Retiree throws himself into push for state sovereignty
South Washington County Bulletin ^ | 4-28-09 | Patricia Drey Busse
Posted on Tuesday, April 28, 2009 10:55:46 AM by AmericanHunter
Leon Moe said he’s always been a patriot.
The Cottage Grove resident’s definition of what that means, though, has changed a lot.
Forty years ago, when he was fighting with the U.S. Army in Vietnam, it meant following the U.S. government’s orders.
Leon Moe, a Vietnam veteran, is now lobbying state legislators to pass a bill that declares Minnesota a sovereign state. Moe will speak at the Constitution Party of Minnesota’s Liberty Banquet April 25.
Now, it means lobbying legislators at the state Capitol to assert Minnesota’s sovereignty, a move that would allow the state to claim exclusion from unfunded federal mandates on 10th Amendment grounds.
“I’m convinced without a doubt that if the founders of this great country were to show up today and see what kind of a government we the people have allowed to happen here, they would be embarrassed,” Moe said. “We’d have to give them heavy doses of antidepressant medication because they would just be mourning.”
Moe, who is a retired trucking administrator, said he was never involved in politics, and never associated himself with a particular political party.
Then, about a year ago, during presidential primary season, Moe started seeing yard signs pop up here and there for Ron Paul.
His curiosity was piqued. He did some research on Paul and liked what he read, and so he attended the Ron Paul rally held last September at the Target Center, which went on at the same time as the Republican National Convention in St. Paul.
It was Moe’s first time attending any sort of political convention.
“He was to me one of the greatest inspirations as far as a political figure that ever existed,” Moe said. “I think the guy’s a true American hero.”
Inspired and motivated by Paul’s U.S. Constitution-based philosophy, Moe looked for a Ron Paul group on Meetup.com, and when he couldn’t find one nearby, he started his own.
The group attracted many staunch Republicans who wanted to rebuild the party, but Moe said that isn’t his aim.
“My thoughts are, how do you rebuild something using the same corrupt materials?” he said.
So when Paul endorsed the Constitution Party’s presidential candidate, Chuck Baldwin, Moe got in touch with the leaders of the Constitution Party of Minnesota. He started attending meetings last December, and in February, he and three other Constitution Party activists met in the State Office Building to seek out a legislator that would author a bill declaring Minnesota a sovereign state.
Sovereignty would mean that state leaders could opt out of programs like No Child Left Behind, and could choose not to send troops to fight in the Iraq war. The federal government could try to withhold money from the state in response, but the state could also withhold money it turns over to the federal government, Moe said, citing an essay by Colorado State Sen. Charles Duke.
“It’s just so simplistic, like it was meant to be,” Moe said.
The group of four was successful in getting Minnesota House Minority Leader Marty Seifert, R-Marshall, to author the legislation. A week later, House File 997 was ready to move through the committee process.
“It just kind of blew me away to think that ‘Wow, this is actually going to happen here,’” Moe said.
About 40 legislators have signed on to the bill, but Democrats control both the Minnesota House and Senate, and no DFLers are currently supporting it.
Moe said they’re now hoping the bill can be added on as an amendment to another piece of legislation.
As part of the group’s efforts to garner support for the bill, Moe created the Web site mnsovereignty.org, which he designed himself and pays to host.
Moe got a diploma from Globe College in Web design at age 55, and now designs sites as a hobby. He’s currently working on establishing Facebook and Twitter pages for the sovereignty cause.
He’s speaking April 25th at the Constitution Party of Minnesota’s annual Liberty Banquet, his first time speaking before a large group, he said.
Moe said being so active in the cause excites him, but he said his wife has looked at his foray into politics with some skepticism, mostly due to his health.
He was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes two weeks after he got out of the army, and has suffered from convulsive insulin reactions about once a month until very recently.
In December, Moe became the first veteran in the metro area to try out a new continuous glucose monitor made by Medtronic and since then, he’s only had one reaction.