Arizona Libertarian Party
Mike "Mikester" Shipley is a long-time libertarian activist, and current Secretary of the Arizona Libertarian Party.
Mike’s professional background is in aerospace manufacturing and office management, but he became enthusiastic for advocacy work in the years following 9/11. Like many Americans he felt a newfound sense of urgency to engage with the political process in a more meaningful way.
After working through MoveOn.org in 2006 to help take back Congress for Democrats, Mike’s political awakening progressed and he founded the Phoenix Pink Pistols, a chapter of the nationwide advocacy and shooting club for LGBT people in 2007. Initially hoping only to connect with others for practice shooting and motivated by a mistrust of duopoly narratives, his new chapter members promptly introduced him to the philosophy of individual liberty that is the lifeblood of libertarian politics.
This was a pivotal moment ideologically for Mike, who had always felt excluded by mainstream narratives both as a gay man, and as a free spirit and non-conformist. Here was a set of ideas that truly connected in a deep, personal way with his sense of identity and lived experience. Shortly thereafter, Ron Paul’s 2008 presidential campaign took center stage. Mike attended his first Libertarian Party national convention as a delegate in Denver, CO that year and there was no turning back.
In 2011, a new wave of populist energy swept Mike and many others up in the antiestablishment spirit of Occupy Wall Street. This exposed him to a more strident challenge to the status quo than even Ron Paul had introduced, and this was another turning point. Seeing the power of a vision rooted in a strong commitment to a radically egalitarian worldview, his current brand of transformational work began to take shape.
In 2012, the aftermath of Occupy Phoenix saw Mike working with both radicals and reformers on projects like the Campaign to Legalize Urban Kamping, a city level ballot initiative to repeal the urban campaign ordinance and Arizona Prison Watch, an abolitionist project to provide inmate correspondence and legal support even as his personal life took a turn through recovery from a serious health condition.
In 2013, he stepped into the role of Secretary of Outright Libertarians. In 2014, at the Libertarian National Convention in Columbus, OH he was elected Chair of the organization in addition to founding the Povertarian Caucus, a voice for fiscally disadvantaged libertarians which advocates for a more inclusive and positive messaging frame for liberated markets and maintains the Povertarian Empowerment Fund to enable low income libertarians to travel to conventions and be represented in party decisions as delegates.
In 2016, Mike was reelected as Chair of Outright Libertarians and participated in founding the Audacious Caucus, which stands for freedom of expression and the dignity of non-conforming identities, and currently sits on its steering committee, the Shadow LNC. He was also elected Secretary of the Maricopa County Libertarian Party.
In 2017, Mike was elected Secretary of the Arizona Libertarian Party. He also participated in founding the Libertarian Socialist Caucus, which gives voice to individualist philosophies inspired by thinkers from minority left libertarian traditions which predate the modern Libertarian Party. He also chaired the #Refer2404 referendum campaign that challenged an act of the Arizona legislature.
- Secretary (current)
- Secretary (current)
- LNC Alternate (2016)
National Convention Delegate