Independence Party elects new State Party Chair

Here’s the release:

Veteran campaign activist nicknamed “MacGyver” for his resourcefulness will focus on State House campaigns in 2008

The Independence Party elected a new State Party Chair at its Convention on Saturday. Craig Swaggert, who most recently served as the State Party Treasurer, was unopposed and received overwhelming support from the delegates. 2006 Lt. Governor Candidate Dr. Maureen Reed nominated Mr. Swaggert describing him as “the ultimate team player with a knack for getting things done”. Chair-Elect Swaggert subsequently delivered a presentation entitled “Charting the Future of the Independence Party” outlining four main goals:

1. Be a pro-active voice in the public debate.

2. Raise sufficient money to ensure the Independence Party can effectively communicate its message.

3. Identify attractive candidates and position them to win.

4. Establish and affirm the Independence Party brand.

These goals were the culmination of numerous campaign debriefings, candidate suggestions, Central Committee input and Executive Committee review over the last four months.

Party delegates also elected Tom Moss as Vice Chair, Laura Knudsen as Secretary and Ellen Brown as Treasurer. Moss served as Deputy Commissioner of Human Services in the Carlson and Ventura administrations. He ultimately rose to become the Director or Results Management. He is a consultant for government and non-profit organizations and most recently served as Deputy Campaign Manager for the Team Minnesota campaign. He lives in St. Paul with his wife Susan. Knudsen was the party’s endorsed house candidate for district 62B in 2002 and served as the party’s Public Relations chair for the last four years. She lives in Alexandria with her husband Steve and son Axel. Brown, a former executive with Control Data and small business owner, recently served as Treasurer for the (Peter) Hutchinson for Minnesota Campaign. She lives in St. Paul with her husband Peter.

Chair-elect Swaggert stated “Our prime focus will be to identify, run and support solid candidates for State House races in 2008.” He continued, “We will continue to build upon the depth and strength of our candidate field” Referring to a segment on Friday night’s Almanac program where Speaker of the House Margaret Anderson Kelliher and Minority Leader Marty Seifert were debating which caucus health care plan had more of IP gubernatorial candidate Peter Hutchinson’s ideas in it, Swaggert pointed out that “Our candidates continually win the public policy debate and present the best ideas, but we now must work even harder to ensure that they win.”

Chair-elect Swaggert, 55, is a self-employed commercial real estate developer with a successful history of acquiring and restoring historic properties. He also serves as a court appointed Guardian Ad Litem for the Hennepin County Court system speaking for the best interests of abused and neglected children who are involved in the juvenile courts. He is a veteran volunteer for the Tim Penny Governor campaign in 2002 and the Team Minnesota campaign in 2006. Team Minnesota staff nicknamed him “MacGyver” (after the main character in the 80’s television action series) for his resourcefulness in accomplishing monumental tasks and meeting impossible deadlines. He lives in Minneapolis with his wife Tanna Moore, President and CEO of Meritas, an international alliance of commercial law firms. Their have two sons, Mitch 29 a construction manager of alternative energy plants, and Nick, 26 a United States Marine Corps officer whose light armored division will be deployed to Iraq this August.

Outgoing Party Chair Jim Moore said, “Craig is precisely the right person to lead the Independence Party. He has the time, energy and resourcefulness to accomplish our party’s goals. “ Moore, continued, “He has been such a valuable IP contributor that up until last summer, my wife thought there were two Craig’s.” Moore surmised, “Most importantly, he is an extremely capable leader with the ability to merge existing party member talent with the new party member talent brought in during the last campaign season.”

2006 gubernatorial candidate Peter Hutchinson addressed the delegates on what they can do to ensure the ideas presented in his campaign are acted upon in the legislature. “We have no trademarks or copyrights on what we proposed; they are free to implement them to serve the best interest of all Minnesotans.” He noted that the legislature has been a “G-free zone” where issues surrounding “guns, gays, God, gambling, gynecology, green cards and stadiums for gladiators” have taken a back seat to the “main things” which are health care, education, transportation and the environment.

Former State Party Chair and best selling author Jack Uldrich also addressed the delegates challenging them to take a leadership role in the defining public policy issues arising from emerging technologies. Biotechnology, nanotechnology and computing advances are in the midst of exponential growth that will completely change our daily lives over the next 5-7 years. There are endless public policy ramifications that will come about as a result of longer life expectancies, technology to fight crime, and significant medical breakthroughs.

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