Skip to comments.They still just want to be free (Free State Project)
Posted on 04/21/2005 2:16:53 AM PDT by Solitar
The Free State Project has won some converts. Also: The lowdown on mercury - in loons and maybe legislators' hair.
We're calling a truce this weekend. Today - and today only - there'll be no talk of budget bills, school funding plans or Medicaid reform. We got enough of that last week, and there will be plenty more hot air steaming out of the State House to keep us busy next week.
Instead, let's revisit some old friends: the Free Staters. It has been 18 months since the Free State Project chose New Hampshire as its home, with the hopes of fostering a libertarian-friendly atmosphere by moving its members here en masse.
So how's the plan progressing?
FSP leaders say about 100 people have made the move so far. Add the 250 or so native project members, and about 350 Free Staters call New Hampshire home. Those who have settled here like what they see.
Take Keith Murphy, a Baltimore native active in the FSP for nearly two years. He moved to New Hampshire in February after finding a managerial job in Manchester. Since settling here, Murphy has taken an active role in the New Hampshire Liberty Alliance, a lobbying group that shares some membership and political outlook with the Free State Project. But mostly, he's been reveling in New Hampshire's pro-liberty atmosphere. ---ADVERTISEMENT---
"There's not a day that goes by I don't do something I couldn't do in Maryland,"Murphy said.
Last week alone, he said, he drove to work without a seatbelt and purchased beer at a supermarket - two activities verboten in Maryland.
"And in Baltimore, if I go around and say things like, 'I wish my taxes weren't so high,' I'd be in the minority. Here in New Hampshire, I fit right in. By and large, I think we're all blending in just fine."
The FSP's goal is to bring 20,000 freedom lovers to New Hampshire. Amanda Phillips, FSP president, says she's happy with the progress the group is making.
"We're still trying to spread word about the project around the rest of the nation,"Phillips said. "It's definitely a long-term perspective."
Welcoming committees across the state meet regularly to introduce new arrivals. And some members are taking a more diligent approach, participating in weekly political seminars organized by the New Hampshire Liberty Alliance. Don Gorman, a former Libertarian state rep from Deerfield, has been leading State House tours since January. Thursday was Meet Your Senator Day.
The goal, Gorman said, is to give NHLA members "an understanding of how the real Legislature works. Half the pieces of that place are invisible."
Gorman takes his pupils to committee hearings, introduces them to lawmakers and urges them to pick up tactics from more experienced lobbyists. He's a stickler for protocol. He has sent away a couple of attendees who show up in jeans or T-shirts. And he wants to allay any fears that libertarians are fire-breathing anarchists.
"I'm not in for rabble-rousing or protesting or burning flags," he said. "I want to channel this energy in a positive way. These Free Staters are coming in with a strong desire to learn and become better citizens."
Dawn Lincoln of Winchester moved with her two daughters to New Hampshire a year ago. She's been overwhelmed
by what she's learned on Gorman's tours, and even testified on one bill. She may run for office herself one day.
Her most recent trip to the State House left her with a new appreciation of the citizen legislature. She popped into Sen. Tom Eaton's office last Thursday, hoping to introduce herself. Eaton was in a meeting, so Lincoln left her name and hometown -"just to let him know one of his constituents had come to visit."
When she arrived home an hour later, a message from Eaton was waiting on her answering machine. The senator was sorry to have missed her.
"He took the initiative to look up my phone number," Lincoln said. "I was so impressed and pleased. These legislators are so approachable."
I think the key is concentrated political activism. These 350 Free Staters aren't exactly a voting bloc, but they can effect change by being politically active (running for office, organizing, donating money).
Weelll.....let's see - since the Free Staters have moved to New Hampshire - the state dumped a Republican for a leftist Democrat as Governor, moved strongly into the Blue State camp (because of the votes in the NORTHERN part of the state - the part closest to Canada for the geographically impaired), introduced more statewide taxes and revenue transfers 'for the children', and seen a dramatic increase in the number of state officials running with dual party affiliation (e.g. RINOs running as Democrat/Republicans). Of course, it isn't the fault of the Free Staters but as a new comer the guy quoted in this story is missing the forest for the trees. His first clue should have been even remotely sympathetic treatment from the left-wing Concord Monitor!
