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Who Is Derek Ryan? A Man Who Loves His Home County, Loves Its Pristine Fresh Water, and Will Go To Bat For It

DerekRyan-portraitDerek Ryan didn’t pop up out of left field, hoping to win office at the ground level to begin an ascent up the ladder of government.

Others may choose that route, but Derek’s interest in earning your vote on Nov. 6 is sincere and deep-rooted — just like his family here in Orange County.

An activist, a community leader, a former small business owner, a dad, a husband … Derek’s a proactive resident of Orange County and is hell bent on doing the right thing — using reason and good judgement on the Orange Soil & Water Conservation Board.

There are no strings attached, and they need not apply.

DONATE: To Derek Ryan’s Campaign

EMAIL DEREKDerek@Derek4Orange.com

Many decades ago, Derek’s grandfather Leroy Gilliam may have sparked a generational interest in the environment when he managed 1000s of acres of orange groves — setting things up for a third-generation horticulturist to run for office one day. And Derek’s father Doug Ryan is a retired Woody Ornamental nursery grower who helped Derek get his start in his first landscaping venture — a company called Love Your Lawn Landscape Services, catering to high end homes in Winter Park and ultimately larger commercial work.

DEREK RYAN: Facts, Background & Links

“I bring an insight and perspective to this Soil and Water board that is very relevant,” Derek said. “My team and I manage more than 2 billion gallons of irrigation water on commercial properties. I also live on a 40-acre, spring-fed lake that has been in my family for three generations so I have first-hand knowledge of proper conservation, and I want to ensure the next three or four generations of Floridians can enjoy our natural resources as well.”

Derek and his family treasure the unique characteristics of Central Florida, from the near perfect waters of the aquifer to the diversity of the soils used for development and agriculture. He understands the dynamics, having worked in the landscaping industry nearly all his adult life.

Derek is fed up with the contradictions and regulations that come down from government, and he wants to be a part of fixing it.

CAMPAIGN PAGE: Derek Ryan for Orange Soil & Water Conservation – Seat 4

DerekRyan-Meetup-2“One thing I find interesting in my industry is that many commercial property owners were told by planning and zoning to put these expensive landscapes in, including Floratam St. Augustine grass, which has become controversial with some people (because of the water and chemicals it requires),” Derek said. “People forget that government told businesses they had to install that, and now government is shutting their water off.”

Derek wants to find the happy balance between conservation/regulation and allowing businesses to … well … do business.

When the market crashed in 2008, his first company — Love Your Lawn — didn’t make it because of the financial climate of the time. Nothing was being built, so the landscaping industry was mothballed for a couple of years. When Derek saw the economy revving back up, he put his resume out and entered the commercial landscape industry as a business development manager focusing on the maintenance needs of large property owners.

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In other words, Derek can see the business side of soil and water related topics while balancing it out as somebody who would stick up for the local environment his family has enjoyed for decades.

“I have a commercial perspective and a personal perspective,” Derek said.

His resume is so strong that the board has already appointed him as an Associate Supervisor, which is permitted by board bylaws. He already has one step in the door, folks, and he’s already working on your behalf.

ARTICLE (Apopka Voice): Derek Ryan wins straw poll (July 11)

Along with his family being long-time local residents, he’s also a third generation leader in the community. His grandfather was the Fire Chief of Apopka for 40 years, and distant relatives Mark V. Ryan and E.J. Ryan once served as Mayors of the City of Apopka. Having a Ryan win office in Orange County would hardly be unprecedented.

Derek would appreciate your support, and he’ll immediate pivot to helping your best interests.

“Orange County has one of the largest governments in Florida with staff and resources available to the Soil and Water Conservation board. It seems unnecessary to me that this board become an additional layer of tax burden to the residents of the district.”

“I want to make sure that’s communicated clearly, and I intend on showing what a motivated volunteer activist on this board can look like.”

ARTICLE (FloridaPolitics): Derek Ryan wins West Orange Chamber Straw poll

Derek wallpaper

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Derek Ryan for Orange Soil & Water Conservation District – Seat 4: Facts, Background And Links

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Derek Ryan with wife Kristine, son Drew and pooch Dillon

FULL NAME: William Derek Ryan

RUNNING FOR: Orange Soil and Water Conservation District – Seat 4 (NPA)

AGE: 42 years old

FAMILY: Wife– Kristine … Son– Drew … Father– Doug Ryan … Mother– Polly Ryan

BORN: Winter Garden, Fla. Raised in Apopka.

