Aleaxander Snitker was the 2010 Libertarian Party nominee for U.S. Senate in Florida. He was elected the vice-chair of the Libertarian Party of Florida (LPF) at the May 24-26th, 2013 state convention in Naples.
Published May 27, 2013
As I was heading home from one of the most well attended and productive Libertarian Party of Florida state conventions in many years, I was feeling positive about the direction the party is headed. We were able to make it through mundane tasks that are required in order for the Libertarian Party to comply with state law and did the basic housekeeping of our governing documents in an orderly fashion (I would argue with less in fighting than the Republicans and Democrats). The 2 day business meeting was conducted in a professional manner.
Leading up to the convention, there had been some infighting within the Libertarian Party of Florida. Our party seemed divided in recent weeks. Going into the weekend I had been unsure of what to expect and what direction our party was headed too. There were those focused on education and debate and others who (like myself) saw a unique opportunity to grow the party. The divide seemed insurmountable. I was quickly relieved as we got to work and we came together for the better of the party.
We elected a new chairperson, vice chair, at –large and regional representatives, changing the makeup of our executive committee. The newly elected chairperson is a relative newcomer to the Libertarian Party but has been a longtime activist, proving that this party is willing to be inclusive of those who are new. A strong woman with a vision to grow the party will be a positive change for the party.
I easily won the election for vice chairman of the party. This was largely due to my track record and focus on having an active affiliate in every county in Florida by January 2014. The delegation of the Libertarian Party of Florida agreed that our party needs to focus on building our “bottom-up” organization and one that can grow while remaining true to our grassroots.
We were able to elect an entire executive committee that shares this goal and despite our differences are willing to work together to achieve it. We all understand that our common enemies are the elected officials from both the Republican and Democrat parties. It was a great convention, it was great to see old friends and even better to see everyone leave inspired and ready to get to work.
This weekend made me proud to be a Libertarian.
The latest statement from Roger Stone about the convention is puzzling. For one he was not inside our business meeting. Although he was registered as a delegate, Roger came and spoke at a lunch session and left shortly after. He never participated or even observed the proceedings for that matter. In fact, I did not know he had even been there except for the fact that a few people mentioned him speaking at lunch and announcing he would not be running for governor.
I am wondering if he had been there if he would be telling Libertarians to be more inclusive or the perils of bickering over party rules? Had he stepped foot into the meeting for even a short time he would have seen how those issues did not exist. The bickering never happened. The incoming executive committee is diverse and inclusive with a proven history of working with all groups to accomplish our goals. It is sad that he couldn’t witness the greatness of the weekend and shared in our hope and vision.
Now don’t get me wrong, the Libertarian Party has been known to have exclusionary behavior from time to time, but the vote this year by the delegation proved that as a whole we are inviting to others. There is also a mistrust in the LP which stems from the many times that ex Republicans come over to the LP, stay for an election cycle and then leave the party. Some could say that these former Republicans simply came over here to use the party and then dump it when our usefulness is gone. There are some who have come over into our party with the intention of leaving at the right time to help the party that they were once a part of. Wayne Allyn Root and Bob Barr are perfect examples of this type of behavior. It’s not hard to understand why some Libertarians are hesitant when people who are nicknamed “the dirtiest player in the game” want to join the “party of principle.”
When I first heard that Roger Stone left the GOP and joined the Libertarians I was excited. It was great to see him supporting Gary Johnson. I reached out to Roger to welcome him into the party (I wanted to make sure that the image that some claim we have about inclusiveness can be destroyed).
It’s just that Roger’s analysis of the LPF is way off and this weekend proved it. We are growing and more people than ever are open to the message. The Libertarian delegation put the people in place to build the structure needed to win elections. If our plans work out we could see Libertarians in many local offices in 2014. We have identified dozens of candidates and have a marketing campaign ready to go to get as many Libertarians as we can to run for office.
The money for campaigning and running a party is an issue that the new executive committee is ready to address. It will be a hard fought battle to compete with the other parties in that aspect but we have the volunteers and dedication to overcome. There is legal precedent for our gubernatorial candidate to be included in the debates which will make our message hit mainstream. The people widely agree with our principles and we have a way to reach them.
The time where candidates talking about stereotypical libertarian issue while the voters are worried about the economy and the horrible jobs market is over. The people of Florida are looking for free market Libertarian solutions and not with the “hookers and blow” mantra the Republican and Democrats have successfully laid on us over the years. After this convention, I can say our party is poised to shed that stereotype and prove that we are the answer they are looking for.
Our inclusion of people must not turn us from our principles and the newest “celebrity” to turn to our party will have to understand that part of our party. We do not accept “politics as usual.” We hold ourselves to a highly principled standard and are not impressed with a person’s status. We are not the same as the Republicans and Democrats and in some ways that is an obstacle to overcome but that is also what make us great. It is a refreshing change to bring to the people.
Today I look back on the weekend invigorated for the work ahead and proud of our party. We are growing and principled and the people are ready to join us. The Roger Stone’s of the party will come and go but nothing can stop an idea whose time has come. Our country has a history of always turning towards freedom and the Libertarian Party of Florida is ready to take the lead in that fight.
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