Monday, April 18, 2005

LaPorte Campaign Stop

Saturday night, I attended the County Convention of the Libertarian Party of LaPorte County. I was out of downtown Indy and up I-65 to LaPorte, 180 miles away. I was making good time on my drive, so I got off I-65 and took US 421 instead to enjoy this rural stretch that runs parallel to the old Monon Railroad. Lots of grain elevators and big, blue skies.

Once in LaPorte, I was very aware that I was in the hometown of Jeff Ake, the Indiana businessman who was recently kidnapped in Iraq. Every store that had a sign with movable lettering had messages asking for prayers for Mr. Ake and his family. It was overwhelming and very moving to see all the signs. No kidding- every video rental place, every Arby's, every convenience store or gas station had a message. Mr. Ake is very obviously beloved in his hometown. Indeed, the Convention began with a prolonged moment of silence for him. Story from local LaPorte paper.

I was the keynote speaker at this Convention, and it was my first experience with a rush of photographers in front of the podium. It gave me energy and an inward chuckle. I knew my speech well. It was the second time in the day to deliver it, and with a three-hour drive for rehearsal, I was not thrown off. The main thrust of the speech was the importance for taking action that might be uncomfortable. It's a comfortable thing to criticize policy from the safety of your PC, but if it's uncomfortable to show up at a council meeting to assert your position, it is 100% more effective. It's a comfortable thing to be a paper candidate running for Township Trustee, but if it's uncomfortable to run a real campaign for County Commissioner, it's eminently more valuable. Etc.

The speech was well-received, as I could see the group energized by it. People began talking about what offices they would be running for. The local media was on hand for Q & A afterwards.

I am delighted with The LaPorte Herald Argus' article covering my speech at the Convention. It does, however, include the strangest expression on my face in a picture where I am not playing hockey. Plus, I was a bit embarrassed at the coverage in that the other business of the Convention- the election of the officers of the LaPorte County party- was not even discussed. There's no telling what the media will include, or exclude, from a story. For the record, Doug Barnes was elected Chair after having been the District 2 representative to the Central Committee of the state party. He trades places with Greg Kelver. Both are outstanding leaders and great people who I personally enjoy working with.

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