HIGH SCHOOL: Apopka HS graduate c/o 1993

COLLEGE: Valencia College, Mid-Florida Technical School for Auto Body Repair

CURRENT PROFESSION: Commercial Landscape Maintenance Sales at OmegaScapes, Inc. in Orlando.

EMAIL DEREKDerek@Derek4Orange.com

WHO IS HE?: Derek Ryan’s Personal Story

POLITICAL AND LEADERSHIP EXPERIENCE: After shutting his landscape and nursery businesses down due to the recession in 2008, Derek was frustrated with how government and politicians negatively affect small business owners. His interest in politics began once he discovered Ron Paul and the message of limiting government and increasing freedom. In 2012, Derek supported Libertarian Gary Johnson for President and then Adrian Wyllie for Florida Governor in 2014. During the 2016 election, he worked on presidential campaigns for Austin Petersen and then Gary Johnson as the Orange County Events Coordinator. Derek has been chairman of the Libertarian Party of Orange County, Fla. since 2016 and will continue to lead freedom loving residents in the Orlando area. He is probably best known for his political activism as a regular attendee of Orange County and City of Apopka Commission meetings, speaking often on record for important issues. Recently, he was appointed as an Associate Supervisor to the Orange Soil and Water Conservation District. Derek believes that “showing up matters” and you can trust that he will continue to do so.

NewDerekRyanLogoARTICLE (Apopka Voice): Derek Ryan wins straw poll (July 11)

HOBBIES: Derek’s biggest passions outside of being a watchdog in his community are the outdoors and his love for classic Volkswagens. He has been restoring them for over 20 years and considers himself a “Freedom-loving VW Hippy… and there are more of us than you might think.” The Florida rivers, lakes, and springs have been a love of Derek’s his whole life. Paddling the Wekiva River, Juniper Run, and Alexander Springs are a favorite pastime. “I’m a fresh water guy. I love our beaches, but I really love our lakes and springs.” Derek and his wife, Kristine, also enjoy working in their one-acre yard on Lake Heineger in Apopka.

ARTICLE (FloridaPolitics): Derek Ryan wins West Orange Chamber Straw poll

QUOTABLE: “If I ask a room full of people, ‘Who wants to preserve natural resources in Central Florida?”, everybody will raise their hands. But it’s not that simple. There’s a lot of gray area, and that’s how my landscaping background will pay dividends. If we’re going to have regulations like two days a week watering, then we must recognize who told them to put all that landscape in the ground in the first place … government. Larger properties were told they would get a certain amount of water volume and we consistently don’t have that much on the properties we manage. Irrigation zones now have to run longer so property owners can protect their investment, and it is difficult to water a large property in the restricted times allowed. You have government creating a problem on one hand, and then government trying to solve it on the other at the expense of the property owner. If we must create regulations, then they need to make sense and be realistic … otherwise we turn perfectly good people into lawbreakers. What we need to do is address the root of the problem… government planning. I’m the Devil’s advocate in the back of the room that will raise my hand and challenge these things so we can come up with better solutions.”

KEY LINKS TO DEREK’S CAMPAIGN AND HIS STANCE ON THE ISSUES:

DONATE: To Derek Ryan’s Campaign

CAMPAIGN PAGE: Derek Ryan for Orange Soil & Water Conservation – Seat 4

FACEBOOK: Derek Ryan, Candidate Facebook Page

BALLOTPEDIA: Derek Ryan for Orange Soil & Water Conservation

LINKEDIN: Derek Ryan at Omegascapes, Inc.

DerekRyan-Meetup-4

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FL State House 58 Libertarian Candidate Bryan Zemina Brings Reasoned Approach To Special Election

If you Google Bryan Zemina, you may find a photo of him wearing a hard-hat and his sleeves are rolled up. If that isn’t an indication of what kind of state house candidate he is, what is?

