Monday, May 02, 2005

Quick Convention Observations

The Libertarian Party of Indiana hosted its' annual convention this past weekend in Clarksville, which is on the Ohio River, just across from Louisville, KY. Top 5 observations:

1. This convention was very well attended, which is a great thing when considering that there were no high profile candidates to select for the ballot, there is no ballot in 2005, and the location was at one extreme end of the state. The delegate total was one greater than in the 2004 convention, which selected the high-profile gubernatorial candidate, and was staged centrally, in Indianapolis. This points to significant growth, and a commitment on the part of those from the northern part of the state.

2. The speakers were relevant. Too often, LP conventions feature little besides libertarian speakers. Don't get me wrong- I enjoy hearing top libertarian speakers. However, I got more insights from Jason Shelley of the National Federation of Independent Business than I would from, say, a James Bovard. Shelley represents small business owners, and that is a core constituency we aim to capture. Best to know what his group wants, and more importantly, what specific policies they suffer under.

3. The events flowed. Convention co-ordinator Cindy Kirkpatrick did a masterful job of making sure everything started and ended on time, so that there was a minimum of down time. Some down time is great, because it allows you to mingle. Too much is just boredom.

4. The focus on the floor was on business. Even with one contentious item on the floor for debate, no lines were drawn, and no blood spilled. Good direction of traffic and remarks by Chair Mark Rutherford made it so.

5. There seemed to be a growing readiness to accept my campaign. I like that for the obvious reasons, but more importantly, I had sensed a resistance to get involved with any campaign up to this point, mainly because the November 2006 ballot seems so far away. I think the majority of the members get the dual reality that there is serious business ahead as well as huge political opportunities to be siezed now.

All of this gives me hope for a spectacular 2006 convention. If trends continue, we will have more delegates and attendees than ever before, and business on the floor that points us towards more growth and to electoral success.

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