Liberty for Massachusetts


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Draft Minutes of September 10, 2005

The State Organizing Committee met at the home of Carol McMahon in Monson, Massachusetts. Committee members present were Carol McMahon, Alvin See, Robert Underwood, Shirley Underwood, David Roscoe, and George Phillies.  In the absence of Chair Steven Drobnis, Phillies as Political Facilitator chaired the meeting.  The committee observed at meeting's end that a two hour meeting was much more effective than one hour meeting. The October meeting will be held at the home of George Phillies in Worcester at a date and time to be set.

Minutes of the previous meeting were approved without further corrections.  Treasury: in August we had $55.00 of income and expenses of $2.50.  In September we have so far had spending of $138.17, including $84.00 for a banner and $54.00 for printing. At the date of the meeting the treasury had $167.54.

The Boston Freedom Rally was discussed. This organization and the Pioneer Valley group are sharing a booth. The Free State Project is right next door.  Both groups have procured banners.  The event is next Saturday. The more volunteers we get, the better off we will be.

The Rally For Ending The War was discussed.  Phillies distributed the printed End The War trifold and a copy of the to be printed War On Pot trifold.  He also displayed the flyer for the End The War Rally. Expenses to date for the rally are $35.00 for the electrical hookup. Publicity has been sent to all college libertarian groups in New England, to all student college newspapers in New England for which we have e-mail addresses, and to all Massachusetts newspapers that have e-mail addresses for taking news releases. We currently have four speakers, three jazz groups, and a tap dancer for the rally.  Major gaps for the rally are a sound system and a stage. It was agreed that Underwood would purchase at Phillies' expense plywood for a four by eight for stage, to be deployed resting on cinder blocks.   The plywood will be cut into two sections, and will be refastened on site using steel strapping and bolts with wing nuts.  This will give LfM and the PVLA a deployable low stage for future events.  Phillies will loan two sound speakers, an amplifier, and will arrange for microphone hookups as need be.

The issue of recruiting libertarian political candidates was discussed at great length. It was moved by Carol McMahon that an intermediate term objective for Liberty for Massachusetts should be recruiting 81 candidates for State Representative, so that there are libertarian candidates for a majority of all seats in the lower house of the state legislature. After an extended debate, the motion was passed unanimously.  It was understood that this objective was not targeted to be reached in the 2006 election cycle, but that it would be an objective to be reached over six to eight years.

The issues raised by the debate:

If we find two candidates in the same district, there are two choices: they can both run for State Representative, in which case we are certain of having debates. Alternatively, one of the two candidates could run for State Senator or some higher office.  Having debates is very good. On the other hand, it is not credible for a husband and wife to run against each other for the same office. As Tip O'Neil explained, the Democrats took control of the State House in 1948 by running candidates for every single position that could be found. Each of these candidates brought their friends and supporters to the polls, and each of these friends and supporters tended to vote for all of the other candidates of the same party.

The proposed recruitment scheme was to begin with a trifold mailed as a postcard to a large number of known or suspected activists.  The mailing is not enough. There needs to be further contact. To get people to run, you need to have interactive conversation, provide motivational support, and offer them substantive support.  For candidate recruitment and fund raising efforts, favorable editorial support from the major libertarian publications in the state is accessible.

One part of the support is a clear statement explaining to people all the key dates and deadlines. This begins by the date or dates on which you must be registered in the party in which you intend to run, the dates on which nominating papers are available, and the dates on which nominating papers are due.

A substantial approach to recruiting candidates is to have a series of meetings around the state for potential candidates.  Liberty for Massachusetts would develop a presentation for these candidates explaining what needs to be done to run. A map showing all State Representative and State Senate districts would usefully be on hand so that candidates in complicated geographic areas could for sure see where their districts were.  It would be entirely possible to pick up the nominating papers for these persons and have them printed, with their names and other data already in place, so that the candidates could begin collecting signatures immediately. Meetings would reasonably include western, central, and eastern Massachusetts. Places that might be used as meeting locations would include PVLA meetings, the Worcester meeting at its usual location, Lowell at a LALA meeting, a Cambridge meeting at their restaurant or at a large apartment, or perhaps Waltham at the library. The call for candidates, and support materials discussed below, could be deployed in a manner useful to many candidates via the use of the libertarian wiki pages.

Physical support that we could coordinate would include bulk ordering of lawn signs, trifolds, hangers, palm cards, or other items, using a common color scheme and plan with plate changes between candidates.  We could also make available a matrix for candidate web sites. Liberty for Massachusetts is not a political party or designation, and does not raise money for candidates.  We can raise money to support our recruiting effort.  However, the Liberty Tree PAC can raise $500.00 per candidate, which is more support than has recently been given. Also we could recruit persons who will commit to making individual donations to candidates who have organized in a proper way. It is also possible to help with scripting to assist people in collecting signatures on nominating papers.  Finally, because the collection times for nominating papers and for Public Policy Questions do not overlap, a candidate who has put herself on the ballot could then seek to put on the ballot several Public Policy Questions, with the intent of forcing her opponents to take stands that would clarify the difference between her and them.

There was extended discussion of the merits of running people for statewide office or not running people for statewide office, given that a possible outcome is that the Libertarian Party would regain major party status.  There are positive consequences of major party status. The Libertarian Party would be listed on the motor voter form. At the 2008 presidential primary, Libertarians would be able to run for the legally established State Committee and for town and ward committees. Town and ward committees can make unlimited gifts in kind to political campaigns.  There are also negative consequences of major party status. Underwood noted that had it had been vastly easier for him to collect 200 valid signatures to run for City Council in a nonpartisan race than to collect 130 valid signatures to run for State House as a major party candidate. It would not be so bad to have people recapturing major party status if these people helped with ballot access for candidates lower down on the ticket, but is the last few years have shown this is not what happens.

In order to improve ballot access if the Libertarian Party ever regained major party status, a possible outcome would be to have some libertarian candidates run under the name Libertarian Party and other candidates run under some other name. To avoid legal complications, we do not want people to run under the name Liberty for Massachusetts.  The name Liberty in Massachusetts is not in use and is not our name. Would we rather have people use Libertarian for the statewide name, or for the local races, and vice versa?  Sound arguments on each side of this question were advanced. It appears difficult to stop anyone else from using the major party races for the Libertarian name, and therefore the Liberty in Massachusetts name might better be used for the legislative races.  Regardless of Party name, candidates must adhere to state laws referring to the last date at which a candidate may enroll in a party before running for office.

It was noted that inquiries to the Libertarian Party of Massachusetts State Committee revealed that no one is known to be planning on running for statewide office in 2006 as a Libertarian.  The positive consequences of running a candidate from Liberty for Massachusetts for statewide office were discussed.  It was observed that a prominent member of the State Organizing Committee was entirely credible as a candidate for United States Senate, and could afford to put himself on the ballot.

Issues related to the betterment of the libertarian movement in the Commonwealth were discussed.

The Lowell Area Liberty Association was offered affiliation as a local group. LALA has as its area Billerica, Lowell, the towns neighboring these places, and north to the New Hampshire border. The vote was unanimous.  State Organizing Committee Member Robert Power is organizing a new Cambridge libertarian group, Drinking Freely, modeled after the highly successful Democratic Party group Drinking Liberally.

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