#IAmUnitedLiberty: Matthew Hurtt’s fight to advance liberty within the GOP

Matthew Hurtt, I Am United Liberty

Note: This is the first in a series of profiles of UL contributors and how they became involved in the “liberty movement.” Share your story on Twitter using the hashtag #IAmUnitedLiberty.

This was actually much harder to write than I imagined.

The goal of this profile and the others we’re going to showcase on UL this week is to show readers the different ways we’ve all gotten involved in the fight for liberty. Everyone comes to this movement with different experiences, from different backgrounds, and with different goals.

Some want to win elections; some want to change the GOP; some want to educate.

I remember always having “weird” political views. Growing up in a conservative Southern Baptist church, I remember being confronted about my opposition to the Iraq War in the early 2000s. I remember voting against the marriage amendment in the 2006 elections in Tennessee. But I didn’t know what the philosophy was.

Two things helped me realize that I am a libertarian.

I ran for local office at age 19 in 2006. While on the campaign trail, a man named Clarence Jaeger gave me a copy of Frederic Bastiat’s The Law, an essay on the role of government. Clarence has since passed away, but I will always be grateful for his gift. It allowed me to define my beliefs as to what I thought the size and scope of government should be.

The second happened in late 2007: Ron Paul’s first money bomb. I remember looking for a Presidential candidate I could get behind, and I discovered Ron Paul. His views on limited government, foreign policy, and monetary policy intrigued me. Like many who came to the “R3VOLution” in 2007 and 2008, I engaged in grassroots activities that I laugh about now.

During this time, I was also engaged on campus at Middle Tennessee State University. I wrote for my college paper, had a radio talk show with my best friend, and served in student government.

In the community, I was brash and abrasive. I was combative within the local Republican Party because I didn’t agree with them. I’ve since learned to play the game.

In 2009, I was offered an opportunity to move to the D.C.-area to work for the Leadership Institute to organize college students across the country. I used that opportunity to communicate the message of liberty to other students who, like me, were looking for direction. I helped start a string of Young Americans for Liberty chapters across Kentucky. YAL is an offshoot of the “Youth for Ron Paul” movement from the 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns.

Many of those Kentucky YAL members went on to help Rand Paul get elected to the Senate the following year.

While at the Leadership Institute, I began training grassroots activists. To date, I’ve trained thousands of liberty-minded grassroots conservatives across the country, and it’s something I still dedicate my time to today.

In 2012, I had the opportunity to serve as a “Ron Paul-supporting, Mitt Romney-bound” delegate to the Republican National Convention in Tampa. That experience further convinced me that libertarians must work within the GOP to advance our goals.

I currently serve as the Chairman of the largest Young Republican group in Virginia. And I’m seeing just how much the work of countless thousands of liberty activists within the GOP is paying off.

Since the 2012 Republican National Convention, I’ve volunteered as an aide to Morton Blackwell, Virginia’s Republican National Committeeman. In that capacity, I’m seeing first-hand how the Republican National Committee functions and developing relationships with top Republican officials across the country. I am truly grateful for this opportunity.

Along the way, I’ve written editorials and commentary relating to liberty issues. I’ve been published at Reason and other outlets, have appeared on domestic and international television programs, and have used these outlets to advance our cause.

Additionally, I’ve taken every opportunity at rallies, protests, and other public events to advance the cause of liberty. At tea party rallies from 2009 to now, I’ve taken the free-market, pro-liberty message to attendees and to the press. At Occupy Wall Street and other left-wing protests, I’ve used the opportunities to “hijack” their left-wing message with a pro-liberty message.

Each of these instances has strengthened my commitment to advancing liberty: by recruiting and training new activists, by empowering those in our movement, and by advancing policies within the political realm that help our movement.

I honestly didn’t know what I was going to do after college. And this movement has really given me the opportunity to impact the political process and given me purpose. I have made many friends, and I am encouraged by the work we’re doing.

#IAmUnitedLiberty, and I look forward to hearing the stories of other liberty activists. If you’d like to share your story with UL, write to us at info-at-unitedliberty(dot)org or use the hashtag #IAmUnitedLiberty on Twitter.

The views and opinions expressed by individual authors are not necessarily those of other authors, advertisers, developers or editors at United Liberty.