Remembering Mark Agnini

October 1, 2015


Last week, on the morning of Thursday, September 24th, Mark Agnini passed away. At the age of 67 years, he had the passion and dedication of a career-driven person in their thirties, the energy and motivation of a college student in their twenties, and the dirty joke-telling humor of a high school kid.

In a single conversation, Mark could enrich you with philosophical conversation, right before he makes a witty comment that makes you and everyone standing nearby laugh out loud.

He had a warm heart and a cheerful attitude. You always felt better when Mark was around because of his jubilant demeanor, regardless of how bad of a day you were having or how stressed you were about a situation. Not many human beings who grace their presence on this small globe have that ability to charm people and evoke positive emotions. His optimism was unmatched, and his smile infectious.

As for his dedication to the philosophy of libertarianism, and the party in Illinois that he was part of, you’d be hard pressed to find many who were more dedicated to increasing awareness and helping to get candidates elected.

Mark and I had lunch together just two weeks before his passing. It lasted several hours, and involved a lot of note taking, as him and I planned out the projects each of us would be tackling, along with a step by step guide so we could follow each other’s progress and offer assistance when needed.

He was an active member in three different chapters, was working to help develop two more, and had roles in candidate campaigns for the 2016 election.

He regularly attended meetings for the Fox Valley Libertarian Party, the Libertarian Party of Lake County, and the DuPage Libertarians – and was once the Chair in DuPage. He even assumed the role of the State Organizing Committee representative for Lake County, and actually attended the monthly phone conferences, which is more than can be said for most other chapters in the state.

The night before his passing, Mark had driven out to DeKalb County to visit with some college students to discuss plans on starting a chapter out there. He was THAT dedicated to spreading liberty and freedom in Illinois, and was willing to take on any and all projects that he could to help out.

His robust character and charming humor will be greatly missed at all three chapters that Mark regularly attended. His insight and intellect during the campaign meetings cannot be replaced. His 22 years as a Theology professor at Elmhurst College had sharpened Mark into a person who could easily hold his own in a debate, while applying myriad tactics to educate others throughout the discussion. Luckily, plenty of us learned from him, and can put that education to great use in the coming years.

Thanks, Mark, for everything.

Libertarians vs Donald Trump

September 16, 2015

Many people at recent events have asked us what libertarians feel about Donald Trump. Today, Nicholas Sarwark, Chair of the Libertarian National Committee, issued the following statement on Donald Trump, comparing his statements (even the contradictory ones) against libertarian ideology. We thought we would share it with you here.

Libertarianism is the idea that you have the right to pursue happiness in any way you wish as long as it doesn’t hurt people or take their stuff. We support the fundamental rights of all people, all of the time. We do not denigrate or disparage any group. We respect the humanity of all people.

Unfortunately, the only policy position addressed on Mr. Trump’s official campaign webpage is immigration. Thus, we are limited to piecing together Mr. Trump’s positions on policy issues based on recent quotes in the news media.

Let’s compare and contrast Donald Trump’s views with those of the Libertarian Party:

National Security
Mr. Trump likes tough talk and seems to think that wars are an effective solution to many of our problems. Libertarians think that wars often create more problems than they solve, are bankrupting our nation, and that violence is only justified when used for defense.

Foreign Policy
Mr. Trump advocates more sanctions on Iran, more support for Israel, and being tough all around. Libertarians think the United States should both avoid entangling alliances and abandon its attempts to act as policeman for the world.

Mr. Trump thinks that foreign countries are getting the better end of trade deals and says that he would negotiate more favorable deals. Libertarians support free trade and think that U.S. citizens and businesses should be allowed to negotiate the deals that they find favorable without the interference of the U.S. government and government officials.

Fifteen years ago Mr. Trump claimed he was for a government run single-payer Canadian-style healthcare system. Mr. Trump now says Obamacare is ineffective and should be repealed and replaced, but he’s not specific. Libertarians have always opposed government run healthcare, and support a free market.

Mr. Trump advocates building a wall along our Southern border and has said disparaging things about immigrants. Libertarians believe that people should be able to travel peacefully across borders to work, trade, or live.

Eminent Domain
Mr. Trump has taken advantage of eminent domain laws to build his real-estate empire. Libertarians think that eminent domain is often exploited by the wealthy at the cost of average Americans and is a violation of our most basic rights.

War on Drugs
Mr. Trump has, in the past, advocated ending the “war on drugs” because it is ineffective and wasteful. Lately, he seems to be adjusting his stance and claiming that it’s an issue for states to decide. Libertarians also think that the “war on drugs” is ineffective and wasteful. In addition, we think the “war on drugs” is one of the biggest violations of Americans’ civil liberties as it has been used to put hundreds of thousands on non-violent people in prison.

Gay Marriage
Mr. Trump also has said that he thinks that gay marriage is an issue for the states. Libertarians think that the government has no business regulating anyone’s marriage.

Justice System
Mr. Trump says he would be tough on crime via anti-crime policies. Libertarians also want to decrease crime but likely disagree with Mr. Trump on the nature of “crime.” Libertarians are careful to differentiate between violent crimes and non-violent crimes, and also between crimes which involve a victim and those that do not. Currently, a huge percentage of our prison population is imprisoned for non-violent, victimless crimes such as marijuana use. Libertarians think that this is unjust to everyone: the taxpayer, the incarcerated, and society more broadly. Prison should be reserved for violent criminals.

Mr. Trump has stated that he is against Common Core and supports school-choice. Most Libertarians would agree. Libertarians think that the federal government should not have the authority to dictate to Americans how we should educate our children.

2nd Amendment
Mr. Trump has said that he is against limits on Americans’ 2nd Amendment Rights, but has supported the ban on so-called assault weapons and longer waiting periods to buy guns. Libertarians oppose all laws at any level of government that attempt to restrict, register, or monitor the ownership, manufacture, or transfer of firearms or ammunition.

In the first debate, Trump said, “Our leaders are stupid. Our politicians are stupid.” Libertarians think big government policies are the problem, and smarter politicians with the same policies won’t help. America needs new policies and a new perspective focusing on smaller government, more liberty, and peace.

2015 Libertarian Party of Illinois Convention Recap!

August 4, 2015


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.


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.

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.

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.


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.

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.


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


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.


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 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

Itasca memorial Day 2015

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.


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!


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