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VENTURA COUNTY ROUNDUP | Newbury Park

Reform Party Leader Resigns

September 01, 2000|DAVID KELLY

The founder of the state's Reform Party chapter and leader of its presidential nominations committee resigned from the party Thursday, saying it cannot get candidates elected.

Michael Farris of Newbury Park said he had been thinking of quitting the party, founded by Ross Perot in 1992, for some time.

"I had a responsibility to finish the process and I did that," Farris said of his tenure as chairman of the nominations committee. "I was ready to go before the Long Beach convention. I don't think the Reform Party can ever get its candidates elected."

Farris, a 31-year-old space scientist, had been charged with ensuring the presidential nominating process would be fair at the convention. But nothing went as planned, he said.

The raucous convention split into two separate events, each nominating its own candidate for president. One group nominated physicist John Hagelin while the other selected conservative commentator Pat Buchanan.

Farris refused to vote for either man.

Now he is deciding which major party to join.

The former Republican said he could feel at home in either, but he wants to bring the issues he's most passionate about with him.

They include campaign finance reform, a simpler tax code and paying down the national debt.

"I want to be constructive," he said.

Farris founded the California Reform Party in 1995 and was its chairman for two years.

"During that time I thought about the Reform Party every 15 minutes," he said. "It was mentally draining."

Farris is a Thousand Oaks planning commissioner and once ran unsuccessfully for an Assembly seat against Republican Tony Strickland. Farris is director of business development at Elanix Corp. in Westlake Village.

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