Elected Libertarians in Action

This is a very good example of the power of running for local office and winning. Rather than running hopeless Congressional candidates, the Lee County LP focused on the nonpartisan Soil and Water Board and actually got something accomplished…

Your government wants to send you a check.

It’s a small part of your government, and it’s a small check, but members of the Lee Soil and Water Conservation District hope it sets a big precedent.

The district made headlines early this year when the five-member elected board voted to eliminate its one major expense and axe its Mobile Irrigation Lab. The board, driven by a new Libertarian Party majority, decided the service was too inefficient and too expensive.

Lee County commissioners considered saving the lab, but voted 3-2 against it. The Collier Soil and Water Conservation District stepped in to save the lab and now collects the grant funding from the South Florida Water Management District, Lee County and the City of Cape Coral to keep the program going.

“It’s the same people sitting at the same desks doing the same thing,” said Jack Tanner, chairman of the Lee district. “We sold their vehicles so Collier must be providing them.”

Tanner said once the expense of the lab was off the books, the district found it had around $100,000 in its accounts.

“It’s been building up for years,” he said. “Like many government agencies we have money in a lot of places. When we got down to terminating the money coming in we looked at the money we had and what to do with it. We figured the property owners could use it better than we could.”

The lab was eliminated after the Libertarian majority came into power at the beginning of the year. Tanner was already serving on the board, as was fellow party member Kim Hawk. Tom Clark, the Libertarian party chairman in Lee County, was elected in November.

Hawk is currently vice chairman of the county party. Tanner is treasurer. The district vote to return the money was 4-0, with one member absent.

Tanner said the district couldn’t figure out how to split the money between the hundreds of thousands of property owners in Lee County. The board opted to send it back $10 at a time on a first-come, first-served basis.

As of the weekend, 86 checks had been sent.

“I think people are filling out the form just to see if it works,” Tanner said.

There are conditions. You must be a property owner in Lee County, since past funding for the district came from property taxes paid to the water management district or to the county. Only 200 checks will be sent out per month, because after 225 bank transactions a month the district has to pay.

6 Responses to “Elected Libertarians in Action”

  1. matt Says:

    A few more moves like this and these county commissioners might find themselves in VERY competitive congressional races. People remember non-idiocy.

  2. Trent Hill Says:

    Yep. I hope these guys DO get elected to Congress. We could use a few more felllas who will send my money back to me.

  3. Eric Dondero Says:

    Another office that Libertarians can win easily and have a major impact on are the local Selective Service Boards.

    I am a 20-year Appointee of the Houston Regional Selective Service Board. I get to decide, along with 4 other members in my area, who goes and who doesn’t. Obviously, being a Libertarian, I would vote for Nobody to be Drafted.

    There are at least two other Libertarian Selective Service Board Appointees in the US including well-known Tom Knapp in the St. Louis area.

    It’s easy to join! They are begging for people.

    You get a nice certificate, a pin, a paid two-day training session, and paid travel expenses.

    After your initial training all you have to do is show up once a year for a half-day training session at a major city in your area.

  4. Cody Quirk Says:

    I know the Nevada IAP has a somewhat similar strategy.

    They basically run as many candidates for almost every office as possible, BUT, they run the average joes and regular party members for the state and congressional offices, while the better qualified candidates and those with much experience in politics and government run for local and county offices.

    Since then, the Independent American Party has elected 3 people to such offices already.

  5. disinter Says:

    I have always thought it was futile to run LP candidates for US House, US Senate, Governor and President when we are dealing with such limited resources.

    The LP’s focus should be on State legislative races and lower. The focus should be on a limited number of quality, non-badnarik/hacker/milnes/dondero type nutjobs as well.

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