News Release: Republican Township Official Switches to Libertarian Party

Republican Township Official Switches to Libertarian Party
John Willis
CONTACT: John Willis (616) 775-1552
Emily Salvette, State Chair (313) 747-8129

After the 1994 elections, many Democrat politicians changed parties to become Republicans (and on occasion we’ve seen some Republican politicians decide to become Democrats), but how about this one: a Republican candidate deciding to become a Libertarian!… only a few months before the election!… And still winning?

It happened in Michigan’s Wexford County where John Willis decided that principle was more important to him than riding on the coattails of either of the two major parties. In the spring of 1996, he joined the Libertarian Party but was disappointed to find that he had missed the state caucus and was unable to run for Boon Township Treasurer as a Libertarian. Instead, he ran for that office on the Republican ticket.

“In order to honestly represent myself, two weeks prior to the election I sent a letter to every household with a registered voter in Boon Township,” Willis explained.

“In the letter I told them that I was not a Republican but was in fact a member of the Libertarian Party. The letter also included information about the Libertarian Party and Harry Browne, our Presidential candidate. I’m proud to say that not only was I elected but that the Browne/Jorgensen ticket received 4.5% of the vote in Boon Township.”

Today, before fifty Libertarian Party leaders gathered from around the state for a conference in Owosso, Michigan, Willis declared his party switch and reaffirmed his membership: “I believe the time has come to let the rest of the world know that I am proud to be a member of the party of principle, the party that is working to restore government to its original Constitutional size, the only party that does not grant government the right to regulate the lives of individuals and seize the fruits of their labors without consent.”

With this official party switch, Michigan has 3 elected Libertarians in township offices, and 5 Libertarians serving on public commissions through appointment.

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