By Greg Stempfle
Bay City, MI – The Libertarian Party of Michigan held its state convention on Saturday, April 13, 2019 at the Courtyard by Marriott Hotel, in Bay City. Over 110 delegates from across the state met to conduct biennial party business including the selection of new party officers, amending the party bylaws and platform, and passing several resolutions. During the luncheon, delegates participated in a Q and A session with three presidential candidates. During the evening banquet, the party gave out our annual Defender of Liberty Awards and heard from former New Hampshire State Representative Caleb Dyer.
Opening reports were given by former Chairman Bill Hall, who welcomed everyone to convention. He congratulated the 2018 candidates and thanked those who helped him during his two-year term. He also singled out Greg Stempfle, Jason Brandenburg, Emily Salvette, Norm Peterson and Scotty Boman for their volunteer efforts.
Greg Stempfle, Second Vice Chair, then gave his report. He noted that candidates who want their Libertarian campaign literature preserved at the Bentley Library in Ann Arbor should send copies to him. Stempfle also recognized 2018 gubernatorial candidate Bill Gelineau, who spoke briefly about his campaign for governor and thanked individuals from his campaign team.
Treasurer Jason Brandenburg reported noting that the LPM increased spending for campaigns in 2018. He also asked the next LEC to use $1,700 in unspent funds budgeted for a special event this year to “do something great” to get our LP name known.
Membership Chair Lisa Gioia gave her report and reminded everyone to join the national LP by October 31, 2019, the deadline on which delegate allocations will be made for the 2020 LP Convention in Austin, Texas. This was followed by Will White who presented his Legislative Committee report.
Newsletter editor Scott Boman discussed the newsletter and thanked those who had helped him, including deputy editors Norm Peterson and Mary Buzuma, as well as Catherine Filus, who distributes the newsletter and announcements to members via MailChimp.
The next item of business was the presentation of the proposed bylaws and the committee report. Bylaws Chair Greg Stempfle assumed the chair for deliberation of amendments. Three changes were made to the state party bylaws.
Firstly, delegates approved an amendment describing how members of standing or special committees are selected. All committee appointments will now require LEC approval.
Secondly, an amendment was passed which will make it easier for members of the national Libertarian Party to be delegates to the state convention. To be eligible one must still be a state party member before becoming a delegate, but if you have been a national party member for at least 30 days, you are exempt from the state party 30-day membership rule.
The third and final change was a stylistic change to subsection numbering. Another proposal, that would have eliminated the state convention delegate apportionment system, did not pass.
Bill Hall then resumed the chair for platform consideration. The platform proposal adopted by delegates called for the abrogation of all cannabis laws and an expungement of criminal records.
The luncheon program, moderated by Jeff Wood, was a forum and Q & A session with three candidates for the Libertarian Party’s presidential nomination in 2020: Christopher Marks, Vermin Supreme and Arvin Vohra.
After the luncheon, delegates selected new party officers to a two-year term. Greg Stempfle, former LPM Political Director and Chair of the Oakland Affiliate, was elected as the new LPM chair. Ben Boren of Charleviox was elected 1st Vice Chair and will act as the Affiliate Director. Boren is also the vice chair of the Northwest Michigan LP. The new 2nd Vice Chair is Jamie Lewis of Grand Rapids. Lewis is also the Chair of the West Michigan affiliate and was a candidate for State House. Wendi Parker, from Galien in Berrien County, was elected as Secretary. Parker has previously served on the LEC as the 6th Congressional District Representative. The new LPM Treasurer is Norm Peterson of Jackson. Peterson is Chair of the Jackson-Hillsdale affiliate and served on the LEC last term as the 7th district representative.
Below are the results of the officer elections:
This was followed by the Congressional District caucuses who selected representatives to the Libertarian Executive Committee with the following results:
District 1 – Dana Carver
District 2 – Patty Malowney
District 3 – Nathan Hewer
District 4 – Brian Ludwig
District 5 – Ben Dryke
District 6 – Antonio Smith
District 7 – Jason Rees
District 8 – Jeff Wood
District 9 – Mike Saliba
District 10 – Catherine Filus
District 11 – Jerry Bloom
District 12 – Larry Johnson
District 13 – Jeremy Morgan
District 14 – Tim Yow
Following district elections, the convention body reconvened to select three members of the Judicial Committee. Kerry Morgan, Ken Proctor, and Katie Nepton were elected on the first ballot as committee members:
This was followed by the passage of for amendments to the platform, listed below:
Stop Police Brutality!
Whereas the initiation of force by state police officers is often done under false or unclear pretenses, that all individuals possess the same set of rights, that individual rights are not suspended when accusations are made against an individual, and that a free society cannot co-exist within a militarized police state,
We, the Libertarian Party of Michigan, resolve that awarding impunity to police who violate the individual rights of an accused is more harmful than the alleged crime itself, that the perpetual betrayal of the public’s trust by law enforcement officers is an indication of a culture of tyranny, and that the judges and the state police officers responsible for protecting or participation in this systematic aggression should be immediately removed from their positions of authority and prosecuted for the crimes they committed in their betrayal of the people.
Whereas the Libertarian Party of Michigan holds that the most grievous of crimes is the mass murder committed by the federal government overseas,
Whereas journalism is not in any way, shape or form, a crime and is protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution,
Let it be RESOLVED that whistleblowers crimes provide a valuable service for the American people, and that Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden, Julian Assange, and all other whistleblowers, journalists and their publishers must have all charges dropped and be released from detention immediately.
Libertarians Reject More Taxes to Fix the Damn Roads
Whereas a tax on gas for roads was rejected by the voters in 2015;
Whereas the vote in 2015 was the largest defeat in Michigan history of a ballot proposal to amend the state constitution;
Whereas the legislature increased taxes in Michigan since the aforementioned defeat;
Whereas the state of Michigan takes in more than enough revenue to pay for road maintenance;
Whereas the state spends that revenue on non-essential, self-serving or harmful, projects;
Whereas voluntary alternatives such as private roads are worthy of consideration;
Whereas taxation is theft;
Be it resolved, that we oppose any increase in the Michigan gas tax, or in any other tax.
Proposal 1 Not Good Enough
Be it resolved, that the Libertarian Party of Michigan supports the amendment to the Michigan Constitution as of this date proposed by End Prohibition Michigan.
Proposed language to amend the Michigan Constitution
This proposal would add a new Section 28 to Article 1.
This was the final act of convention business and the state meeting was adjourned.