Candidate Meet-N-Greet Review
by: Trevor Miles, LPNC
On September 30, the Liberty movement in Northeastern North Carolina experienced a boon like never before. I had the pleasure of organizing the first candidate meet-n-greet in the area for the Libertarian Party of North Carolina, and had the honor of having gubernatorial candidate Mike Ross and Winfall Town Council candidate Chirstopher Richardson participate.
As a supporter of the Liberty movement, it was exciting to see a group of likeminded Libertarians come together to show support for candidates and discuss local and state level issues. As a resident of the area, it was nice to meet with fellow local libertarians to establish interpersonal connections, and to use those connections to build a coalition of voters to challenge the uniparty establishment in the area. #FiretheUniparty
It was also useful to be able to connect with the Mike Ross campaign and discuss public outreach tactics and skills that could be useful to helping any local candidates that might come along now or in the future, and I certainly enjoyed reaching across the intra-party caucus lines to discuss issues with a member of the Mises Caucus while being on the board of the Classical Liberal Caucus, and ultimately to help advance the Liberty movement as a whole.
In short, despite the turnout being somewhat small, I consider this event a success on several levels other than the number of people in attendance, and I look forward to hosting other events such as this in the future, in addition to our regular monthly affiliate meetups.
Freedom Fire Fest 2023 Review
by: Kim Acer
The Cape Fear Libertarian Party, a collaboration of Onslow, Pender, New Hanover, and Brunswick County affiliates, held “Freedom Fire Fest” on October 7. Although it was open to the public, this year's focus was on candidates and team building. The day began with local candidates Chelsea Kurtz (Holly Ridge Town Council) and Gheorghe Cormos (Town of Cape Carteret Commissioner). Participates then heard from both Shannon Bray and Mike Ross, who will be running in next year's gubernatorial primary. Presidential candidates Mike ter Maat and Jacob Hornberger closed out the afternoon session. The day also included a trivia contest, Cape Fear LP updates, "Liberty tea," and plenty of great food!
Later, attendees changed locations to enjoy an outdoor BBQ dinner. Participants were invited to "be the spark" as the evening bonfire was lit. The event brought opportunities to meet new faces and converse with old friends. Some camped overnight as well.
The Cape Fear Libertarian Party would like to thank all those who joined us, and our wonderful volunteers, for making this event a success! We hope to see you next year!
by Thomas Hill
This past Friday, I made my way from Concord, NC, to Columbia, SC, on behalf of You Are The Power, to support Erika Brown and her organization, Be Kind Be Great. Erika and her organization specialize in feeding unhoused populations in the Greater Columbia area and beyond.
Erika embodies an ethos of compassion and service, doing what she can to ensure that hungry people have something to eat. Unfortunately, because hungry people are often homeless, and that is inconvenient to our political class, Columbia took a page from Gastonia's book, and made it illegal to feed people. They ticketed Erika for this heinous crime.
YATP found out about the harassment from CPD and issued a call to action to inspire activists to join Erika and provide a "shield" of support and protection the next time she attempted to feed hungry mouths in her city.
I met Matt Baxley, chair of the York County LP and state coordinator for YATP, before the scheduled feeding time. We discussed the possibility of being arrested and prepared ourselves the best we could. Considering the show of force by law enforcement in Gastonia in response to Pastor Moses and his ministry, both Matt Baxley, the event organizer, and I expected the worst.
We met Erika and other YATP and local LP activists in front of the library downtown and started preparing to feed the hungry. As some of us served food, others held signs and peacefully assembled in support.
Numerous city police vehicles passed by without stopping. Folks were able to go about their business downtown as we fed the unhoused until we ran out of food. This is remarkable considering the police shut her operations down within seven minutes the last time she attempted to feed our less fortunate neighbors.
We thought our good fortune was about to change when a city policeman stopped by as we were packing up. Matt interceded as the officer was approaching, politely greeted the officer, and offered him water to drink. The officer was very kind and professional, only asking for details about the organizations taking part and the people responsible for organizing it. YATP became involved to provide cover for Be Kind Be Great. Matt said he would take responsibility if any tickets or charges were forthcoming.
The officer assured us that he had no problem with what we were doing. He just wanted to make sure we weren't blocking the sidewalk or leaving any trash behind. We assured him that we would leave the area better than we found it and thanked him for his kindness and professional demeanor.
