2008 Defender of Liberty Awards
The Libertarian Party of Michigan’s annual Liberty Fest banquet, which was organized by the LP of Wayne County, was held Saturday night, January 24 at Dimitri’s on the Avenue in Dearborn.
The event was in 2009 but awards were for work in 2008. The program for the evening included the awarding of the LPM’s 2008 Defender of Liberty Awards and very special guest speakers Charles Snyder III and Leon Drolet.
The winners of the 2008 Defender of Liberty Awards are shown above, l to r:
David Eisenbacher (Promotor of Liberty), Leon Drolet (spokesperson for Liberty), Greg Stempfle (Producer of Liberty), and Charles Snyder III on behalf of Krystal Martinez (spokesperson for Liberty).
More detail below:
Spokesperson for Liberty – a member of the community whose patriotism and conviction have inspired contributions to the cause of Liberty.
Two of theses awards were given this year.
Krystal Martinez served as the State-wide petition organizer and treasurer of the Michigan Coalition for Compassionate Care.
In this role, she traveled the state to organize regional petitioners.
The petition effort involved the training and employment of professional petitioners. To successfully put the initiative on the November 2008 ballot, the MCCC had to produce a minimum of 304,101 valid signatures within a span of six months. With Ms. Martinez’s leadership they exceeded this goal by collecting about 496,000 signatures of which almost 378,000 were validated by the state.
The initiative known as proposal 1 passed with almost 2/3
of the votes cast in the November election.
Medical Marijuana is now legal in Michigan. The law permits physician approved use of marijuana by registered patients with debilitating medical conditions including cancer, glaucoma, HIV, AIDS, hepatitis C, MS and other conditions as may be approved by the Department of Community Health. (details to be worked out by April)
The law permits registered individuals to grow limited amounts of marijuana for qualifying patients in an enclosed, locked facility.
The law requires Department of Community Health to establish an identification card system for patients qualified to use marijuana and individuals qualified to grow marijuana.
The law permits registered and unregistered patients and primary caregivers to assert medical reasons for using marijuana as a defense to any prosecution involving marijuana.
Martinez also serves as campaigns analyst for the Marijuana Policy Project.
Since she could not attend Charles Snyder III accepted the award on her
Leon Drolet is chair of the Michigan Taxpayer’s
Alliance as well as recently being County Commissioner for Macomb County, Michigan. He was also Treasurer of Michigan Recalls who sought the recalls of several state legislators for their vote in favor of a tax increase during Michigan’s spending crisis in 2007.
In 2008 Mr. Drolet spearheaded an effort by the recall Michigan Speaker of the Michigan house Andy Dillon.
While Dillon survived November’s recall vote, the effort put Michigan’s lawmakers on notice.
They now know that any tax increase will be noticed, and there will be
From 2000 to 2006 Drolet served in the Michigan House of Representatives. Drolet also served as a Macomb County, Michigan county commissioner from 1999-2000.
In the 2006 election he acted as state-wide Chair of the successful Michigan Civil Rights Initiative. The Libertarian Party of Michigan was the only party to endorse the initiative.
The Michigan Civil Rights Initiative used the petition process to place a state constitutional amendment (Proposal 2 of November, 2006) before voters that prohibits governments in Michigan from discriminating against, or giving preferential treatment to, any citizen on the basis of race, gender, ethnicity or national origin in the operation of government hiring, contracting, or state university admissions. The amendment was approved by 58% of voters despite the fact that proponents were heavily outspent in the campaign by opponents who supported race-based government preference programs.
During his final term in the state legislature, Drolet co-authored a state constitutional amendment that prohibited governments in Michigan from using their power of eminent domain to seize citizens private property and turn it over to new owners for their private use. This proposed amendment was Proposal 4 in the November, 2006 election and was overwhelmingly adopted by voters.
But Mr. Drolet is best known among Libertarians for
introducing HB5237 on October 16th, 2001. This bill made it easier for a party to remain on the ballot. Prior law required it to poll the needed number of votes for its candidate who was listed closest to the top of the ballot (president in presidential election years, and governor in mid-term years, are the offices closest to the top of the ballot). The bill now lets a party meet the vote test by the vote for any of its statewide candidates.
The bill became law on May 30th 2002.
Promoter of Liberty – A Libertarian whose efforts have done the most to promote the LP and Libertarian principles
David Eisenbacher has shown that an openly Libertarian candidate can get re-elected in one of Michigan’s larger cities.
He was first elected to the Troy City Council in 2002 and served until
Prior to being elected to City Council in 2002, David
served the City of Troy on the Historic District Commission. In addition, he has served on the Board of Directors for his subdivision, Raintree Village Homeowners Association, taking on the role of President from 2005 to the present time. David is also a member of the Troy Charter Revision Committee and recently served as Co-Chair of Troy Futures Vision 2020.
Councilman Eisenbacher returned to the Troy city council in 2007 to a term that ends this year. He remains openly Libertarian.
Producer of Liberty – a dedicated, behind-the-scenes Libertarian whose quiet labors over the years exemplifies the backbone of the LP.
Gregory Stempfle has been a dedicated, behind-the-scenes Libertarian since 1998 when he organized a college Libertarian organization at Michigan State University in 1998.
Since than, he has worked tirelessly for the cause of liberty.
When he started attending Wayne State University, he reactivated the Student organization there. In 2002 he worked to restore ballot access while confined to a wheel chair and afflicted with a life threatening illness.
As campaign manager for Scotty Boman in several elections, and for Greg Creswell in 2006, he has been the man behind the candidates.
He organized an effort to get us a full congressional slate in every Congressional election year since.
He has also produced multiple issues of the Michigan Libertarian having served as it’s editor in 2002, 2003 and 2008.
Mr. Stempfle located, cataloged and scanned many of the back issues of the Michigan Libertarian, making some of the oldest issues available online.
Last year Greg and Erin Stahl organized the LPM Campaign Conference.
When Bob Barr made a surprise appearance, Greg found a venue for him on short notice. Mr. Sempfle is currently chair of the Wayne County affiliate.
After receiving his award, Stempfle said, ” It’s a good feeling to be recognized for all of the behind the scenes work I do and to be on the same stage with Leon Drolet and David Eisenbacher!”
At this Liberty Fest attendees had the opportunity to hear from a man who made the victory of the Medical Marijuana Initiative possible. Charles Snyder III has played an integral role in passing both multiple local initiatives as well as Proposal 1.
Having co-founded Flint Coalition for Compassionate Care (FCCC), Mr. Snyder spoke fluently about both medical and political aspects of medical cannabis from personal experience.
Guests also had the opportunity to hear from former Macomb County Executive and State Representative Leon Drolet about his work with the Michigan Taxpayers Association in 2008. The MTA received considerable attention when they campaigned for the recall of Democratic Speaker of the Michigan House of Representatives, Andy Dillon.