Modern Whigs Gain Political Momentum in N.M.

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One young political activist from Moriarty is the state chairman of one of the country's up-and-coming political parties, the Modern Whig Party.

Caleb Rice, who'll turn 21 next month, grew up in a household where it was basically a sin to vote Republican. It wasn't until the 2008 presidential election that Rice turned away from the Democratic party.

"I got caught up in all the Obama hype," he said. "He promised to change things and come to find out, never told us what the change was going to be. It didn't turn out the way anybody hoped."

It was in his spare time surfing Wikipedia that he came across an article about the Modern Whig Party.

The Modern Whig Party is based on the views of the original Whig Party, established in 1833. The modern party was revived by Iraq and Afghanistan veterans at the end of 2005, according to the party's Web site.

The party's general principles are fiscal responsibility, ending corruption in government, national defense and educational and scientific advancement.

Within the past 18 months, the party has gotten a lot of momentum, Rice said. The moderate party attracted nearly 30,000 members, according to news reports.

He became chairman of the state party in late May after contacting the national chairman asking how he could get involved.

The party's largest demographic is active duty servicemen and women ages 18-30, but the party's goal is to meet in the middle of the political spectrum, Rice said. The party seems to attract Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives alike, Rice said.

Right now, he's working to organize the party in New Mexico and get registration numbers up. There are about 27 New Mexicans who are officially members of the party, but Rice said countless others have contacted him wanting more information.

"Our biggest goal is to fight corruption in government, which seems to be on the local, state and federal level," Rice said. "Elected officials seem to forget who they're working for."

Rice's answer to bringing accountability back in government is to give citizens an active voice in policymaking decisions.

"One of the first steps to correct the problem is having more public oversight," Rice said. "It seems like they think can do anything they want and don't have anyone to answer to anyone."

He believes in having term limits for New Mexico's legislators to avoid career politicians.

"Some people have been in office so long that they don't remember what it's like to live like an average citizen and become out of touch," Rice said.

The party will be backing Adam Kokesh, who is running as a Republican, for New Mexico's Third Congressional District seat.

"We're backing candidates who might not be of our party but represent our philosophy," he said. "We plan on running a few quality campaigns to get word out and get people elected."

The Modern Whig Party is also interested in what New Mexicans think the problems are and ideas for tackling them, Rice said.

"We want active dialogue between citizens and the powers that be," he said.

Anyone wanting more information about the Modern Whig Party, or to voice their opinions is asked to e-mail Rice at newmexico@modernwhig.org.