Monday, July 17, 2006

Another Golf Report

I had the pleasure of sponsoring the Indiana Licensed Beverage Association's (ILBA) annual golf outing today in Elkhart, at the Bent Oak Golf Course. There I welcomed the golfers, distributed my Kole logo golf balls, displayed my large banner at the entrance, and served again as the official spotter for the hole-in-one challenge par-3 hole.

Campaigning at golf events is a new wrinkle for Libertarian candidates, so here's why I do it: The participants are having fun. They see me at the entrance, they see my sign, they tee up my golf balls, and they see me at the challenge hole. Some aren't terribly interested in talking policy, but many are. ILBA is a lobbying association that defends the rights and interests of its' members, so mostly, they are interested. There are many opportunities to talk with the members throughout the event. All must pass me on the challenge hole. I am a defender of small business and property rights. ILBA members are small business owners who are having their property rights attacked, so we have plenty of common ground.

Due to my extensive work across the state in supporting the hospitality industry as a whole in opposing the imposition of smoking bans and food & beverage taxes, I was a known quantity to many of the ILBA members.

While some of the bar and restaurant owners are Libertarians, many are life-long Republicans or Democrats. They all expressed dismay with these parties for the assault they feel has been directed at them. They cited the smoking and tax issues, but also noted that Daylight Savings Time is positively killing the bar owners. People enjoy the daylight, and by time they are done with their outdoor activities, they look at their watches and conclude it's too late to head to the bar.

What the ILBA members and the beverage industry folks told me was that government at all levels fails to consult with them as to the impacts of new legislation. The Daniels Administration didn't consult them before the DST cram-down. Town councils failed to consult them before passing smoking bans. (Interestingly, the bar owners who complained most about the bans were the ones who had no-smoke policies before the bans. They lost their edge and had their business model damaged when the new laws were passed.) Government failed to respond when the concerns of business owners are voiced, and it doesn't matter if we're talking about Republicans or Democrats, at any level of government.

Many of the ILBA members took my bumper stickers and business cards, and invited me to their establishments any time I am in their home counties. I was most honored.

We are campaigning smart. We are talking directly to constituencies that may not have been voting Libertarian in the past, but have good reason to abandon the parties they have been themselves abandoned by, showing them that voting for Mike Kole and the Libertarian Party is a viable option.

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