Analysis of Presidential Elections
in the 10 Candidate States
In Tennyson's report Analyzing the Freedom
Orientation of Existing State Populations, he analysed the results of the
2000 presidential election and what it means to the FSP and its members. The
gist of that report is in this table:
Voter Predisposition to Vote for Small-government Candidates
(2000 Presidential Election)
Source: Analyzing the Freedom Orientation of
Existing State Populations
By looking at the 2000 election, we see that Wyoming and
Idaho come out far above all of the other candidate states. However, one
election is just that one election, and cannot be considered the whole
Nine most recent presidential elections
Here is the data from the nine most recent presidential elections: 2000
1968. This data presents a more complete picture of all recent Presidential
|| Bush (R)
|| Dole (R)
|| Bush (R)
| Ford (R)
| Nixon (R)
|| Gore (D)
|| Clinton (D)
|| Clinton (D)
|| Carter (D)
|| Bush (R)
|| Dole (R)
|| Bush (R)
|| Ford (R)
|| Bush (R)
|| Dole (R)
|| Bush (R)
|| Bush (R)
|| Clinton (D)
|| Clinton (D)
|| Gore (D)
|| Clinton (D)
|| Clinton (D)
|| Humphrey (D)
|| Bush (R)
|| Dole (R)
|| Clinton (D)
|| Nixon (R)
|| Bush (R)
|| Dole (R)
|| Bush (R)
|| Gore (D)
|| Clinton (D)
|| Clinton (D)
|| Bush (R)
|| Dole (R)
|| Bush (R)
1 Ross Perot beat George Bush in Maine with 30.44% to 30.39% of the
(Note: I stopped doing research at the 1968 election because in the
1964, 1960, and 1956 elections, most of the candidate states voted for the same
candidate and because the farther back you go, the less representative the data
is to the reality of today. Even in the 1970s and 1980s most of the candidate
states voted for the same candidate. Before 1956, well, most current Americans
were not even alive or at the very least, not even voting back then.)
The Republican presidential candidates from 1968 to 2000 generally sold
themselves as, or were perceived as, or pretended to be, more pro-small
government than the Democratic Party presidential candidates. Generally
this is the case and is clearly evident by the specific campaign literature and
ads of the above presidential candidates.
So we can rank the states by the
number of Republican presidential candidates that won their state elections:
Amount for Republicans from 1968 to 2000
Reagan and Goldwater
What about races where a candidate from a major party ran on downsizing
the federal government?
This has occured twice in somewhat recent times. In 1980 Ronald Reagan (R) ran
for president and in 1964 Barry Goldwater (R) ran for president. Both times,
their major issue was Downsizing DC. Reagan communicated the message better and
won the 1980 election while Goldwater lost his election.
According to Harry Browne and many others, the media even tried to portray
Reagan as more libertarian than he was. Ronald Reagan did not act as a
libertarian once in office, but that is how he ran for his first
(Note: Votes for the LP candidate, Ed Clark, are included with Reagan's,
because Reagan used many of Clark's ideas and this is the best election ever
for an LP candidate.)
1980 Election - Vote for Ronald Reagan
| Entire U.S.
2 Ed Clark got 11.7% of the 66.0% total.
(He got < 3% in all the other FSP candidate states)
Barry Goldwater only had the opportunity to run for office because the
paleo-conservative and the libertarian Republicans were able to take over the
Republican Party primary and hand the nomination to Barry Goldwater. The
national GOP did not even support his bid for president after he was nominated.
All records show that Barry Goldwater was set on dramatically reducing the size
of government and those in change of the GOP wanted nothing to do with him or
1964 Election - Vote for Barry Goldwater
Average of Reagan and Goldwater elections
I computed this table by averaging the "Amount of Republicans from 1968 to
2000" and "Average of Reagan and Goldwater elections" rankings:
Total Average Ranking According to this Report
Now that we have the whole picture, let's compare it to just the 2000
Amazingly, they are very similar, almost eerily similar. Maybe I was wrong.
Maybe, just maybe, the 2000 presidential election really does provide us with a
very good look at the ideology of the candidate states. None of the candidate
states move more than ONE position in the state ranking.
Whatever the conclusion, one thing is for sure: Time and time again, both
Idaho and Wyoming stand out in the above rankings.
