A panel of four diverse and distinguished elected Libertarians will talk about their experience serving in office at the National Libertarian Party Convention in Columbus, Ohio which runs June 26–29: Todd Grayson, city councilman of Perrysburg, Ohio; W. Brooke Harris, member of the Alfred-Almond Central School Board in New York; Brian Holtz, director on the Purissima Hills Water District Board in California; and Matt Schutter, auditor for Penn Forest Township in Pennsylvania.
The panelists will discuss their goals for shrinking government as Libertarians in office and the victories and obstacles they have experienced. They will touch on how activists can support their elected Libertarians and recommend ways that Libertarians running for office can best prepare themselves to advance liberty if elected.
Todd Grayson, who is also vice president of marketing for a manufacturing firm, will be the panel moderator. He chairs the Health, Sanitation, and Public Utilities Committee on the Perrysburg City Council, which overseas a $20+ million budget, solid waste, sewage, water, public transit, and recycling.
Grayson has worked hard to balance the service side of government spending with the Libertarian ideal of “less government.” He successfully spearheaded an effort to replace a government-run boondoggle with privately contracted public transportation at one fourth the cost.
Brooke Harris is formerly an operations adviser to the Allegany County Sheriff’s Office in Belmont, N.Y. He got passed a local resolution denouncing New York state’s new data collection initiative (as tied to the Common Core) and refusing participation. He has been an advocate for eliminating “Title I” funding from the federal Department of Education, his school’s participation in New York’s Drug Free Schools program, and the requisite “Drug and Alcohol Awareness Training” that comes with it. He also attempted to eliminate the free and reduced breakfast/lunch program and firmly opposes universal pre-K.
Harris is active in numerous local charity and service groups, including the Boy Scouts of America, Faith in Action, community theater programs, the Alfred Rod and Gun Club, and the Greater Southern Tier BOCES Academic All-Stars.
Brian Holtz has worked since 1990 as a software engineer in Silicon Valley, where he has been an LP candidate for Congress three times. In 2008, he ran unopposed to become president of the Purissima Hills Water District Board, which supplies water to 2,000 households in Los Altos Hills. In 2010, the Los Altos City Council adopted Holtz’s proposal for an incentives-based alternative to the state’s bureaucratic water-conservation ordinance.
Running on a platform of full property rights in the water that customers buy, Holtz won re-election to the board in 2012 by finishing first in a four-way race. In 2014, he persuaded the board to vote down a staff proposal to adopt new water regulations.
Matt Schutter was elected to the partisan office of auditor of Penn Forest Township in Pennsylvania in November 2013. A staunch proponent of transparency in government, he was shocked to discover that out of a $4 million township budget, $1.6 million is unaccounted for. He has been working since to find and recover the missing funds.
Despite the fact that Schutter is the township’s elected auditor, other government officials have forbidden him from being present for audits conducted by independent auditors, and have attempted to intimidate him into backing down. Schutter refused. He filed private criminal complaints, and is working with state and federal officials to expose and correct the situation.