We welcome new contributions with careful attention to our guidelines. Articles for the next issue of the Michigan Libertarian must be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org, and email@example.com no later than the 20th of each month. This allows for publication on the first of each month. We routinely post articles to the website homepage ahead of our publication date.
The Libertarian Party of Michigan depends on contributions to carry out its mission Please Visit us at MichiganLP.org and scroll down to the bottom of our homepage to gain access to our contribution form.
At the conclusion of our nominating convention this past weekend, the Libertarian Party of Michigan is pleased to announce that we have nominated 42 candidates for the General Election on November 8th:
During the banquet following the Libertarian Party of Michigan State Convention Saturday in Lansing, the party handed out it's annual Defender of Liberty Awards. Four awards were issued in three categories.
Spokesperson for Liberty Richard Wershe Jr.
The Spokesperson for Liberty Award goes to a member of the community whose patriotism and conviction have inspired contributions to the cause of liberty.
Scotty Boman presented this award to Richard Wershe Jr. (BKA "White Boy Rick"). Wershe was the longest serving nonviolent juvenile offender in Michigan history. He was sentenced to life without parole, at the age of 17, for drug offenses, but was released in 2017. While this type of sentencing evokes outrage and sympathy from Libertarians, Wershe earned the award based on what he did when he got out of prison.
Calling Out Government Child Abuse
In 2021 Wershe challenged the use of juvenile informants by law enforcement. He sued former FBI agents, Detroit cops and federal prosecutors for illegally using him as an underage informant in the 1980s, and reneging on any deals to get him released from prison after his cooperation put corrupt cops behind bars. "I was too young and dumb to know that it would affect the rest of my life." At the age of 15 Wershe was shot after following the instructions of agents. "I did 33 in prison because I told on corruption in the city. Make that 100-percent clear." Said Wershe.
Instead of becoming bitter he quickly became an outspoken advocate of prison reform, using his notoriety to help people who may have already been forgotten. This included working with groups like Citizens for Prison Reform. His efforts bore fruit in January when 60 year old Tracy Cowan was released from prison. Cowan had been in prison since 2003 on non-violent drug offenses, but Wershe spent much of 2021 lobbying lawmakers to secure her release.
Adding Weight to the Message
He has also launched his own cannabis brand, The 8th, and dedicated a portion of the proceeds to fund efforts to release drug offenders who have been wrongfully or excessively imprisoned. He named the brand in honor of the 8th Amendment to the Federal Constitution because it prohibits cruel and unusual punishment. He says helping non-violent offenders in prison is his passion:
The plan is to take a portion of the proceeds and give it back to jail diversion and prison reform. We want to help the people I call "the forgotten ones"-because when you're in prison you're forgotten. We're also gonna educate people on what the Eighth Amendment is. Maybe you know now after reading about my brand, but did you know before that? "
Wershe was unable to attend the banquet but Scotty Boman presented the award, and Greg Stempfle recorded the moment here.
Boman later delivered the award and Wershe documented the moment with a selfie.
Producers of Liberty Jeff Pittel & Andrew Hall
The Producer of Liberty Award is given to a dedicated, behind-the-scenes Libertarian whose quiet labors over the years exemplifies the backbone of the LP. Two of these awards were given.
Reviving the Membership Committee
Greg Stempfle presented the first Producer of Liberty Award to Jeff Pittel for his work on reviving the state party membership committee and running the credentials committee during the past few conventions.
Organizing Conventions and Credentials
Larry Johnson presented the other Producer of Liberty Award to Andrew Hall. The award committee honored him for many years of activism, including the national credentials committee, and helping to organize many past state conventions.
Promoter of Liberty Brian Ellison
The Promoter of Liberty Award is given to a libertarian whose efforts have done the most to promote the LP and Libertarian principles.
Joe Brungardt presented this year's Promoter of Liberty Award to Brian Ellison . The award committee honored him for his endeavors to keep government officials and law enforcement accountable. Much of this work concerned abusive members of the Royal Oak Police Department.
Most notably, Ellison was arrested for protesting of the killing of Antonino Gordon, by Royal Oak police officer Keith Richard Beirenga. Thereby drawing attention to the lack of consequences for those responsible.
A Historical Conclusion: Libertarian Party of Michigan 51st Anniversary Celebration
The banquet was proceeded by a presentation by Greg Stempfle of the Libertarian Party of Michigan Historical Committee. His presentation was about the 51-year history of the Libertarian Party of Michigan.
The focus of his presentation was electoral milestones for Libertarian Candidates, especially those running under the Libertarian banner in partisan elections. Of course the biggest milestone, for a candidate, is winning an election and there were several winners Stempfle reminded guests of.
Readers may link to the presentation here. and afterward by a speech and Q & A session with former Congressman Justin Amash.
Anyone interested in a deep dive into LPM history is free to visit our
historical archives here.
Jon Elgas is the 2022 Libertarian Party nominee for Michigan's 22nd District State Senate seat. The newly approved district boundaries have been the subject of countless controversies. Furthermore the current candidates and their campaigns are sure to continue this trajectory. While polling and historical data give Michigan residents a good idea of what many election results will look like this fall, individual candidates have really set the tone. Candidates in the 22nd district for State Senate haven't hesitated to tackle the controversial and sensitive topics, and Libertarian Jon Elgas is ready to join the conversation.
Jon Elgas Nominated Without Taxpayer Dollars
Unlike Democratic and Republican parties, the Libertarian Party of Michigan does not select candidates through a statewide primary election (The next one is August 2nd). Rather Libertarian Party of Michigan (LPM) candidates are chosen at the state convention, and on July 9th the Libertarian Party of Michigan delegates resoundingly supported Jon Elgas for the 22nd District State Senate seat.
Libertarian Party of Livingston County chair Joe Hartman had this to say about Jon's candidacy,
Jon has an excellent platform focusing on revamping education by supporting policies to fund students instead of monopolistic government systems, abolish state income tax, institute constitutional carry, and end clock changing.
This isn't Jon's first experience running for office. In 2016, Elgas ran against Lana Theis for House of Representative in District 42, and he ran for the Wayne State University Board of Governors in 2018 and 2020. Jon has shown that his bold messaging can turn out the vote. He received over 126,000 votes for his 2020 Wayne State University Board of Governors race. That's impressive compared to the less than 77,000 votes that won Theis her the current seat on the State Senate.
Incumbent Senator Lana Theis won her 2018 primary with nearly 75% of the vote, and with 56% in the general election. The 2022 election could be much closer. Jordan Genso has had the luxury of an unopposed Democratic primary. Theis is facing a strong challenge from Trump endorsed candidate Mike Detmer in the Republican primary. There has been a lot of media coverage on this race as the candidates have frequently attacked each other's political positions: They push one another farther and farther to the right. Elgas hopes what is considered a strongly red district may implode, leaving voters scrambling to find a candidate who matches their values.
The Libertarian party did not run a candidate for the senate seat in 2018, but the 2014 candidate Jeff Wood for District 22 (He received 3.1% of the votes) had this to say about the race, "Theis and Detmer have disgraced themselves, their party, and Livingston County with their childish antics. I've known Jon Elgas for many years, and I'm proud to endorse him in his efforts to return civility to our local political sphere."