VETERAN OPERATIVE SWITCHED TO LIBERTARIAN PARTY
By Jacob Engels
Roger Stone, aid to three Republican Presidents, visited Orlando on Wednesday as part of his “Sunshine State Listening tour”, which he is making to determine whether he should seek the Libertarian nomination for Governor of Florida in 2013.
Stone, a senior campaign veteran of nine national presidential campaigns, who was the youngest member of President Richard Nixon’s 1972 re-election staff served as national chairman of Youth for Reagan by appointment of Senator Paul Laxalt in 1976 and served as a political director for Ronald Reagan’s campaigns in 1980 and 1984. Stone was a senior consultant in the 1992 campaign of President George H.W. Bush. Stone served as National Chairman of the Young Republican National Federation from 1977-1979.
Stone addressed the Libertarian Party of Orange County meeting in Downtown Orlando last night. Known for his sartorial choices Stone wore a chalk-striped grey English-cut suit, a crisp white shirt, and a dotted necktie. His black cap-toed shoes were highly polished.
Stone stunned the political world last year when he changed his registration from Republican to the Libertarian Party. “I didn’t leave the GOP, the GOP left me,” said Stone. “The Republican Party has morphed into a big government/big business/corporate welfare/Wall Street/inside-the-Beltway Party.”
Stone has been a critic of both the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars as well as “the erosion of our civil liberties under George W. Bush and Barack Obama.”
“I was born in the party of Barry Goldwater,” said Stone, whose English tailored suit-pants were held up by blue and white striped suspenders. “The GOP is no longer the party of fiscal conservatism, civil rights and they are squandering billions on foreign wars where our national interest is not at all clear.”
Stone is contemplating a campaign for governor in which he would follow in the steps of Leroy Collins, Claude Kirk, Reubin Askew, Lawton Chiles, Jeb Bush, Charlie Crist and Rick Scott and would be Florida’s 46th governor if elected. Stone says he will decide if he will be a candidate in late 2013. Since then he has taken his listening tour to Miami, Key West, Ft. Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Orlando and Jacksonville, where Libertarian activists, many of them Ron Paul supporters, have received Stone well. Stone told the crowd in Orlando, “I would be a candidate for both economic and personal freedom.”
Stone said a cornerstone of his campaign if he ran would be the repeal of Florida’s constitutional ban on gay marriage equality. “It is a civil right,” said Stone. “The Constitution doesn’t allow citizens to be treated unequally based on gender. It’s time for Florida to end this monstrosity.”
Stone said he supported a bill in the Florida State Legislature that would legalize marijuana for strictly medical purposes. “I believe marijuana could ease the pain and suffering of thousands of Floridians. It was correctly viewed as medicine as late as the mid-1800s. It would do far less damage than our pill mills.”
Stone said he doubted the conservative-dominated legislature would be hospitable to the medical marijuana bill. The veteran political consultant is working with Tampa lawyer John Morgan, a major Democratic Party fundraiser, Kim Russell, a member of the Orange County Republican Committee and political consultant Ben Pollara to put a constitutional amendment on the 2014 Florida ballot that would allow doctors to prescribe marijuana for certain serious diseases and conditions. “It will be a bi-partisan effort of Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians and Independents. The time for drug law reform in Florida is now,” said Stone, who brought the crowd to its feet.
Stone said he would look forward to debating Governor Rick Scott and former Governor Charlie Crist if he won the Libertarian gubernatorial nomination. “I have a lot of questions I want to ask those guys.”
Jacob Engels, is the Founder of East Orlando Post. Along with the Post, he owns several other businesses and is currently enrolled at Valencia College. Jacob has lived in Avalon Park since it’s founding and enjoys playing with his black Labradoodle Jasper, listening to indie rock, and seeking out new business ventures. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org