Towards Victory: A Strategy for Achieving a Libertarian Caucus
By Keith Murphy
The author has directly managed nine campaigns for state legislative office
in Maryland, resulting in six victories. In addition, he has consulted for
numerous local races in Baltimore City. These services have included all
aspects of campaign management, from analyzing district demographics and voter
files to fundraising to production of literature and signs to organizing
volunteers and door-to-door. He is eagerly awaiting the opportunity to put
this experience to work for those who share his political viewpoints, in the
As covered in the companion report Examining
Population and Political Accessibility, New Hampshire offers a unique
combination of election laws, from a low ballot access requirement to
town-meeting local government to an elected Governor's Council that will allow
us to affect the executive branch without electing a governor. More
importantly, New Hampshire is the only state that offers large multi-member
districts. This advantage, combined with fusion, provides a unique opportunity
the rapid election of a Libertarian Caucus in the New Hampshire House of
Representatives. This opportunity is detailed here.
The term "fusion" refers to the practice of a candidate for office running
under multiple parties simultaneously. This allows third-party candidates to
borrow the credibility of a major party, capture the straight-ticket votes of
the major party, and be included on the literature of the major party.
Candidates in New Hampshire and Vermont regularly utilize fusion. The laws of
Maine, Delaware, Idaho, and South Dakota appear to allow fusion, but the
practice is not part of the political culture. As a result, an attempt to use
fusion in those states would likely require at least an attorney general's
The legislature of most states is made up of single-member districts, in which
each citizen has only one representative. South Dakota, North Dakota, and
Idaho all have two-member districts, meaning that citizens each get two votes
and have two representatives. For very large, rural areas sometimes the larger
two-member districts will be broken into two sub-districts, where each citizen
has one vote and one representative. Vermont's largest chamber is composed of
both single-member and two-member districts.
New Hampshire is different. The state constitution provides that towns may not
be divided between districts without their consent. As each district must
provide substantially equal representation to the population, and New Hampshire
varies wildly in density from town to town, the resulting district map is a
hodgepodge. Some districts are single-member, with approximately 3,089
citizens apiece, and some are multi-member, with as many as fourteen
representatives. The majority of districts have between three and six
When fusion and large multi-member districts are present in the same state, as
they are only in New Hampshire, the result is a spectacular opportunity.
How it Works
In the larger multi-member districts, the major parties often cannot find
enough candidates to run for all the seats. After all, being state
representative is a part-time job that only pays $100 per year, so politics is
not the full-time profession in New Hampshire that it is in other states. But
each citizen gets as many votes as there are seats, and if they do not have an
equal number of candidates in their party to vote for as there are seats, those
"extra" votes are wasted. Those votes could be ours. Here's how:
Let's suppose Marjorie Smith is a Libertarian considering a run for the
statehouse in her six-seat district. She goes down to the town hall the day
after the filing deadline, and sees that while six Democrats filed for the
primary, only three Republicans did so. The fact that one of the major parties
did not field as many candidates as there are seats means that this district
qualifies for the fusion strategy.
So Marjorie asks for and is given a voter checklist, and begins her
door-to-door campaign. She spends a few hundred dollars printing up yard signs
and small brochures, and devotes her evenings to walking through the district.
She knocks on each door and talks to each resident for just a moment, saying
"I'm Marjorie Smith, and I'm running for the state house. I won't be on the
primary, but I would appreciate your vote in the general."
But at the homes of registered Independents or Republicans, discernable from
the checklist, she modifies her introduction slightly. She says, "I'm Marjorie
Smith, and I'm running for the statehouse. If you're voting as a Republican in
this year's primary, you're going to get six votes, but there's only three
Republicans on the ballot. I would really appreciate it if you used one of
your extra votes to write my name in." This could even be done outside the
polling place on primary day.
If just ten people, do this, then Marjorie will appear on the ballot in the
general election as a "Libertarian-Republican." In the event that not enough
Democrats or Republicans signed up for the primary, then she would appear as a
"Libertarian-Republican-Democrat." When you are a fusion candidate, you
receive the votes from the straight-ticket voters, and the major parties put
your name on their literature.
This strategy has an astounding success rate. The major parties failed to each
nominate enough people for all the seats in the New Hampshire House 59 times in
the 2002 election. 59 Republicans and Democrats went out and asked voters of
the other party to write their name in on the primary. In the 2003 session
there were 59 Republican-Democrats and Democratic-Republicans sitting in the
New Hampshire House of Representatives.
Just to be clear, every single candidate that used the fusion strategy last
year won election. It worked, every single time. 59 for 59. This is
exactly how we can and will have a Libertarian Caucus in the New Hampshire
House of Representatives after the 2004 elections.
Incidentally, the six-seat district described above is not hypothetical.
District 72, in Strafford County, consists of the towns of Durham, Lee, and
Madbury. Three Republicans and six Democrats filed for the primary. Smith won
election as a Democrat, coming in third. She, and the two who received more
votes than she did, all were elected using fusion. 4,855 voters walked into
the booth, and 4,173 of them gave her one of their votes. The two other fusion
candidates, Wall and Kaen, received 4,533 and 4,226, respectively. The
fourth-ranked winner, who did not use fusion, only received 3,429, 24.35% less
than the leading fusion winner.
