Utah State Senator Mark Madsen today announced at a press conference attended by Libertarian Party national chairman Nicholas Sarwark that he is officially joining the Libertarian Party and endorsing Gary Johnson.
The transcript of Madsen’s announcement (filmed and uploaded to YouTube by the Salt Lake Tribune) is below:
Good afternoon. Thank all of you for coming. They warned me not to lean on this [undecipherable]. I’m especially grateful and honored to be joined by my legislative colleagues, state legislative colleagues for the states and leaders of the Libertarian Party today.
My name is Mark Madsen. I’m a state senator, I’m currently serving my 12th year as a Utah state senator representing Senate District 13. For three years, or for three terms I should say, I’ve tried to serve Utahans, first by protecting their God-given rights, which the Deceleration of Independence tell us governments are instituted to protect. It is important to me that I stand in the halls of the legislature as a voice for reason and an advocate for principles of individual agency and accountability. This principle, the individual as sovereign, formed the basis of our nation’s founding and its assent to an unparalleled greatness in the history of the world. The desire to live free and to own one’s life still burns widely in the hearts of many of us. I would hope all of us. We crave and jealously guard the ability to exercise personal agency and pursuit of happiness for ourselves and our posterity.
For many of us their is a spiritual dimension to this belief and understanding. My faith informs me that a loving God created me and each of you for a purpose, which includes a time in this [undecipherable] temporal plain during which we learn and grow by exercising the agency by which our creator, God, endowed us, by making choices each day and learning lessons through the consequences that naturally result. Thereby we learn and grow and become more like our Father in Heaven each time we own our choice and its consequence and apply that knowledge to future choices.
And for me these principles are more than rhetorical. Many in different political parties speak these principles but few, it seems too few, will embrace the application and policy. The freedom of a mother and father to choose the best education for their children. The ability of one smitten with disease to choose their medical treatment. The freedom to try and fail, the freedom to buy and sell, and fundamentally the right to enjoy the fruits of one’s labor, rather than have them confiscated under threat of force and redistribute to others whom the government determines are entitled to live off the sweat of someone else’s brow, namely yours. It is important that these values are passed down to our posterity; yet they have been neglected, then subjected to assault, for generations.
Government schools, among others, have conspired to produce citizens illiterate in the subjects of civics and history and programmed to believe that government actually solves problems. The fragile nature of liberty has rarely been more apparent than in this election cycle. The ideas of free markets and an individual owning one’s life have fallen behind in capturing the hearts of the electorate. This is not because the ideas are flawed but because our branding has lacked the empathy and compassion that a generation which has lived through wars, recessions and terror craves, and it’s also because in this day and age it’s easier to accept and embrace a message of false promises and government salvation then a message of hard work, risk reward and recognition of the reality that there are no guarantees in life.
I am convinced that neither of the old major parties effectively embody the values that founded our country, and founded the state of Utah. A Democrat friend of mine, Christian Burridge, one day told me he would be willing to give up the Democrat’s “nanny state” if I would be willing to give up the Republicans’, what he called “daddy state.” And I believe he has reason. In the name of tolerance and compassion, the Democrat Party has embraced a philosophy which often preserves and individual’s right to make a given choice, but wrongly empowers government to step in and deny that individual the consequence of that choice, be it positive or negative.
The Republican Party all too often promotes policies which deny individuals the freedom to make a choice to begin with. Far too often in Utah and our nation, the platform and the actions of the Republican Party have resulted in a population that is less free. Regulation is no longer just a tool for progressives. Rather, the Republicans and Democrats are different on how they are going to regulate, and how to streamline that regulation, but not on the fundamental question of “should government be involved to begin with?” Both parties use the government to pick winners and losers in business, in health care, in the environment and education. In every aspect of life, both parties expand existing programs and create new programs, extend programs, set to sunset, even if the purpose is no longer needed. Divisions among us are extenuated, and our core rights enshrined in our Constitution, rather than being upheld and [undecipherable], are too often seen as impediments to the desired expansion of the state.
No party is entitled to my membership and my support. I join a party of my own free will based on how well it reflects my personal principles. I have a right to go where my principles and consequence take me. Today, I announce that I am joining the Libertarian Party and will support the Libertarian presidential ticket of Governors Gary Johnson and Bill Weld. I am proud to stand [applause, cheers] thank you. I am proud to stand on the side of liberty, agency, ingenuity and opportunity. Today, as I officially join the Libertarian Party, I want to help my fellow Libertarian legislators in building a movement that shows the compassion and viability of the values that made our nation and our state a reality. Thank you. [applause] (end of speech)
ATPR: Madsen, a vocal advocate for the legalization of medical marijuana since his near death experience from an accidental overdose on prescription pain medication, has served as a member of the Utah State Senate since 2004, until today as a Republican. He announced in March of this year that he will not seek reelection and will instead move to South America for an unspecified period of time.