2015 Libertarian Party of Illinois Convention Recap!

August 4, 2015

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Oh yes, the Libertarian Party of Illinois State Convention this weekend was full of just the right kind of freedom loving enthusiasm you would expect to encounter. We had watchdogs groups tell tales of how they thwarted local corruption, party leaders give speeches that motivate and inspire the best in all of us, candidates making their announcements heard loud and clear, and of course entertainment and fun that come in official forms like Libertarian jeopardy and unofficial forms that go on until 4am. The weekend was magnificent.

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Nicholas Sarwark is the Chair of the Libertarian National Committee, and has an impressive record, previously serving as chair of the Libertarian Party of Maryland and as vice chair of the Libertarian Party of Colorado, where he played a key role in recruiting the state’s 42 Libertarian candidates in 2014.

Friday night at the convention saw Nicholas and Libertarian Party of Illinois chair Lex Green kick back, each holding a beer in one hand and a microphone in the other, as they entertained the crowd with stories and answered questions. Afterwards, the night rounded out with an R rated comedy routine by the state party Deputy Treasurer and dedicated member from the Will County chapter Mike Weinberg. The official festivities ended just after 10pm, though I spent time with the more active members till almost 4am. Yeah, you read that right. Not the brightest move when you consider the State Organizing Committee meeting was at 8am, but it was a blast.

The SOC meeting and annual meetings went smoothly, with little changes in the party structure, and a minor change to the state party bylaws.

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Crystal Jurczynski hosted a workshop titled “Who’s Driving?” which is designed to help candidates get experience in dealing with interviewers while receiving feedback in real-time as they conduct the interviews.

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Jacob Huebert with the Liberty Justice Center spoke on “The Prospects for Liberty in Illinois” and Jan and Don Stover from the Owl Creek Gazette gave a presentation on “Communicating Libertarianism to the Self-Reliant Movement.”

A group that we know very well in DuPage is the Edgar County Watchdogs, who were instrumental in bringing down the corruption at College of DuPage, of which Claire Ball ran as a trustee in April of 2015. Kirk Allen and John Kraft gave, quite possibly, one of the best presentations ever at a state party convention, discussing their victories and sharing their strategies with members.

Just before dinner, yours truly hosted the popular Libertarian Jeopardy! With new categories like “Give Me Subpoenas and Cracker Jacks,” “Animals In the White House That Weren’t Elected” and “Give Me Liberty Or Grope My Junk!” players had opportunities to score big points in topics ranging from modern terrorism to the Civil War. Chris Madden from the Champaign chapter was the winner AGAIN this year, after cleaning house last year. Congrats.

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Founding “den mother” Fran Holt gave a very inspiring speech reminiscing about her days in the party going back to 1971 before there even was a state or national party. Fitting with the theme of the convention “We’ve Always Been Here,” Fran talked about all the things we’ve done over the years, and what changes we’ve brought about simply by being vocal and having our say. We may not win many elections, but we still accomplish many goals. Thank you, Fran, for giving such an inspiring speech and for representing your home base here in DuPage County.

State Chair Lex Green gave away awards just before Nicholas Sarwark gave an amazing presentation titled “Show Up, Be Nice, and Win” to those in attendance on Saturday night. It was very uplifting and highly inspiring – it became very obvious why Nicholas was elected to be the National Party Chair, and we were glad to have him.
The most prominent event of the weekend was the announcements from candidates both statewide and local.

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The big surprise and highlight of the candidates was the announcement from candidate for trustee at College of DuPage Claire Ball to run for Illinois Comptroller. Being a full-time working accountant with a Master’s Degree in Accounting, Claire is pursuing earning her CPA this summer while building her campaign.

Chris Michel, who announced his candidacy for the nomination to be the libertarian candidate for US Senate in 2016, also gave a speech discussing his plans to “Fix it with freedom” regarding the problems we have in our nation today. Chris is a small business owner and is married with four children, and was the candidate for Secretary of State for the Libertarian Party of Illinois in 2014.

Also appearing was former Republican candidate for Illinois Comptroller William J. Kelly, who announced on Friday at the state capitol his plans for “exploring a race for US Senate against Mark Kirk” though made no specific references to running for the libertarian nomination in March. He also did not mention this intention at the convention.

Of the local candidates, Christopher Hicks is running on the Libertarian Party ticket for the 95th representative district, and Scott Schluter is running to represent the 117th district in 2016 for the Illinois House of Representatives.

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On behalf of the DuPage Libertarians, we would like to thank Lupe Diaz for putting together an amazing convention this year, and look forward to what he has in store for 2016. What a great year!!


Chris Michel Announces Nomination for US Senate

July 9, 2015

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The first candidate to announce their nomination to be the 2016 Libertarian Party of Illinois candidate for US Senate is Chris Michel, who made his announcement a few weeks back at the DuPage Libertarians 45th Anniversary Fundraiser on Saturday, June 20th.