New Hampshire's political system offers access unparalleled by any of the other
candidate states. The local elections are mostly nonpartisan, the local
government is administered at the town level instead of the county level,
citizens essentially have line-item veto authority of their town budget at the
polls, the first-in-the-nation presidential primary garners national headlines,
and there is an elected Executive Council with incredible control over state
spending. But most importantly, New Hampshire offers fusion in combination
with large multi-member districts. This strategy has an amazing success rate,
virtually guaranteeing a quick series of victories in races for the state
legislature. New Hampshire is the only state in the nation with this
New Hampshire for Porcupines?
Tim Condon, FSP Member Services Director
Speech at Lancaster, NH FSP Gathering
Before we get started, I just want to ask all of you: Have all of
you been having as much fun looking through this (hold up atlas) as
I have? I mean, I'm lying around reading this thing like a 12-year-old
boy reading a secret copy of Playboy. Checking every little twist
and turn (hold up a state like a Playboy centerfold). Woo WWOOOO!
It's a book of *maps*! We must be crazy!
Okay, okay. First, "What am I doing here?" I'm the guy
who wrote an article for the Free State Project saying that North
Dakota would be the best state to choose for the Freestate (!). THEN
I wrote another article changing my mind, and saying "Mea culpa!
*Wyoming* would be the best state for us to choose! And here I am
giving a speech saying, "No, no, let's choose New Hampshire!"
Actually, I'm here because I got in trouble with all the rest of
the Free State Project leadership. Every one of the rest of them has
been scrupulous and I mean *scrupulous* about being evenhanded and
secretive about what state or states they favor. I mean, *I* don't
even know what states Jason likes...or Elizabeth...or Debra Ricketts...or
any of the rest of the FSP leadership.
Of course, it wasn't an *announced* policy...it was just sort of
agreed upon among everyone else. But...as you may have noticed...I
love to get out there in the middle of the fray, and flail away (and
haven't we been doing some *flailing* lately...). So I couldn't resist
writing about what state *I* thought we should choose. The problem
was, I didn't know all about the previous history where the FSP leadership
had first been accused of being "pro-eastern." And then
later on they got loudly condemned for being pro- *western*. And then
back to the East. And then the West again. Once I found out about
it, it was like watching a ping pong match. East, West, East, West.
And so into that mess I threw my hat. Then Whoa! Here comes the rest
of the leadership at me! "You blew it Condon! You were supposed
to keep your opinions to yourself! We're supposed to be publicly neutral!"
Blah, blah, blah. Of course I'm saying "I'm sorry! I'm sorry!
I'm sorry!" Hell, I didn't know the conspiracy-nuts were going
to say "AHA! That *proves* it, for once and for all! They're
Pro-West!" Oh sheesh. I offered to remove my Wyoming mea culpa
article, but Elizabeth said, "It's too late, you've already let
the cat out of the bag."
And even *that* remark was seized upon: "AHA! That proves that
the whole leadership is pro-Wyoming! Condon let the cat out of the
bag!" Oh man...I felt terrible.
But then I had an idea. Jason and Debra went to the Grand Western
Conference. Why not have me go to the New Hampshire Conference along
with Elizabeth? Not only could I visit, but I could and would talk
about what a great choice New Hampshire would be! Easy for me to do,
too! Because I've been very public that I will move to *any* state
that is chosen. I like them *all*! And not because they are "equal"
in desirability, but because I cannot imagine a better place to live
than the Free State. No matter *where* it turns out to be, it will
be a place where people are left alone to pursue their own happiness.
What, I ask you, is so hard about that? There must be *something*
hard about it...because it seems so...*radical*.
So that's what I'm doing here. I want to talk to you about just how
*great* a choice New Hampshire would be for the Free State! And in
saying that, I thank Rich Tomasso, Michele Dumas, and *all* your activists
who have been so tireless in promoting New Hampshire. Remember, the
*national* libertarian executive committee refused to endorse the
Free State Project after a full presentation by Jason Sorens. You
all, by contrast, have stepped right up to the plate, and I am both
impressed and thankful for what you're doing.
So onward. The first thing I thought of when I discovered I was reeeeally
going to talk about New Hampshire was to re-examine my own thoughts
and prejudices. What I found was that my whole position was based
upon giving overwhelming weight to population. Anyone who has read
my North Dakota and Wyoming articles is aware of that.
