Written by Heather Gwynn
Follow Heather on Twitter at @starlasworld
Derek Ryan was born and raised in Orlando Florida. He grew up in a Republican family, but he never liked the perpetual wars. He quickly realized that the GOP was NOT fiscally conservative, which turned him away from the party even more. Looking for someone he more closely aligned with, Derek discovered Ron Paul in 2010, but ended up voting for Gary Johnson in 2012 when Ron Paul didn’t get the nomination. Derek changed his voter registration to Libertarian in 2014 and supported Adrian Wyllie for Governor of FL. He supported Gary Johnson again in 2016, after Austin Petersen lost the nomination. Derek is a member of the LPFL and the National Libertarian Party.
Derek is the Business Development Manager for a commercial landscape company called Omegascapes. He has an awesome son who is 14 years old, and in July of this year, Derek is getting married to his fiancée, Kristine.
Derek is passionate about classic Volkswagens, and he spends his free time restoring and building them.
LV (Liberty Viral): How did you get introduced to the liberty movement, and when did you get actively involved?
Derek: I stumbled onto Ron Paul in 2010, voted for Gary in 2012… Switched voter registration to LP in 2014, and voted for Adrian Wyllie for Gov of FL. I was all in to support Rand Paul in 2016, and then found Austin Petersen when Rand dropped out. Then I joined the Freedom Ninja team and worked security detail for Austin at the national convention. I got involved with Gary Johnson campaign in Orlando, and recently became the chair of the Libertarian Party of Orange County, FL
LV: What cause is most important to you within the movement?
Derek: I absolutely think Economics is a priority right now… because we are $20 trillion in debt. Nothing else will matter if we are owned by China. End the Federal Reserve and IRS… and free the damn market already.
LV: Who is your liberty role model and why?
Derek: That’s easy… Jesus was a true Libertarian and voluntaryist
LV: In your opinion, which active Libertarian is most influential, and why?
Derek: That’s a tough one… so, I will just mention some that I admire most: Larry Sharpe, Austin Petersen, C Michael Pickens, Jason Stapleton, Justin Amash, Thomas Massie
LV: How would you approach someone who is showing an initial interest in Libertarianism?
Derek: In Orlando, we have learned to find common ground with anyone interested in our ideals. Most Libertarians like to argue about who is more pure and principled, but this is a stupid way to market our ideas. I look for things we can agree on, build trust, and take it from there.
LV: What is the first book you would tell someone who is interested in the LP to read?
Derek: Well… the only one I have actually finished so far is Revolution by Ron Paul… and, naturally, I would recommend it to everyone.
LV: What do you like most about being involved in the LP?
Derek: The people. We are all trying hard to steer this ship back towards Liberty together, and we all bring our own unique perspectives to the table.
LV: If you could eliminate one Government agency, which would it be and why?
Derek: I would eliminate the Drug Enforcement Agency and declassify/legalize all drugs for adults.
LV: What plans do you have to grow the party in 2017?
Derek: We have an impressive team assembled in Orange County, FL, and we are gaining lots of momentum. Our focus has been to create organized structure and a positive culture that is welcoming to all. We have teamed up with the local Green Party affiliates to work together on issues we agree on. I am also engaging with the LPF to assist with marketing a simpler message that will attract new members.
LV: What words of advice would you give to other Libertarians on how to get involved in the party, locally and nationally?
Derek: Turn your computer off, get in your car, and drive to a Libertarian event and meet people in person. If you don’t have any close by, start a MeetUp group or a local affiliate. Do something besides being a keyboard warrior. It is far more rewarding.
LV: What is your favorite book?
Derek: The Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice. I literally wanted to be a Vampire after reading Lestat.
LV: Alright Derek, these are some really great answers. Let’s switch it up a bit, and talk about some lighter stuff. What is the last book you read?
Derek: Revolution by Ron Paul.
LV: What is your favorite genre of music?
Derek: Haha, nice try. I can’t pick just one. Old school hip hop, break beats, 90’s alternative rock, 80’s new wave and industrial, and even country, (check out my buddy Michael Ray’s music!!)
LV: Which band do you think has the most libertarian message?
Derek: Hmm… maybe Tupac?
LV: If you could spend an hour with any human to ever exist, alive or dead, who would it be and why?
Derek: I want to smoke a bowl with Jesus.
LV: If you were to get rid of one state in the U.S., which would it be and why?
Derek: That’s easy… the Welfare State.
LV: If you were stranded on a deserted island, what are 3 things you would want with you, and why?
Derek: My sexy fiancé, Kristine, lots of water, and a boat with paddles.
LV: How do you define success and how do you measure it?
Derek: Balancing health, prosperity, and happiness with those that I love the most.
LV: How do you feel about safe spaces?
Derek: Your only safe space is your private property.
LV: What are your thoughts on “The Pussification of America?”
Derek: Stop it… just stop. Grow a fucking pair and get over yourself. Stop trying to legislate safety over Liberty.