Sunday, July 20, 2008

Indiana Libertarians in DC

Mark Rutherford (Indiana Libertarian guru) and John V. LaBeaume (editor of and former LP staffer) organized a trip to DC-- with me, Steve Keltner (running for Indiana State Senate, District 30) and Rex Bell (running for Indiana State House, District 54) as the featured guest.

Steve is running an aggressive campaign and Rex is running his second strong campaign for the same seat, after winning 14% in 2006 in a three-way race. (This time it's just him and the incumbent who earned 46% the last time.)

Although their races are more relevant to building a grass-roots organization, we're making a strong run for a federal office-- and of course, this is more sexy to people in Washington.

We were there for two purposes: to fund-raise/hob-nob; and to spread the good word about what Libertarians are doing in Indiana. Apparently, it's not all that common for state parties to work hard and smart. It doesn't seem like a big deal to us, but it's not done often enough. And if Libertarians will be successful in winning elections (beyond the important work of policy wonks), it will have to be done this way-- through hard work and a long-term grass roots effort.

We had a whirlwind day on Thursday and a good time. (I hope to have the pictures on the website soon.)

First, we met Dick Heller of Heller v. District of Columbia fame-- the recent Supreme Court case on gun control in D.C. That morning, he had tried (unsuccessfully) to register his handgun under the new DC gun legislation. As is often the case, the court system tries to correct something and the legislature chooses something within a sliver of the original legislation.

Then, we went to LP headquarters, ironically (and purposefully) located in the Watergate complex. There, they filmed an interview with the three of us.

Then, we had lunch with Reason's David Weigel.

Then, we met with Fred Smith, president of CEI, the Competitive Enterprise Institute. Smith was eloquent and passionate about communicating libertarian ideas.

Then, we met with Tim Lynch who does research on the criminal justice at Cato Institute.

After dinner and some down time, we had a fund-raiser/mixer with (mostly) young Libertarians at a bar. Bill Redpath, chair of the LP, was there as well. It was a real pleasure to talk with up-and-coming Libertarians who are finding their way in life and politics.


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