Well then, I thought, what better thing to do than tear off my population-centric
blinders, and take *another* look *without* thinking about population
first, last, and always. A very interesting thing happened. I found
myself looking at New Hampshire through new eyes. My new view related
more toward "Niceness," whereas my former view had been
concentrating almost solely on population numbers. "Niceness
versus numbers." I like that. All of a sudden, New Hampshire
starts looking better, and better, and *better*.
There's another reason it was pretty easy to get rid of my population-
centric view. As I realized, really *all* the 10 Free State Project
candidate states are "low population." Including New Hampshire!
Only when we look at New Hampshire in relation to the other 9 candidate
states does it become "high population." But in relation
to the other *40* states in the U.S., it's *low* population. And that
is why I say that *any* of the 10 states will be a good choice, and
I'll move to whichever one is chosen.
So let's take a look at New Hampshire now without an emphasis on
population. How does it stack up then? Quite well, as it turns out,
especially when given the weights of characteristics that *I* think
are important. Let's talk about them now.
The Free State Project "state data lists" are divided into
The "General Data" which includes stuff like population,
land area, geography, crime rates, urbanization information, etc.
We've all pored over all the variables forever, so I don't need to
list them all.
The *second* data list is labeled "Economic and Political
Data." To my mind it includes much more important variables such
as federal, state and local government spending; dependency on federal
monies flowing back into the state, taxes as a percentage of income,
levels of 2nd amendment freedom, etc. Again, we've all seen them all.
In total, there are 24 separate variables, and that doesn't count
the constant drumbeat of debate and further information supplied through
the forums and email lists. No matter which state wins, this is going
to be an extremely well *informed* vote.
Now let's take a look at some of those variables individually. First
the general information list. Other than population, I don't think
most of those variables are very important. Big state? Little state?
Who cares, as long as we're free? Many people argue that a small state
gives freedom-fighters an upper hand, I know; but socialists and other
statists have the same advantages and disadvantages that we do, so
we're all on pretty level ground. Out of these 12 variables, I'll
only mention four that I think are important other than population:
Many people argue that a coastline and/or an international border
are extremely important features. I do not, although I will say that
they're both nice to have. New Hampshire is the only state other than
Maine that has both, other than Alaska, which is just. Too. Far. Away.
So that's a nice feature of New Hampshire, but not dispositive in
Insularity is another piece of data that I think is more important
than most of the other variables. We try to measure this by looking
at how many people living in a state were *born* in the state. If
the percentage is high, they're probably not going to welcome "outsiders"
with open arms. If there's a large non-native population, they'll
probably be more welcoming. New Hampshire comes out nicely on this
measure: It has the third lowest percentage of native-born residents,
after Alaska and Wyoming, so it's definitely in the running.
Another somewhat important variable is the "livability"
rating. New Hampshire comes in first out of all the 10 candidate states.
Crime statistics. *Again* New Hampshire comes in first. Not bad!
In the general data specifics that I regard as most important, New
Hampshire shows as very strong; it's either solidly in the running,
or is first among the 10.
But let's take our leave of the General Data list and go over to
the Economic and Political Data list. To my mind these variables are
far more important. And BOY! does New Hampshire *shine*! Out of 12
variables, it comes in #1 five times (tied for first place in two
of them), #2 three times, and #3 in two more. That means that out
of 12 variables New Hampshire comes in in first, second, or third
place TEN times, or 83.3% of the time! NO other state racks up a score
Let's just stroll through a few of these, often the ones I think
are the most important, and see how New Hampshire scores on each one.
Remember, these are the variables that *I* think are most important,
after we put aside the population and voting population variables:
Federal, state, and local government spending as a percentage
of gross state product: First place.
State and local government spending as a percentage of gross state
product: First place.
Dependence on federal monies; that is, the amount of money that
comes back into the state for every dollar sent to Washington: First
place. (This is a variable that I originally didn't think was that
important; but now I see that it can have a huge effect on Liberty
in our Lifetime.)
State and local taxes as a percentage of income: Second place,
and that only behind Alaska, which is too far *out* there. So *really*
we can call New Hampshire first in this variable also.
New jobs generated. Lots of people argue that this is a crucial
dataset; I'm not so sure, because I believe it's a sword that cuts
both ways. However, it's worth noting that New Hampshire comes in
Gun freedom. Okay. I admit it. I'm a "single issue voter."
I'm not a big hunter, and I don't even shoot that much for fun. I
haven't been to a shooting range for *years*. And yet...I will never
under any circumstances vote for a candidate who doesn't support the
2nd amendment..no matter *how* good they are on other issues. New
Hampshire comes in #2 in this measure, and only behind its next-door
neighbor Vermont. Not bad!
Percentage of state population employed by state and local government.
Well, I don't think that this is one of the more important measures,
because there are going to be Porcupines who work for government;
gotta make a living, and there's got to be *some* government, with
good people working in it. Nevertheless...New Hampshire is #1 along
with Delaware, of all places.
