The Libertarian Policy Institute seized the opportunities created by a pandemic of political polarization in 2021 to focus our vision and build a solid foundation to develop and implement practical, peaceful, public policy solutions in 2022. I founded the Institute at the beginning of last year as a solo effort to continue the work started during my six years as National Chairman of the Libertarian Party by developing and promoting policies that improve lives and communities while reducing government coercion.
The events of January 6th showed that the partisan divide in the United States was deeper and more persistent than at any time in living memory, with Republicans and Democrats engaged in total war. It was clear that we needed a completely revamped web presence and branding to better communicate our vision and appeal to our target audience of regular people who want to see peaceful solutions to community problems, people who are disgusted by political tribalism and hungry for positive solutions that cross tribal boundaries.
With the launch of our new site, we included membership and patron levels for sustainable support and a way to create a sense of gratitude and community around our mission. Richard Manzo joined the team to serve as Operations Director, bringing experience as an elected public official, business consultant, and campaign manager to the task of building a larger community of authors, supporters, and board members.
Over the course of the year, we published articles on fixing a broken American higher education system, moving forward from COVID-19, why most people shouldn’t go to law school, ways to be more effective in online communication, removing zoning to increase the housing supply, creating real change by running for office, making taxation unnecessary through public investment, libertarian approaches to good government, cutting government with buyouts, ballot access challenges, the problems with the Federal Reserve, elected officials aligning with the things that are important to the people they serve, and the importance of field work to creating political change. Instead of just having a single voice, the addition of Richard Manzo and Alexander Salter as authors added diverse voices and perspectives to appeal to a broader audience.
We added four new members to the Board of Directors, welcoming President Ricky Harrington, Jr. and new board members R.J. Lyman, Judge John Buttrick, and Mitch Scoggins. They bring a wealth of experience and talent that will provide strategic direction and insight as we enter 2022.
We experienced an outpouring of support from people who shared our vision for practical libertarian solutions, with our email newsletter subscribers growing steadily and a tenfold increase in the number of individual donors to our work. That support has allowed us to expand from writing about what needs to be done to make a better world to going out and doing it.
The best place to share our solutions with a broad audience is during an election when voters are listening, but many states in this country suffer from a lack of political competition. Rather than complain about this problem, I went on a multi-week mission in Alabama to assist Libertarian Party efforts to achieve ballot access so that more candidates can run for office to support our policy proposals. Board President Ricky Harrington, Jr. has teamed up with Wes Benedict to recruit over 100 candidates for state legislative office in Arkansas to inject some political competition into the Natural State and bring our ideas to Little Rock.
And that’s just a glimpse into what the Libertarian Policy Institute has in store for 2022.
Our roadmap for the next year will be released later this week, but just know we’ll be tapping into our deep well of political experience to recruit, train, and support candidates in communities across the country. We’ll equip them with the tools and knowledge necessary to implement real solutions and champion them to the real people who need them. Be sure to sign up for our email list so you’re among the first to receive our roadmap. And, if you’re ready to back this mission, joining as a Patron will support us in our work and even enable you to lend your voice if you sign up as a Leader.
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Nicholas Sarwark is Executive Director of the Libertarian Policy Institute. He served as Chair of the Libertarian National Committee from 2014 to 2020, a period of unprecedented growth. Over the last two decades, he has worked as a systems developer for a major non-profit, tried over 30 cases to a jury as a deputy public defender in Colorado, and managed the oldest independent car dealership and loan company in Phoenix. He founded Wedge Squared Strategies in 2019, a strategy, communications, and campaign consulting firm that helps individuals and organizations maximize their impact on the world. Licensed to practice law in Colorado and New Hampshire, he lives in Manchester, New Hampshire with his wife Valerie and their four children where they volunteer to build a better local community.