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New LP Executive Director, Wes Benedict, Asking For Help
Posted on Jul 30, 2009
From the desk of Wes Benedict:
Dear Friend of Liberty,
I am excited and honored to have been hired as the new Executive Director of the Libertarian Party at our headquarters in Washington, DC.
I've been on the job for one week now, and I've found that we have a fine group of talented and enthusiastic staff and volunteers whom I'm pleased to be working with.
Unfortunately, our national headquarters has faced some setbacks in recent years. In particular, our party is hurting financially. Our budgeted revenue is $1.2 million for 2009, but we're currently running about $75,000 short.
My job is to turn this situation around. I need your help.
While we are struggling at the national level, I hope that after reading about my background and our record-breaking accomplishments in Texas, where I served as Executive Director for over four years, you'll give us a chance and show your support by making a large contribution of $5,000, $1,000, $100, or whatever you're willing to donate.
We need your show of support now.
Call us at 202-333-0008 to make a donation by phone. Ask for me, Wes Benedict (extension 222) if you'd like to discuss the Libertarian Party with me directly. I will ask you to sign up for a monthly contribution, which gives us a predictable and reliable source of funds.
A little bit about my background: I first joined the Libertarian Party in 1996 after coming across a Libertarian booth at the University of Michigan. At U of M, I earned my master's degrees in business and engineering. I also hold a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Texas.
After graduating from Michigan, I moved to Georgia. I became active with the Libertarians there, started an e-newsletter, and served as the Cobb County LP Chair.
In 2000, I moved back to Austin, Texas, bought one-third of an old kitchen and bath countertop manufacturing business with about 20 employees, and served as the CEO. After fixing a lot of problems and restoring it to health and profitability, I sold it in 2003.
That's when I got really active with the Libertarian Party.
In 2004, the Libertarian Party of Texas had to collect 45,540 valid signatures to get back on the ballot. Since I had time on my hands and some money in the bank, I volunteered for six months full-time without pay to help organize our petition drive. I traveled at my own expense across Texas training and working with volunteers and paid petitioners, paying for my own gas and motel rooms.
We were successful, and Texas Libertarians have been on the ballot ever since.
After the petition drive, I was hired to serve as the Executive Director of the Libertarian Party of Texas. The Texas LP had been in a chaotic state for a while, with outdated information on its website, an unmaintained database, and a lot of infighting and discord.
Nevertheless, with lots of hard work targeted in the right areas, Texas Libertarians came roaring back and broke many records in 2006 and again in 2008. A few highlights:
* A record 173 LP candidates were nominated for office in Texas for the November 2008 elections, which was 29% of the nationwide LP total.
* While Texas has only 8% of the total U.S. population, Texas Libertarian candidates in 2008 received 28% of the U.S. House and 44% of the State Representative votes received by Libertarians nationwide.
* Libertarians known elected to nonpartisan offices in Texas increased from 2 to 8.
* Texas LP donor base increased from under 300 in 2005 to over 900 in 2008.
* $244,000 was raised for the Texas LP in the 2007-2008 election cycle, which was far more than any other state Libertarian party.
I can't guarantee results like that nationwide, but I will do my best. I think we've got a great shot at it.
A few of the approaches I used in Texas:
1) I encouraged people to run for any office they were willing to run for, and to run whether they had a realistic chance of winning, or were just likely to get a few percent at the polls to help build the Libertarian Party. I've run for office five times, so I knew what other candidates go through and could coach them.
2) I didn't nitpick the candidates' platforms. I supported candidates with radical, moderate, left-leaning, and right-leaning libertarian platforms.
3) I tried to make sure the messages coming directly from the party were balanced between attacking Republicans and Democrats.
4) I tried to give Texas Libertarians realistic goals they could achieve, and by and large they achieved them.
My experience in Texas tells me that with a staff to support our affiliates and get our candidates on the ballot, we can make strong progress. Libertarians will step up to the plate to run for office, volunteers and donors will lend a hand, and more voters will vote Libertarian.
I appreciate the generosity of past donors to the Libertarian Party. However, I'm asking for more support now so we can get our national party into healthy financial shape.
Please visit our website (LP.org) and make a $5,000, $1,000, or $100 donation, or whatever amount you can. Or call us at 202-333-0008 to make a contribution by phone. Ask for me at extension 222 to discuss the party and make a monthly contribution.