REASON Profile: Fran Youngstein


If awards for verve and creativity were given to organizations, then the Free Libertarian Party (FLP) of New York would surely win: their political campaigns and candidates have been consistently energetic, stylish, and media-attracting, a good example being the 1973 New York City mayoral campaign of Fran Youngstein As the first woman ever to run for mayor of New York Ms. Youngstein received more media attention than is usual for third party candidates and she proved equal to the opportunity, garnering favorable coverage from such diverse sources as the New York Times, columnist Nicholas von Hoffman, and Screw Magazine, receiving a total of 8818 votes (about equal to the combined votes of the other four minor parties). Not bad for a political neophyte.

Born in 1943, Ms. Youngstein has been a resident of New York City most of her life, graduating from the Bronx High School of Science in 1960. At Syracuse University she majored in mathematics, graduating cum laude in January 1964. In March 1964 she joined IBM as a systems engineer, and is now a staff instructor teaching marketing techniques to new sales employees at IBM's Data Processing Division. Ms. Youngstein's interests include skiing, sunbathing, running for office, gardening, and knitting—"depending on the season"—and she is a principal in Ad Lib, Inc., an advertising and media-oriented enterprise that grew out of the Youngstein for Mayor committee to take advantage of the expertise developed by the participants in that campaign.

Ms. Youngstein's involvement in libertarianism was started by her reading Ayn Rand's works, then attending a conference sponsored by the New York Libertarian Alliance. She became actively involved in the FLP during their early petition drives and in 1972 she founded and was chairperson of the Libertarian Abortion Action Group (LAAG) a now-defunct organization established to work for the repeal of laws forbidding abortion. She was persuaded to accept the mayoral candidacy when it was pointed out to her that she could accomplish much more towards abortion reform via the public forum available to candidates than she ever could by chairing an organization.

In addition to her work with LAAG and the 1973 campaign Ms. Youngstein was a delegate to both the 1973 and 1974 National Libertarian Party Conventions and was a member of the 1974 Credentials Committee. She is currently a member-at-large of both the FLP State Committee and the LP National Executive Committee.