A Weekend Of Advocacy And Community Engagement

By Krystina Baxter

The LPF hosted its 2023 Annual Business Meeting and Convention in Kissimmee last month, offering members and guests a unique opportunity to engage in meaningful discussions, hear from inspiring liberty-loving speakers, recognize hard work, and enjoy a variety of entertainment and activities.

The convention proved to be a rich intellectual experience, featuring esteemed speakers who addressed diverse topics related to liberty and individual rights. Attendees heard from influential voices such as Maj Toure, founder of Black Guns Matter, who gave advice on how libertarians can improve their messaging and outreach, particularly to urban communities. Hannah Cox of BASED Politics gave compelling insights into criminal justice reform and the need for compassionate policies. CJ Killmer, host of The Dangerous History Podcast, gave a rousing lecture on Osceola, one of the most prominent historical figures in Florida’s history.

The weekend featured appearances from two presidential candidates for the Libertarian ticket; Chase Oliver gave a compassionate speech before jetting off to Iowa for their convention. Mike ter Maat joined members on Sunday to speak before business and had a committed team of volunteers available at his table all weekend.

There were plenty of feel good moments, including the Florida Mises Caucus surprising LP Brevard with their affiliate of the year award. There were also a variety of entertainment options to ensure a well-rounded experience for attendees. Karaoke sessions gave participants a chance to show off their singing skills and have some fun. A comedy show headlined by Robbie “The Fire” Bernstein of Run Your Mouth & Part of the Problem and emceed by newly-elected DAL 1 Robert Vinson brought laughter and entertainment. Some families took advantage of the convention’s proximity to Orlando’s amusement parks and extended their stays to visit them, or took advantage of the indoor playground and pool area at the hotel.

The convention offered members opportunities to embrace voluntaryism and contribute to the community.

  • Book Exchange: LPF members could donate or rehome books from other members all over the state. Any books that weren’t claimed by the end of the event found a new home at a Florida-based Libertarian-owned used bookstore in Madison County.
  • Saturday Morning Park Cleanup: A park clean-up activity was organized before the business proceedings at Lakefront Park in Kissimmee. The event demonstrated a commitment to environmental stewardship, voluntaryism, and community enhancement.
  • Food Donations: Members brought cereal boxes to donate to the Hope Center, highlighting the party’s dedication to helping those in need.

The convention also served as a platform for the election of new party officers, ushering in a fresh wave of leadership for the Libertarian Party of Florida. Vice Chair Josh Hlavka was elected as the new chair, bringing his passion for libertarian principles and dedication to the forefront of the party’s activities. Hlavka said, “”I am very thankful to have our LPF members select me to be our next Chairman. As I said during my speech, I look forward to building upon the foundation our outgoing Chairman, Steven Nekhaila, laid so that we can have the LPF be a fixture of freedom and liberty in the state of Florida. I am excited to get to work with my fellow LPF members to help make the Sunshine State into the first Gold state in the country.”

Tim Crosby was elected as the new Vice Chair, complementing the leadership team with his expertise and commitment. Patrick Leistner was elected as Treasurer, returning to the position he held previously. He is a certified public accountant and has a deep understanding of financial management. The new leadership team is well-positioned to guide the LPF into the future.

The 2023 convention left members feeling inspired and motivated to continue fighting for liberty. Hlavka commented, “I was very pleased with how this year’s convention went for us. We had good attendance, especially for an off year that has many people suffering the ill effects of inflation. There were lots of great vendors and speakers for our attendees, and business went very smoothly for our business meeting delegates. Our Convention Committee did an excellent job of helping the LPF put on an amazing event for its members. I hope after people see what they missed this year, those that didn’t attend will consider joining us for our 2024 Convention!” 

Next year’s convention planning is already underway. If you have feedback on this year’s convention, be sure to send us a note at [email protected]. You can also fill out our survey here: https://forms.gle/F4PriUWwY1LNfssf8.