Zemina is a relative newcomer to the Libertarian Party and is running for the Florida State House Dist. 58 seat that will hold its special election on Dec. 19. While he’s new to the LP, he’s not new to questioning the status quo and searching for an alternative when it comes to government.

Now he is the alternative, and wouldn’t have it any other way.

DONATE: Bryan Zemina for FL State House 58 (Special Election)

ISSUES: Libertarian Bryan Zemina on the issues

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Zemina

The Dist. 58 race will have Zemina, Democrat Jose N. Vazquez Figueroa, Republican primary winner Lawrence McClure and NPA Ahmad Hussam Saadaldin on the ballot. McClure won the October Republican primary by 9.8%. The district — located solely in eastern Hillsborough County — mixes rural areas with municipalities like Plant City and Temple Terrace. The word ‘diverse’ comes to mind when describing Dist. 58’s constituency.

Zemina feels he’s the perfect guy to tie this unique area together.

Zemina was born in Largo and in third grade moved over to the Riverview area in Hillsborough County, Florida. His parents still live in the house he was raised in. After graduating from East Bay High School in Gibsonton, he decided to pack his bags and head to Indiana to Rose-Hulman where not only did he major in mechanical engineering, he also managed to letter in two sports – football and baseball.

After graduating from college, he moved back to the Tampa Bay area.

When it comes to frustration with nagging local regulations and red tape, Zemina’s eyes first crossed after he and his wife Chrissy purchased their first home in Temple Terrace in 2010. He went to Home Depot to purchase fencing materials to construct his own fence-line, only to be slapped in the face with a notice that he was violating permit rules.

Like many property owners, he felt like local government was crossing the line and he decided to ‘tune in’ more intently — and he has.

His diehard interest in politics also came in 2010 when current Florida Governor Rick Scott was running against Democrat challenger Alex Sink. Zemina wasn’t excited about either one of them and began vetting the other candidates in the race. He decided to vote for an NPA candidate named Daniel Imperato.

CAMPAIGN PAGE: For Bryan Zemina

BALLOTPEDIA: Learn more, Bryan Zemina’s page

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The seed of not only seeking out an alternative leader to vote for — and later being the alternative — was germinating. After donating to Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson last year, he was on an email list that connected him with passionate Hillsborough Libertarian leaders Susan Stanley and Kevin O’Neill, and here he is today. They met, and a Libertarian candidacy was born.

Zemina is one of only eight Libertarian candidates in Florida history to qualify to get on the ballot in a FL State House, State Senate or U.S. House special election.

“The way I look at this, Libertarians are for reducing government and everything stems from that,” Zemina told TLI. “In every walk of life, there is a group that would benefit from reducing government.”

Being a mechanical engineer, Zemina takes a disciplined approach to what could be done while in a State House seat.

“Engineering is analytics,” Zemina said. “You look at the pros and cons of an issue, but not the emotion. What is the benefit? Is it worth it? Does it make sense? Not, ‘Do I feel like I want to do this?'”

FLORIDA DISTRICT 58: Current demographics

FLORIDA DISTRICT 58: Detailed map

Zemina is quick to point out the hypocrisy of not only big government in general, but even with his opposition.

“Both Republican candidates (prior to the primary) are anti-sanctuary, but they both support the farming industry which needs migrant workers,” Zemina said. “So if we kick out the migrant workers, does my glass of orange juice go from 2$ to 4$?

“These people are here to improve their lives, and it’s very rare to find an American citizen who would do those jobs. To me it’s a win, win, win. Why attack people who are doing no wrong? And to speak so two-faced about the issues on your own website?”

When it comes to Zemina’s hot-button issues, his first goal would be to get on the finance committee to have an effect when it comes to the state budget. The campaign financing debate, reducing the tax burden on individuals and small businesses and the decriminalization of marijuana are all topics he would attack on day one (read more about Zemina’s stance on the issues).

He feels the biggest thing he has going for him is obvious. It is the same thing that interested him in 2010 in voting for Imperato for Governor.

“To this day, I don’t know what (Imperato’s) party affiliation is, I just know that my wife and I both liked what he had to say, his stances on issues,” Zemina said. “From that point forward we’ve both been much more interested in politics and the alternatives to the mainstream options.”

