Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Dr. Tom Stevens Resigns As New York State Director Of Our America Initiative

On March 16, 2015, Dr. Tom Stevens resigned as New York State Director of Our America Initiative, an organization formed in 2009 by Governor Gary Johnson, who served as the 29th Governor of New Mexico from 1995 to 2003 and who was the Presidential Candidate of the Libertarian Party in 2012.

Our America Initiative is based on a belief that a majority of Americans are classical liberals and that fundamentally, they believe that government and its cost should be limited and that civil liberties and individual freedom must be protected -- not threatened -- by the government. Our America seeks to give voice to the ideas of liberty, smaller government, and financial responsibility. Our America Initiative has the goal to redefine the Liberty Movement in America, to restore liberty, personal responsibility and economic freedom as the true American values, and to foster an environment that allows each person to pursue his or her individual dreams and happiness without the burdens of unneeded government restrictions. The focus of Our America is to speak out on issues regarding topics such as government efficiency, lowering taxes, protecting civil liberties, revitalizing the economy and promoting entrepreneurship. Governor Gary Johnson currently serves as Honorary Chairman of Our America Initiative.

Dr. Tom Stevens' involvement with Our America Initiative began on October 1, 2013, when he was appointed Queens County Coordinator. On August 12, 2014, Dr. Stevens was appointed Outreach Coordinator for all of New York State and on August 14, 2014, he was appointed New York State Director. At the time of his appointment as State Director, the positions of Outreach Coordinator, Campus Coordinator, and Financial Manager were vacant. As of the day of his resignation, John Clifton (who followed Dan King) served as Outreach Coordinator, Natale Corsi served as Campus Coordinator, and Amanda Gough served as Financial Manager. Under his watch, Dr. Stevens actively negotiated the co-sponsorship of two major projects. In September, 2014, the national leadership of Our America Initiative approved of New York signing on with the Equal Ballot Access Coalition of New York, which seeks to get the government out of the internal affairs and nomination processes of all political parties; to provide equal access and few, if any, barriers to candidates seeking a place on the general election ballot; and to have an Independent Election Commission responsible for coordinating and running all elections conducted in New York State. The second project approved by national in October, 2014 was to vigorously support the projects of SCOPE (Shooters Committee On Political Education) to urge state political candidates to sign a pledge to repeal the 2013 SAFE Act and to oppose the SAFE Act II group of potential 2015 bills. Initial plans were also made to sponsor a Lobby Day in Albany, a project John Clifton was placed in charge of.

As State Chair of the Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania in 2012, Dr. Tom Stevens was responsible for leading the charge to get a sufficient number of valid petition signatures to get Governor Gary Johnson on the ballot as the Libertarian Party's Presidential Candidate in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and then defending those petitions against a well-financed GOP challenge. Richard Winger of Ballot Access News said, Tom Stevens led the Pennsylvania Libertarian Party to the greatest ballot access victory in the state party's history. The Pennsylvania Libertarian Party's 2012 ballot access victory was the first time any statewide minor party or independent candidate for statewide office has ever defeated a challenge backed by one of the two major parties. Dr. Tom Stevens was elected County Chair of the Libertarian Party of Queens County in January, 2014 and was unanimously re-elected to that position in January, 2015. He also serves as Political Director and Membership Director of the Queens Libertarian Party, and as State Chair of Empire State Libertarians.

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