Freedom Gulch #22

Last night, Will Hammer, Andy Bakker, and I got together online for the twenty-second Freedom Gulch podcast.  The conversation mainly focused on Donald Trump and his failures to uphold the Constitution as well as the 2017 elections here in Virginia, including the Libertarian Party of Virginia convention, which is coming up this Saturday.

If you missed it live, you can catch the podcast below.

Edwards Announces for the 20th

Today, on the steps of the Augusta County Courthouse in Staunton, Virginia, Michele Edwards announced her intention to seek the Democratic nomination for the 20th district seat in the House of Delegates. Below is a video of her announcement.  Sorry that it is a bit shakey.  In retrospect, I should have worn gloves as it was cold outside.

Republican Dickie Bell has represented the 20th district since 2010.  He has not had a Democratic opponent since 2011 when Laura Kleiner challenged him.  This year, he is facing Libertarian Will Hammer and now Democrat Michele Edwards.

To learn more about Michele Edwards and her campaign, I suggest you visit her website.

Round Two: Hammer Vs. Bell

Images from Dickie Bell’s and Will Hammer’s websites

Two years and two days ago, Will Hammer announced his candidacy for the House of Delegates in the 20th district.  He ran as the Libertarian candidate against Dickie Bell, the Republican incumbent.

Delegate Bell emerged victorious in the 2015 contest, but today Hammer has announced his plans for a second go at the office.

In his press release, Mr. Hammer states, “I believe that my strong showing in 2015 and growing distrust and distaste for the two major parties, specifically incumbents, represents a great opportunity to go to Richmond as a third party candidate.”

Will Hammer highlights some of his campaign issues adding, “When elected, I will fight against the Dominion pipeline because property rights are sacred, to end gerrymandering and corruption, bring transparency to Richmond and publish a reasoning for every vote that I place. I will hold online and in person public forums for my constituents. I will protect your gun rights as I was given an A grade from Gun Owners of America and “very pro-gun” rating from Virginia Citizens Defense League. I will fight for judicial reform and marijuana legalization, which will reduce government expenditure and create a booming new industry which means thousands of jobs. I will walk the walk, not talk the talk. If you are tired of business as usual and the duopoly of the Republicans and Democrats, join me and let’s seriously drain the swamp known as Richmond.”

Presumably, Mr. Hammer will be able to collect the signatures of 125 valid and registered voters in the 20th district to make the ballot.  Assuming he is the Republican nominee once more, Delegate Bell will not be required to collect signatures.  The 20th district includes the cities of Staunton and Waynesboro as well as all of Highland County and parts of Augusta and Nelson Counties.  Right now, there are no other candidates in this race and Will Hammer is the only Libertarian candidate running in the Shenandoah Valley.

If you’d like to learn more about either of the two candidates, you can find information about both Bell and Hammer on their respective websites.

Freedom Gulch #20

Last night, Andy Bakker, Will Hammer, and Joshua Huffman gathered online for the twentieth Freedom Gulch podcast.  Topics for the nearly hourlong discussion included: President’s Trump’s plan to “rebuild” the United States military, an unusual candidate for the Virginia House of Delegates, additional discussion of the 2017 Virginia campaigns, and more.

If you missed the podcast live, you can find it below.

The Rise of the Rocktown Libertarians

Photo of the August 2013 meeting by Lisa McCumsey

In the past, the Rocktown Libertarians have hosted a number of candidates seeking office.  In 2012 we had Karen Kwiatkowski, a Republican candidate for House of Representatives.  In 2013, there was Robert Sarvis, the Libertarian candidate for governor.  In 2014, there were many hopefuls: Robert Sarvis again, this time the Libertarian candidate for U.S. Senate, Will Hammer, a Libertarian candidate for House of Representatives, Helen Shibut, a Libertarian candidate for Harrisonburg City Council and me, Joshua Huffman, an independent for Harrisonburg City Council.  In 2015, we had April Moore, a Democratic candidate for Virginia Senate as well as Will Hammer once more, this time as a Libertarian seeking a House of Delegates seat.  Then, in 2016, Chris Jones, the Mayor of Harrisonburg (a Democrat) stopped by as did Harry Griego, a Republican candidate for House of Representatives.

