Chris Edes is seeking the Libertarian nomination for US Senate. Chris is a long time Libertarian activist and a former NY Libertarian Party Chair. We asked Chris a few questions about his campaign. Here is what he told us.
SC: What are the three or four most important issue that you will focus on in this campaign?
Chris Edes: My campaign will be focused on civil liberties, fiscal responsibility and a government that respects the Constitution. I will stand for Liberty and repeal or oppose all acts of war against America and freedom, such as the National Defense Authorization Act. I will stand for free speech against SOPA, PIPA, ACTA and other thinly disguised attempts to censor the Internet.
There is no choice but to return to fiscal solvency, or see our nation destroyed. I will oppose any attempt to raise the debt ceiling. The only acceptable budget is a balanced budget that does not raise taxes.
Unless we bind our government with the chains of the Constitution, as our founders intended, we will be inevitably drawn along the road to serfdom. I will support or introduce legislation which would require a Declaration of War before any U.S. troops can be committed to combat. I will also support the Tenth Amendment against infringements by unelected federal bureaucrats, such as the DEA and BATFE.
SC: Compare yourself to your opponents. Why do you deserve our votes instead of them?
Chris Edes: I intend to run a positive campaign. But since you ask, we have seen Gilibrand, once A-rated by both the NRA and the ACLU, fall prey to D.C. politics and become a prettier version of Chuck Schumer. The likely Republican nominee will be from Team Romney. The race for United States Senate needs a true fighter for the Constitution, who can devote himself full time to running for office, with no distractions.
SC: Tell us about your background in politics and real life?
Chris Edes:I am a self employed information technology consultant. I became involved in politics in 2005 with a run for Rochester City Council. The next year, I joined the LP and received both the nomination for State Assembly, and appointment as Temporary County Chair. I quickly organized a new county chapter in Rochester, the Greater Rochester Libertarian Party. We have been very active in local politics. We run candidates for office in every local election, and are almost universally liked and respected in the community, among activists of all persuasions. I ran for city school board in 2007 and 2009, and for county legislator in 2011.
I am not seeking re-election as Chair of the Greater Rochester LP, so that I can devote myself full time to running for U.S. Senate. I hold other positions, for which I have made arrangements, including: Rochester Tea Party leader, board member of the Genesee Valley Civil Liberties Union, Monroe County Chair for the Shooters Committee On Political Education (SCOPE), Regional Coordinator for the Campaign For Liberty, and unofficial liaison between the LP and the Ron Paul campaign.
SC: How will you run an effective campaign?
Chris Edes: A successful statewide race will require a strong volunteer organization. Our first task is to build a cadre of local leaders. To this end, I will travel to Buffalo, Westchester County, and other places we have Temporary County Chairs, and show them how to organize. This is a worthwhile endeavor in itself, as well as an opportunity to campaign for our slate of candidates.
Since 2005, I have run for office in every local election, and seen my vote totals go from 0.4% to 11.1% in the process. I have also organized one of our most active chapters from the ground up, into a group which is widely respected in our community, among people of every kind of ideological leaning. I am well known, and can draw endorsements from across the political spectrum. I believe that no one is more qualified to build a statewide volunteer organization.
We do not need to raise a great deal of money. Elections are won by convincing eligible voters to support a particular candidate, and then making sure they go to the polls and vote. At the local level, we will begin by knocking on doors and persuading voters. Those who are sympathetic will be identified, and reminded a week before the election. If necessary, we will provide transportation to the polling place. Poll watchers will complete the set, if we have enough people to spare.
I developed this strategy over many years, but it is explained far better by Robert Heinlein, in his book “Take Back Your Government!: A Practical Handbook for the Private Citizen Who Wants Democracy to Work”. I cannot recommend this book strongly enough, and will be distributing copies across the state as part of my campaign.
SC: What should we say to those who want to help?
Chris Edes: I will be traveling around the state, to build local strength and communicate the hard won lessons, which I have learned building a political party and running campaigns. I will need the help and cooperation of local leaders and volunteers. Let the other candidates cozy up to campaign contributors, and hobnob with political class elites. I believe in putting boots on the ground, and I will be seeing you in person, showing you how to fight. I hope you will be there to work hand in hand.
Also, I hope to receive your donations once I am formally nominated at our State Convention on April 21. This will enable me to devote myself full time to campaigning across the state.
SC: Soon the LP will nominate a Presidential Candidate but Ron Paul is still fighting for the GOP nomination. How do you feel about Ron Paul with respect to your Libertarian campaign?
Chris Edes: Ron Paul is awesome. He is a right leaning libertarian, of course, but none of us agree on all principles — and if we did, I would find such conformity disturbing. I remember when people thought libertarians wanted to build more libraries. Ron Paul changed all of that. He made libertarian a word that is known and respected. He has defeated every attempt of the mainstream media to ignore, demonize and/or ridicule him, and the libertarian movement generally. Win or lose, he has done all libertarians an inestimable service, and he is my first choice for President of the United States.
SC: Who should support you?
Chris Edes: Generally, those who favor a return to fiscal solvency, individual freedom and Constitutional government.
Among Libertarians, I ask for support among those who wish to see our party thrive and grow. In my campaign, I intend to lay the groundwork for our party to receive 50,000 votes for Governor in the 2014 election, which are required to become an officially recognized political party in NYS. We cannot rely on getting into debates, raising a ton of money, or having a publicity angle. Instead, a solid foundation of local precinct organizations will deliver the necessary votes, reliably and independent of circumstances.
This will save our party tens of thousands of dollars, which we spend on ballot access, and countless volunteer hours, which can then be put toward active campaigning. We will not achieve party status only to lose it, as the Greens did by running a celebrity. With a solid foundation, we will become a force to be reckoned with in NYS politics. With your help, I will launch a new era of Liberty in New York State.
SC: Can you comment on LP Presidential candidates?
Chris Edes: I favor Lee Wrights because of his rhetorical talent, which I believe is important in a leader. R.J. Harris deserves an honorable mention for having a very professional campaign. Carl Person is a native New Yorker, so I’ll support him on the first round of balloting to give him initial momentum — it is up to him to win from there. If Ron Paul wins the Republican nomination, I will support NOTA.