Here is WAMU 88.5 AM’s Eve Harder with her radio report on Liberty Toastmasters:

Aaron Fitzgerald is president of the Liberty Toastmasters club.

Aaron Fitzgerald is president of the Liberty Toastmasters club.

After most staffers have left the Russell Senate building for the day, one group of people hangs around to work on matters a little less legislative: counting ums.

The Liberty Toastmasters club meets two Mondays a month to improve their public speaking skills, and they’re just one of more than 120,000 14,000 [sic] Toastmasters International clubs around the world. Ralph Smedly founded the first club in California in the 1920s, and the organization now has branches in more than 115 countries.

Aaron Fitzgerald, president of the Liberty Toastmasters club, says that its members are from all different professions and mindsets, but most of them do have one thing in common: they’re libertarians.

And just like any other Toastmasters club, Liberty Toastmasters follows the same basic structure.

The designated toastmaster of the evening calls the meeting to order, and evaluators, grammarians, and um counters all offer to play critic.

This is all standard procedure for any Toastmasters International chapter. But at Liberty Toastmasters, members have a platform to advocate for libertarian efforts and libertarian ideals.

Libertarians need effective public speakers

Romina Boccia works at a D.C. think tank that requires her to articulate why social security forms are needed. But she also believes she can use toastmasters to push the libertarian movement forward. Continue reading

Originally published in The Huffington Post by Arin Greenwood:

WASHINGTON — Aaron Fitzgerald used to help coordinate a group called Liberty on the Rocks.

“A monthly happy hour,” he says. “It’s a group of liberty-minded folks coming together and partaking in happy hour functions.”

One day, Fitzgerald’s co-organizer made a radical proposal. “He had the idea that maybe we shouldn’t have just alcohol all the time,” he says. “And I thought that was a great idea.”

Fitzgerald’s newer endeavor is alcohol free (albeit with a boozy name) and is composed in a way that could seem oddly regimented, and maybe even ironically located, for people who value freedom and small government. It’s a libertarian-oriented Toastmasters group that meets twice per month, in a U.S. Senate meeting room.

Toastmasters International, you may know, is an organization founded by Ralph C. Smedley in 1924, to help California men develop their speaking skills.

Now open to women (as of 1973) and those who aren’t in California (as of much, much sooner than 1973), there are, according to Toastmasters International’s website, 13,500 Toastmasters clubs around the world at which 280,000 members give impromptu and prepared speeches of various lengths, and also watch and critique others’ speeches, working on their leadership and oratory skills in ways that comport with the organization’s many manuals and exercise books. Continue reading