August 5, 2018. 4 pm.
I know that the next 48 hours are going to be very busy. So, I wanted to say a few things to our core team, all our followers, and the public in general.
The campaign is and has always been about just one simple thing: Lighting the Fire of Liberty in some small way.
Our message and goal is to give the People of Michigan another voice with which to express their political will. I believe and continue to advocate for the message and ideals found within the principles of the Libertarian Party. Our Party is not some all-knowing Oracle of Truth. But, the people in it believe that the principles of free-market economics and protecting the individual liberties of everyone are values worth working to achieve. These things mean different things to each person, but the core ideals of our Non-Aggression Principle, Self-Ownership (and Responsibility), and Equality before the Law are common to all of us.
The Party success has been growing year by year. I feel very fortunate to be part of the ride that began when Gov. Gary Johnson decided to make another run in 2016. His tremendous success has given the Libertarian Party an opportunity to be a Major Party in Michigan for the first time. The organization of the team in our campaign gets its strength from a commitment not to let this opportunity pass us by.
I’m incredibly proud of the team of volunteers that have helped us achieve so much this year. Even if we’re not given an opportunity to continue the fight as Nominee of the Party, I want everyone to know how much I appreciate all these folks. Campaign Chairman Lorence Wenke – whose quiet wisdom is only matched by his enthusiasm for parades and outreach. / Assistant Campaign Chair for East Michigan – Claranna Gelienau: Beside being sister extraordinaire, she has become a tour-de-force for liberty all over the Detroit area. I know that our parents would be so proud of our working so hard for something we believe in. Social Outreach Coordinators Tyler Palmer and Patty Malowney: Both are running very active campaigns on their own…..and yet they’ve taken time to help me build a really effective Facebook site. Rafael Wolf, as Website Director has built a site that we’re so proud of — with new features growing all the time. Jim Dondero, as Campaign Treasurer, has focused on making sure our campaign finance filings have been 100% compliant. Stephanie Rensland has helped behind the scenes keeping some of our administrative stuff in order – and was really vital in our signature coordination. Frank Benjamin has worked behind the scenes as Communications Coordinator, standing in on Facebook and E-mail to ensure timely responses to voters, media, and everyone else. Thanks to Bill Sutherland for helping with proofing on many of our announcements. And Jamie Lewis for helping with research and writing on some of the more critical policy positions. Much appreciation to my son Bill Gelineau and his wife Stephanie, as well as the crew of Zos Films – they’ve helped produce our commercials, outreach films, as well as documenting our debates and other events.
If renewable energy is a thing, then I’m glad to have Donna Gelineau there to keep me going. She’s been there again and again to make sure I’m the best candidate I can be.
There are dozens and dozens of others. It’s truly a humbling experience to have folks give their time (and money) to help your vision unfold. I’m grateful from those that could send $5 to more than a couple who have given extraordinary gifts to give our campaign life. They know who they are — and it is such a wonder to me that so many have “stood in the gap” to help this fight continue.
I’ve felt that the most important message for us to bring to voters this year is our readiness to govern. Libertarian ideals and principles has developed public policy positions that need to be part of the conversation. We will follow the lead of Michigan voters to make legalization of marijuana an important part of improving our State. Unlike how some (including active candidates) have ignored the will of the voters on medical marijuana from 2008, I will take the message and use this opportunity to restore Natural Rights to be left alone.
From Prison Reform, actual plans to help the Environment, to standing up for our National Guard, we’ve been out front on issues that nobody else is discussing. I’ve identified multiple areas of enormous waste in Michigan spending — authoring a new vision on an old idea — Drop the Cap (Headlee) is being discussed as a useful way to ensure the investment community can take confidence that we’ll never become California or New Jersey. Low taxes means a good environment not just for business, but families making ends meet. This is how we’re going to bring voters from both of the older parties.
In the end, the goal is to bring sensible and well-meaning folks into the conversation to make a better Michigan. I know that there is a fire for liberty. There are dozens of activists that I’ve met and are providing support. From clean water activist to folks concerned about the future of agriculture. From all I’ve learned about the MMMA and the caregiver community to a real plan to fix the “damned roads”. From knowing that government has a role (via Elliot-Larsen) to protect the rights of all citizens to be part of our community, to standing up for the Natural Right of all people to Self Defense and Gun Ownership. The Constitution exists to protect these rights — not to diminish or redefine them.
I believe our team – which I have the privilege to lead – gives Michigan voters an opportunity to hear some great ideas that the Libertarian Party has organized as alternative to the status quo. Dozens of candidates for other offices – from the State Legislature to Township and City offices. We bring new perspectives and an issue-oriented common sense to the table. Ours is a plan of action to fix problems. So, while the other parties bicker about personalities and accuse each other of crazy and mean-spirited purpose, we’ll continue to be the Beacon of Liberty shining our light on problems with a freedom-based vision of the solution.
Throughout the campaign, I’ve spoken about my heroes. Most of us think of our parents – and I’m no exception. I’m thankful that my mother taught me to read long before I hit kindergarden. And more importantly, nurtured curiousity. My dad always reminded us that as Americans, we have so much — and that we’re obligated to accept that gift with the promise to give something back. For many years now, I’ve endeavored to be like the great Walter Payton – anyone that can be the very best in his profession and get the nickname “sweetness”, is deserving of emulation. In politics, I was fortunate to know Dick Headlee for years. He and others in the Jaycee movement taught me several important ideals. First, that government can’t solve all problems — that, we must act as citizens to create the world we desire. I was also fortunate to know Zolton Ferency (look him up) — who always reminded EVERYONE that public policy is about people. So, while my politics is very different than either of these examples, it gives me a sense of balance.
Last but not least. Throughout the campaign, I’ve talked about Harry Chapin. It was really too bad when talking to a huge audience (700+) of young people at Grand Valley State – that almost nobody had heard of him. America would be well served to work harder at finding their heroes — since so few provide a positive or sincere example these days. Anyway, I think many would be well served to read about Harry and his crazy and unique commitments. His charitable work is legendary. But, I’ve repeatedly referenced a particular song – in it, many references to the problems and contradictions of America – our desires against our darker impulses – our cynical criticisms of each other – our cultural conflicts. His personal style and performance energy is a bit painful to observe.
I hope you’ll listen to this link. What Made America Famous? Listen with a critical ear — maybe a couple times or so. Beyond the storytelling and critique, Harry talks about how we perceive one another. There is a great deal of angst in the song. But, the theme of my campaign — Come Together Michigan — comes out of a line at 5:35. “It’s funny when you get that close, it’s kinda hard to hate.” I hope all of you use this opportunity to actually SEE others in our State and hope we can all Come Together to solve problems.
That’s the kind of leader I want to be. If I’ve inspired you to be part of the solution – give Harry an assist. I’m rather proud of the fact that this YouTube link, which was posted in 2009 — had just over 41 thousand views in July 2017. It’s now over 67 thousand. If I’ve been some part of causing that awareness, that makes me happy as can be. The fire of liberty is burning Harry – and yes, We’re Here.
I’m looking forward to Tuesday night with enthusiasm. Thanks for making all this so much fun. Bill