Feb 232017

The Libertarian Party of Orleans Parish is looking to gain notoriety with a few local government seats, but they’re still searching for locals who want to get involved.

“We’re not going to start winning offices right off the bat,” Kirk Coco, party member, said. “But if people see more of us running they’ll see us as a legitimate party.”

Mike Dodd, local party chair, is considering running for Louisiana House District 98, which is currently held by Neil Abramson. He’s hoping to inject New Orleans government with some Libertarian ideas while gaining name recognition around his House district.

“The more [voters] hear party ideas, the more they see it, the more they know it’s around, the bigger we’ll get,” Dodd said.

Party members are also keeping track of local ordinances and issues that align with party ideas, which include maximum autonomy and political freedom. Libertarians also have a very strong ideological stance against violence to achieve diplomatic goals, meaning most members are anti-war.

Those ideals don’t preclude people from defending themselves or defending someone else, Coco added.

“You go through life, you try to help people when you can, you don’t hurt people,” Coco said.

Ricadro Fast, party member, said he’s also considering running for public office, but not until he “establishes himself” a little more. Fast interned under City Councilwoman Susan Guidry which opened his eyes to how city government works.

Fast said he’s interested in getting to know the people of New Orleans – both in and outside local government – better.

“It’s something I’ve been thinking about and want to get involved in eventually,” he said.

Party officials are hoping to gain notoriety through local government in order to grow their base, which could lead to more influence at a parish and state level. From there, libertarianism will have a much broader impact on the federal government.

It’s imperative for part members to start local, Coco said. If the first time people hear about libertarianism is from a presidential candidate – Gary Johnson, for instance – there’s little chance they’ll see the party platforms in action.

“By going in at city and state levels and becoming officers, people can see what those ideas do and how it affects them immediately,” Coco said.

Anyone interested in learning more about the party, or running for a local seat as a Libertarian, is invited to join the LPOP at their monthly meetings. The party meets every third Monday of the month at 6:30 p.m. at Lakeview Brew Coffee Cafe, 5606 Canal Blvd.

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