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NOTE: District 58’s seat came open earlier this year when Plant City native Dan Raulerson (R) — who won the Nov. 2016 election — resigned citing health and business concerns. The spurred December’s special election.

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Libertarian candidate history in Florida for special elections – U.S. and FL races

Three Florida Libertarian Candidates Enter Fall With Momentum, Victories

By Brian McLaughlin

TLI Editor

Typically, an odd-numbered year following a Presidential election cycle would be “exhale” time, but in Florida, 2017 has been anything but for Libertarian candidates.

Former LNC chair Jim Turney (1985-88) filed and qualified for a non-partisan race for Altamonte Springs City Commission, and his incumbent competitor dropped out literally hours later on the final day of qualifying (Sept. 5). Turney will now be unopposed in the November election. No one else qualified.

Altamonte Springs is in the Greater Orlando area.

Two Florida State House special elections will also feature Libertarians in December and February of next year. Recent LP convert Bryan Zemina (Dist. 58) will be in the December SE in the Tampa area, while former Johnson-Weld Field Director Alison Foxall is in a three-party race (Dist. 72) to be held in February in the Sarasota area.

Only eight Florida Libertarians have ever qualified to get on the ballot in a state or federal special election—with Foxall and Zemina being the most recent.

ALISON FOXALL BALLOTPEDIA PAGE

BRYAN ZEMINA BALLOTPEDIA PAGE

Foxall even achieved ballot access via the petition route, only the second Floridian Libertarian to do that in a special election situation. Her volunteer staff beat the Democrat’s numbers of valid petitions (400 to 391), missing the Republican by just nine.

In an example of the LP synergy being felt in the Sunshine State, Turney actually was part of the petition drive in Foxall’s Sarasota-area district. They all have also donated to each other’s campaigns, a theme that has extended to the already filed 2018 Libertarian candidates.

“The LP in Florida has quality candidates that are in tough special election races … where it won’t be so easy as it was for me,” Turney said. “I hope they have my luck, but they certainly have my support.”

Turney decided to get into his race because he felt the incumbent was vulnerable in his district. Foxall also saw an opportunity in her home district, where she has resided for more than 25 years. The 2016 elected House Rep abruptly announced her resignation in late August, and Foxall decided to run just hours later when she realized the filed Republican James Buchanan didn’t even live in District 72, though he and his wife now plan to relocate there. Two Democrats later entered and will have a primary in December.

“I am stepping up to represent the district that I’ve lived in for 25 years and will carry our constituents’ voices to Tallahassee with me,” Foxall said. “I’m ready to earn my neighbors’ vote so that I can cut wasteful spending, eliminate unnecessary barriers to entry for many industries, and cut individuals’ tax burden here in Florida.”

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Florida’s history of Libertarian Special Elections candidates

Zemina worked with Hillsborough county LP leaders Susan Stanley and Kevin O’Neill to set up his race for special election in the greater Tampa area.

“I was motivated to jump into the race due to lack of results with the two-party system,” Zemina said. “All the nation sees, on all levels, is a bitter fight and opposition to each other instead of working together as government should. Neither side truly stands for the values that they claim to stand for, and I feel it’s only right to try to be the one to bring about change like I’ve been talking about for so long. If not me, then who?”

Along with the Florida Libertarians’ successes and work in 2017, there are eight candidates already filed to run in 2018 for federal and statewide elections, and has been previously reported in the LNC newsletter, the Florida town of Frostproof now has two registered Libertarians on city council, with one (Martin Sullivan) elected vice-mayor earlier this year.

LPF Hits 30,000 Mark During Post-Election Doldrums of 2016

BY BRIAN MCLAUGHLIN

TLI Managing Editor

It’s not supposed to work like this.

It took 14 years for the Libertarian Party of Florida to hit the 10,000 registered voters mark in 2001, then a little more than a decade longer to hit 20,000 at the end of 2012.

Things are speeding up a bit, as the LPF hit the 30,000 mark this spring – nearly 32,000, to be exact.

May2017-chartIn what is usually considered the political doldrum period of the election cycle – the time immediately following a Presidential election – the LPF grew by 12 percent in just seven months. That’s right … since the November elections, the LPF has grown 12 percent while other parties hardly budged or declined.

