Voter’s Guide to endorsed candidates 2016

November 4, 2016

VoteSymbol-thumbnailWe hope this Voter’s Guide will assist our membership and supporters in making their decisions for the November 8 general election. It’s a complete listing of all LPMN-endorsed candidates running for local, state, and federal offices. This is intended to be a one-stop shop for information about our candidates, how they were chosen, pertinent links, and general election information.  Feel free to share this with others you know who live in areas where Libertarian candidates are running!

A nomination or endorsement indicates that a candidate has been interviewed firsthand and found to be substantially pro-liberty, enough to deserve special attention from our members and supporters. Our vetting of candidates is intended to serve as a guide, and we advise voters to do their own due diligence before making their voting decisions.

Here are candidates and issues which have been endorsed by the Libertarian Party of Minnesota this year.

STATEWIDE RACES:

U.S. PRESIDENT & VICE PRESIDENT
Gary Johnson & William Weld (L)nominated by National LP
Summary: With several serious contenders and numerous minor ones vying for the Libertarian Party’s presidential and vice presidential nominations, at times it was a heated contest. Ultimately, a majority of delegates chose to select two former governors for the Libertarian ticket. As president, Mr Johnson would start with a 20% cut to every federal department, seek to end deficit spending, streamline the immigration process, and decriminalize marijuana. He supports the 2nd Amendment right to self-defense, and would promote genuine free trade as an alternative to crony-capitalist trade deals. He would repeal the Patriot Act and the Affordable Care Act. He recognizes that terrorist organizations like ISIS are the result of US military involvement in the Middle East, and would bring all US troops home from Afghanistan.
Decision: Nominated by National LP Convention. President: No winner upon 1st ballot; Mr Johnson won 518-410 upon 2nd ballot (>50%). Vice President: No winner upon 1st ballot; Mr Weld won 441-431 upon 2nd ballot (>50%).
Resources: [Website] [Facebook] [Media Article]
Key Consideration: Strong results for Mr Johnson, if over 5%, would make the LPMN a “major” party in Minnesota for the first time. This would eliminate ballot-access hurdles that Libertarian candidates now face and propel libertarian ideas onto center stage in state politics!

CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT
Proposal: Remove Lawmakers’ Power to Set Their Own Pay
Recommendation: Vote Noopposed by LPMN resolution
Deliberation: Replacing the “conflict of interest” of legislators voting on their own pay with an “independent, citizens-only council” might seem like a sensible idea, at first. But the language of the ballot item is misleading. The actual text of the proposed law will not appear on the ballot and won’t be understood except by those who review it beforehand. We oppose the Legislative Pay Amendment for all the reasons stated in our Resolution. The LPMN recommends that Minnesotans “Vote No” on this amendment.
Decision: Opposed by LPMN Executive Committee 8-0.
Resources: [LPMN Statement] [Media Articles] [Secy of State Overview]

METRO-AREA RACES:

BURNSVILLE – CITY COUNCIL
Cara Shulz (L)nominated by LPMN, endorsement granted
Deliberation: Ms Schulz is well-known to us from her involvement in the LPMN leadership and convention planning. On local issues, she opposes the steadily rising property taxes each year, and would take on the city’s zoning and housing bureaucracy which inhibits new people from moving in and prevents development of vacant properties. She would challenge regulations that prevent people being good citizens, including a city ordinance that prevents residents from recycling their own used water for use in toilets.
Decision: Nominated by LPMN Executive Committee 9-0.
Resources: [Website] [Facebook] [Media Article] [Media Questionnaire]

CRYSTAL – CITY COUNCIL
Casey Peak (L)nominated by LPMN, endorsement granted
Deliberation: Mr Peak offers a unique perspective: a Libertarian running for re-election. During his term on the City Council, he has worked to defend property rights by preventing a railroad from using eminent domain to seize homeowners’ land, blocked an unneeded bonding bill that would’ve put residents into debt, and sponsored a community outreach task force that encourages residents to get involved in-person. His current goals are to keep property taxes low, cut overspending on police which he believes is excessive compared to the needs of the city, and find more efficient and less costly alternatives to mass transit than light rail.
Decision: Nominated by LPMN Executive Committee 7-0.
Resources: [Website] [Facebook]

