Submitted by William Bowers -- Mifflin County
During the April 6th and 7th weekend, the Pennsylvania Leadership Conference gave a great opportunity to all grass-roots activists and groups. The conference invites individuals from across Pennsylvania to interact with movers and shakers in the conservative movement. Attendees also were able to network with volunteers from various think-tanks and advocacy groups at information booths during breaks in the program. The most important panel on Friday featured Senators running for office this year including Lou Barletta, Jim Christiana, and the Libertarian candidate Dale Kerns. Each candidate received positive response from the audience. The largest roar that filled the room came from Kerns, who made principles statement after principled statement, building to when he made the declaration to support legislation to remove pensions from career politicians. His only negative response came while talking about opposing the wall on the southern border, but he stood his ground and presented libertarian principles on the issue.
The second day held the clash of Pennsylvania's candidates for Governor. Many gathered to the ball room to witness the candidates expressive opinions for their platforms. Starting off with Laura Ellsworth adding her input, expressing her views, and allowing the audience to know her name. Libertarian candidate Ken Krawchuk was up second and he used visuals of all kinds to push his beliefs ahead of his opponents. He used the opportunity to implore those in the crowd to look further into topics that they may not agree with him on, like that of ending the war on drugs. He crowning moment was when he said of federal grant money, "the feds say 'here have some federal funding' like a drug dealer saying hey have some drugs," its not going to hurt", next thing you know you're addicted to federal funding, and I think thats the case now. We have to end that addiction now". This statement certainly ignited the crowd with claps and cheers. Creating a rush that not many libertarian candidates can do to a Conservative crowd. The Governors panel ended with Mango and Wagner focused about the controversy of an ad campaign and disagreements over who was the most phony.
As a newcomer to the party I found the weekend to be very successful. The spark of new ideas lit the torch of liberty resulting in future development opportunities for the Libertarian Party. Many Conservatives heard the policies and topics from our side for the first time and as Ken Krawchuk likes to say many of them found out that 'We are all Libertarians'