And finally, NEA and AFT membership. Teachers unions are a huge
mainstay of socialist political candidates in America. Along with
other public employee unions, they are one of the most important constituencies
of the Democratic Party. And I am proud to say that I'm married to
a public school teacher in Florida, who is a flaming conservative
Republican...and she refuses to join the teachers union. New Hampshire?
#1 along with Idaho.
There are two other variables that don't show up on the state data
lists, but they're worth mentioning here. One is the incredible energy
and dynamism of the libertarians and Porcupines already in this state.
My hat is off to you all. And the second is the "political angle,"
that is things like fusion voting, small legislative districts, part-time
representatives, etc. As a result, New Hampshire has far more libertarians
who have already been voted into office than any of the other candidate
states. Hats off to you again!
Only in government land control schemes and presidential voting does
New Hampshire fall back in the pack. We'll just have to work on those.
All in all, I must say that New Hampshire has great advantages to
offer a movement seeking Liberty in our Lifetime. As someone wrote
recently on one of the FSP email lists, "What's not to like about
a state that has Live Free or Die as its state motto?" I can
only echo that feeling.
The state motto may be part of what we might call "intangibles."
People "feel" better about one state or another, and often
plan to vote accordingly. I must say, after driving through some of
the state yesterday, it's one of the most beautiful states in the
country, bar none.
Summing up...New Hampshire has got a real shot at it. No question
about that. But it's not a slam-dunk either. Keep that in mind. I
think it's clearly "the choice" on the east coast of the
U.S. In the meantime, Montana and Wyoming are fighting it out in the
west. And that brings me to the last part of my talk. I want to talk
to you all about unity. I want to repeat the mantra here, "united
we stand, divided we fall." I have been preaching that for several
weeks now on the FSP email lists, and I am gratified to see that at
least Ben Irvin has piped down, and even extended an olive branch
by saying that he would be here if he could be, and he wishes he could
In the meantime, it seems like many of the Porcupines are just going
crazy on the email lists and forums. All of us in the leadership have
noted how touchy and explosive people are getting. It's obvious that
people are getting itchy as "The Vote" approaches. Possibly
the most important vote in the history of America.
As I have written, the state chosen as the Free State is going to
be the luckiest state in the history of our country. It is going to
be a beacon. It is going to be a model. I like to refer to it as "America's
little Hong Kong." It will foster an explosion of human potential,
creativity, economic energy, and entrepreneurial activity such as
has never before been seen in the world. It is going to be extraordinary.
But in order for it to happen, we must unite under the banner of
the Free State Project. Not a Free State east. Or a Free State west.
But THE Free State. We have to do it together. Why? Because lots and
lots of people don't think it can be done. Even libertarians, as we
have seen, are pooh-poohing the idea. And if we split our forces now,
if we weaken ourselves by dividing our numbers...we. may. *not* succeed.
For those of you who don't want to move out of the east, I say that's
fine. I say the same thing to those who won't move out of the west.
But listen to me, Porcupines: "There will be a second Free State."
But there will only be a *second* Free State if we are successful
in the *first* Free State! If New Hampshire is chosen, give us five
or six years to start the transformation, to show some results, and
*then* we can look west, to start the second Free State, probably
either in Montana or Wyoming. If a western state is chosen, give us
five or six years to make some changes, win some elections, and show
what can be done, and *then* we can cast out eyes east, and look to
starting up a second, eastern Free State.
But today we must all unite in the Cause to ensure our success in
the *first* Free State. I wasn't able to get Ben Irvin to commit to
moving east if an eastern state wins. More's the pity, even though
I got in his face online about it. And I'm sure there is a core of
eastern state supporters who have opted out of all the western states.
They will not move west no matter what. And that is within the rules;
that's why we allow you to opt out of whatever states you want, as
long as you don't opt out of them all. All I can say, to those who
won't move east, and those who won't move west is, at least keep on
supporting the Free State Project. At least don't fracture and divide
us at this crucial juncture. At least be supportive of those pioneers
who *are* moving to the Free State. For if we do all of us---then
our movement for freedom, human dignity, and Liberty in our Lifetimes
can spread everywhere...from the mountains...to the prairies...to
the oceans...and from sea to shining sea.
Thank you all.
Let's Talk About North Dakota
By Tim Condon
Since almost no one in the Free State Project has been paying any attention
to North Dakota (including me) up until recently, this essay is offered as a
general review and history about the state.