The reason? It could be tied to the Florida Department of Elections dismantling the Independent (INT) and Independence (IDF) parties this spring. Some have wondered if voters were confused by these two parties, thinking it was more like an NPA registration than an actual party. Regardless, more than 300,000 Floridian voters were left homeless after those moves this spring.

Regardless of the reason for the recent spike, it’s certainly a positive sign for Florida’s third-largest political party. With 31,631 registered Libertarians as of the May 2017 count, the LPF is well ahead of the fourth-place Green Party (6,605 voters) and others.

“It’s a very exciting moment for the LP,” said Marcos Miralles, Chairman of the LPF. “I think that our organization and our creation of leaders throughout the state will continue to grow the movement. The sooner we recruit candidates for local seats, the faster we can push for membership through the candidates’ campaigns. It’s a win for the Libertarian Party and a win for the citizens of Florida.”

There are other interesting trends to consider. From the pre-election tally in 2006 to the pre-election formal count in 2016, the Libertarian Party of Florida has grown 82 percent when it comes to registered voters, while the Republicans and Democrats both were at 15 percent – while the overall total of voters grew 23 percent.

Oh, and NPAs grew 57 percent during that same period. Conclusion? The pool of registered voters in Florida is growing, while the list of duopoly voters isn’t keeping pace – while the “outlier” voter totals are shooting upwards over the past decade or so.

If this trend continued at the 2006-2016 pace, the LPF would be near 60,000 registered voters in the next decade – and the recent growth has actually been much more rapid.


Florida’s Libertarian Party first held a state convention in 1973 in Orlando and continued holding them until the mid 1980s when the party was dissolved by the state. In 1987, the LP was rejuvenated and the second push really got rolling in the 1992 election season when six Libertarians ran for State House down ballot from Presidential nominee Andre Marrou. Since then, more than 100 Libertarian candidates have run for state office and countless others have run in non-partisan races at the city and county level.

Libertarian Pearl Continues To Grow Far From Where Pearls Grow Naturally – Montana; Special Election is a Week Away

The Marias River isn’t exactly next door to the Pacific Coast. In fact … eventually, it flows into the Gulf of Mexico. You’re not going to see any oyster beds this far up the watery road into the northern reaches of Montana.

MarkWicks-MugshotYet a Libertarian pearl is developing where a grain of Montana river rock sand is irritating the establishment. Mark Wicks, a third-generation Montanan rancher, has been an irritant to the political duopoly in a special election race that has both Republicans and Democrats cursing the opposition.

When Ryan Zinke went to Trump’s cabinet as Secretary of the Interior, Montana’s lone U.S. House seat opened up in the Big Sky. The special election is slated for May 25.

RELATED: Libertarian candidate Mark Wicks (US House, Montana) has a daughter named Liberty and a plan

RELATED: Nearly 12 million spent on Montana U.S. House special election

Wicks said it best when it comes to the reported 12 million dollars that has poured into this race:

“Boy, they’re really wasting money,” Wicks told TLI Tuesday night. “And they’re upsetting Montanans with the amount of Ads they’re having to sit through. They’re trying to prove a point for the Democrat and Republican parties about who is the top dog in the country, and I’d say Montanans should vote for me and let them know we’re not worried about the top dog in the country … We should give them actual feedback on what we’re doing here.”

The Libertarian National Committee has taken notice of the activity and is considering sending funds Wicks’ way to make a point. Hopefully it’s not too late.

“I’ve been in my own race and I haven’t had the time to put time and effort into anything else,” Wicks told TLI. “I think what is important is we need to get a win or a near win at this level.”

Along with the big money, some political big hitters have also spoken up. Vice President Mike Pence has been involved in this special election race, as well as Donald Trump Jr. And good ole’ Bernie Sanders has been involved too.

POLLS: Libertarian polls in double digits three times in Montana U.S. House race

DONATE: Mark Wicks campaign page

Democrats are hell bent on making the current President look like a fool by nabbing a U.S. House spot the Republicans have held for nearly two decades. And Republicans are just as concerned with the “Referendum on Trump” and have put their resources on this case too. Thus Pence and Junior traveling west.

