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New Hampshire Governor Craig Benson is a rare breed of politician… he's the kind who keeps his promises even after the campaign is over. I met him the day after he vetoed an $8.8 billion budget, stamping the budget with a custom-made 2-by-4 red VETO stamp that his staff had purchased for him. The budget would have resulted in a $200 million deficit, which would eventually have to be paid down with tax increases. With his budget veto, he kept his campaign promise to keep taxes low and rein in state expenditures.
The entire state is buzzing with the news of his veto. Many in the media are comparing him with Mel Thomson, who similarly butted heads with the legislature by vetoing over-spent budgets. Thomson ran for governor on the platform, "ax the tax." Though lawmakers may have been frustrated with Thomson, he was a favorite with New Hampshire taxpayers who re-elected him twice. It appears that Governor Benson also admires Thomson; a prominent portrait of Mel Thomson with the quote "Low taxes are the result of low spending" greets all visitors to the Governor's office. Granite (and Free) Staters can expect him to continue to follow Thomson's fiscally responsible lead.
"I remember hearing about the Free State Project back when Jason Sorens was recruiting feedback for the idea. Having heard of plenty of other 'let's form our own group' schemes, I smiled, nodded, and pushed the delete key, and expected to hear maybe one or two more things about the project at most. I'm delighted to say that I was wrong...I've been to a number of libertarian-oriented conferences, and read about many more. I know how argumentative and emotionally invested in being right some individuals can be. One of the first, and ongoing, surprises of the Grand Western Conference was how pleasant everyone I spoke to was. Nothing seemed to be about ego; the presentations and private conversations alike seemed focused on accomplishing the goal of greater freedom."
Sunni Maravillosa writes about personal freedom. Her blog is Sunni and the Conspirators.
On May 17, 2003, with FSP treasurer Debra Ricketts attending, the Wyoming Libertarian Party endorsed the Free State Project.
"The Wyoming Libertarian Party endorses the Free State Project."
The Wyoming LP also invites FSP members to attend its meetings, especially the July 12 Annual "Enjoy Your Second Amendment Rights While You Got 'em" Shooting Party.
This was originally published by Gary Marbut in the Sierra Times, which is no longer available.
Over this past weekend I attended the Grand Western Conference of the Free State Project here in Missoula.
The Free State Project (FSP) was initiated by Dr. Jason Sorens, a political scientist from Yale. FSP is now a nationwide organization. The object is to determine which of the U.S. states offers its citizens the greatest climate of individual liberty. A complex matrix of factors is used to evaluate the quality of personal freedom, including economic factors, population and cultural factors, and, of course, the freedom of people to keep and bear arms.
Once the FSP has accumulated 5,000 members who have pledged to move to the chosen state, the project will allow its members to vote among the best states, especially to vote directed by the state-by-state freedom analysis done by the FSP. See their Website at:
In Montana, on a 6-0 vote, the state LP's executive committee voted to endorse the concept of the Free State Project (FSP). The vote took place on May 25, just after the state LP hosted the FSP-themed Grand Western Conference.
At the April 2003 Alaska Libertarian Party State Convention in Juneau Alaska one of the topics on the agenda was the Free State Project. Some felt that Alaska was clearly the best choice because of its low population and existing strong libertarian leanings. A motion to formally endorse the Free State Project was seconded and unanimously passed.
"I think it can work! … I'd like to move there myself; if they'd build me a studio I'd be there! … Good luck. … Stay in touch and let us know how you're doing."
Neal Boortz has a syndicated radio talk show.
The Executive Committee of the Libertarian Party of Vermont unanimously passed the following resolution:
"The Vermont Libertarian Party endorses the goals of the Free State Project and urges the Free State Project to choose Vermont."
At the January meeting of the Libertarian Party of New Hampshire's executive board, the party officially endorsed the Free State Project by unanimous vote.
"New Hampshire residents may find themselves a group of political friends and allies in the Free State Project members, all of whom recognize the virtues of self-reliance, individual freedom and small state government, and will seek to further improve upon and enhance New Hampshire's standing as the liberty-leader among the fifty states.
"The LPNH has formed the 'Welcome to the Granite State' Committee to coordinate efforts promoting New Hampshire as the most desirable Free State candidate. This committee will work with other activists and FSP members to attract people seeking liberty and the spirit of independence that are so well represented in the Granite State."
See press release
"Imagine what could be done: re-privatize education, re-privatize medicine, re-privatize charity, end drug prohibition … bring back industrial hemp development, self-regulated fisheries, and on …
"I urge all of Maine's Libertarian-minded people to join the FSP."
Fred Staples, Chairman of the LP of Maine, in the Maine Libertarian newsletter.
"It began Wednesday morning, when I found myself totally obsessed with the Free State Project … It would be nice – it would be so nice, to have my personal liberty protected by another entity. Perhaps a state; where medical records remain private, where I can keep what I earn, defend myself against a threat – a STATE where I can live FREE."
See the full text here.
J.J. Johnson is Editor of Sierra Times.
"I think FSP is a TERRIFIC idea. I know a lot of people have botched 'new country' and 'let's take over a county' ideas, but FSP is different. Not only do they have the best plan I've seen for actually making it happen, it's one that doesn't ask people to front a bunch of cash or risk making any moves, until a critical mass has been reached. Even if it's a long shot, the chance of having an example of freedom at work – that 'shining city on the hill' – is too good to pass up."
Louis James was president of the Henry Hazlitt Foundation.
Libertarian author Vin Suprynowicz is a signed member of the FSP, and at a recent convention said,
"I find it sad that these people have to beat the bushes to get 20,000 to cross state lines to preserve liberty, when our founding fathers were willing to die to do the same."
See the 10/17/02 press release about Vin becoming an FSP member.
October 17, 2002 – The Free State Project recently gained a new member, noted libertarian author and speaker Vin Suprynowicz. While speaking at the New Hampshire Libertarian Party convention, Mr. Suprynowicz announced his intention to sign up for the project, and inspired others to do so with his statement that he would be happy to "cross state lines to preserve liberty, when our founding fathers were willing to die to do the same."
The Free State Project is a growing movement with the aim of obtaining signatures from 20,000 people who commit to move to a single, low-population state of the U.S. and work to institute political reforms there. Since the FSP's founding in September 2001, over 1500 people - including Mr. Suprynowicz - have decided that this route represents the most viable strategy toward the creation of a free society, and have signed up as participants. For more information about the Free State Project, please see the website, freestateproject.org.