ST. GEORGE – Cliven Bundy, the Nevada rancher at the center of a controversial standoff between federal agents and states’ rights supporters earlier this year, will be speaking at the Independent American Party’s summit in St. George Saturday.
The 67-year-old Bunkerville, Nevada, resident has become a hero to some and a villain to others for the events surrounding the April 12 showdown between the Bureau of Land Management and Bundy supporters that included armed militia. Despite heightening tensions between both sides, ultimately no shots were fired and no one was injured.
Details of the standoff between Bundy Ranch supporters and the BLM can be found here.
Kelly Gneiting, National Chairman of the American Independent Party, said he didn’t anticipate Bundy’s presence causing any trouble at the summit.
“We’re a political party. We’re out to get along with people,” he said.
In the early days of the BLM-Bundy confrontation, Gneiting said his party was among the first groups to take a stance in support of Bundy’s position. “When injustice becomes law, rebellion becomes duty,” he said, paraphrasing a quote originally attributed to Thomas Jefferson.
However, Gneiting added that the Independent American Party, while passionate about its message of freedom and restoring the Constitution, does not support anti-government extremism. “That’s not who we are,” he said.
Instead, the party supports dealing with what it sees as political injustice and constitutional erosion by working within the system instead of outside of it, Gneiting said.
Bundy will be speaking at the end of the day-long summit. He will be discussing the “Improper Role of Government,” according to the summit’s agenda.
Former Graham County, Arizona, Sheriff Richard Mack, of the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, will also be speaking at the summit held at the Lexington Hotel, 850 Bluff Street in St. George.
Before Mack and Bundy speak, however, Independent American Party officers and candidates running for federal and state-level offices will address the summit attendees beginning at 10 a.m.
In the afternoon leading up to Mack and Bundy, short presentations concerning issues like the Federal Reserve and Common Core will be given.
Candidates include Nihla Judd, running for Utah House District 75 (currently held by Rep. Don Ipson, R-St. George); Leslie Curtis, running for Utah Attorney General; Wayne L. Hill, running for Utah’s Second Congressional District, among others.
The summit is free to the public. The agenda can be found here.
About the Independent American Party
“We are about restoring the Constitution in the tradition of the Founding Fathers,” Gneiting said.
The National Independent American Party was founded in Utah in 1998, with its beginnings reaching back to 1993. According to the party’s website, the party’s creators were seeking a “truly” conservative party and were inspired by a speech given by former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Ezra Taft Benson titled “The Proper Role of Government.” The speech outlines 15 points what Benson’s describes of government’s “proper role,” which also serve as the foundation of the party’s ideals.
“The Independent American Party’s objective is to express and advocate independence,” the party states on its website. “This is in contrast to dependence and political systems which deprive the American citizen of their God-given inalienable rights.”
The party’s mission, as posted on its Facebook page:
To promote: respect for life, liberty and property; strong traditional families; patriotism; and individual, state and national sovereignty – with a strong reliance on the Declaration of Independence and allegiance to the Constitution for the United States of America – by petition to God and by political and educational means.
The party places a great deal of emphasis on having God involved in its activities, Gneiting said.
“If you’re a party and don’t involve God, you’re kicking against the pricks and laboring in vain,” he said, adding neither the Republican or Democrat parties involve God much, and thus aren’t accomplishing much in return.
Party members are spread across the county and also work with like-minded political groups.
- Independent American Party website
- Independent American Party Facebook page
- “Proper Role of Government” speech by Ezra Taft Benson
- When: 10 a.m., Saturday, Aug. 2
- Where: The Lexington Hotel, 850 Bluff St., St. George
- Admission: Free to the public
- Summit agenda: here
- Right or wrong, controversy surrounding Cliven Bundy continues
- Bundy calls on sheriffs to disarm federal agencies; STGnews Videocast
- Range war: BLM withdraws from Clark County, cattle released after standoff; Photo gallery
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