HENNEPIN COUNTY – COMMISSIONER, DISTRICT 1
Mary O’Connor (L)nominated by LPMN, endorsement granted
Deliberation: Ms O’Connor’s positions are largely the same as when she’d run for the same office in 2010. She’s a proponent of property rights and strongly opposes eminent domain, citing a recent case when local officials condemned and seized low-income family homes to build high-income housing in order to extract higher property taxes. She would reduce property taxes by cutting the size of county government, opposes the expansion of light rail, and would reduce the salaries of commissioners, who recently gave themselves hefty raises.
Decision: Nominated by LPMN Executive Committee 9-0.
Resources: [LPMN Article (2010)] [Media Article] [Media Questionnaire] [Media Video]

LITTLE CANADA – CITY COUNCIL
Andrew Henderson (L)nominated by LPMN, endorsement granted
Deliberation: Previous to his candidacy, Mr Henderson is best known as a CopBlock activist, holding the police accountable for their actions and abuses. As city councilor, he would abolish regulatory barriers and bureaucratic hoops which discourage entrepreneurship in the city, and would end prohibitions against urban agriculture. He would eliminate the city’s ban on “little free libraries” where neighbors place boxes on their own property for exchanging books. He supports firearms rights for peaceful people, elimination of eminient domain, ending the drug war, and understands that taxation is theft.
Decision: Nominated by LPMN Executive Committee 8-0.
Resources: [Facebook] [Media Article] [Media Overview] [Debate Video (excerpts)]

STATE HOUSE – DISTRICT 37A (Coon Rapids area)
Brian McCormick (L)nominated by LPMN, endorsement granted
Deliberation: Mr McCormick is running to promote personal liberty and fiscal responsibility. He is against the drug war, regulations that stifle free-market competition, and he supports individual choice on marriage and other personal issues, as well as the ability of peaceful firearms owners to defend themselves. As a minimum wage employee, he nonetheless understands that wage controls are an unwarranted intrustion upon private business and that taxation is theft.
Decision: Nominated by LPMN State Convention 43-1 (>2/3rds).
Resources: [Website] [Facebook] [LPMN Article] [Map of District 37A]

STATE HOUSE – DISTRICT 67B (East St Paul)
Joe Weverka (L)nominated by LPMN, endorsement granted
Deliberation: Mr Weverka’s top priorities are repealing “blue laws”, ending the criminalization of marijuana, and ensuring social equality of opportunity. He believes it’s time to expand free-market approaches to healthcare rather than expanding government programs, and would lower taxes by cutting state spending.
Decision: Nominated by LPMN State Convention 42-2 (>2/3rds).
Resources: [Website] [Facebook] [LPMN Article] [Media Article] [Debate Video] [Map of District 67B]

STATE SENATE – DISTRICT 46 (Hopkins/St Louis Park area)
David Arvidson (L), write-innominated by registered affiliate, endorsement granted
Deliberation: Mr Arvidson is the former LPMN Chair and is well-known to us. He launched a “write-in” campaign after finding out that the DFL incumbent would otherwise be running unopposed.  He has formally filed as a “write-in” candidate, so all votes for him will be counted.
Decision: Nominated by Metro Lakes Libertarians CD5 affiliate 5-0.
Resources: [Website (2012)] [Media Article] [Map of District 46]

CENTRAL MINNESOTA RACES:

STATE SENATE – DISTRICT 14 (St Cloud area)
Steven Zilberg (L)nominated by LPMN, endorsement granted
Deliberation: Mr Zilberg is a graduate student at St Cloud State University, a world traveler, and a liberty advocate. His top issues are addressing police brutality, discrimination against minorities, defending freedom of religion for all Minnesotans, and working to make tuition more affordable. He supports firearms rights, marriage privacy, and would lower taxes, although he believes some state involvement in healthcare and regulating wages is necessary.
Decision: Nominated by LPMN State Convention 33-11 (>2/3rds).
Resources: [Facebook] [LPMN Article] [Media Article] [Radio Interview] [Map of District 14]