It certainly was a breath of fresh air compared to the response of law enforcement in Gastonia. They would be well served and better enabled to serve their community if they followed Officer Hall's lead and acted as a true peace officer, rather than punishers.
Think locally. Project decentralized revolution. These aren’t marketing gimmicks, they are real reflections of the values that we hold as Libertarians. It has sometimes been a slow march forward, but we are making gains, slowly but surely. It all starts with making change where we can immediately make a difference right in our own backyard.
Today, the Tar Heel wants to introduce you to Tate Mayo. Tate won the mayor’s race for his native Tarboro, North Carolina on May 17, 2022. Prior to that, he was elected to the town council, serving the same function as his grandfather before him. While the race was non-partisan, Tate is a Libertarian.
Tar Heel: Tate, thank you for taking the time to speak with us today. Tell our readers about yourself. What would you like North Carolina to know about Tate Mayo?
Tate Mayo: I'm no different than anyone else in this beautiful world; I'm just a kid from somewhere. I was fortunate in growing up on my family's farm just outside of Tarboro. Today I work the same land for a living that my family has tended since before the founding of our country. My sisters and I are currently working on a project to make textile products out of the cotton from our farm at the textile mill that we've operated since 1931.
Tar Heel: And of course politics. What is it that made you want to run for office?
Mayo: I ended up in local politics because I was called. When I first ran for Tarboro's Town Council it was because I was approached to do so. Just to get the people asking me to run off of my back I went to the Edgecombe County Elections office, paid my ten-dollar filing fee and ended up winning by less than ten votes.
When our previous mayor announced that he wasn't going to seek reelection, the same thing happened but by a different group of people when they heard who else was going to put their name in the hat. Agreeing that I would be a better fit for the role than the others that decided to run, I agreed to do it.
Tar Heel: Do you feel the connection to your hometown? What about to your grandfather?
Mayo: I have always loved my hometown of Tarboro. In my youth I wanted to get as far away as possible. As I grew older I came to the realization that I could go anywhere and do anything that I was capable of achieving but I was happiest at home. In April of 2018 I quit my job in Raleigh and moved home with no real plans as to what the next step was. It has been a struggle trying to make an honest living but I wouldn't trade my life in Tarboro for anything.
My grandfather, Columbus Washington "Lum" Mayo III, was my childhood hero. He was impatient as anyone, gruff as a bear but had a heart of gold and I was lucky enough to be his little buddy. He, like all of us humans, was imperfect. His strengths far outpaced his shortcomings and more than compensated for such. I often go by my grandparent's gravesite to this day to speak what is on my mind and ask them to look out for the matters in which I worry.
Tar Heel: And you’re a farmer. What is it about that connection to the land makes people tend to be Liberty-minded?
Mayo: Farming is not easy and that is why it is gratifying. The amount of time, physical labor, technology and reliance on the Earth teaches anyone willing to learn many hard-learned lessons. Ninety-nine percent of farmers are just trying to make ends meet by honest means. The disdain for folks out to make an easy dollar out of speculation, regulators, and encroachment of land by development hits hard when it's your livelihood that is slowly being chipped away an acre at a time.
It hurts my soul to hear how little people know about where their food comes from. There are a lot of hard-working people that get by on scraps to make sure that the country can eat three meals a day at an affordable rate. Farming is also the most regulated industry in the United States. We report everything that we plant in every field to the FSA. We have to get a license to spray what we must on our crops. All the while we get criticized en masse by the media, politicians, and the general public for doing the things that we must do to put food on the plates of the same people that speak ill of us.
Tar Heel: Can you talk about some ways the state has interfered with your right and ability to farm for your family?
Mayo: Trade agreements. Bureaucratic directives. Quotas. Buyouts. Labor. Education. Energy. Delisting chemicals. Mandated ten-year trials to bring new technologies to the market. You name something that the government does and I can find a way that it adversely affects farmers. Even the so-called Farm Bill does very little for farmers.
Trade agreements and tariffs can open or close entire markets overnight. They can also undercut or cut out entirely us or farmers elsewhere in the world. Short-term gains quickly level off and leave us with long-term deficits.
Through bureaucratic directives like the EPA's Waters of the US (WOTUS) our ability to do things as simple as cleaning out a ditch can quickly turn from hopping in the backhoe to paying an engineering firm to get the go ahead to keep our fields from flooding.