First fact: The topography is pretty much flat in North Dakota. The last
"ice age" ended about 12,000 years ago, and before that ice covered most of the
upper part of North America, including North Dakota. Geologists believe there
have been dozens of ice ages in history, featuring glaciers "several
miles thick," which means that North Dakota and other parts of the upper
midwest have been "sanded down" pretty thoroughly (although the state does have
some small mountains that get up to a few thousand feet).
The first "modern people" to live in the area were American Indians,
including the Mandan, Arikara, and Hidatsas. Other tribes that inhabited the
area at different points were the Cheyenne, Cree, and some Chippewa who came
into North Dakota from Minnesota. The best known tribe were Dakota, also known
as the Lakota or Sioux (the word "Dakota" means "friend" or "ally" in the
Dakota or Sioux language). The area was first "officially explored" by white
men during the Lewis and Clark expedition in 1804-1806.
In the late 1800's, after North Dakota became a state in 1889, it benefitted
from waves of immigrants from northern European countries that were spurred on
by the new railroads (which at one time owned nearly 1/4 of North Dakota by
virtue of being given the land by the federal government). The immigrants who
flooded in came mainly from Norway, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland. By 1900
the state's population was 319,000, and by 1920 it hit 577,000 (compare that
with today's population of 642,000, slated to increase by only 9,000 over the
next 20 years).
North Dakota is one of the top farming states in the U.S. It ranks #1 in
production of barley and sunflower seeds, and #2 in wheat production (behind
only Kansas). It was settled as a "place to farm," with some of the richest
farming soil in the world found along the Red River Valley (the river forms the
border between North Dakota and Minnesota on the east). Overall, the state is
very green, and in mid-summer much of it looks like a vast and endless grass
meadow interspersed with flowers.
To "cure the problem of oversupply" of farm crops in the 1960's, the federal
government started the "Soil Bank," paying farmers not to plant their
fields. Eventually almost 10% of the state's farmland was idled. Then in the
1980's the federal government followed up with the "Conservation Reserve
Program," which took thousands of acres more out of farm production.
Now, under President George W. Bush, a new "farm subsidy program" has been
signed into law that will expend about $170 billion over the next ten years.
All of these programs doubtless contribute to the fact that North Dakota is the
worst state on the FSP's "final 10 list" for "government dependency" (that is,
citizens of North Dakota overall receive $1.95 back from the federal government
for every $1.00 paid in taxes; however, it's not clear that the federal
largesse actually goes to people as opposed to being corporate welfare for
large agribusiness concerns).
Today North Dakota is trying to diversify its economy. Many ranchers have
taken up herding Bison which are slaughtered for meat. The state is also trying
to lure high tech industry, like most other states, and is having some success
with a nascent high-tech sector in the city of Fargo.
Politically the state is a mixture. Currently it has a Republican Governor,
John Hoeven, elected in 2000 for a 4-year term (term limits have been voted
into existence in North Dakota, but the current governor is not subject to
them); he followed another Republican governor, Edward Schafer, who was in
office from 1993 to 2000. But the two U.S. Senators are both Democrats, Kent
Conrad and Byron Dorgan (up for re-election in 2006 and 2004 respectively). And
the state's single member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Earl Pomeroy,
is also a Democrat (re-elected in the 11/5/02 election).
The state's bicameral legislature, however, which meets only every other
year, has Republicans outnumbering Democrats by wide margins: In the 2001
legislative session the North Dakota House of Representatives had 69
Republicans and 29 Democrats, while the state senate had 32 Republicans and 17
Interestingly, North Dakota is the only state in the U.S. that has no voter
registration rolls, having abolished them in 1951. Even so, though, there has
been no documentation of widespread voter fraud in the state. In order to vote
in a North Dakota election, a voter must be at least 18 years old on the day of
the election, a U.S. citizen, a legal resident of the state, and must have
lived in the voting precinct for at least 30 days preceding the day of the
With respect to geography, there are three land area "types" in North
Dakota: The Red River Valley on the east, with its extraordinarily fertile
farming land; the "drift prairie" to the west of the valley, which features
rolling hills, lakes, and streams; and the "great plains" which covers an area
farther west (the Great Plains in the center of North America runs from Canada
to Texas). Another famous part of the state is the "Dakota Badlands" in the
southwest portion (the area got its name from the first French explorers who
called it "mauvaises terrest a traverser" or "bad lands to travel through").
The elevation of the state varies from the lowest point of 750 feet above sea
level to small mountains that get up to a maximum of 3,506 feet at White Butte
in the badlands.
North Dakota has large amounts of water, both above and below ground. There
are large lakes and reservoirs, and large rivers including the Little Missouri,
the Missouri River, the Red River, and many others. Lake Sakajawea is a huge
reservoir that backs up behind one of the largest earth-filled dams in the
United States, Garrison Dam. However, there has been flooding: After the winter
of 1996-97, heavy snow and then heavy rain totally flooded the city of Grand
Forks on the upper part of the Red River along with other cities along the
Missouri and Red rivers.
