CANDOR — For the first time in county history, having gained official statewide ballot access, a third political party has taken root to provide voters with a “third option.”
While Libertarian candidate Larry Sharpe came in third place in last year’s New York gubernatorial race, party members still claim a victory — official ballot access and designation as a legitimate political party — as he cleared 90,000 votes.
A group of registered Libertarians recently formed an interim organization in Tioga County, laying the groundwork as the party establishes itself statewide.
“This is the foundation, we’re doing lots of transitioning,” explained Dr. Mark Glogowski, chair of the Free Libertarian Party non-profit. “We’re a recognized party with the state Board of Elections. Everyone is now looking at us a lot more seriously now than they ever did before, because we are their other option.”
“We don’t have to vote for the lesser of two evils anymore,” said Glowgowski said. “It’s not them or them, we’re here too.”
“What’s nice about this party is that we actually embrace all the principals that went into the declaration of independence and the U.S. Constitution,” he added.
Specifically, the party’s principals are as follows:
Each individual possesses the inalienable right to life, liberty and justly acquired property.
No person or institution, public or private, has the right to initiate the use of force or fraud against another.
Individuals are entitled to choose their own lifestyles so long as they do not forcibly interfere with the lives of others.
The only moral purpose of government is the preservation of individual rights.
The voluntary exchange of goods and services is essential for a free and prosperous society of diverse beliefs.
“We want to maximize liberty and minimize people using government tools to force their neighbors to do things,” said Melvin Foster, chair of the Libertarian Party’s Interim County Organization. “That’s a pretty basic statement of what we stand for as a party.”
“As we see the polarization on a national level and the increasing inability of people from the two big parties to work together and talk to each other, I think that there would be more room and need for our party to step in as a mediator and a voice of reason,” Foster said.
Before last year’s election, the party itself was designated as a “corporation,” because vote totals had never exceeded the threshold as set by the state Board of Election.
As such, the process is underway to convert that organization into a political action committee (PAC) as the official party is established over the coming months.
“The ICO is for the political party … is going to last for a year, and then we’ll have ballot elections in 2020, like a primary, to determine the leadership there,” Foster explained.
“Hence, ICO — interim county organization — it’s only getting us through to next year, said Rich Purtell, candidate for Town of Owego Council. “We’re in a growth mode right now.”
Officers elected for the PAC were Keith Price, chair; Joe Breitwieser, vice chair; Derek Gilbert, treasurer; Rich Purtell, secretary; and Tami Bogausch, officer at large.
For the Interim County Organization, the elected officers were Melvin Foster, chair; Maria Huddleston, vice chair; Sara Price, secretary/treasurer, which are temporarily combined positions.
It should be noted that there are currently no funds, nor bank account established, Foster said.