Quotas, like that given to tobacco farmers artificially prop up markets temporarily but eventually completely wipe out domestic markets when foreign competition is given incentive to catch up.
Buyouts like that given to farmers after the collapse of the American tobacco production are a nice "get better soon" from the government. However, measures like this are just the icing on the cake of an industry killed by governmental actions.
Trying to find someone to work on the farm in the age of social mdeia [finger quotes] influencers is near impossible. Rarely will anyone find someone young that is willing to do what it takes to be a farmer aside from growing a small garden or having some backyard chickens. Our industry has resorted to importing labor through the H2A program. We are being forced to pay people from other countries to come and work our farms. Their minimum wage is twice that of the Federal minimum wage, we are required to have the county and state inspect their housing annually that we provide, and they have no taxes taken from their paychecks. It is a great form of foreign aid as we actually get something in return for what we put into it.
Education in my county is particularly lacking. If you attend a public school in Edgecombe County, aside from the Edgecombe County Early College, you will leave at 18 completely unprepared for life in industry or academia. Luckily we have had a charter school for the last 10 years that offers much promise.
Energy policy touches just about every aspect of farming. When you fill up your gas tank and prices are high it hurts. Imagine having to fill up 2,500 gallons at a time rather than the 10-30 in an average car. That is just on the surface level. Just about all of our nitrogen is produced from natural gas and relatively little of it is produced domestically. Just about all of the precursors to the chemicals we need are also imported from China. We could do all of it domestically if our country wouldn't regulate the energy and chemical companies to death. Exporting a problem doesn't make it go away.
Tar Heel: As mayor, how have you been able to push back against that overreach, and what are some changes you would like to see in Raleigh to make it easier for farmers?
Mayo: The mayoral position is largely a figurehead. As such, there is little that I can do to push back other than speaking my mind. A good example of such is sitting through a meeting with state bureaucrats discussing progress of a thirty million dollar grant to help alleviate the flooding that has happened twice in my community over the last twenty four years.
Twenty four years after the first of the floods they have only gotten as far as to tell us where the water comes in at. There are a lot of non-engineers in our community that can say firsthand where we flood from. I told them that it is pure corruption on an institutional level that almost a quarter of a century after realizing that we have a real problem that nothing of substance has been done.
In 2011 we lost our ability to have franchise agreements with telecom companies. This has left our community with internet infrastructure that was put in in 1978, is completely unreliable and we have little say other than to pay or not pay for a service, although I would argue that it is a utility in this day and age. I have personally gone to our Attorney General, Josh Stein, about our townwide outages, lack of quality and timely repairs - I went nineteen days without service but still had to pay for it. The response was a meeting with the company in question from Mr. Stein's office that was largely overshadowed by a proclamation that he made against menthol cigarettes on the same day. Little changed after the meeting.
After hearing our Governor, Roy Cooper, speak to "bringing high-speed, reliable and affordable internet to rural communities" several times over a period of a couple of years I wrote down our problems, what we've done as a town, and an ask for help. When he came to town I asked him in person what was being done. There was no answer. Only a baffled look, a handoff of a letter and an awkward back to his state-funded transportation. If anyone says they're going to do something, hold them accountable to their claims. Our Governor is not.
Tar Heel: What was running for mayor like?
Mayo: It was a rollercoaster. Joys, sorrows and countless frustrations. I never asked for a donation and raised over six-thousand dollars. I never asked anyone to put up a sign and over 400 were requested. I never spoke ill of the folks running for the same spot publicly or privately, yet one candidate attacked me personally, my family, my family's business, family history, and honestly I'm surprised that she didn't go after my dog as well.
Due to redistricting and an injunction by the NC Supreme Court the election was held in May. This may be fine and dandy to most, but for a farmer in Eastern North Carolina it lands the race dead in the middle of planting season. I was only able to get out on the streets for four days, with one of those days being election day. To say that anything was easy about the campaign would be an outright lie.
I just want my community to be left better than it was when I started. Sadly, there was a split in my community caused by unnecessary means outside of my control. Despite the personal attacks lodged at me by a former friend and calls for her to be fired by the local school board in which she is employed, I wrote a letter asking for her to not lose her job and that policy not be changed to restrict the speech of employees of the school system on account of one incident. Only one person on the school board ever acknowledged receiving the letter.
