Three 2019 Defender of Liberty Awards were given to deserving candidates after the close of convention business.
This award is given to a Libertarian activist whose efforts have done the most to promote the LP and Libertarian principles. Gioia, of Oakland County, was nominated by Greg Stempfle for her willingness to run as our attorney general candidate in 2018. Below is an excerpt from her nomination statement:
"As the 2018 fall convention arrived, no Libertarian had yet to step up and run for Michigan Attorney General. The LPM had candidates for all statewide races that we would nominate, except this one. Once it was confirmed that Michigan election law does not require the Attorney General to be a lawyer, Lisa Lane Gioia volunteered to be our nominee. By doing so, Lisa put herself under public scrutiny and faced more criticism than most third-party candidates normally receive. She quickly familiarized herself with the responsibilities of the office and began engaging the media the next week. There were some occasions that I was on the phone with Lisa, late into the night, helping to craft a libertarian message and answer candidate questionnaires. Despite her lack of a legal background, she accepted the difficult challenge of becoming a credible candidate.
In an article published in MIRS Capital Confidential entitled, "2 of 5 Attorney General Candidates Aren't Attorney's" the writer states, "Gioia doesn't have a law degree even though she's been nominated by the Libertarian Party to be the candidate for that office. The West Bloomfield resident owns her old freelance translation business, translating English to Japanese for an intellectual property law firm." I believe the author is implying that while Lisa may not be an attorney, she's clearly intelligent enough to be one and has the necessary skills to navigate complex legal systems.
Prior to her run for Attorney General, Lisa campaigned for US Congress in 2016. It should be also be noted that she serves on the LPM Membership Committee handling new member inquires, was the 2017 LPM Platform chair, and is Development Director for the Libertarian Party of Oakland County. A Lisa also does an excellent job of representing and promoting the party to the news media.
Lisa is always outgoing, friendly, and welcoming to new and potential members, whether in correspondence or face to face. In an organization often full of introverts, Lisa's extroversion, and passion for liberty, have always helped the party to grow."
This award is given to a dedicated, behind-the-scenes, activist whose quiet labors over the years exemplifies the backbone of the LP. Diane and Randy, also of Oakland County, were co-nominated by Greg Stempfle and former LPM Chair Brian Wright, for their state party activism dating back to at least 1976. Below is an excerpt from their nomination statement:
"I have only known Dianne and Randy personally for a few years now, since becoming active in Oakland County affiliate, but I knew of them long before. Dianne and Randy's names would frequently appear in newsletters for helping the party with various behind the scenes activities and responsibilities.
By way of supporting this nomination I submit the following which I found through careful search party archives. This list covers merely some of their accomplishments in the party over the years, and while accurate is almost certainly incomplete."
Active members with the LPM since the 1970s.
Both Dianne and Randy were Presidential electors for the LPM in 1980.
Both Dianne and Randy are among those listed on the "Michigan Liberty Honor Roll" as having "contributed in concrete fashion to the LPM's successful ballot drive", in the February 1980 Michigan Libertarian.
Randy has campaigned for public office as a Libertarian on at least four occasions. These campaigns include; State Representative in 1976, 1980, and 1982, and additionally for Wayne State Board of Governors in 1988.
Dianne has campaigned for public office as a Libertarian twice; in 1982 for Oakland County Commissioner and in 1988 for MSU Board of Trustees.
Dianne has been Treasurer of the LP of Oakland County for many years; serving on multiple occasions since 1993 (probably longer).
Dianne and Randy have graciously hosted an LPM holiday party at their house for many years."
As a co-nominator Brian Wright recounted his college days at Wayne State with Randy where together they ran the Wayne State Students for Objectivism. He recounted early ballot access petition drives and working on the Ed Clark for President campaign. Read Brian's article about this nomination at his blog here:
This award is given to a member of the community whose patriotism and conviction have inspired contributions to the cause of Liberty. Here is an excerpt from the nomination statement given.
Kevin Dietz, a television reporter with channel 4 WDIV in Detroit, was given the award for his relentless coverage of the plight of Rick Wershe (BKA White Boy Rick). Here is an excerpt from the nomination statement by Scotty Boman:
"I nominate KevinDietz for his relentless coverage of the plight of Rick Wershe (BKA White Boy Rick).Rick Wershe had been serving a sentence of life without parole for a "victimless" crime (selling of prohibited substances) since the 1980's.Because Dietz kept the spotlight on this case, a movie, documentary and a book about Wershe were also created. Eventually efforts to commute Wershe's sentence were able to get traction until he was finally released on those charges (Wershe ended up being extradited to Florida on other charges, but he is now eligible for parole there )."
Bay City, MI - Delegates to the Libertarian Party of Michigan state convention made their feelings about the abuse of power clear on April 13th; they resolved to free Julian Assange and to stop Police brutality.
Over two-thirds of those attending the event at the Courtyard Marriot in Bay City want to see the firing and prosecution of law enforcement officers who use excessive force, as well as those in the judicial branch who enable them. They expressed this sentiment in the resolution that read...
Whereas the initiation of force by state police officers is often done under false or unclear pretenses,
that all individuals possess the same set of rights,
that individual rights are not suspended when accusations are made against an individual,
and that a free society cannot co-exist within a militarized police state.
