© 2023 WRVO Public Media
NPR News for Central New York
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Coverage of the 2016 presidential election from NPR News and related blogs, including candidate profiles, interviews and talking points.On-air specials will also be broadcast as Election Day approaches, including the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary.WRVO also provides coverage of regional elections both on-air and online.

Onondaga County gains a new political party

The Libertarian Party is growing in New York state. This weekend, Onondaga County becomes the latest county to join this party that challenges the idea of an omnipresent government, instead looking to individual sovereignty as the way to peace and prosperity.

Onondaga County will be the 15th county chapter the party has chartered in New York state and the fourth this year.

Shawn Hannon of Syracuse is leading the central New York effort.

"Libertarian people try to keep the government out of your wallet and out of your bedroom,” he said.

Hannon has been both a Democrat, drawn to their social positions; and a Republican, agreeing with advocates of smaller government. But in the end, both major political parties disappointed. Calling himself a Libertarian this political season finally felt right.

"I do feel home here. I finally feel where I belong,” he said.

So Hannon and group of a dozen so fellow central New Yorkers are building a party apparatus from the ground up.

“We’d had no Libertarian pretense between Rochester and Albany, so there was a big gap with no representation, so we’re trying to fill in the gaps there.”

With the help of the state Libertarian party, which holds its convention this weekend, they’ll learn the ins and outs of gathering petitions and soliciting supporters.

There’s talk of trying to field candidates in upcoming local elections, but time is short to get the necessary petition signatures to get someone on the ballot. But Hannon says they may endorse local candidates. And they will be supporting the Libertarian presidential candidate this fall.

Hannon says one thing he’s sure of -- the state leadership wants a Libertarian presence at the New York State Fair, held in Syracuse every summer.

"We’ll be able to at least put our name out there. We’ll have our presidential candidate hopefully come to the fair this year,” said Hannon.

The United State is in the midst of a political cycle like none other in recent years -- one that has seen many voters stray from the mainstream Republican and Democratic parties. Hannon believes it could be the right time for the Libertarian party to make a move.

"I think the two parties are moving away from each other so fast, they are leaving a bunch of people in the middle with no way to go. So I’m hoping to be a catch-all I guess.”

The new Onondaga County Libertarian Party says it will be using Facebook to get out the word about meeting times and other activities.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.