Okay...climate. We've gotta talk about climate. There's lots of sunshine,
rain, and snow in North Dakota (at least we Porcupines wouldn't have to put up
with long bouts of dreary grayness, even if the temperatures are numbingly
cold). The first freezing temperatures occur around the middle of September,
and January is the coldest month with an average daily high of 16 degrees
Fahrenheit and an average low of 7 below zero. July, the warmest month, on the
other hand, features an average daily high of 84 degrees Fahrenheit and an
average daily low of 58 degrees (nice!). Says one Porcupine who has visited
North Dakota extensively: "When you consider that they get more sunshine than
the eastern U.S., and that they have lower humidity, ND's climate may compare
very favorably to many of the states on the Free State list...I think
all the people talking about livability would be pleasantly surprised at North
Further information from a North Dakota savant: "The reason that North
Dakota has a bad climate reputation lies in its continental climate. With the
great plains stretching from the Gulf of Mexico to the Arctic Circle, and no
large bodies of water, there is nothing to stop or moderate great weather
systems from sweeping in from either direction. Instead of saying ND has a bad
climate, it would be more accurate to say it has a climate of rapid and radical
The rainy season in North Dakota is in the spring and summer, with June
being the rainiest month. Then rainfall drops off rapidly in the autumn.
North Dakota has less forested land than any other state in the nation. Less
than 1% of the state is covered by forests. But for outdoors-type Porcupines,
the state has plentiful hunting (bighorn sheep, whitetail and mule deer,
antelope, and moose, as well as numerous species of birds and waterfowl) and
fishing (perch, catfish, walleye pike and northern pike, rainbow trout, salmon,
etc.). There's also a great hiking and biking trail in the grasslands part of
the state that's 120 miles long; it meanders through the Little Missouri
National Grasslands and is named the Maad Daah Hey Trail ("grandfather" in the
Bismarck is the state capitol, located in the south central part of the
state, and Interstate 94 is the main east-west artery, going from Fargo on the
east through Bismarck in the center, and the towns of Dickinson and Medora
toward the west. Fargo is the biggest "city" in the state, with about 74,000
people; then come Grand Forks and Bismarck with about 49,000 each, then Minot
in the north central part of the state (where there's a big military base) with
about 34,500; and then the next two largest towns are Dickinson with about
16,000 and Jamestown with about 15,500.
Population density in North Dakota ranges from 1-3 inhabitants per square
mile (19 counties), to 4-6 per square mile (17 counties), up to a maximum of
38-58 per square mile (4 counties, around Bismarck, Minot, Grand Forks, and
Fargo). It's population is 95% white, 4% Native American and less than 1% each
of Hispanic, African American, Asian and "other." The state's people are about
evenly divided between urban dwellers (about 53%) and rural (47% on farms and
in rural areas).
Says my North Dakota informant: "The reason its population is small and not
growing has nothing to do with climate. It is the natural progression of the
state's largest industry, agriculture. Thankfully for all of us, technological
advancement means that continually fewer people are needed to produce
increasingly more food and fiber. There is no reason the rest of us, no longer
needing to grow food, can't thrive in any location where our individual talents
are allowed to flourish. As for me, North Dakota sounds as good as any, and
probably better than most."
New Hampshire Report
by Michelle Dumas
(See also New Hampshire Report #1 and Live Free before You Die: Join Us in
N.H by the New Hampshire Libertarian Party.)
My husband (Jim) and I (Michelle), both grew up in Southern Maine, in a town
bordering New Hampshire. We are both in our mid thirties, have been married 15
years and have one 12-year-old daughter. About 11 years ago we moved to a New
Hampshire border town, Somersworth, in the Seacoast region, and have lived here
since. We have both had libertarian leanings for many years, but it was only
several years ago when we began actively re-educating ourselves (undoing the
damage of what we now understand was a terrible public education) that we
joined the LP. We are slowly becoming more politically active but are already
frustrated by what seem like insurmountable challenges. FSP offers the most
practical, action-focused plan we have seen. The promise of the FSP, "Liberty
in Your Lifetime" is one we are committed to and while we would certainly
follow 20,000 liberty-oriented people wherever they go, we feel that New
Hampshire is certainly in the running for the top few states that should be
considered by the FSP.
New Hampshire Constitution
The New Hampshire Constitution is the second oldest state constitution and
predates the U.S. Constitution by five years. It is unique in that it was the
first constitution to use the term Bill of Rights, and includes in its listed
39 rights, the right to revolution, promised in no other American constitution.
