Wednesday, February 17, 2016

It's Party Time in Alachua County, Florida

If you live in Alachua County, Florida (Gainesville and environs), save the date:

Saturday, February 27th, 1pm-2:30pm
Alachua County Library, Newberry Branch
110 South Seaboard DriveNewberry, FL 32669

It's time to set up an Alachua County affiliate for the Libertarian Party of Florida.

Boring details below, but first and foremost: BE THERE. PLEASE! WE NEED YOU! YES, YOU!!!

And not just Alachua. If you're from one of the neighboring counties that doesn't have an affiliate, come see how it gets done so you can do it. If you're from an active affiliate, come hang out and be supportive.

By all rights, Alachua County should have the strongest county affiliate in the state.

The University of Florida is a vibrant center of Students For Liberty activism.

The general area has one of those right/left divides that tends to spawn libertarian fragmentation -- lots of "fiscal conservatives" who don't want the Republicans in their bedrooms, "social liberals" who don't want the Democrats in their wallets, etc.

And there are libertarians, and Libertarian Party activists, in the area. I saw a Libertarian Party bumper sticker on a car parked at Wal-Mart within a week of moving here.  As the 2014 gubernatorial campaign heated up, local activist Jote Thompson put together a sign wave for LP candidate Adrian Wyllie. Lots of honks. Lots of thumbs up.

But I discovered in 2014 (when I decided to get involved again because I am a political junkie and just couldn't make myself sit out any longer after four years) that there's no Alachua County Libertarian Party.

Wyllie visited Gainesville at least twice in 2014 and I thought he got a good reception both times. He should have had plenty of installed party support here to help with those events and to get out the vote. He didn't.

When I looked for people interested in starting a county party, I found two. One had just moved to the sticks for a job that made any real time commitment impossible. The other one was just getting ready to move to New York. After reserving a room for an organizational meeting and promoting it to the party's area email list, etc. I showed up and sat alone in that room for an hour.

Time to try again.

I'm not willing to head the new organization up, for the simple reason that I'm running for Congress and think we should have non-candidates in charge of getting a county party going so that it's about the party, not about that one guy. But I am willing to help.

So is Russ Wood, the LPF executive committee member representing "Region 4," which includes Alachua County. He'll be there. I won't be surprised if a couple of other fine state-level activists show up to lend a hand.

We just need to get a couple of people willing to serve as temporary officers, and a few members to approve bylaws (I'll make sure those are on hand to go over). And then we need to get regular meetings and activities going.

It can be done. It's been done before. I've done it before myself. Please join with me to get it done.

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