Michel was the 2014 candidate for Secretary of State, who traveled across Illinois, from East St. Louis, to Mount Vernon, to Chicago and back south, marching in parades, attending candidate forums, and speaking to local groups.

Often traveling with Attorney General candidate Ben Koyl and Treasurer candidate Matthew Skopek on the campaign trail, Michel attended events hosted by the League of Women Voters, the NAACP, and the Chicago Polish Alliance.

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He also took part in an editorial board review with the Chicago Tribune with Koyl and Comptroller candidate Julie Fox.

Whether it is dealing with high taxes, struggling with red tape to get a small business off the ground, or dealing with meddlesome foreign policy from Washington, Chris believes we can “fix it with freedom” by applying basic libertarian principles to each issue, from maximizing freedom, minimizing government, to maintaining a non-interventionist foreign policy.

Chris lives in Romeoville, IL with his wife Andrea and their four boys. Technically residing in Will County, Chris is considered an active member of the DuPage Libertarians, though he frequently visits multiple chapters throughout the year. Chris plans to visit as many chapters as possible over the next few months to garner support for his campaign while also hearing out what fellow Illinois libertarians have to say and what they want in their candidate.

Other candidates are expected to announce their nominations at the upcoming state convention on Friday, July 31st and Saturday, August 1st in Springfield. Anticipated statements are expected from former candidate for College of DuPage trustee Claire Ball, and former Chicago candidate for Mayor William J. Kelly.

Tickets for this year’s state convention are still available at the state party website www.LPIllinois.org and early bird discount rates are still in effect till July 12th. Guest speakers include Libertarian National Committee Chair Nicholas Sarwark, Jacob Huebert with the Liberty Justice Center, the Edgar County Watchdogs, and a slew of workshops for everyone to be involved in. Also, there will be the big return of the ever popular Libertarian Jeopardy.


Busy 2015 Summer for DuPage Libertarians

June 4, 2015

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A lot has been happening since the nonpartisan elections, and plenty of things have been planned for the summer. With there being no more elections until the general next year in 18 months, we plan on doing a lot of outreach and having a lot of fun in the process.

Claire Ball, libertarian accountant for College of DuPage Trustee

Claire Ball, libertarian accountant for College of DuPage Trustee

For starters, Claire Ball, the Libertarian Accountant who ran a feisty campaign for trustee at College of DuPage earlier this year, has been asked by the current board to sit on a special Budget Committee created for the college. While the details are still unknown, it looks like a great opportunity to help bring about real change and fiscal responsibility to a great community college that has been plagued by nefarious practices as of late. Congratulations, Claire!

We also marched in the Itasca Memorial Day Parade again this year, and yes – it got wet! We are a small, tough, and brave batch of loyal and dedicated troops, and we made our presence known, handing out candy and business cards to everyone along the route, who seems enthusiastic (even more so than last year) to see independents out and about in the public.

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On Saturday, June 20th at 7pm, we encourage everyone to attend the DuPage Libertarians 45th Anniversary Fundraiser at the Rockwood Tap @ 3131 Finley Rd. in Downers Grove, IL. There is no cover for this fundraiser – simply donate whatever you wish, and take part in the festivities, which include short presentations from College of DuPage trustee candidate Claire Ball, 2014 Secretary of State candidate Chris Michel, Libertarian Party of Illinois State Chair Lex Green, and long-time founding member and self-titled “den mother” of the DuPage Libertarians Fran Holt.

Of course, we will also be marching in the Downers Grove Independence Day Parade again this year. The parade kicks off at 1pm, though the lineup starts at 11:45am in the North High School parking lot along Sherman Street. Any and all volunteers are welcome to join us, as we always like to have a large presence in these parades. We will be handing out candy and business cards again, and will also (hopefully) be debuting our new banner.

The DuPage County fair is also on the agenda, as has always been a staple of this group for decades, and we will be looking for volunteers to help staff the booth during the five day event. More information will come out as we have it available.

Don’t forget that the Libertarian Party of Illinois State Convention is the weekend of Friday, July 31st and Saturday, August 1st and will be held in Springfield this year. We will have more on that in our next update.

In the meantime, enjoy the warm weather as it slowly takes its time settling in. Thank you to everyone who has helped us out this year so far, and to everyone who will be stepping up in this busy summer season. Holding politicians accountable, and keeping government open and honest is never easy work, and it starts at these local levels. Once the summer is over, we will begin the process of recruiting people to be possible candidates in the next few election cycles, so if you have ideas of running for a school board, or want to help out on someone else’s campaign, start thinking it out now.

Have a great summer, and we hope to see you all soon!


What To Do Over the Next 18 Months?!