“If I come a little bit short, with only about 10,000 spent, I’m wondering what I could have done with a little bit more money,” Wicks told TLI. “We might have been able to put this one over the top. When you look at it versus the millions the others spent, that could have been big. I think I’m going to be in the double digits here.”

DEBATE: Mark Wicks’ closing statements

While the rest of the political world looks at his home state as a statement battleground, Wicks is sipping his coffee and grinning on the porch, because he’s going to play a major role next week. He made the debate stage, and some Montana media entities even proclaimed he was the winner.

Wicks knows that his 10K has gone a tad bit further than the 12 million of outside money flooding in from goodness knows where …

Next week? We’ll see if Montana is awake and sets the tone for what is coming.

Are Libertarians Constitutionalists?

Awesome write up by Stacey Selleck!

Montana Libertarian Mark Wicks Has A Daughter Named Liberty And A Plan To Change U.S. House’s Political Landscape

BY BRIAN MCLAUGHLIN

PUBLISHER – TLI

There’s nothing more independent than being a rancher whose family has lived on the same 1,600-acre tract for more than a century. When you’re a rancher, you’re not used to outsiders dictating what you can and cannot do … and you don’t dictate to your neighbor, either.

That is exactly where Montana native Mark Wicks is coming from.

MarkWicks-MugshotWicks, 47, is the Libertarian candidate in a pivotal U.S. House Special Election that will take place May 25. Since the national reapportionment in the early 1990s, Montana has had only one U.S. House seat, known as its ‘at-large’ slot.

The U.S. House at-large seat is currently vacant after Ryan Zinke was appointed and confirmed as President Trump’s Secretary of Interior. By state law in Montana, the U.S. House seat has to be filled within 85 to 100 days of the vacancy, which the May 25 special election will do. The seat has been Republican since the late 1990s, but Wicks is out to change that.

This special election has all kinds of national ramifications, as the Democrats are hoping it will become a referendum on Trump’s first 100 days in office. Republicans are spending big money to avoid the potential embarrassment. The money has been flowing and the political pop stars are finding their way to Big Sky Country.

Wicks wants to throw a gold-embossed wrench into the rusty machinery, Libertarian style.

“I don’t think you have to worry about me being the spoiler because I have no intention of coming in third,” Wicks quipped during his interview on Tuesday with The Libertarian Identity.

RELATED: Mark Wicks Campaign Donation Page

RELATED: Libertarian Mark Wicks’ campaign page

On April 29, Wicks was in a televised debate (See KTVQ Debate) with Democrat Rob Quist and Republican Greg Gianforte, and the Libertarian reaction to his performance has been positive. Also, in two polls so far, Wicks has peaked at 11%.

Wicks told TLI he’s always been a Libertarian. Though LPs don’t register as such in the open primary state of Montana, he said he has voted for Libertarian candidates since he was 18 – when they were an option on the ballot, which oftentimes they weren’t.

“When you live out here and do everything on your own, you feel the freedom to do whatever you want however you want, and then you see people trying to stop you from doing what you choose … it leaves a bad taste,” Wicks said. “The people all around me are very independent people. We don’t like government telling us what to do. My family has taken care of this land for more than 100 years without the government’s help.”

RELATED: Huffington Post – Special Election Nobody Is Following Could Deal A Huge Blow to Trump

HillCountyMontanaWicks and his family of six reside in Hill County, Montana near the town of Inverness – just south of the Canadian border in north central Montana. His grandparents came to the area in 1913 to be ranchers. He currently raises cattle on his land, along with his haying operation.

“We finally paid it off,” Wicks joked, when asked about the property. “We might even turn a profit one of these days.”

He and his family also transport agricultural goods westward during peak season. Most people who ranch also have jobs outside the home, or at least one of the adults does. He and his wife of 21 years, Beth, are part of the rural route post office operation locally. Their oldest son Hunter (18) is at Montana State-Northern in Havre, studying agricultural technology. Jewel (16) is a high school student who Wicks said may be the next politician in the brood. Choral (12) and Liberty (5) – yes, Liberty – round out the family.

With so much responsibility at home already in hand, Wicks did go back-and-forth with the decision to enter this race as a Libertarian. But, he looked at this as another responsibility he couldn’t shirk.