We, the Libertarian Party of Michigan, resolve that awarding impunity to police who violate the individual rights of an accused is more harmful than the alleged crime itself,
that the perpetual betrayal of the public's trust by law enforcement officers is an indication of a culture of tyranny,
and that the judges and the state police officers responsible for protecting or participation in this systematic aggression should be immediately removed from their positions of authority and prosecuted for the crimes they committed in their betrayal of the people.
The convention also appears to be a hotbed of support for Wiki Leaks founder Julian Assange. Most Libertarians view him as a political prisoner who is being prosecuted to punish him for exposing "the most grievous of crimes" by government officials. They expressed this in the following resolution:
Whereas the Libertarian Party of Michigan holds that the most grievous of crimes is the mass murder committed by the federal government overseas;
Whereas journalism is not in any way, shape or form, a crime and is protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution;
Let it be RESOLVED that whistle-blowers crimes provide a valuable service for the American people, and that Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden, Julian Assange, and all other whistle-blowers, journalists and their publishers must have all charges dropped and be released from detention immediately.
I would like to once again thank the delegates who attended the April 13 Libertarian Party of Michigan convention for electing me to be the new chairperson of the party. I am humbled by the amount of support I received from many of you and by the responsibility I will be undertaking.
For those that don't know me. I have been involved with the Libertarian Party since 1996 when I saw Harry Browne speak at Michigan State. In the 20 plus years since that time, I have chaired both Wayne and Oakland Counties, served as Michigan Libertarian newsletter editor, served as 2nd vice chair/political director, and run for public office eleven times, including Secretary of State in 2018. I have seen the LPM do many things; some that worked, some that didn't. I want to take all of that knowledge and experience to continue to build a more smoothly running political party that can provide support for our candidates for public office.
My primary goals during 2019 will be 1) to improve internal party communication between the LEC, affiliates, and our membership, 2) with the help of new Political Director Jamie Lewis, provide a better framework of support for candidates, and 3) with the help of Affiliates Director Ben Boren, establish affiliates in regions currently unaffiliated. To that last point, Ben and I will be attending an organizational meeting for Libertarian Party activists in Alpena on May 1st.
On Sunday, April 28, the LEC met in East Lansing to begin implementing these goals and to plan for the upcoming campaign cycle. Scotty Boman was selected as newsletter editor and Lisa Lane Gioia was selected to chair the Membership Committee. Other members of the Membership Committee are Norm Peterson, Ben Dryke, Catherine Filus, and Jerry Bloom. A number of other committee assignments (Legislative, Historical, Social Media, and Webmaster) were tabled until the next meeting to give us time to recruit volunteers. A request for volunteers for specific roles will be sent out to our membership within the week.
They expressed their typical opposition to all taxes while hinting at out-of-the-box solutions like private roads. They also aligned themselves with the mainstream of the electorate by pointing to the historically lopsided defeat of a more modest road tax proposal in 2015.
Over two-thirds of those attending the event at the Courtyard Marriot in Bay City voted to support this resolution:
Whereas a tax on gas for roads was rejected by the voters in 2015;
Whereas the vote in 2015 was the largest defeat in Michigan history of a ballot proposal to amend the state constitution;
Whereas the legislature increased taxes in Michigan since the aforementioned defeat;
Whereas the state of Michigan takes in more than enough revenue to pay for road maintenance;
Whereas the state spends that revenue on non-essential, self-serving or harmful, projects;
Whereas voluntary alternatives such as private roads are worthy of consideration;
Whereas taxation is theft;
Be it resolved, that we oppose any increase in the Michigan gas tax, or in any other tax;
On March 24th the Capital Area Libertarian Party received coverage on WLNS. Read the full story and view the video here.
Bay City, MI - While many Michiganders are looking to last year's Proposal 1 as the conclusion of the decades long marijuana legalization movement, delegates to the Libertarian Party of Michigan state convention on Saturday April 13 saw it as a beginning, and they are looking ahead to more reforms. Many of those attending the convention in Bay City expressed dismay at the taxes that will be levied on cannabis and are disturbed by the continued incarceration of people imprisoned for marijuana related activities before they were legalized. Over two-thirds of the delegates voted to endorse the following resolution:
Be it resolved, that the Libertarian Party of Michigan supports the amendment to the Michigan Constitution as of this date proposed by End Prohibition Michigan. Proposed language to amend the Michigan Constitution This proposal would add a new Section 28 to Article 1.
- The natural, lawful, unalienable and absolute rights of the people to cultivate and utilize the natural plant known as cannabis shall not be infringed. These rights include, but are not limited to, the possession. Consumption, growing, manufacturing, delivery, treatment, purchase, sale, transfer storage and transport of any plant, seed, flower, leaf, mixture, derivative, extract, product, or preparation of any cannabis plant for personal preparations including, but not limited to the recreational, religious, medical, development, educational, commercial and industrial purposes within the State of Michigan.
- All local and state penalties shall be repealed, nullified or otherwise abrogated.
- No fines, fees, regulations, or penalties to diminish the use of cannabis shall be applied or allowed.
- Any tax levied in accordance with the current State of Michigan sales tax code. Cannabis used for medicines and foods shall be exempt from all taxes.
- All prior and current non-violent cannabis related convictions shall be null and void and the records of such convictions expunged from the records.