By Guy Page
Before his surprise victory in Tuesday’s race for the Vermont Republican nomination for U.S. House, few Vermonters knew anything about Liam Madden. Even most political “insiders” knew only that he was a former U.S. Marine, an advocate for solar power, and a political independent who for some reason had thrown his hat into the GOP’s ring.
Attention intensified after his win, as Republicans wondered about their party’s challenger to Democrat nominee Becca Balint, and also whether they should back #2 finisher Ericka Redic’s decision to make the November 8 election a three way race by running as the Libertarian nominee. And most Republicans were stunned when he told WCAX the day after the election he didn’t want the GOP nomination. A day later he agreed to accept the nomination, but only because he couldn’t run as an independent with no Republican on the ballot.
Who is Liam Madden?
According to his Federal Election Commission filing, he lives in Bellows Falls. In a May, 2022 Vermont Daily Chronicle op-ed, he says he was raised in Stowe and after a disillusioning hitch in the Marine Corps became a leader in the nation’s largest veterans’ anti-war organization. He won an MIT award for climate change innovation. He is a young dad and husband.
According to his Linked In page, he has been the Solar Energy Director at HB Energy Solutions since Feb 2020.
Long before most Vermonters had ever heard of him, Republican U.S. House nominee Liam Madden was well-known in the national media and among anti-war circles for his opposition to the war in Iraq, where (according to his Wikipedia entry, see below) he served for seven months.
He is also the author of a blog post about his experiments on the relationship between human sexual energy and plants.
Madden describes his Vermont childhood on his rebirthdemocracy.com website, republished below verbatim.
1989: Moved to Stowe, Vt at 4 years old after my mother and father decided to re-imagine our family’s life following my father’s recovery from severe addictions and the trauma they caused.
1989-96: I fell in love with Vermont. I spent my childhood catching frogs, causing mischief, tromping into the forest to imagine entire worlds, swinging from trees and jumping off rocks into swimming holes.
1996: My family moved to Stowe Vermont’s polar opposite, a mill town struggling to find an identity – and an economy – now that it didn’t have any mills – Bellows Falls, Vermont
1996-2002: I went from experiencing what it was like to be among the least wealthy families in Vermont’s most affluent town, to being kind of middle of the road in Vermont’s poorest town. I was an abysmal student (except for math) and a bona fide trouble maker in high school. I learned a lot about hard work, focus, and discipline as the captain of the wrestling team. I learned about perseverance, resourcefulness and unconditional love from my mother who worked in, and eventually owned, her own restaurant, and my father who worked as a traveling salesman until he earned a Masters in Social Work.
2002-2005: I joined the US Marine Corps because I knew I needed to grow up before I went to college. The U.S. invaded Iraq while I was in basic training.
While in Iraq I had only a handful of scary experiences. What saddened me most was the look of hatred, fear, and humiliation in the eyes of most of the Iraqis I saw. I could tell they did not want foreign soldiers on their streets. I imagined I’d be an insurgent too if I was in their shoes.
Once, an 18 year old kid in my unit… all machismo and Napoleon complex, shot his machine gun into a car of innocent civilians because they tried to pass our trucks on the road. He did it out of fear and in compliance with his understanding of our rules of engagement. I was so angry and ashamed to be part of this disaster.
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The following is excerpted from the Wikipedia entry about Madden.
Liam Madden is a former United States Marine and a veteran of the Iraq War. Shortly before leaving the military, he founded the Appeal for Redress, an antiwar petition by active-duty U.S. service-members. He subsequently served as a leader of Iraq Veterans Against the War, serving as the Chair of the Board of Directors.
Madden served in the USMC from January 2003 to January 2007, as a Communications Electronics Specialist, attaining the rank of Sergeant. During this time, he deployed to Kuwait, Thailand, Okinawa, Japan, and Korea, and spent seven months in Iraq.
Appeal for Redress
While still in the military, Madden worked with sailor Jonathan Wesley Hutto to write and begin circulation of the Appeal for Redress, taking advantage of a legal right for U.S. military personnel to petition their Congressional representatives. The Appeal, which had been signed by over 2000 active-duty military personnel as of January, 2008, states:
“As a patriotic American proud to serve the nation in uniform, I respectfully urge my political leaders in Congress to support the prompt withdrawal of all American military forces and bases from Iraq. Staying in Iraq will not work and is not worth the price. It is time for U.S. troops to come home.”
The Appeal attracted media coverage from 60 Minutes, NPR, the New York Times, the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, The Nation, and the Army Times, among others.
After the end of his term of service, but while still a member of the Individual Ready Reserve, Madden was investigated by the Marines for his antiwar activities. He was charged with making disloyal statements and with wearing his uniform at a political event, and he was threatened with having his Honorable Discharge status revised to “Other Than Honorable”, which would prevent him from receiving benefits. The Marine Corps dropped its case. [End Wikipedia excerpt].
Idea Sex Lab CEO
According to Madden’s Linked In page, he was CEO of the Idea Sex Lab from Mar 2017 – Mar 2022 – 5 years 1 month. The Idea Sex Lab is a platform for writing, classes, art and events focused on the evolution of cultural and personal narratives. In September 2018, he wrote Experiments with Sexual Energy Meditation- Initial Results and Insights, he described an experiment on the effects of sexual meditation on the growth of plants.