RELATED: Libertarian Mark Wicks’ campaign page

“I had been kind of thinking about doing this for a long time and I kept looking at whether this is the right time in our lives, and are the kids the right age for this,” Wicks said. “And I came to the conclusion that this wasn’t really the perfect time in my life for this, but I thought it looked so bad if people didn’t step up and do something in this race.”

On March 11th, the MTLP held a convention in Helena and Wicks won on the third ballot with 56% after eight LP candidates originally threw their hats in.

When it comes to his strongest Libertarian stances, Wicks doesn’t hesitate to bring up the fiscal responsibility side of the equation. He feels that if he has to run a balanced budget in his own home to survive, the Federal Government should too. He said he’d be behind massive spending cuts and would fight in Congress to make it happen – that, first and foremost is his major push. He doesn’t feel either of the older parties attempt to cut spending anymore. It is his biggest beef.

LibertarianPartyMontanaWicks’ (BallotPedia page) next biggest sticking point is education. For decades, his family tree knew well the successes of the hyper local one-room schoolhouse – that they didn’t need federal intervention to educate.

“It’s really important to me,” Wicks said. “It sounds like common core is going away, and that really needed to be done. I think we should phase out the Department of Education. We have good teachers in this state, and there’s nothing that another level of government is going to tell our teachers that they don’t already have a handle on.

“Let the states decide to teach their students instead of this one-size fits all setup. Our students have a lot of different needs than those in New York and California.”

Already, he achieved a victory when it came to reaching the debate stage to sit equally with Quist and Gianforte. But it didn’t come easily. Two earlier debates were cancelled for no reason, and he wasn’t even notified about two editorial board dates in some Montana’s larger towns/publications.

RELATED: Roundtable video reaction to April 29 Montana U.S. House debate

Wicks originally received an email saying he would be excluded from the KTVQ debate. He immediately got ahold of Montana Libertarian Party (MTLP) leaders Ron Vandevender (State Chairman) and Michael Fucci, as well as LNC Region 1 Rep Caryn Ann Harlos and they helped raise awareness of Wicks’ snub, and ultimately helped get the decision turned around. KTVQ News Director Jon Stepanek first message cited time constraints as their reason for not inviting Wicks to the Billings debate.

“We just started sending the word out, not just to Libertarians but across the board and people were upset that we were being excluded and it started coming together,” Wicks said. “We proved that we met the standards they set for us. We have two unpopular candidates who are both weak. We have a chance here, this is a very Libertarian state.”

His competitors? Wicks sees them as identical twins. What exactly is the difference? In fact, he points to their TV advertisements as an example. Both have televised ads shooting televisions.

“I’ve told PETA …you know, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Appliances … that I won’t be shooting any TVs in this campaign,” Wicks said.

We’re down to 23 days on this one, sports fans.

Want to see the full U.S. House debate from April 29? Click me!

Registered Libertarians Now Comprise 40% Of One Florida Town’s City Council

BY BRIAN MCLAUGHLIN

PUBLISHER – TLI

One of the big pushes within the Libertarian movement is to be active on a hyper-local level – and there’s no better way to be active than to face that challenge head on and run for office on behalf of your friends and neighbors.

Five-generation Frostproof (Fla.) native Martin Sullivan is a two-year veteran of his hometown’s City Council, and on Tuesday evening he was elected Vice Mayor of Frostproof. But he wasn’t the only big news for Libertarians, as newly converted LP registrant Austin Gravley was also sworn in for his first term. Gravley won his seat with 62 percent of the vote on April 4, and had registered LP just one day prior.

FrostproofFloridaMapToday, 40 percent of the Frostproof City Council is sticking up for what Libertarians believe in – starting with fiscal responsibility. While city council elections are non-party affiliated, the platform carries over.

“I just found myself aligning more and more with Libertarian views,” Gravley, 25, told TLI. “I like the idea of government leaving everybody alone. I’ll admit I was a Republican before … but I just don’t want to keep going down this road where we have two options, big government or bigger government. So maybe I just wanted to prove a point by switching to the Libertarian Party … I like the idea of having a third party.”

Sullivan is one of only 11 mayors or vice-mayors nationwide who are registered Libertarians, and only four municipalities in the country have more than one registered Libertarian on their council. See list below this story for details (source, LP.org).

