian Party.  During this exploration, a man at one of the tables offered me a chance to drink raw milk.  Given that I had never had such an opportunity before, I accepted.  Worry not skeptics, so far I have not suffered any ill effects from this adventure.

Representative Justin Amash
Representative Justin Amash

Later, Representative Justin Amash (MI-3) chatted about “The Future of Liberty”.  The room where he spoke was filled well beyond capacity and some attendees had to listen from the hallway.  Although the representative did not spend too much time contemplating on the future, he did offer a number of unique insights of his service in Congress, such as his adherence to a political ideology when most of his colleagues simply bowed to the will of the party leadership.

After dinner, the Stossel Show filmed another episode, this one tailored for a much larger studio audience.  Over a period of a little more than an hour and a half, Stossel featured guests such as Gary Johnson, Dennis Kucinich, and Ann Coulter.

Ann Coulter & John Stossel
Ann Coulter & John Stossel

When he brought up his last interviewee, former U.S. United Nations ambassador John Bolton, a good portion of the crowd left in protest.  Mr. Bolton then spoke of his support of drone strikes, a position adamantly opposed by a vast majority of libertarians.

Jackie Bodner & Julie Borowski
Jackie Bodner & Julie Borowski

Sunday began at 10 AM with “How Libertarians Can Combat the Mainstream Media” with Jackie Bodner and Julie Borowski, also known as the Token Libertarian Girl.  They offered advice on ways to make an impact with local and college news sources, tips on the creation of a successful blog, and ways to connect with other like-minded thinkers.

Although I could write additional pages about ISFLC, I believe that I’ve offered you some of the more interesting tidbits.  It was surprising that Campaign for Liberty was absent and a bit disappointing that no Republican group was present, especially the Republican Liberty Caucus.  Nevertheless, given that Students for Liberty brought together over a thousand students and activists from across the globe to network, hear from dozens of knowledgeable speakers, and learn about a multitude of important topics, I would rate the event as highly worthwhile. 

Schedule permitting, I look forward to seeing you at ISFLC 2014!