Tar Heel: How different was that from your first campaign?
Mayo: The first campaign was a cake walk compared to the second. There was no negative attacking by anyone and we all got along just fine afterwards. The second required far more logistics, cooperation, and delegation.
Tar Heel: Any advice you can share for other people thinking about running for office and oping to emulate your success?
Mayo: It is a sad fact of politics that it requires a level of narcissism to think that you can do better than the next person. The same trait that compels one to seek any office can also destroy one from within if not kept in check. Be sure that you're running to make your community a better place rather than propelling yourself into "power." If your goal is to gain "power" stay at home.
Make friends, especially with people that don't think along the same lines as you. It is easy to say "this is the way it should be" before understanding how it actually is. Hearts and minds are won one person at a time. Honest discussions with people holding vastly different views are the best way of creating understanding and creating common ground. Despite all of our differences, there is no person that common ground can't be identified.
Tar Heel: Amazing, thank you again for doing this. We are looking forward to watching the star of Tate Mayo rise. Before we go, any final message you want to give to Liberty lovers in North Carolina?
Mayo: Be your own advocate. Show up. Be heard. Be known. Do not be anonymous.
There is a great deal that happens on a local level. In my opinion the most pertinent issues that we face are dealt with first at a local level. Go to public meetings in your town, city, county, school board, etc. Meet the people making the decisions that affect your daily life. Compliment when things go well. Bring solutions to the table rather than problems. It is easy to point out a problem but figuring the problem out is where the music is made.
Whatever it is that you do, do it with love. Wherever it is that you find frustration, show grace. Wherever it is that you see slack, take on the responsibility.
Our last tabling event of 2022 was the Raleigh, N.C. Capital City Gun Show. The LPNC had a particularly successful 2022, tabling and attending events around our beautiful state, and we could not be happier with how we closed it out.
Dedicated LPNC members gave their time to host the table, where they met Liberty-minded individuals, talked shop, taught a few things and learned more, and ended up getting several people to sign up for more information on the party. Thank you to the volunteers for running a smooth and successful table at this event. We are looking forward to more in 2023, so come join us when you can!
Since October of last year, the LPNC has been supporting the efforts of Pastor Moses, whose selfless ministry to people who have the least was shut down by the City of Gastonia. Pastor Moses spoke out after Gastonia police arrested Iraq veteran Joshua Rohrer for being homeless, an event which led to the death of his service dog, Sunshine. The city shut his church down shortly after.
Pastor Moses is raising money for his ministry to the homeless, including efforts to transport two donated trailers, which he will use to provide shelter and much more.
On Saturday, December 10, LPNC Treasurer Mike Ross displayed extraordinary culinary talents, making a huge lasagna meal for a fundraiser co-hosted by Pastor Moses' ministry and 2020 Libertarian Vice Presidential nominee Spike Cohen's organization, You Are the Power. Mike has been leading the charge for justice for Joshua and Pastor Moses from the beginning, and Spike has been perhaps the biggest advocate, tirelessly showing up to city council meetings and other events.
Pastor Moses told the Tarheel, "What we’re doing at this fundraiser here today, it really lifts our spirits because of what a big help it will be to the homeless and to the needy community, and I’m just excited. You have no idea, to have guys like Mike, and Joe, and Spike, and Brandon and all the guys that came out today to help support this cause, it’s priceless. I’m so humbled, I’m so honored, and I’m so thankful, especially when I think about how it’s going to get cold here in the next few days. Having these trailers is imperative to keep people safe and help preserve life when the weather changes."
"And we're going to use them for an educational component as well, so people can get their GED, continue their education, learn a trade. Really, it’s limitless what we can do now, having these trailers. Thank you for being here and allowing me to share this."
The event raised nearly $8000, which is enough to transport the trailers. However, there is much more to do, and you can contribute here.
Many volunteers gave their time and energy in October to the LPNC’s most consistent and fulfilling outreach event - the NC State Fair in Raleigh. Spearheading the ten-day effort was Brad Hessel with the backing of many Wake County Libertarians, but volunteers came from as far as Charlotte and beyond.