Sullivan and Gravley both face the reality of their hometown’s fiscal challenges. Their primary focus is to cut costs and preserve the identity of a town that has had Sullivan’s family in the vicinity since the 1880s, along with three generations of Gravley’s family. It is a fiercely independent town, which has led to a mostly Republican electorate being open to two men who align with a different political ideology. With the citrus industry struggling, it has been forced to brainstorm the new direction.

Maybe having two Libertarians in the leadership is a start?

RELATED: TLI Talks to LNC Chair Nick Sarwark

The biggest goal for Frostproof? It doesn’t want to be gobbled up by the bigger fish of Polk County and central Florida. It’s a town that is proud of its history – as evidenced by the Centennial celebration that will take place next year. Sullivan said one of his biggest goals as a city leader is to try to figure out what is the next step for a town whose primary economic base has been the citrus industry – for most of the past century.

So it’s a three-headed challenge. First, fend off outside interests that in many ways want to absorb Frostproof. Second, avoid forcing the residents to swallow a heaping dose of “taxation without representation”. Third, figure out the best way to market the area’s top attributes – like its lakes and winter climate, its natural attributes.

The town of about 3,000 residents is in a transition, and two Libertarians want to be a part of the solution, not the demise.

Sullivan’s winning message back during his first election in 2015 was to keep the local volunteer fire department independent of the county because it ultimately would keep things cheaper and independent. There were also worries that a consolidation with Polk County’s services may mean longer response times – meaning paying more, potentially for lower quality. Sullivan’s push to rescind the previous council’s decision to hand things over to the county was what got him elected.

Another big pushback has come against powerful outside influences wanting to siphon off Frostproof’s water. Sullivan has fought that initiative, along with other council members. Again, battling for his constituents, though Sullivan admits it probably won’t be the last time these strong interests will come from the growing Orlando Metro area – which is thirsty and searching.

“We keep reminding the people that it is their money, and the one thing about Frostproof is it is a really independent-minded town,” Sullivan, 46, told TLI. “They already have that mindset. They see how the town was built originally, built privately with very little government intervention. We’re just a small, rural, isolated town in the southeast part of the county and we’ve never really gotten any real help from anybody.

“There are some who would like for us to unincorporate and be a part of the county so they can absorb our tax base, and we’ll continue to have that fight with them.”

Sullivan, who today works in the Citrus industry, and Gravley, who is an independent distributor, both say their primary focus moving forward will be to keep the budget under control. With his three-year term, Sullivan will be up for re-election in 2018, while Gravley will be on board until 2020. Sullivan said he’ll continue to run for office, that this isn’t a one-time thing.

One of the rallying points for the community is Frostproof Middle-High School, and the mascot is the Bulldog — known for its tenacity and bite when provoked, yet also known for its calmer demeanor when left alone …

… an appropriate mascot for this community and its most recently elected leaders.

The Frostproof duo join Marco Island City Councilman Jared Grifoni as registered Libertarians on city councils in Florida, along with several elected municipal positions in Miami-Dade – held by Gary Gerstein, Keon Grayson, Marco Alvarez Jr. and Marialexandra Garcia, Dennis Misigoy, all Libertarians (SOURCE: LPF.org).

HERE ARE THE MAYORS AND VICE-MAYORS REGISTERED LP
Arkansas, Bobby Tullis, Mineral Springs Mayor
California, Jeff Hewitt, Calimesa Mayor
Colorado, Beau Woodcock, Milliken Mayor
Florida, Martin Sullivan, Frostproof Vice-Mayor
Illinois, Tami Wessel, Brookport Mayor
Kentucky, Larry Odom-Groh, Bellemeade Mayor
Maryland, Leo Martin, Mtn Lake Park Mayor
Montana, Michael Schoenike, Red Lodge Mayor
Pennsylvania, Timothy A. Russell, Emlenton Mayor
South Carolina, Bill Woolsey, James Island Mayor
Washington, Bob Bromley, Sumas Mayor

CITIES/TOWNS/BOROUGH COUNCILS WITH MULTIPLE LIBERTARIANS

Frostproof, Florida

Crystal City, Minnesota

Cressona Borough, Pennsylvania

Lago Vista, Texas

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