April 27, 2015

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With the April non-partisan races out of the way, many people have been asking what next big projects are on the horizon for us. The general election isn’t until November of 2016, and the Libertarian Party of Illinois won’t be nominating our candidates for US Senate and state Comptroller until next March. So, what do we do??

Glad you asked!

There are plenty of opportunities for people to get involved on all different levels, from working a booth at a festival, to running for local office in their own community. It is up to you to decide how much time and effort you want to put towards increasing freedom and cutting down debt and government interference in our lives in Illinois.

The first big event coming up is Monday, May 25th – the Memorial Day Parade in Itasca, which was a ton of fun last year. It’s an easy setup, and a short distance with a good amount of people in attendance, and is a great way to kick off the spring and summer activities. The parade starts around 9am, and we are usually setting up by 8:30am in the usual place. When the details are confirmed again, you can bet they will be on the Events page here on our site.

On Saturday, May 20th we will host the DuPage Libertarians 45th Anniversary Fundraiser at the Rockwood Tap House in Downers Grove. There is no cover, as it is simply inviting members, friends, and family out to dinner for entertainment, a short auction, and a few speakers, along with a MAJOR announcement. Donations will be accepted all night long, and are entirely up to those giving. This will be a fun event, and hopefully a chance to raise some money to help pay off costs for our outreach events.

July brings us to both the Independence Day Parade in Downers Grove, and the five-day long DuPage County Fair, of which volunteers are needed to help staff the booth.

In the meantime, we are also recruiting candidates for our Precinct Committeemen Project in DuPage County, and also anyone who wants to run for a local office. We are a great resource to help you muddle through election law to get your petitions in order and your paperwork filed properly. Although the next elections are still a long ways down, this is the best time to start thinking about running for office, and making early plans if you choose to do so.

You can learn more about these events and projects at our next meeting on Thursday, May 21st @ The American Tap 701 W. Lake Street in Addison, IL at 7pm. All are welcome. If you’ve never been to our meetings before but were always curious as to what we do, what are you waiting for?!


Post-Election Message From Claire Ball

April 10, 2015

Claire Ball, libertarian accountant for College of DuPage Trustee

I want to offer my most sincere congratulations to Kathy Hamilton’s Clean Slate; Deanne Mazzochi, Frank Napolitano, and Charles Bernstein. You ran an excellent campaign unmatched by anyone else, and earned yourselves seats on the troubled College of DuPage board of trustees. I have confidence that you will help to turn around the troubles at COD and get the college back on course to do the best for the people of DuPage, and I look forward to following your progress at the school in the coming years.

This campaign was my first effort in running for office, and 10,413 people decided that I was a candidate worthy of their vote. It is a humbling experience and I am honored to have earned votes from so many people in my home county of DuPage. I knocked on doors in twelve neighborhoods, met people at 16 train stations, and gave more speeches than I can remember over the past three months. Quite a feat for someone not used to public speaking!

This 32-year-old accountant was quoted numerous times in the Daily Herald, and had her photo printed in the Chicago Tribune. How exciting was that!? I’ve received help from close friends and total strangers. Kind words and encouragement came from people who were Republicans, Democrats, members of the local Tea Parties, Constitution Party members, and of course, from my fellow Libertarians.

There are too many people I know I won’t remember to thank them all, but a good place to start is with Jennifer Floyd, who helped with just about everything and whose graphic art skills are like a typhoon, blowing away anything Herricane Graphics could come up with. Steve Dutner, who came out to every one of my literature walks – even in the rain. Crystal Jurczynski, Linda Foertsch, Mark Agnini, Lex and Karen Green, and Matthew Skopek, for each of their particular brands of support, you have no idea how much you helped me. So many others but too many to name here. I also want to thank fellow Libertarian, accountant, and three-time candidate for Illinois Comptroller Julie Fox for inspiring me to run for this office.

I could go on but I’ll stop at the most important person. My loving husband and dedicated campaign manager, Brian. Without you I never would have had the courage to run, to push myself to go out there and be so bold. You are my motivation to do better, to go farther, to strive for more. If those of you reading this only knew how much time and energy he spent doing all the little things, handling all the little nuances of running a campaign that I couldn’t do alone. Plotting, planning, executing – he proofread my speeches, reached out to people on my behalf – he did it all and made me breakfast every morning on top of it. Most importantly he gave me the love and dedication that I needed the most.

I’ve met so many wonderful people over the last three months, people who are genuinely concerned with what’s going on at COD and I thank you for your support, even if you didn’t vote for me. Thank you to my fellow candidates, for your encouragement to this newcomer and for making this one heck of a race.

I treasure every kind word, every tip and suggestion, even the raised eyebrows at my libertarian principles. Thank you all for making this a fantastic experience. And don’t count this gal out just yet, you may hear from me sooner than you think….

Claire Ball


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