Prepared remarks by Rodger Paxton, Chairman, Libertarian Party of Arkansas
Ballot Petition Signature Turn-In Press Conference, May 18th, 2011
Today is a historic day. Not only for the Libertarian Party of Arkansas and not only for the State of Arkansas, but also for the nation as a whole.
Today marks a new stage for the Libertarian Party of Arkansas. For the first time in history, we are nearing the end of the road to achieving ballot access, the holy grail of politics. Since the early 80’s, this has been a dream for Libertarians in Arkansas, and today it is one step closer to becoming a reality.
Arkansans have never been able to vote for a Libertarian candidate for any office other than President of the United States. Today, we are closer than ever to giving these disenfranchised voters that option. No longer will liberty-loving Arkansans be forced to choose between big government and bigger government, but they will soon have the option to vote for minimum government and maximum freedom.
Recent history has not seen a third party have non-Presidential candidates on the ballot in every state. Not since the 1920’s has a third party been able to say they have done this. When the Libertarian Party of Arkansas has candidates on the ballot in 2012, the Libertarian Party as a whole will have accomplished this amazing feat.
This has not been easy to accomplish.
It has taken almost a year, nearly $40,000 and thousands of man-hours to get here today. However, without the support of more than 16,000 Arkansans who signed our petition, it would have all been for naught. Arkansans have spoken and they want choice on the ballot, and that’s what the Libertarian Party of Arkansas is giving them.
We are giving them that choice. We are standing up to the two-party system. We are telling Arkansans that we want the government out of their pockets, out of their businesses, out of their homes and out of their personal lives. We want to be the first generation in a hundred years to hand more true freedom, not less, to the next generation.
When we leave this podium, we will be turning in 16,139 signatures to the Secretary of State, Mark Martin. His office has 30 days to verify that at least 10,000 of these signatures are valid. If our petition is certified, the Libertarian Party of Arkansas becomes an official political party for the first time in history.
What does this mean for Arkansans when they go to the polls in 2012? It means they will have the option to select a candidate who represents what it means to support Constitutional limits to federal and state government. Someone who stands up for their freedom to live their lives in peace. Someone who understands that we don’t work hard every day to send an ever-growing portion of our paycheck to the government to squander at their leisure. Someone who understands that no man has a higher claim to your life than you do.
In order to give Arkansans this option, we must identify these candidates and support them completely, from sheriff to state representative to President. This is where the real hard work begins. If we are going to elect Libertarians in Arkansas, we need every liberty-loving Arkansan to stand with us.
Some people say Libertarians take votes from Republicans. Other people say Libertarians take votes from Democrats. I say the votes belong to the people. Too many people see politics as a left and a right. The Left / Right paradigm is misleading and politically flawed. It doesn’t leave room for the 44% of Americans who identify themselves as “fiscally conservative and socially liberal, also known as libertarian,” according to a 2010 Zogby poll.
Forget what you may have heard, that the only people who can win elections have an R or a D beside their names. Albert Einstein said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. This is what we do every two-years in this country. We put one party in power and then quickly become disgusted. Soon, we put the other party in power and again become disgusted. What will it take to end this cycle? It will take voting for principle, not party.
The Libertarian Party of Arkansas is the only consistent party. The Libertarian Party of Arkansas is the party of tolerance. The Libertarian Party of Arkansas is the voice of liberty. The Libertarian Party of Arkansas is the Party of Principle.
As John Quincy Adams once said, “Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost.”