STATE SENATE – DISTRICT 33 (Lake Minnetonka area)
Jay Nygard (L)nominated by LPMN, endorsement granted
Deliberation: Mr Nygard is an entrepreneur of a wind turbine company who has personally battled with overreaching local bureaucrats in his efforts to voluntarily promote green energy, even going to jail for a time over the case. He opposes government infringements upon marriage, firearms rights, healthcare, and continuing the drug war.
Decision: Nominated by LPMN State Convention 38-6 (>2/3rds).
Resources: [Website] [Facebook] [Media Articles] [Map of District 33]

SOUTHERN MINNESOTA RACES:

STATE SENATE – DISTRICT 19 (St Peter area)
Shane Wernsing (L)nominated by LPMN, endorsement granted
Deliberation: Dr Wernsing is a physician who’s personally seen the destruction of the physician-patient relationship as healthcare moves away from the free market, understanding that the trend began long before the Affordable Care Act and MNsure. He opposes property taxes as “rent” to the government,  dismisses the half-measure taken by the state toward marijuana and would simply legalize it, and is a firm supporter of the 2nd Amendment. He would like to see free-market innovation in learning, as opposed to the current government monopoly over education. He understands that minimum wages harm low-skilled, entry-level workers the most by shutting them out of opportunities.
Decision: Nominated by LPMN State Convention 43-1 (>2/3rds).
Resources: [Website] [Facebook] [LPMN Article] [Map of District 19]

Judicial and other races

On the second side of the ballot, voters will find a long list of judicial candidates. These are important offices. While legislators and the governor pass laws in general, judges determine how or if the law is applied to specific people, and they literally hold someone’s life in their hands with their decision. Unfortunately, information about judicial candidates is sparse and most simply offer vague assurances to be “fair”. Some candidates don’t even have websites.  It is difficult to determine whether a judicial candidate will defend civil liberties, is willing to strike down unconstitutional laws, or would support jurors who use jury nullification to veto unpopular laws.

Voters are being asked to vote for candidates they know nothing about, which is irresponsible. But leaving the section blank implies that you do not care. We suggest a better way: writing-in “None of the Above” or “NOTA”. This asserts your willingness to consider that office but unwillingness to vote blindly.

The same is true for other offices. If you are unfamiliar with the candidates or do not support any of the candidates listed, you are not obligated to choose one of them. Instead, please consider writing-in “None of the Above” or “NOTA”.

Ron Paul has called for NOTA as an explicit ballot line. NOTA also has a proud tradition within the Libertarian Party, and it appears on every internal state and national party ballot. At the National LP’s 2012 convention, NOTA famously prevailed over two unpopular candidates for party chair, resulting in a new chair being chosen from the convention floor.

Voting information

Polls will be open from 7am to 8pm on Tuesday, November 8.

To find your voting location, you may use the Secretary of State’s Polling Place Finder. Residents who aren’t pre-registered can still vote on Election Day by bringing proof of residency. More information is available about eligibility and address changes.

Looking ahead to 2017

Do you wish there had been a Libertarian running in your area? We understand that becoming a candidate is a personal decision which must be weighed against family and career obligations. However, spreading the libertarian message requires supporters of liberty to stand up and take action. Could that person be you? Running as a Libertarian is one of the best ways to promote the ideals of both personal and economic freedom directly to the public, combining your efforts with those of other Libertarian candidates and LPMN activists to achieve a greater impact.

If you might be interested in running as a Libertarian candidate, please contact our Political Director, Chris Holbrook.

Candidates can seek nomination at the annual LPMN State Convention held in April, from the LPMN Executive Committee, or from a recognized regional affiliate if applicable. In addition to nominated candidates running under our Libertarian banner, the LPMN welcomes candidates from any party or political affiliation to seek our endorsement.

We hope this Voter’s Guide will assist our membership and supporters in making their decisions on November 8. We wish the best of luck to all of our nominated candidates and congratulate them on taking a personal stand for liberty!

Concerned about the expansion of government control and the erosion of individual liberty? Please consider joining and becoming active with the Libertarian Party of Minnesota. Libertarians support liberty on all issues, all the time! Libertarianism is a philosophical and political movement to promote personal freedom, strong civil liberties, a genuinely free marketplace, and peace.

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