at the National Coffee Party Convention

The national Coffee Party held its first convention in Louisville, Kentucky the weekend of September 24-26 entitled Restoring American Democracy and was invited to be a sponsor of the event by Coffee Party founder Annabel Park.  In these times of political upheaval, we're happy to have the opportunity to talk with and work in coalition with others who want to do something about the extreme partisanship of our political process and to report on the important fights independents are waging for political reform around the country.



Michael Lewis of Independent Kentucky and Gwen Mandell, national coordinator of conducted a workshop on “The Rise of Independent Voter.” In their presentations, Lewis and Mandell gave participants a taste of some of the important fights for open primaries that independents are currently engaged in around the country, from the fight to get a bill passed in the legislature led by Lewis in Kentucky, to Idaho where independents have intervened on the Republicans’ attempt to close the primaries, to California where “Declined to State Voters” made it clear that they’re sick and tired of the parties being in control, by voting resoundingly for Proposition 14 this past June. 

This was a room full of Coffee Party activists, looking for ways to organize in their areas. Attendees had an engaged dialogue about the challenges of taking on partisan politics, asking questions about their states and sharing their thoughts on political reform. Mandell and Lewis showed a video on open primaries, signed up attendees to’s national conference call and met a number of people who are interested in participating in independent politics in their states.

The workshop was livestreamed and can be viewed here




Later that evening, Lewis was a panelist on a Transpartisan Dialogue moderated by Joseph McCormick, founder of the Transpartisan Alliance.  The panel included Coffee Party founder Annabel Park, Eliza Bautista (progressive blogger), Mark McKinnon, (Republican strategist), and Larry Lessig (Professor of Law at Harvard Law School).  Lewis’ spoke about the independent movement that’s bridging the gap between Left and Right, and creating a new way of doing politics. He said, “There’s more to think about than black and white, Republican & Democrat. Everyone wants a decent life, to raise family, retire, the common good, that’s what’s missing – an opportunity for us to grow and move along.  There’s a new movement that’s starting to come together and it has the elected officials worried.”

The Transpartisan dialogue can be viewed here