One of the most common questions I'm asked is some variation of, "How did you get involved in the Libertarian Party?"
It's a decent story, I guess. So I'll tell it to you here, so you can save yourself the trouble asking me about the story, if you haven't asked already.
I've always been pretty politically aware. One of my earliest memories is of Mondale being stomped by Reagan (in the Electoral College, anyway).
I was excited about the Republican Revolution in 1994. It was all about returning power back to the states. I liked it. No; I loved it. I was on-board.
The first election in which I was eligible to vote was 1996. I walked in, and I didn't use the straight-Republican button; but I did vote for Dole (despite wanting to vote for Perot), and a few other Republicans. I left a few races blank.
And not long after I walked out of the booth, before the results were even tallied, I began to question my decision. Dole wasn't really a very good candidate, and really, I was just casting an anti-Clinton vote, and didn't know much about the policies of Dole. And I really wanted to vote for Perot.
And I was seeing some other troubling things as well. In the months that followed, it seemed like the plan to return power to the states had fizzled; not because of opposition, but because Republicans just gave up.
Yes, they gave us back the speed limits, and for that I'm grateful. Every time I go over 55MPH I think about that, and how wonderful it was to remove the national speed limit.
But, it wasn't enough. It wasn't really even scratching the surface of the bohemoth that is federal government.
And then, in 1997 and 1998, came the Republican-backed proposals that seemed to be making federal government bigger.
And that's when I'd had it. A friend of mine suggested checking out the Libertarian Party. I liked it. And when Harry Browne (RIP) came to Louisville, he answered all of my questions, in new and interesting ways that really made me think about issues, not just repeat the bumper-sticker slogans.
I was thinking through these ideas. How viable were the various plans? How can these goals of smaller government be achieved?
And then, I was hooked. I joined the National Party right away. I changed my voter registration (though they weren't tracking Libertarians at the time), and I was a member.
And I never heard from the party again.
So, I meandered around. I voted for Harry Browne in 2000; proudly so. But otherwise, I really wasn't doing much in politics, and all but bowed out in early 2001.
At first, I was on-board with the so-called War on Terror. Yes, I agree with the idea that we should send a strong signal that you mess with us, and you pay dearly. That's an important message, and still one I believe needs to actually be sent today.
But as the months went by, and the wars continued, and with no true show of retaliatory force that would discourage others from ever creating another 9/11, or even any sort of goal or exit strategy, I again became frustrated. I don't and have never wanted want a perpetual war.
But, that's what we got. And so I was slowly working my way back into small-L libertarian politics by the end of 2003 or so.
And in 2005, the horrible Kelo decision from the Supreme Court; the one that said a government can just take your property and you can't say squat. And I was fired up. I was really fired up.
And this guy named Ron Paul was brought into Bowling Green by the Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions (BIPPS), to speak about the ramifications of Kelo. For some reason, my father was invited; I'm not even sure why. But I saw the invitation at his house, in a pile of mail about to be thrown away. I grabbed the invitation, and I went.
And Ron Paul was great. He inspired me to get back involved, full-time. He instilled in me the sense that we must fight against the erosion of our liberties; we can't just sit back and hope someone else does it.
And in early 2006, the LPKY Chairman at the time, George Dick, put out a call to ask for candidates to run for Congress throughout the state. Two of us responded from the desperately-neglected 4th District. Between us, we decided I'd be the campaign manager/strategist, as my (now friend) is more charasmatic, had a (literally) larger presence, and is quicker on his feet.
This led me to understand some of the inherent flaws in the LPKY, and the LP in general, when it comes to running candidates for office. I saw that so long as we had put our own roadblocks in the way, we were handicapping ourselves even moreso than the stupid laws that penalize candidates for running as something other than a D or an R.
And that's why I ran for LPKY State Chairman in 2007. I worked to transform the LP in to a structure that promoted growth. And we've seen that growth. I can't claim it was all about the structure I put in place; I think it had more to do with Ds and Rs inevitably messing up from their own greed and incompetance. But I do believe that the structure put in place gives everyone the option of taking an official, defined role in the party.
But we have grown. And after 4 years as State Chairman, I wanted to take on a bigger challenge. Something that no LPKY candidate had ever done before. I ran for State Treasurer in 2011. This expanded our base of friends and supporters significantly.
And we continue that growth. My personal goal is to get the first official county organizations off the ground this year. And we can only do that with your help!
There's never been a better time than now to get involved in the LPKY. Join us, and be a part of the new organization, built for growth and reaping the rewards. We can't do it alone. We're a volunteer organization, driven for the cause of liberty. Join us, and help us grow.