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Libertarian women’s history month: Mary Ruwart

27 Mar

Mary J. Ruwart, PhD (October 16, 1949 – ) is a research scientist and libertarian speaker, writer, and activist. She was a leading candidate for the 2008 Libertarian Party presidential nomination and is the author of the award-winning international bestseller Healing Our World.

Born in Detroit, Ruwart holds an undergraduate degree in biochemistry (BS, 1970), and a graduate degree in biophysics (PhD, 1974) from Michigan State University. After a brief term as an Assistant Professor of Surgery at St. Louis University Medical School, Ruwart spent 19 years as a pharmaceutical research scientist for Upjohn PharmaceuticalsAs a senior research scientist, Dr. Ruwart was involved in developing new therapies for a variety of diseases, including liver cirrhosis and AIDS.
Dr. Ruwart left Upjohn in 1995 to devote her time to consulting and writing. Her communications course for scientists, covering written, oral, and poster presentations has received high praise from attendees. She also provides consulting services for nutraceutical companies, clinical research organizations, and universities.

Between 2003 and 2006, Dr. Ruwart was an adjunct Associate Professor of Biology at the University of North Carolina in Charlotte.  During that time, she served with the Center for Applied and Professional Ethics, designing a medical research ethics course for the University.  Her radical application of ethics to medical regulation, especially regulations regarding pharmaceuticals, has life-and-death-implications.

Dr. Ruwart’s sister, Martie, provided extensive editorial critique to the first (1992) edition of Healing Our World. In 1993, Martie was diagnosed with terminal cancer and became one of Dr. Kevorkian’s patients. In memory of her sister, Dr. Ruwart shares her story with those interested in the ethical issues surrounding assisted suicide in both public (Larry King Radio; The Morton Downey, Jr. Show; Rolanda, etc.) and private forums (e.g., churches, schools, hospice).

Her Internet column, Ask Dr. Ruwart, is a popular feature of the Advocates for Self-Government “Liberator OnLine” e-zine. Her book, Short Answers to the Tough Question, is based on these and other questions she has received over the years.
Dr. Ruwart has worked extensively with the poor through her decade-long efforts to rehabilitate low-income housing in the Kalamazoo area.  She was also an active member of the Kalamazoo Rainforest Action Committee and has been profiled in American Men and Women of Science, Who’s Who in Science and Technology, World Who’s Who of Women, International Leaders of Achievement, Who’s Who of American Women, Community Leaders of North America and several other prestigious biographical works.
Currently, Dr. Ruwart serves as Chair of the International Society for Individual Liberty  and Secretary of the Foundation for a Free Society. She has been an At-Large member of the Libertarian National Committee, served on the Board of both the Heartland Institute (Michigan Chapter) and the Fully Informed Jury Amendment Association .
In 1992, Ruwart published her best-selling book Healing Our World: The Other Piece of the Puzzle (ISBN 0-9632336-2-9); in 2003, the third edition was published, retitled Healing Our World in an Age of Aggression (ISBN 0-9632336-6-1). In the afterword of the third edition of Healing Our World, Ruwart describes the experience of her sister’s death, an assisted suicide facilitated by Jack Kevorkian.
A member of the Libertarian Party since 1982, Ruwart campaigned unsuccessfully for the party’s presidential nomination in 1984 and for the vice-presidential nomination in 1992. Ruwart was the Libertarian Party of Texas’s nominee for U.S. Senate in 2000, where she faced incumbent Republican Kay Bailey Hutchison; Ruwart polled 1.16% of the popular vote (72,798 votes), finishing fourth of four candidates behind Green Party candidate Douglas Sandage.
Ruwart has served on the Libertarian National Committee, and was a keynote speaker at the 2004 Libertarian National Convention. In 2002, libertarians launched an unsuccessful lobbying campaign to get Dr. Ruwart appointed Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner. Additionally, Ruwart has served on the boards of the International Society for Individual Liberty, the Fully Informed Jury Association, and the Michigan chapter of the Heartland Institute. Ruwart is a longtime supporter of the Free State Project and officially endorsed it on May 17, 2008 while on-air on Free Talk Live.
Ruwart unsuccessfully ran for Texas Comptroller in 2010 against incumbent Republican Susan Combs. She received 417,523 votes or 10.5% in a race that had no Democrat.


In March 2008, in response to an informal draft effort by a group of Libertarian Party activists, Ruwart announced her candidacy for the Libertarian presidential nomination in the 2008 election. She lost the nomination to Bob Barr on the sixth ballot at the 2008 Libertarian National Convention on May 25, 2008. Despite tying with Barr on the third and fourth ballots and taking the lead on the fifth, she ultimately lost after third-placed candidate Wayne Allyn Root threw his support behind Barr. Root later received the vice-presidential nomination.
Dr. Ruwart is part of a Texas Libertarian power couple, as her partner, R. Lee Wrights, also narrowly missed being nominated as a presidential candidate, at the Libertarian Party Nominating Convention in Las Vegas in 2012, where he lost his bid to former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson.  Ruwart is usually associated with a “radical caucus” wing within the Libertarian Party, that questions current vaccinations laws and age of consent laws criminalizing sex between teenagers only a year apart in age.

https://player.vimeo.com/video/24177253
Mary Ruwart and Lee Wrights from Matthew Bowler on Vimeo.

Dr. Mary Ruwart withdraws from Judicial Committee

6 May

Mary Ruwart, who narrowly lost the 2008 Presidential nomination to former Republican Congressman Bob Barr, has removed her name from nomination to the Libertarian Party Judicial Committee. R. Lee Wrights, her non-State-sanctioned partner in life, was elected vice chair of the Libertarian National Committee earlier today and she said she did not want people to fear that the LP power couple would be influencing each other in their respective roles.