Free State supporters working on strategies
|Title:||Free State supporters working on strategies|
Free State supporters working on strategiesby AP 02/23/04
NASHUA, N.H. -- Now that more than 5,400 people have committed to moving New Hampshire for the Free State Project, members are getting into the nuts and bolts of how the newcomers can be most effective.
The project, led by a Yale University political science lecturer, aims to bring 20,000 liberty-minded people to New Hampshire in the next five years to work for smaller government and greater individual liberties. In the months since New Hampshire beat out nine other finalist states, supporters have been mulling over a variety of options.
Some want to get a critical mass of Free Staters in a small town where there's a good chance of getting elected to local government. Others want to locate in scattered parts of New Hampshire and be activists. Still another group wants to go to "battleground" towns such as Lebanon, where candidates elected to the state Legislature won by narrow margins.
At a recent meeting of 10 supporters in Nashua, talk centered on moving Free Staters to a single town.
Grafton, Orford and Lempster are on a list of about 10 towns that stand out for various reasons, including a lack of zoning codes. Reports earlier this year that Claremont was named the destination city were premature, project officials now say.
Michael Lorrey, a Grantham resident, suggesting building affordable housing in one town and giving priority to "liberty lovers" migrating to New Hampshire.
He has talked to a lawyer about a preliminary plan: form a board of directors for a development company, get at least $200,000 worth of investments, buy a large expanse of land and put up condominiums or other housing. People associated with the Free State Project would buy into the company.
The town could be a "Plymouth Rock, a place where people can land," said Chuck Geshlider, who is a developer. The rent would be $100 a week, with just the basics of heat, electricity and "definitely high-speed Internet," he said.
So far, the most unified efforts have focused on recruiting in such towns as Killington, Vt., where Free Staters are advertising to further entice town officials, who have threatened to secede to New Hampshire because of Vermont's property taxes.
Jason Sorens, a 27-year-old political science lecturer at Yale and the group's founder, figures it will all work out in the end, somehow.
"One aspect of my outlook," said Sorens, "is that things that are planned never end up quite the way I expect."
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