Gaylord, MI – The Libertarian Party of Michigan presented the long-awaited 2019 Libbies to four deserving individuals on July 18th at the 2020 Nominating Convention Luncheon.
New arrivals to the Libertarian Party of Michigan may have thought this headline was a typo. This has a bit to do with the history of the awards. Traditionally Liberty Festival Banquets have been held as distinct events near the end of calendar years during which award winners earned them. However, it was often a challenge for activists to organize a festival while campaigning on even years, so Defender of Liberty Awards were sometimes bestowed upon winners in late Winter months after New Years. So the LPM presented the awards in a different year then the recipients earned them, but it was close enough to the beginning of the year that nobody expressed any confusion.
After the record breaking Presidential vote results in 2016 the party needed to have a special convention in February to rewrite it’s bylaws. Since this was a common time to schedule the Liberty Fest Banquet the Libby Awards were combined with the special convention.
Under the new bylaws the Libertarian Party held two conventions in even years, so the awards have been presented at the spring conventions since then. So if an award is handed out in the spring, it is for the previous year. This was the plan in 2020. Defender of Liberty Awards (AKA Libbies) would be presented in 2020 for accomplishments made in 2019. This was all cancelled due to concerns over the detection of the COVID-19 virus in Michigan. The next opportunity was on July 18th 2020.
Producers of Liberty
This year Norm Peterson and Jerry Bloom both received Producers of Liberty Awards.
Greg Stempfle nominated Norm Peterson:
I would like to nominate Norman Peterson for the Producer of Liberty Award.
The Producer of Liberty Award goes to “a dedicated, behind-the-scenes Libertarian whose quiet labors over the years exemplifies the backbone of the LP.”
During my time as Political Director, Norm was one of the few people I could always rely on to step up and volunteer for the party. Among his list of activities with the party the past few years were he; helped start the Jackson-Hillsdale affiliate, ran for the Michigan State Legislature, is serving his second term on the LEC, this time as state party treasurer, helped with the Policy Manual, Convention Planning Committee, and with Libertarian Promise to Michigan campaign.
Jim Fulner nominated Jerry Bloom:
Mr. Bloom has been an active member of the Party for over 20 years. In the time I have known him he has been a fairly quiet guy, not one to make himself known at state conventions or otherwise seek attention for himself.
He has been a regular, sometimes very large, donor of the LPM and its candidates. He has never been one quickly swayed by the new flashy items on the block, but that hasn’t made him automatically opposed to new ideas. I remember when I first tried to introduce him to Bitcoin, he had been extremely skeptical, but as the years have gone by he has continued to email me various articles on the subject evident that he’s still reading, and eventually he seems to have come over to the side of crypto, even if in a much less pragadioucs way than I personally would like.
In particular I think this is the particular year to honor Jerry’s years of service because of how he took the reigns so unwillingly, but helpfully.
I haven’t personally interacted with Mr. Bloom much this year, as I moved to a new affiliate region 2 years ago. But what I have heard completely aligns with the Jerry I know. At this year’s state convention he begrudgingly accepted the roll of district rep on the LEC, marking, to my knowledge, his first time serving in such a roll.
Not only has he gone one to diligently fill that roll by actively participating in the position he was elected, but taking lead in running the new database and its corresponding components.
Martin Mashon and Julia Miller jointly received the Spokesperson of Liberty Award. Scotty Boman nominated Martin and Julia. In his email to the committee he wrote:
I could write an extensive introduction for that purpose, but since I already wrote an article about these wonderful people, and how they have earned the award(s), I will simply share a link to it here: https://michiganlp.org/capital-area-libertarians-good-deeds-dont-go-unpunished
At the luncheon he referenced the article as Martin Mashon listened in and commented via an Amazon Echo. They are co-founders of the Lansing Chapter of Punks With Lunch, a humanitarian group dedicated to feeding homeless people. They were both arrested for helping a few homeless people take shelter at a heated public bus depot in the midst of lethally cold winter weather.
The award committee didn’t select anyone for the 2019 Promoter of Liberty Award. The Libertarian Party of Michigan Historical Archives lists all previous Defender of Liberty Award Winners .