Jun 202017

The Orleans Parish Libertarian Party is working to grow their party while earning recognition on the ballot, but community engagement is the first step.

Mike Dodd, chairman of the local party, encouraged other Libertarian party members to run for smaller city and statewide seats so the party can gain political traction. Offices such as Orleans Parish School Board, seats on the magistrate court and even the city’s Inspector General would be good options for the smaller party.

“We need to be getting people excited about local stuff, about state stuff,” Dodd said at the party’s monthly meeting Monday.

Dodd is still 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.

Even if the party doesn’t spend a penny on campaigning, Libertarian candidates are still needed, said member Kirk Coco. There’s a chance some voters may see the party on a ballot and want to learn more – or even get involved.

“We should all be running for something – we are all going to lose – but people need to see our names and party on the ballot,” Coco said.

Other than running for office, party members are hoping to gain recognition by involving themselves more firmly in their communities. Jake Rickoll, party member and president of the Tulane Canal Neighborhood Association, encouraged everyone to join their respective neighborhood association and apply Libertarian values to community issues.

In a city that grants “so much community voice” – especially in neighborhood meetings – it’s imperative that party members promote their ideals and make connections. On the issue of increasing violent crime around the city, for instance, Rickoll said there’s a Libertarian solution that involves everyone.

“Members of a community need to hold businesses accountable,” he said. “We can’t rely on the NOPD to fix these problems, and we can’t rely on City Council either.”

By supporting businesses that support the community, and incentivizing those that don’t, neighborhoods can become much safer, Rickoll said. That relieves pressure on the understaffed and under-resourced NOPD while allowing the community to take part in its own safety.

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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