This past weekend, I had the pleasure of attending and speaking at the 2014 Oklahoma libertarian Convention. This meeting had a number of speakers as well as the election of new officers.
During my speech, I spoke about Oklahoma’s terrible ballot access laws and the effort we have been making to reform those laws to return them to their pre-1974 status. In this, I highlighted the gradual improvement in the attitude of the Legislature towards reform. I then called for more Independents to run for office. The reason for this call to action is that the Legislature will not move unless pushed in that direction and the best way to do so is to run for Legislative seats. Those in office need to work for their seat and we need to show them that the only way to do that is to pass reform. I will post a more in depth treatment of my speech soon.
Another set of speakers was Norma Sapp and Porter Davis who spoke about their work to get legalization of marijuana passed. In response to their work, the Oklahoma Libertarian Party voted to officially support legalization of marijuana in Oklahoma. There was one other aspect of their speeches that has a greater bearing for OBAR in that they discussed the power of the citizen initiative. They are working within several cities to put ballot measures in front of voters to decriminalize marijuana within the city borders. These citywide initiatives are often far easier to enact than their statewide counterparts. Imagine what we could do within individual cities to change the way the city leadership is elected to make them more fair.
Charles Key Spoke about the rise of the police state but a significant portion of his speech was dedicated to transparency in government. In this he spoke at length about the Calendar Committee that Speaker Shannon created last year. He spoke about how the process before was controlled by a single individual, the Speaker of the House, and how the Calendar Committee was meant to provide more openness. He then spoke about how the openness promised really never surfaced and that the committee still had the weakness of a single person being able to control which bills were heard. He then followed that by stating that the removal of the Calendar Committee this year was a step backwards even though its creation was not a much of a step forward.
The final speaker was Geoffrey Neale the Chair of the National Libertarian Party. In his speech he spoke about how sometimes we need to think smaller when it comes to building a reputation in elections. He said we need to be running for School Boards, Water Boards, Town and City Council seats. These lower level seats are often non-partisan and are far easier for Independents to win. By seeking and winning these seats, it becomes far easier for us to build a reputation that can carry us for state level seats. He also recommended two books that anyone who wants to run for office should read, How to Win Friends and Influence People, and The Art of War.
The final round of business was the election officers and other business. In this, Steve Long was elected as Chair of the Oklahoma Libertarian Party. He has worked as the Treasurer for the party for the last two years. The party also voted in support of legalization of marijuana and to purchase a sponsorship at Southland Liberty Fest in April.
You can visit their website to learn more about the Oklahoma Libertarian Party. Or you can follow them on Twitter @OklahomaLP
Full Disclosure: I am a member of the Oklahoma Libertarian Party. I was elected as Secretary of the party at this convention.