2017 is shaping up to be an even more exciting year.  At the Rocktown Libertarians’ March meeting we will be hosting Delegate Nick Freitas (R-Culpeper) to speak about this year’s General Assembly session which should be ending in just a few short days.  Then, in April, the Rocktown Libertarians will be joined by Delegate Sam Rasoul (D-Roanoke) to discuss ways to make ballot access more fair for all, including Libertarian Party candidates.  We’ll likely have other special guests as well, but they are still in the works.

Sounds like an interesting group, doesn’t it?

Well, if you’d like to learn more about the Libertarian Party of Virginia, work to promote liberty, and meet fellow activists of a variety of political affiliations, I hope you’ll consider attending an upcoming meeting of the Rocktown Libertarians.  We get together on the third Tuesday of every month starting about 6:30 PM at the O’Charley’s at 101 Burgess Road in Harrisonburg.  Come stop by, say hello, and enjoy some good food and good conversation!

Freedom Gulch #19

On the evening of February 7th, Will Hammer, Andy Bakker, and I gathered online for Freedom Gulch’s 19th podcast. Topics during the hour included: Betsy DeVos and her confirmation as Secretary of Education, recent protests against Milo Yiannopoulos, Charlottesville City Council’s decision to remove the statue of Robert E. Lee from a downtown park, an eye toward the 2017 elections here in Virginia, and more.

If you missed it live, you can find it here!

Freedom Gulch #12

fg12Last night, Will Hammer, Michael Pickens, Joshua Huffman, Carl Loser, and Andy Bakker gathered together for Freedom Gulch’s twelfth podcast.  Topics for the evening included: Gary Johnson and his Aleppo misadventure, Hillary Clinton’s health, the upcoming presidential debates, recent newspaper endorsements, and more.

If you missed the broadcast live, you can find it below.  Enjoy!

Freedom Gulch #10

FGLast night, the folks at Freedom Gulch held their tenth podcast.  Included in the conversation were: Will Hammer, Robert Clemmer, Michael Pickens, Joshua Huffman, Andy Bakker, and Carl Loser.  We discussed a variety of recent political events such as: Gary Johnson’s rise in the polls and possible inclusion in the debates, Representative Scott Rigell’s (VA-2) endorsement of Johnson, the newest candidate to throw his hat into the ring for president and what that might accomplish, the recent Libertarian town hall on TV, and more.

You can find a replay of the live podcast below.

Freedom Gulch #9

Last night, I joined Will Hammer, Andy Bakker, and Corey Fauconier for the 9th Freedom Gulch podcast.  Topics under discussion were: the recent shooting of black males and Dallas police officers, Hillary Clinton’s non-indictment, possible VP choices for Donald Trump, and more.

If you missed the discussion live, you can watch it here.

Thoughts of Johnson and The Libertarian Convention

Untitled 2For those who haven’t been paying attention to recent political news, over the weekend the Libertarian Party held their national convention in Orlando, Florida.  There they nominated former New Mexico Governor and 2012 Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson as their candidate for president.  For vice president, they selected Bill Weld, the former governor of Massachusetts.

Although, unfortunately, I wasn’t able to attend the convention, I watched much of the event on C-SPAN, as it was broadcast on national television.

On Tuesday, I had two opportunities to offer my thoughts of the convention and the Libertarian candidates for president and vice-president.  In the morning, I spoke on the radio, 550 AM WSVA.  If you missed the segment, you can find it here.  Then, in the evening, I got together with Will Hammer, Corey Fauconier, and Andy Bakker at Freedom Gulch as we engaged in a bit more in-depth conversation.

Could 2016 be the break out year for the Libertarian Party?  Well, with a ticket headlined by two former governors, a Republican and Democratic candidate with very high negatives, and inclusion in the national polls, just about anything could happen.

No matter the outcome, 2016 is shaping up to be one of the most exciting election cycles in recent history.