Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Texas Libertarians Announce New Executive Director


Libertarians Announce New Executive Director

Butler takes over for Benedict

AUSTIN - January 5, 2009 - The Libertarian Party of Texas (LPT) has announced that Robert Butler is replacing Wes Benedict as its executive director.

Robert Butler comes to the Libertarian Party of Texas from a political consulting position in Washington, D.C. He previously served as the executive director of the Libertarian Party of Ohio.

In Ohio, Butler worked on litigation to eliminate restrictive ballot access laws. The litigation resulted in Ohio's ballot access laws being ruled unconstitutional in 2008, and the Ohio Secretary of State was required to place the Libertarian Party on last year's general election ballot.

Butler is fluent in Spanish and expects to make use of his bilingual skills in his new position. He has an International Relations degree from George Washington University (September 1991 - May 1995) and an English as a Foreign Language Teacher Certification from Harmon Hall in Cancun, Mexico (July 1999 - December 1999). He is married and has three young children.

Wes Benedict was named executive director for the LPT following his leadership on a successful petition drive in 2004 to gain ballot status for the party. Benedict directed many of the volunteers and paid petitioners who gathered over 82,000 petition signatures to keep the Libertarian Party on the Texas ballot. The LPT's state executive committee named Benedict as executive director in June of 2004.

Over the next four years, Benedict grew the LPT's revenue from $58,000 to over $140,000. The number of donors to the LPT grew from less than 200 in 2005 to over 900 in 2008.

Benedict twice broke the party's all-time candidate recruiting records with 168 candidates on the Texas ballot in 2006, and 173 candidates in 2008. Also in 2008, the LPT had its first candidate ever to earn over one million votes on the Texas ballot (William Strange, Court of Criminal Appeals Place 9).

Benedict plans to seek other opportunities in the private sector. Prior to his work with the LPT, Benedict owned a custom countertop manufacturing company. "Wes was the single person most responsible for our unprecedented success over the last four years," said state chair Pat Dixon. "Robert has big shoes to fill, but we feel we selected an excellent candidate."

Benedict commented, "I really enjoyed my time as the LPT's executive director, and I hope that our strong growth over the past four years will continue into the future."

Arthur DiBianca will continue working with the LPT as its operations manager.

The LPT began recruiting for the executive director position in October 2008, and received nine applicants in a nationwide search (2 from Washington DC, 1 from Nebraska, 1 from Louisiana, and 5 from Texas). The state executive committee formally selected Butler in December, to begin work on January 1, 2009.

High-resolution photos of Pat Dixon and the staff are available here.

Pat Dixon, LPT chair

Robert Butler, LPT executive director


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