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California State Government March 5, 2002 Election
Smart Voter

Why I Am Running For Lieutenant Governor

By Pat Wright

Candidate for Lieutenant Governor; State of California; Libertarian Party

This information is provided by the candidate
What Red Shoes Has To Do With It
My experiences over the past ten years have inspired and prepared me to run for Lieutenant Governor. While the Libertarian Party would do well to run a "name" candidate, or someone with wide voter-appeal for Governor, as someone who has gained a degree of notoriety working for ferret legalization, I can show voters and non-voters a real example why they should support the Libertarian Party for their own self-interest.

At the risk of appearing to be a one-issue candidate, I intend to show California voters what many would consider a small infringement of freedom is actually another instance of disappearing liberty and the great threat we face if we let this go unchallenged.

After 2 terms as chairman of the Libertarian Party of California (where we doubled membership) ended in 1993, I thought it was time to get serious over the ferret issue. Ferret owners previously relied on their solid documentation that ferrets were safe pets, but the state of California continued to make up outlandish stories about domestic ferrets.

I formed Ferrets Anonymous that year, and when my chairmanship of that organization ended in 1998 it had a mailing list of 6,000 names. During my chairmanship I was on CBS This Morning, had a full page article in People Magazine numerous articles in newspapers, television and radio.. Back then, because of the absolute absurdity of what our opponents in the state government were saying, it was fun to debunk them and the media enjoyed covering ferrets.

The fun ended in 1998 when my ferret was removed from his vet and euthanized while he was in quarantine for biting a cameraman. I had helped many people get their ferrets through quarantine, but when the state of California learned that my ferret was in quarantine, the Department of Health Services ordered him picked up and destroyed immediately. To lose a ferret, a cherished family member, because I made fun of our opponents almost ruined me.

I have also faced many criminal complaints over ferrets, and I have seen how justice system works (more accurately, doesn't work) in this country. For instance I have had charges added the day before my trial was to start, I have been secretly tape-recorded, I have been charged with possessing wild animals and not allowed to present evidence that domestic ferrets are not wild.

I could go on at great length about my legal battles. But I won't let the emotional and financial drain from those battles stop me. I'm not going to surrender. I'm going to fight back the best way I can, by running for Lieutenant Governor.

In July 1999 agents from the Department of Fish and Game, the San Diego Police Department and Animal Control broke down my door. They did have a search warrant, but I didn't know it. I didn't think any judge would issue a search warrant for ferrets. In a still traumatized state of mind from my ferret's confiscation and murder, I had a knife in my hand as the door was kicked open.

At that trial I was found guilty of brandishing a knife at a police officer and possession of wild animals without a permit. I was sentenced to 45 days in jail for refusing to give up my fourth amendment rights against search and seizure.

The real reason I am running for Lt. Governor is to fight the, all to pervasive, sentiment expressed by the judge in my case. It is a attitude that has lead to many horrific tragedies throughout history. It says "don't question authority". It says "just follow your orders". It's an attitude that's the antithesis to freedom and responsibility. Here's what he said that provoked me to run:

"If the law requires us to wear red shoes, we should wear red shoes. We have the right to try to change the law, but until then we should wear red shoes. And people who want to change the law should be prepared to go to jail."

So off I went, to maximum security. And I really saw another part of life that made me a stronger person and a greater advocate of personal freedom and responsibility.

This campaign is because of ferrets, but it is not about ferrets. It is an effort to show people that they need to join a political party firmly based in the philosophy of letting people live their own life without fear, unless they transgress on others.

The 250,000 to 1,000,000 ferret owners in California provide me with a solid base of voters and supporters. They know the fear of having their homes violated and their pets confiscated and destroyed. They know that prominent Republicans like Pete Wilson and Dan Lungren, and prominent Democrats like Diane Feinstein and Gray Davis worked very hard to keep ferrets illegal (we just don't know why). They know that I am genuine champion of their cause, and that I've paid my dues.

I don't know how my candidacy will be received. But I do believe it is an opportunity to both show people who don't consider themselves libertarian to give us the consideration and to get more ferret owners to protect their rights and open their eyes to all of the other rights that are threatened with each passing year. I do want more members in Ferrets Anonymous when I finish this campaign!..

I look forward to using my publicity skills to advance libertarian ideas and serving the membership of the Libertarian Party.

Pat Wright PO Box 3395 San Diego, CA 92163 (619) 584-8427

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