Coming out of state convention, the LPNC has a new Executive Committee. Over the next couple of months, the Tar Heel will sit down with each member so you all can get to know the people whom you have entrusted to be stewards of Liberty in our state. The EC is the public face charged with carrying the banner of Liberty for the world to see. Through these interviews, we can connect more deeply and personally with our new EC and understand their priorities for the LPNC.
For our first interview, we are talking with LPNC Secretary Dee Watson. Dee has been a candidate and a Political and Policy Director. She has also served on several committees, including the Strategic Planning Committee, the Convention Committee, and the Bylaws Committee, just in the past year.;
Tar Heel: Dee, thank you for taking the time to speak with me today, and congratulations on your election. Before we get us into the LPNC discussion, tell us about you. You’ve been involved in several ways in the past. What has been the most fulfilling thing you have done to date?
Dee Watson: When I became P&P director it became clear we had no way to know what Libertarians were running in non-partisan offices. After the 2022 election, I worked with Ryan Brown [now LPNC EC Chair] and he wrote a python script to access the public data. He found out that we had five elected Libertarians. All of a sudden we realized we can win elections. We just have to be more strategic.
Tar Heel: If you would, tell me a little more about running as a candidate. What have you learned and how has that informed what you’ve done as Political and Policy Director?
Watson: I learned that voters aren’t swayed much by a flier or a sign. They are swayed by personal meaningful interaction. So we need to table and talk to people and really listen to what they are experiencing.
Tar Heel: How can you translate those lessons to action by the EC?
Watson: We need to increase tabling and other events where we can have conversations with people, face-to-face. We need to try to get every person who wants to help. Ten people aren’t going to reach NC. We need thousands, meaning we have to bring in all the help we can get.
Tar Heel: Obviously, you have been heavily involved in the LPNC at many levels and in many ways over the past few years. How is it different working on the EC now?
Watson: It is just really exciting to work with this group of people. We are all very active and excited about doing work with the party. It is a great group who really shows up.
Tar Heel: As an EC member what things do you want to prioritize, near term and over the next two years? Is that answer any different in terms of your specific priorities as Secretary?
Watson: I want an efficient structure for the party to support candidates in local elections. As secretary, there is a lot of boring administrative work that needs to be organized. It is my job to make sure people can find the LPNC documents that they need. Some people might think that is kind of boring, but people wasting time looking for where something is stored is no fun, and I want to minimize that kind of morale drainer.
Tar Heel: Candidate recruitment, serious campaigns, and grassroots growth are focuses of the LPNC, and the national party, in general. Where can candidates go to learn how to run successfully locally, and what support can they expect form the EC?
Watson: They should contact our wonderful candidate coordinator and fellow EC member Christina Aragues. We are trying to get resources ready for people. We hope to have design templates for signs and rack cards, issue papers, and help with websites. Most importantly please join the candidates' slack channel so we can communicate with other candidates across the state. If you don't know or have questions, reach out to me. I am here to help.
Tar Heel: Following up on that, what advice would you give people who are considering running?
Watson: Please consider running locally and getting involved in your community. The best way to do that is to join a planning board or some kind of citizen’s advisory board to start.
Tar Heel: OK, back to the EC. What are the biggest areas of improvement you see available for the EC, and how do you propose addressing them?
Watson: There is a lot to do, but the number one thing is to integrate as many volunteers as possible and give them meaningful work.
Tar Heel: You’ve been on a few different podcasts and interviews recently, and the reviews have been overwhelmingly positive. Any plans for more public appearances?
Watson: I was really surprised that Larry Sharpe and Dr. Dan had me on. I am always so busy I never went looking for interviews, but those fell in my lap so I did take the opportunity. So if our great communications director needs me I will be there. [editor’s note: the Communications Director is barely OK, but appreciates the compliment]
Tar Heel: Well, we certainly hope to see you putting yourself out there more. On those appearances, you have spoken with authority on a number of issues. Personally, what are the top issues for you right now in NC, and how do you think we should address them?
Watson: As of last week the pistol permit regulation was repealed. I think NC is ready for constitutional carry.
The problem is on more nuanced issues where the legislation is complex, and the government is more entangled. HealthCare and Education are the biggest ones right now. The government has so much involvement that the entire price system has been distorted. Within the last 2 weeks we have been discussing bills in both these areas. We desperately need change, but all legislation has been a lesser of two evils discussion.
I really think we need to look at these issues and propose solutions that actually help people, but it is difficult since all the legislation is so far from a Libertarian solution.
Tar Heel: Thank you again for your time today. Before we go, do you have any final thoughts or messages you want to share with the people reading this?
Watson: If you want to get involved with the party then please do so, and know that we would love to have you! Find something that interests you and really dig in. The county affiliate that gets the most news coverage, has the most events, and gets the most interaction from out of state has two members that never have a meetup. They meet at parades and city council meetings. Their activity is extraordinary, and their bylaws are three lines. Focus on the activities that are meaningful to you. I promise, there is something for you to do, whatever your availability and whatever your interests. And the people are really wonderful, so reach out and introduce yourself, and we can take it from there.