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Free State Project
June 21, 2013
Present: Varrin, Carla, Jody
Phone: Rich, Steve, Sharon
Newlyweds Tyler and Katie Crosson moved to New Hampshire in early June 2013 as part of the Free State Project. More than 30 Porcupines showed up to help them move into their new home.
Earlier on the same day, another new mover was helped in a similar "pay-it-forward" fashion, and afterwards, he had this to say:
"You want to know what the Free State Project is? It's 20+ people you've never met showing up in 95 degree heat to help unload your moving truck after you make a single post on Facebook.... I got a welcome bag with ammo in it, seriously."
As of today, my two children and I have been in the “Shire” for four whole weeks. We conveniently landed in our new home after the last snowfall and before the hot humid summer. Mostly I’m buttering my kids up for what I know is ahead of us. Ticks. Mosquitoes. Blizzards. My son has promised to shovel snow. He thinks it’ll be no big deal… Score!
We left California--where I spent my entire life--for good on February 24, the day after the judge let me off of formal probation for a felony I was given for attending a birth in 2007 while I was a midwifery student. I was not allowed to leave Los Angeles County while I was on probation and was restricted from my work as a midwife. Because of my felony, I was unable to find work in a county with a nearly 20% unemployment rate. My income had decreased to one-tenth of what it had been before my arrest. I cleaned toilets, babysat, washed cars, ran errands... all for friends, because strangers ran criminal background checks.
Many “Free Staters” have two concerns when considering their move to New Hampshire: a job and housing. There is a free market solution to both of these problems which might be a good fit for some. This opportunity involves private education, which is alive and well in New Hampshire. You might even get a free lunch!
According to The Boarding School Review there are 435 private schools in New Hampshire serving 35,481 students and ranging from small daycares to large college-prep boarding schools. In general, private schools do not require teacher certification and, importantly, have many employees that are not teachers. Some schools hire dormitory staff, tutors, coaches, chaperones, accountants, landscapers, IT techs, and more.
After the winds of Winter Storm Nemo had subsided and the raspy protests of shovels scraping pavement commingled with the mechanized purr of snow blowers moving mounds of nature’s frozen tears, we took a much needed respite from our participation in the clearing activities to reflect on our new life in the Granite State. The two of us have been through our share of winter storms, but Jeremy, our teenage son who made the move with us, left New England before he had developed a full appreciation for some of the nastier offspring Old Man Winter and Mother Nature can create. For the better part of the past decade, and hence the majority of his life, we had lived in the balmier climes of North Carolina. Freezing temperatures weren’t foreign, but their stay was usually brief and rarely were they accompanied by more than a dusting of the white stuff. That said, you might suspect that a generational storm would dampen our enthusiasm as one of the newest families to officially move to New Hampshire as part of the Free State Project. On the contrary, we found Nemo to be a welcome challenge, telling us it‘s time to put up or shut up.
Making the move to New Hampshire for the Free State Project was an easy decision. At the time, I was in the process of separating from the Navy and looking for options on where to start my new life. My other half mentioned New Hampshire and the FSP when I was in the thick of discovering what freedom and liberty means. I immediately signed up and decided to move there in six months.
I moved on December 17, 2011 from San Diego and was greeted by a large group of Porcupines who helped me move in and welcomed me with open arms. So far, I have gotten involved in several activism events. In January, I campaigned for Ron Paul in the New Hampshire primary and met hundreds of students from around the country who share my passion for liberty. I also started a Young Americans for Liberty Chapter at the University of New Hampshire at Manchester, where I major in Politics and Society using my post 9/11 GI Bill benefits. Last year I helped Emily Sandblade with her winning campaign for State Representative.
A few years ago, my father started listening to a radio show called Free Talk Live. I was 13 or so, and politics was something I never thought about. I knew who the president was and what school taught us about voting Republican or Democrat, but that was about it. My dad had always told me he was an anarchist and that meant he didn't believe in government. My mother worked with the state police department and I didn't understand how he could want her to be out of a job. How could he not want police? They keep us safe! After opening my eyes, things changed a lot.
Dad started talking to me about things he heard on Free Talk Live, asking thought-provoking questions like, “without government, who will build the roads?” I guess I had never realized before that taxes were stolen money, and although schools, food for unemployed neighbors, and roads were important, this was not the way to go about it.
Phil and I met in May 1999 and instantly connected, in large part because we are both lifelong instinctive libertarians. As we developed our relationship and our businesses, we knew we couldn’t stay in California. By early 2001, Phil was actively gathering data on a variety of factors to figure out which states were to be on our short list for consideration. One evening Phil showed me a tiny blurb on something called The Free State Project, our eyes lit up; we went to the website, read what was there, and signed on the spot. In the summer of 2004, we flew to Boston, rented a car, attended PorcFest for several days and explored the state on our way. We were both thrilled to have found a group of people where personal responsibility made sense, and were both very inspired and ready to start the process of relocating our lives and businesses. My business, Curious Creek Fibers, was fairly easy, as I produce hand-dyed yarn and sell it wholesale to specialty hand-knitting shops around the country but because Phil’s pharmaceutical engineering consulting business needs clients, that was a bigger consideration.