TAMPA -- Marianne Stebbins told a national audience of Ron Paul supporters Sunday that that they must engage the political process without becoming beholden to it.

“Our goal is not political power, our goal is to live free,” Stebbins said to thunderous applause. “When politics becomes the goal, we have lost the mission.”

Stebbins, who is chairwoman of Paul’s campaign in Minnesota, was a featured speaker at a Ron Paul rally at University of South Florida that drew thousands of devotees of the Libertarian-leaning Texas Congressman.

The only Minnesotan to speak at the rally, Stebbins talked about the movements’ scrappy origins in Minnesota, growing from obscurity to becoming a driving force in state Republican politics.

She described the Paul uprising beginning when many “introverts and nerds crawled out of their parents basements” and got involved once they awakened to the alarming amount of government intrusion in their lives.

A longtime GOP activist who also helped Ron Paul delegates negotiate for a prominent position at the Republican National Convention, Stebbins said Paul’s limited-government teachings inspired a simmering revolution that will increasingly change the political dialogue from city hall to the White House.

“That message grows stronger, farther and wider each year,” she said. “Where there was one man carrying the message along, there are now thousands and perhaps millions of us speaking the message.”

She talked about Paul supporters first getting active five years ago in Minnesota, becoming friends first, then allies.

The Paul supporters helped each others' businesses, set up Ham Radios and began “drinking raw milk from each others' farms.”

“The overriding thing we had in common was that we wanted to live free,” she said.


As the message grows louder, elected leaders will abide by their calls for less government intrusion, Stebbins said.

“Our goal is not to win elections so we can have the power people to make live by our will,” she said. “We must change the hearts and minds of our neighbors, and then the politics will follow.”