The Libertarian Party of New York held their 46th annual convention over the weekend of April 20-22, 2018 at the Comfort Inn in Castleton, New York, near Albany. The convention consisted of formal business, election of officers and statewide candidates, featured speakers, fellowship among party activists, and an exciting kick-off to a strong gubernatorial campaign, as Larry Sharpe was nominated as the Libertarian Party’s candidate for Governor of New York.
The convention began with an informal reception Friday evening in a hospitality suite as many of the early convention attendees arrived. Business began Saturday morning, opened by John Rayome, Chair of the Capital District Libertarian Party, host chapter of the convention. Jeff Russell served as Chair of the Convention Arrangements and Credentials Committees, Bill McMillen served as Chair of the Program Committee, and Andrew Kolstee served as Chair of the the Standing Rules and Resolutions Committees.
Opening remarks were followed by by three morning speakers: Bill McMillen, longtime party activist, past chair (1985-89), and candidate; Alyce Auman, discussing strategies for outreach, and Trish Lynch, speaking on drug policy activism.
LPNY Chair Mark Glogowski opened the formal business session with the election of party officers. Incumbent Chair Mark Glogowski and Vice Chair Jim Rosenbeck were nominated for the position of state chair. Rosenbeck, who has served as Vice Chair for three terms, was elected to the chair position.
There are two Vice Chair positions. Incumbent Vice Chair Brian Waddell was elected to a third term as Vice Chair and Shawn Hannon, At-Large Committee member and Chair of the Onondaga County Libertarian Party, was elected to the Vice Chair spot previously held by Rosenbeck.
Blay Tarnoff was elected to a tenth term as Secretary after a challenge from Tucker Coburn.
Mike Dowden, incumbent Treasurer, was elected unopposed to a third term.
The most competitive election was for the five At-Large positions. In total, there were nine nominees: Tucker Coburn, Fred Cole, Tony D’Orazio, Christopher Edes, Hesham El-Meligy, Mark Potwora, Susan Overeem, Jarrod Thuman, and Gary Triestman.
On the first ballot, Mark Potwora (Vice Chair of the Genesee County Libertarian Party) was elected to a third term as an At-Large Committee member. Tucker Coburn (Field Director for the Larry Sharpe Campaign), Hesham El-Meligy (Co-Founder of Muslims for Liberty and former Chair of the Staten Island Libertarian Party, 2016-2018), and Susan Overeem (Treasurer of the Staten Island Libertarian Party) were elected as new At-Large Committee Members. On the second ballot, Tony D’Orazio (Vice Chair of the Monroe County Libertarian Party) was elected to a second term as an At-Large member.
Afternoon speakers were Lauren McKinnon, Communications Director for the Larry Sharpe campaign, Brian Waddell, LPNY Vice Chair and Campaign Manager for the Larry Sharpe campaign, and Brandon Phinney, Representative from New Hampshire. Also giving remarks were Jess Mears, National Libertarian Party Development Manager and Bill Weld, 2016 vice presidential nominee.
In the afternoon, LNC Vice Chair candidates Alex Merced and Joe Hauptmann discussed their candidacies and vision for the party at the national level in a panel discussion.
Todd Haggerty, former Chair of the Capital District Libertarian Party, recognized Bill McMillen for over 40 years of distinguished service and dedication to the Libertarian Party of New York.
In the afternoon, nominees for statewide candidates were selected.
Larry Sharpe, 2016 vice presidential candidate, business consultant, entrepreneur, and political activist, who first announced his candidacy in July 2017, was unanimously chosen as the Libertarian Party’s nominee for Governor of New York.
Completing the slate of statewide candidates were Andrew Hollister for Lt. Governor, who was also a 2017 candidate for Rochester City Council, Chris Garvey for Attorney General, who was also the LPNY’s 1998 nominee for governor and 2006 nominee for Attorney General, and Cruger Gallaudet for New York State Comptroller. All three were chosen unanimously.
Aaron Commey was chosen as the party’s nominee for U.S. Senate. He is a State Committee member and was the Libertarian Party’s candidate for Mayor of New York City in 2017.
In the evening, Kevin Wilson, Development Director for the Sharpe campaign and Chair of the Monroe County Libertarian Party, presented Andrew Hollister and Larry Sharpe, who gave speeches. Later in the evening, the Sharpe campaign held a campaign kickoff event that included a program of speakers.
On Sunday morning, newly-elected Chair Jim Rosenbeck gave opening remarks on the vision for the party moving forward. He was followed by Communications Director and Historical Committee Co-Chair Andrew Kolstee, who gave a presentation on the history preservation project and LPedia, and efforts to preserve the state party’s history. This was followed by the first state committee meeting for the 2018-19 State Committee. The convention was adjourned in the afternoon.
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