2015 Convention Speech

By Philip Fuehrer

Today, Mark Meyer and I, officially begin our terms as State Chair and State Director, respectively. With time running tight at the convention on June 6, Mark and I needed to eschew our 5 minute speeches each (as well as the longer nominations we expected) for a joint 4 minute address to the convention.

I thought it would be apropos to share a version of the speech I had planned to give on the convention floor. My original drafts came in at about 8 minutes but this is the hand “crossed-off” version getting it down to about 5 minutes or so:

“Thank you. I am very honored to be here addressing you today. For those who do not know me – my name is Philip Fuehrer. I am not a disgruntled former DFLer nor a rehabilitated Republican. I am a Bison; an IPer through and through. I joined the Independence Party in 1995, at age 26 – having previously been a voter but not otherwise involved in politics.

Last year’s electoral results knocked us down but we are not out of the fight. Mark Meyer and I are still fighting for the Independence Party. You are hear today with us – still fighting for the Independence Party. But, there are reasons we hit a low. We failed to put together an effective organization while simultaneously failing to ensure Minnesotans knew who the IP is and what stand for. So, why Mark Meyer and Phil Fuehrer?

With Mark and I you’re getting a great team. We talked about highlighting some of our differences and how our strengths complement each other – but, I’m going to go a little off script. Instead, I want to approach it differently. With Mark Meyer and Phil Fuehrer you get two excited leaders – excited to avoid the pitfalls of the past and excited to create a powerful and enduring Independence Party.

With Mark and I you get two gears – each, it’s own entity; moving and responsible for its half, but two gears machined and designed to work together – in concert with each other.

And, we have a plan laid out for your review. Our Meyer/Fuehrer plan lays the framework for developing an effective party organization while also getting our issues, our philosophy and our party solutions to the forefront of voters. We need to remind voters that are ARE a party of reform. Fiscal responsibility, balanced budgets, and electoral reform are foundational to who we are.

We also need to have issues where the Independence Party come “top of mind” to voters and that thread of reform should wind its way through those issues – because there is still a lot that needs to be fixed in our state and in our country.

We need a mix of bread and butter issues covering transportation, education, taxes and the environment. But, we also need to look at new areas of reform as we have with our call for marijuana legalization and regulation. And, we need those issues that differentiate us from the other two big parties – issues such as prison reform, online gaming, proportional representation and death with dignity. We also need to have the organizational structure in place to ensure that we are effective and that we are heard.

Our plan consists of more than a dozen activities across four broad categories. It works on image and brand, candidate recruitment AND candidate support, it implements the nuts and bolts of a proper organization and it remembers the mother’s milk of politics – fundraising.

The plan, and the rejuvenation of the Independence Party have begun. I restarted the party blog in December to begin re-emphasizing party brand. We’re reaching out to potential partners for mutual benefit and we’re laying the groundwork for fundraising.

Mark Meyer and I have the plans and the ideas to turn our Party around. We have the passion, energy, and commitment to bring the Independence Party to new heights. But, we cannot do it alone. Your attendance today shows that you continue to care.

I’d like you to take just a moment to imagine the Independence Party as big and as successful as you’d like it to be….can you see it?

Now, think of something you can do to help us take a step towards that vision. Maybe you’re good at web design, maybe you’re a database guru, maybe you’re willing to host a house party, write for a newsletter, take on a leadership role or perhaps it is something else.

Essayist/Poet T.S. Elliot wrote that, “Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” Mark Meyer and I have big visions and we’re ready to take big risks because we want to know just how far the Independence Party can go. I ask for your vote. I ask you to join us on this journey. Thank you.”

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