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Want to be in Public Office?  Libertarians can Help

May 6th 2006

Want to be in Public Office?  Libertarians can Help


St Petersburg, Florida--Unhappy with the system? Want to pitch in via local office? Pinellas, Florida, Libertarians say they can help.

They're offering free workshops to increase the number of Libertarians in elected and appointive public office to new local highs.  Plus that includes making more officials and candidates who are non-Libertarians familiar with Libertarian policy successes. So you're invited.

The workshops are designed for beginners. While aiming to increase the number of Libertarians, organizers say they're open to all members of the public so they can be fully informed on Libertarian approaches. The Libertarian Party of Pinellas County, or LPPC (http://www.LPPinellas.org), which includes the cities of St. Petersburg and Clearwater, is one of a growing number of local Libertarian parties that have developed a reputation for political skills designed to help average people with limited resources be heard, say organizers.


The LPPC says it has begun workshops and outreach on Libertarian policy ideas, how to get appointed to local boards, and how to wage constituent building but low-budget electoral campaign. The effort is aimed at average people and aspiring community leaders interested in appointment to local boards or getting comfortable with political candidacy. They emphasize that actually very little money is needed to start and be effective. They include talks by former officials explaining that a lot can be done in modest political offices, and the opportunity to meet local activists from all political groups that are working on common ground, they say. About half the attendees are affiliated with other groups.


"We're aiming to not only reach out to community leaders, but raise the number of Libertarians in office in our county to a range of 25 to 30," says Julie Chorgo, LPPC Secretary. "That is a high for areas like ours with a population of one million. That may not seem like a lot, but experience shows that even 5 people in office per million, when co-ordinated with public information and activism, shows an effect in acceptance of Libertarian ideas."

Ralph Swanson, a former Libertarian Party of Florida Chairman now with the Libertarian International Organization, and who helps it monitor Libertarian activity in over 100 countries, agrees.

"In the US, Libertarians in local office vary in number from zero per million local population to 30. But only recently has the US National Party actually called on Libertarian groups to set concrete number goals for getting people in office," he says. "It appears that the Pinellas Libertarians are the first local group to formally do so. Areas such as New Hampshire and Vermont have also shown they can reach similar numbers and change policy, and if the entire US party did so, it would mean almost 9,000 Libertarian in office in the US. The Pinellas project  will encourage many local groups and could prod them to set a new standard."

Chorgo says the LPPC already has people in local advisory boards, and has received inquiries from local leaders interested in switching to the Libertarian Party or implementing Libertarian ideas. "While such offices are at the beginning of the political ladder, we show people that your position is really what you make of it. We emphasize basic skills in continual outreach, off-season petitioning, consensus-building, budget analysis and so on  that make a difference and that any citizen can use whether they go on seek office or not. We help people get involved in a non-Libertarian group of their choice so they can apply what they learn immediately and forge positive relationships. We're aiming to have not only a number of Libertarians in office, but a wider circle of Republicans, Democrats, and Non-Partisan officials and citizen leaders with working relationships, people who realize Libertarian tools can help them and are perfectly normal."

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By Mike Davis
Freelance Writer

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