The Party has been tabling at the Fair for two decades, after having to threaten to sue the state for table space. We’ve come a long way from being stuck in the back hallway of Dorton Arena, and people look forward to seeing us every year, whether to check on candidates, have a stimulating sparring session, or pick up some swag. This year we had t-shirts, campaign literature, rainbow gadsden flags, and more available. We spoke to thousands of folks, made some new friends, and showed voters that the Libertarian Party is here to stay.
by Steven DiFiore
The crowds were large after a two-year hiatus, which isn't surprising given the cabin fever induced by pandemic fears and lockdowns. In any case, the Charlotte PRIDE festival has returned to the Queen City and with more than 275,000 attendees, a record setting number, over the course of the weekend it was clear to all that the hunger for such a celebration remained alive and well. Not only were attendance numbers elevated for this twenty-year Charlotte tradition, but also the mood and energy of the folks who walked around checking out each booth that lined the streets of Uptown Charlotte was electric.
In the midst of generic blue or white pop tents, the gold and black canopy of the Libertarian Party of Mecklenburg County's booth shone with distinction. An AstroTurf "lawn" beneath the canopy contributed to a novel and welcoming political outreach style. Though the heat was stifling at times and the threat of rain hung over the festivities on Sunday, the intrepid volunteers of the Libertarian Party booth had some of the best outreach success of the past year.
Charlotte, a volunteer and At-Large Committee member, used her past experience hawking wares at Renaissance Fairs to great effect, engaging passers-by in a friendly and lively manner. Jeff Scott, Mecklenburg LP Chair, and I, both long time volunteers, availed ourselves of years of experience to promote the Party and our work, highlighting future opportunities for and with our organization. If the fact that our sizable cache of Libertarian Party Swag items was completely depleted by the end of the weekend is any indication, our efforts were well received. This engagement was much more than merely handing out rainbow Gadsden Flag hand fans or applying colorful Torch of Liberty temporary tattoos.
Our World’s Smallest Political Quiz display, prominently set up at the front of the booth was by far our best conversation starter. Over 300 people took the time to fill out the quiz and have a conversation about both the questions and what Libertarians are all about. These conversations are, of course, the most vital part in any outreach effort. It spreads awareness of our Party, the Movement, and the philosophies at play in equal measure. The quiz is also fun, or, at least the hundreds of folks we spoke with over the course of the weekend seemed to think so. For many, placing a sticker (who doesn't love stickers after all) on the political landscape board is where our outreach ended. With a heartfelt thanks for a fun experience, they moved on to sample other parts of the festival.
However, a few wanted to know more and those remain for me as the best moments of the whole weekend. From meeting a UNC Charlotte student interested in starting a University Club to an apolitical small business owner who is interested in single-issue coalitions around local zoning and land use policy, these encounters open the door to some interesting future prospects for our Party Affiliate. We connected happily even with those who are still unsure about everything our Party stands for, or anything outside the Team Red/Team Blue paradigm, which led to fruitful conversations. Rather than engage in argument or debate, and always resisting the urge to "own the Libs" in this case, our volunteers walked the path of dialectic and mutual respect. Even when we couldn't find points of meaningful agreement, which is very rare, by never getting angry, frustrated, or mean, both parties found that points of disagreement were merely that, a minor point of disagreement. No one bore hard feelings either way and our interlocutors always walked away feeling good about their interactions.
That's what it is all about really, leaving a lasting and positive impression in the hearts and minds of those we meet. Our Party Affiliate has seen amazing growth this past year and with the many new connections we have made during this year's Charlotte PRIDE festival we are looking forward to continued growth and fostering positive meaningful change in our communities.
The Cape Fear Libertarian Party, a collaboration of Onslow, Pender, New Hanover, and Brunswick County affiliates, held "Freedom Fire Fest" on October 8. The event began with a county budget workshop, followed by a 2nd Amendment update from the LPNC's 2A Liaison, Justin Hinckley. Late afternoon speakers were Mike ter Maat, 2024 LP presidential candidate, and widely respected Libertarian Jacob Hornberger.
Following afternoon portion, the group moved locations to enjoy a catered BBQ dinner. All attendees were invited to "be the spark," and participate in lighting the evening's bonfire. With perfect fall weather and a nearly full moon, the event brought on an opportunity to meet new faces and converse with old friends. Some attendees camped overnight as well.
The Cape Fear Libertarian Party would like to thank all those who attended and participated in making this event a success!