By Scotty Boman, with vital information contributed by Bill Gelineau.
Lansing MI – The annual Liberty Festival Banquet (BKA Libby Fest) was held at the Ramada Lansing Hotel and Conference Center in Lansing, Michigan at 5:30 PM. The event took place in February 4th of 2017 to coincide with the special bylaws convention, but the awards were presented for the accomplishments of activists in 2016.
The guest speaker was Nicholas Sarwark, the National Chairman of the Libertarian Party. He gave a heartfelt speech about reaching people outside the movement with the Libertarian message. He pointed out how the language Libertarians use can turn off non-libertarians before they get to hear the substance of our message. For example, referring to the Democratic Party as the “Democrat Party” will automatically make one a Republican in the eyes of a Democrat and they won’t be as open to the rest of what one has to say.
One Defender of Liberty Award (“Libby”) was given per category. Maryann Godboldo received the Spokesperson for Liberty Award for withstanding a ten hour standoff with police, an armed assault by a SWAT team and a tank, after she refused to give her daughter a potentially lethal, harmful, antipsychotic drug documented by international drug regulatory agencies to cause diabetes, stroke and death. Maryanne later suffered from an aneurysm from which she hasn’t recovered so her sister, Penny Godboldo Brooks, accepted the award on her behalf. An in-depth news release on the presentation of her award is available here, which was also published in an unofficial tribute issue. The “Spokesperson” award typically goes to a member of the community whose patriotism and conviction have inspired contributions to the cause of liberty.
The Promoter of Liberty Award went to Logan Fleckenstein for his relentless outreach and advocacy for liberty in the 60th district State House election. While he did not win, he did a great job of outreach. His efforts were especially inspirational because he is on the autism spectrum. He actively used Facebook and other social media sites to promote libertarian causes, such as marijuana legalization. He also spoke out against actions at the state and national levels, and participated in debates and other media events. The Promoter of Liberty Award typically goes to a libertarian whose efforts have done the most to promote the LP and Libertarian principles. His story was covered by the Kalamazoo television station WWMT, which highlighted his graduation in defiance of the low expectations some people may have had upon learning of his severe autism diagnosis when he was two years old.
The Producer of Liberty Award went to Bob Broda for his steadfast service to the Capital Area Libertarian Party and for ensuring access to its office for critical Libertarian Party of Michigan (LPM) activities. He has been an LPM member since 1992 and active in many ways in the Capital Area Libertarian Party and the LPM. He has also been a delegate to national Libertarian Party conventions. He was always willing to help where he could. As coordinator of the CALP office in Lansing, he made sure the facility was available to activists from around the state for meetings. Sitting through 3 hours of bylaws deliberations so the LPM special bylaws committee has a central place to meet is service above and beyond the call of duty! For his long dedication to the LP and pitch-in attitude towards all manner of Libertarian work for over 20 years, Bob earned acknowledgement and thanks. The Producer of Liberty Award typically goes to a dedicated, behind-the-scenes Libertarian whose quiet labors over the years exemplifies the backbone of the LP.
In addition to the Libbys, then Chair Bill Gelineau presented two additional types of awards:
Diane Bostow, Lisa Gioia, and Logan Fleckenstein were honored with The Chair’s Activist Award. This award was formulated by Bill Gelineau for people who attended an affiliate meeting, an LP event or another event on behalf of a candidate, joined the LP, spoke at a public event about the LP (or for a candidate), or wrote an article with the word “Libertarian” which was published in a non-libertarian publication.
Lastly, Chairman Gelineau presented two discretionary Key Player awards. They were for people recognized for being of particular help in making the Chair’s duties easier to execute and/or for helping ensure the effectiveness of the LEC in performing its responsibilities. Those awards went to Kim McCurry, for doing so in her role as Vice-Chairman, and to Emily Salvette, for doing so in her role as At-Large Director.
Links to articles about past Liberty Festivals, can be found on our Directory of Past Liberty Festivals, in the historical archives.