"Live Free Or Die; Death Is Not The Worst of Evils." --General John Stark, New Hampshire Revolutionary War hero
"FSP leaders say about 100 people have made the move so far. Add the 250 or so native project members, and about 350 Free Staters call New Hampshire home. Those who have settled here like what they see."
Wow! 350! That's going to change NH politics, fer shure.
My question: Can New Hampshire absorb that many Linux consultants?
The NORTHERN part of the state - that part north and west of Berlin, voted for both Bush and Benson. Is it the old union Democrats in Berlin and Gorham that outnumber the Republicans in the FAR Northern part of the state (the part closest to Canada for the geographically impaired) ??
Way to dang cold.
Warmer place please.
I think probably Ed Naile from the Coalition of NH Taxpayers put it best: The Free Staters picked NH becuase it is the most salvageable state.
It might have been more accurate to say this is the least unsalvageable state, considering how far the whole nation has fallen. But I really do love it here, would never go back to Texas to live voluntarily...it has nowhere near the freedom.
Mainly it's just fun to actually know and do things with 70 or 80 freedom fanatics like me who are within 90 minutes drive, that is just unprecedented in my life.
You want a warmer place?
How about Texas? They're aiming for just one county.
I'd be happy with someplace warmer than where I am now. Even Coos County would be an improvement (except in Berlin where the Democrats would outnumber Republicans like in Lake County, Colorado where I am now). Coos is about as far from Massachusetts as you can get and still be in New Hampshire.
NH Resident blames all of 100 Free Staters for why NH Republicans lost the governorship and for why NH has moved strongly into the Blue State camp. One hundred did all that in a state of over a million? What are you smoking?
Republicans are losing New Hampshire! The Free Staters may be the only organization that can save New Hampshire from becoming another Massachusetts. Again I say: the NH Republicans are losing New Hampshire to the Democrats.
NH Resident is looking for a scapegoat. One hundred Free Staters is a pretty weak excuse for the Republican failure. It looks like the FSP is the only hope to keep NH from voting for a Democrat President (and governor) next time, and the time after that, and the time after that!
You don't believe they can save New Hampshire from the Democrats? Then honest-to-liberty Republicans should move to New Hampshire to reinforce their beleaguered NH Republicans. This may be a job for the Republican Liberty Caucus. Step up to the plate! Put your feet where your mouth is! Bring your gold and guns! (Leave your moralistic theocrat ideas behind since we have enough trouble without that). Let's save this state!
"I'm not in for rabble-rousing or protesting or burning flags," he said. "I want to channel this energy in a positive way."
I agree. I [too] think the key is concentrated political activism. That's the whole idea behind concentrating in New Hampshire. They want to save or salvage at least one state in the Northeast. Given what is happening to NH because of creep from Massachusetts, Republicans should realize they need some reinforcements and thousands of Free Staters would be a great start. Look, the Free Staters were backing Benson but were outnumbered by the new and old Democrats. Meanwhile, what were FReepers and Republicans doing to keep NH from going Blue?
The Republican Liberty Caucus should help their own cause by recruiting RLC members to move to New Hampshire too. Instead of whining about it or knocking down those who are compatriots, get together to keep New Hampshire from slipping to the dark side.
I've heard about this before, I think the plan was to move 1,000 Libertarians there. I dunno how great an idea it is, although I don't want to knock it. Recruiting more Libertarians everywhere might have been a better exercise. Montana/utah and states in that area might have been a better pick, although the small pop of new hampshire is certainly advantageous.
I wouldn't underestimate the efforts of 100 determined people to make big changes.
I just wonder if it won't get lost in the large demogrpahic changes of people fleeing the blue states, as seen in this story:
Speed Limit is still a ridiculous 65mph in New Hampshire. When I see it bumped up to 80MPH or even eliminated then you know the Free Staters are getting somewhere.
It's time to raise the limit on the Spaulding Turnpike from Portsmouth to Rochester. Fifty-five is ridiculous.
You're missing the growing trees [of a new idea] for the forest [of politics as usual].