Foreclosures during the Great Recession added to thousands of blighted properties in Columbus. But, a state program helped fund demolition of many of those houses and apartment units.
Libertarian National Convention Comes To Columbus This Weekend
Cleveland is a finalist for the Republican National Convention in 2016, and Cleveland and Columbus are also among the six cities under consideration for the Democratsâ€™ presidential convention.
But Libertarians are hoping to get a jump-start on both of them with the Libertarian National Convention in downtown Columbus this weekend.
â€œIt is the first national political convention in Columbus,” says Kevin Knedler, the chairman of the Libertarian Party of Ohio and the partyâ€™s candidate for Secretary of State.
He says more than 600 people are registered for the Libertarian Partyâ€™s 2014 convention in Columbus, where theyâ€™ll hang out, network and attend sessions on setting up websites, following federal regulations, using social media and organizing on college campuses.
Charlie Earl will welcome the delegates, but not as the Libertarian Party of Ohioâ€™s candidate for governor, since he was disqualified for the ballot in March. But Earl says not being a candidate isnâ€™t important here.
The whole issue is the state of Ohio, through its elected representatives, gonna give people choices and voices, whether itâ€™s Charlie Earl or anybody else. The Constitution Party is not on because of their gamesmanship.
Earl is still hoping a court ruling will put him back in the governorâ€™s race. When asked whether the Libertarian Party of Ohioâ€™s struggles to get onto the ballot mirror problems around the country, Knedler admitted he was frustrated in hearing about how easy it is for parties to get on the ballot in states such as Mississippi and Florida.
â€œI heard these things and I asked myself, if these states seem to be able to manage multiple parties on the ballot, what is it with Ohio that we canâ€™t seem to manage more than two?â€
Among the attendees are candidates from across the country and the state. That includes Greg Norris, whoâ€™s running for state representative in the Findlay area, in the very Republican district now represented by Robert Sprague. He admits itâ€™s a long shot that heâ€™d get elected.
Kasler: â€œWhat would you be able to do?â€
Norris: â€œIâ€™m a caucus of one. I could be in a broom closet.â€
Kasler: â€œWhat would you be able to do, then?â€
Norris: â€œProbably be a thorn in everybodyâ€™s side. Honestly, Iâ€™ll caucus on both sides.â€
The delegates will also decide on the partyâ€™s national platform and will elect their national committee members. Among those up for re-election is Libertarian Party chair Geoffrey Neale. He says those who view Libertarians as outsiders and losers donâ€™t know that theyâ€™ve been ahead of the major parties on gay rights, marijuana legalization and other issues.
â€œWe seem like outcasts and strange-thinking people because weâ€™re visionary. Weâ€™re like the abolitionists in the 1800s saying weâ€™ve got to end slavery. Weâ€™re like the suffragettes in 1870 saying women should be able to vote. Weâ€™re the visionaries of where we believe that the world is going.â€
The Libertarian Party claims itâ€™s the only nationally organized party to see double-digit membership increases in the last two years, with 11% more registered Libertarians now than in 2012.
But only 30 states and the District of Columbia allow voters to register with a party affiliation, and the total of registered Libertarians in the US numbers more than 368,000.