Good Morning, Veterans Party of America, and all of America,

Today, December 19, 2014, we celebrate one year since the founding of the Veterans Party of America. It has been an unprecedented, historical first year for our party, for voters, and for America.

Here is our first year in review:

One year ago, Congress was voting to pass the Ryan-Murray Budget Bill. This bill infuriated many Veterans due to the cuts in benefits. Our co-founders (myself and John Dennis III) were discussing the bill when we realized this bill not only cut Veterans who are used to sacrificing for our nation, but it also cut the Cost of Living Allowance for those Veterans who were so seriously wounded from injuries sustained in combat that they were medically retired.

Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI) stated that military retirees were young enough to get another job. Congress passed a Budget without taking into full consideration as to who it affected. Many of these “elected representatives” were Veterans, even disabled Veterans. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) was one of them, as was Congresswoman Duckworth (D-IL). Both Veterans, Congresswoman Duckworth being the first female double amputee from the War in Iraq, and Senator McCain was a POW during the Vietnam War.

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If these heroes, who had left body parts on foreign soil, could be cut, we asked ourselves who else could be targeted. We realized that there was not a political party formed by the people, for ALL the people. Sadly, we have watched other groups begin to be targeted since then. We just witnessed Senator McCain broker to give, a foreign mining corporation sacred Native American lands. These lands belonged to US Citizens, and are sacred. To guarantee its passage, it was slipped into the National Defense Authorization Act as a rider.

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We formed the Veterans Party of America, as a solution based, Centrist party which would strive to represent all Americans. We agreed that any candidates would hold their allegiance first to the Constitution of the United States of America, then to their constituents-all of them, not just the ones who voted for them or contributed to their campaign. Our candidates would have no loyalty to the party itself, only agreeing to be held accountable by the party for any violations of their oath to the Constitution or to the public trust, given to them by their constituents. We agreed that our party would only run candidates and campaigns which would inspire voters to vote FOR a candidate, allowing them to stop voting AGAINST a candidate.

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From the outset, we were told that a new political party would take decades to move forward. We were led to believe we would maybe have only a thousand members by the end of our first year, and only the two states which we are from (California and Florida). Researched showed that only a handful of parties ever one candidate their first year, and few have more than one. Historical voting records showed third parties, especially new parties, rarely received over 3% of the vote in a three way race. We learned that it takes years to reach a point where we are registering voters under our own party name. It normally takes a new political party 5 years, or more, to gain recognized political party status in any state.

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Today, exactly a year later, we have almost 28,000 people on our National Party Facebook page. On Facebook, we have passed the American Independent Party, the Reform Party, the Modern Whig Party, the Independent American Party, the Socialist Party USA, the Constitution Party, and the Peace and Freedom Party (all in ascending order of followers). We now only trail the Communist Party USA, the Green Party, the Libertarian party, the Democrats, and the Republicans. Only the After Party started about the same time we formed. All of the parties ahead of us have been in existence for no less than 30 years.

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But Facebook is only an indicator, not an accurate reflection of any accomplishments.

We currently have active, state party teams formed in 40 states (the Veterans Party of America redefined an active state party as a state which has either filed for, or is filing for federally recognized political party status-known as a 527 status). Only 3 states have not been activated (Hawaii, South Dakota, and Utah). We need leaders to step forward in those states. The National Party received its approved 527 status in early February of 2014.

Team VPA is currently registering voters in Alaska, California, and Delaware. We are on the verge of reaching recognized status in those states. To be fully recognized, as an equal political party in those states, we only require approximately 7,000 more voters to register in Alaska, 600 more in Delaware, and 100,000 more in California (California has 1.9 million Veterans and almost 20 million registered voters). We are mere weeks away from full recognized party status in Mississippi.

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There are many states with draconian laws passed by Democratic and Republican lawmakers, meant to stop other parties from ever gaining equal recognized status. Traditionally, third parties have filed lawsuits in federal court, and won, only to have the exact portion of the law changed, but not to meet the intent. Then the process begins again. We have a plan.

During the 2014 election cycle, we had 11 candidates run for office, filed under the respective laws of their state. While only one candidate won a State Senate seat, we learned some extremely valuable lessons:

Our United States Congressional candidates from Maine received at least 10% of the vote in a three way race. One, Blaine Richardson, was invited to the debate-a first for any third party in a race for the US House of Representatives. These outstanding results, 3 times the historical outcome for similar races, could primarily be attributed to the VPA Clean Campaign Rule. Our candidates did not use any smear tactics, and only spoke of the opponents’ voting records if they held office previously. Our candidates did not counter attack the attempts against them, but focused on the way forward, and solutions. This greatly increased voter confidence.

Our State Legislature candidate in Montana lost to a deep pocket Democrat by a mere 29 votes in a two way race (this outcome is still contested in court due to extreme evidence brought forward of possible election fraud). We learned from this race, and from finding that almost a thousand legislature seats (State and Federal) across America went unopposed, that we should focus on uncontested races and make them two way races.

At this time, our Candidate Team is going through over a hundred emails, and setting up a tracking mechanism that will allow us to identify unopposed races in the potential candidates’ districts, and plug them in. If you would like to be a candidate for the VPA, please Contact Us.

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We held our first Central Committee meeting over Labor Day weekend, utilizing online meeting resources. Over three days, we held National Executive Committee elections, we then hammered out the party constitution and bylaws during the ratification process. The results of these efforts, posted on our website, were the work of true Americans.

Our party has zero career politicos in leadership roles, or as advisors. Our Platform Committee was formed by volunteers not holding office in the party. Americans just like you and I. The two platform committees met for a period over a month each, to bring us our present platform, and the one for our next Central Committee meeting vote.

Everything we achieved in 2014 was without a budget. The leaders of the VPA are all average Americans and funded everything we accomplished, except the candidate campaigns, out of their own pockets.

Several of our National Leaders traveled across America to meet with thousands of Americans and VPA State Leaders, all on their own dime. Not a single dollar of donated money was withdrawn for anything other than printing membership cards and postal related expenses. No leader of the VPA receives a salary, stipend, reimbursement, or any other form of compensation for their duties. We are all volunteers.

Our 2015 budget does not provide for a salary of any leadership, nor does our party constitution or bylaws. The bulk of our 2015 budget is earmarked for advertising.

If our members have not noticed, we never once ask for a donation to the party. Instead, we are earning them by moving this party forward.

None of this would have been possible without an excellent team of dedicated, volunteer leaders across this party, and all of the members of the Veterans Party of America. I would like to personally thank each and every leader in this party for their efforts at the National, State, and County level. If you would like to become a leader in this party, please message us. We have openings at State and County level.

I will end this with a heartfelt thank you to those Team VPA members who have sent in solutions for our platform, names of candidates, and the many ways to make this party better. It is because of each one of you that we are where we are now. This is OUR party.

In closing, it has been a wonderful, successful year. Enjoy your holiday seasons, be safe and remember that we want to see each and every one of you back after the New Year.

Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, Mele Kalikimaka, Seasons’ Greetings, Habari gani, Happy Holidays, Frohe Weihnachten, Feliz Navidad, and a Happy New Year.

Mark Wilder

National Chair

Veterans Party of America