This past weekend I attended my third state convention of the Libertarian Party of Florida, and just like my prior experiences, it was great in so many ways. But it also felt unique in how I've come home with a list of so many parts of it that I want to share, so here it goes in no particular order:
First I have to bring up the opportunity I was given to speak on Friday night about my decision to file to run for our US Senate seat in 2022. As obviously daunting a task as that is, it feels great to talk about it to a room full of people who understand why, and receive the love & energy back from their reception.
Also on that first night I was able to share that experience, as well as listening to all of the other candidates who spoke, with my eldest child. She had been talking about this for weeks, asking me to bring her to the convention, and she put in some work to make sure it happened. On top of having a great time during the event and talking with some of my Libertarian friends from around the state, she also managed to strike up a conversation with our 2020 presidential nominee, Dr. Jo Jorgensen. On the drive back home that night (over an hour) she couldn't stop talking about how great a time she had. Actually, her words were "awesome" and "fantastic".
The next day, prior to the start of official business, I had the privilege of attending a breakfast event with Congressman Justin Amash as speaker. His talk was great, but the coolest and most thought provoking part was the brief conversation I had with him after. Since I didn't get to asking a question on the microphone, I asked him then "even though the challenge for us Libertarians (to overcome the "two party" mindset) is very different, based on your experience with the GOP, what we should learn from Republicans?" His response surprised me. He said it just boils down to resources. However dysfunctional we may believe ourselves to be, there is much more dysfunction in the GOP and more professionalism in the LP than most of us give ourselves and the party credit for. Going back to what he discussed at the lectern, it's simply a matter of reaching people with the message and bridging those.
At the core of any political party convention like this is the business, and for all contention that exists in some parts of the LP today, it really is a blessing to be here in Florida where we've already dealt with this in the past and moved on, to have a party today that works together rather than against each other. I can't say enough good things about the jobs done by the leadership and the many committees, learning from past successes and failures to put together another great and productive convention.
One of the biggest things is also reconnecting with friends in the party from across the state and meeting new ones for the first time. Just like before, there just aren't enough good things I can about how that re-energizes and excites all of us around the cause of Liberty.
One thing that was different this year was being invited to a party organized by the Mises Caucus. I've been generally sympathetic towards the MC while also remaining skeptical, preferring to stay away from the contention that there has been between other factions in the party and the MC, but I have to say, I was super impressed by what I saw from them. A new wave of young, excited, and diverse Libertarians like I saw there brings the kind of energy that we cannot possibly have too much of. They've accomplished a lot in a very short time and they seem to be doing it the right way: by opening the door and let new members come in at their own pace.
Again, it was another great experience that reinforces the pride I have, not only in the message and the principles, but in our state's party, its members, and all the work they do. In the direction we are headed, the future is bright.