New Hampshire has the largest legislative body and the weakest governorship of
all the states. New Hampshire's governor shares power with five members of an
executive council. Summarizing the philosophical beliefs on which the NH
Constitution is founded, is that government is the servant, not the master, of
the people who create it, a strong foundation for the "Live Free or Die"
tradition and state motto.
People, Politics, and Culture for Freedom
The median age of New Hampshire citizens' is 37.1, with 25% of the
population under 18 years of age and 12% age 65 and older. There are 474,606
households, with an average size of 2.53; of those, 323,651 are family
households, with an average size of 3.03. As of April 1, 2000, there were
547,024 total housing units. Profiles of 234 incorporated cities and towns may
be found here.
2001 population statistics by town can be viewed here.
There are currently 26 Libertarians who hold public office in New
Hampshire. LPNH is quite active and there are 17 Libertarians running for
public office in 2002; in 2000, 70 Libertarian candidates ran for office. The
voter registration is approximately 30% Republican, 30% Democrat, and 40%
Independent. Currently, the legislature is about 60% Republican and 40%
Democrat. Until just recently, when we were beat by Alaska, New Hampshire had
the highest number of Libertarian Party members per capita of all the states.
The people of New Hampshire are notoriously independent and tax averse.
While it is true that we have had an influx of people moving in state from
Massachusetts, and bringing their liberal politics with them, for the most part
(although difficult to measure), most long-term NH residents are resentful of
this; this resentment could actually work in the favor of the FSP. It is
reasonable to predict that the GOP will win the race for Governor this year,
perhaps reflecting some of this dissatisfaction and a desire to return to more
It is interesting to note that the LPNH's 2002 candidate for governor, John Babiarz, is attracting a fair amount of
favorable press and that the people have been quite receptive to his ideas. In
2000, he experienced some difficulty in getting the press to notice him and in
being included in debates. He is running an aggressive campaign to win in 2002.
This year, the press has been quite favorable, he is being invited and welcomed
in the debates and forums, and the public response has been more than
favorable. For example, the Keene-Sentinel
profiled Babiarz on the front page of the Saturday edition (highest
circulation day of the week) on 8/17/02. Other LP candidates in 2002 are
running for US Senate, US Rep, State Senate, State Rep, Executive Council, and
Of concern is the recent House redistricting. Unable to overcome partisan
politics, the legislature failed to agree on a redistricting plan. Thus, the
task was taken over by the Supreme Court. The plan sets the boundaries for 400
representatives in 88 new house districts. Unfortunately, under this plan, 215
representatives (54%) will serve 6 communities or more. Prior to this,
districts were much smaller and every citizen was virtually assured of
personally knowing a representative or at the very least, having easy access to
voice concerns to the representative in their town. This means that the cost of
campaigning will increase, it will be much more difficult to reach individual
voters, and the voters themselves will not have as easy access to their
representative in the House. This issue does negate one advantage of New
Hampshire to the FSP (small districts easily won by liberty-minded candidates),
although the fact that the NH legislature is the largest in the nation remains
Geography and Recreation
New Hampshire is bounded on the north by Quebec province in Canada, on the
east by Maine and the Atlantic Ocean, on the south by Massachusetts, and on the
west by Vermont. Offering both coastal access and a Canadian border, New
Hampshire is one of the strongest states being considered by the FSP in regards
to its geographic location. It is undeniable that isolation could play a large
part on the steps that the federal government may take to suppress the free
state. The importance of both coastal and international access cannot be
understated. If secession were to become an issue, coastal and international
borders would be critical.
New Hampshire is a small state, about 180 miles long and 50 miles wide,
although the extreme width is 93 miles. The coastal area is approximately 18
miles. While New Hampshire clearly does not offer the "wide open spaces" of the
west, it is reasonable to expect that a successful FSP effort in New Hampshire
would "spill over" to its neighboring state, Maine, or perhaps Vermont, giving
us the "space to grow" that so many advocate. In the early stages of the FSP,
the small geographical size of NH may also prove to be an advantage,
facilitating the ability of FSP members to easily meet and work together. It
should also be pointed out that most New Hampshire towns are small, rural
towns, no different than any other state being considered. The difference is,
and this is a potentially important one, that while the towns are similar to
those in many other considered states, we do not have vast open spaces of
**federally claimed** land between them. I think there is a lot of
misperception about crowding among those who have never visited the New England
states. While I agree that there are areas of New Hampshire that are somewhat
crowded, for most regions, this is simply not the case. For that reason, I will
go into some detail describing the various regions of New Hampshire.
With its seacoast areas and beaches, 1,300 lakes and ponds (covering
115,000 acres - the largest, Lake Winnipesaukee, is 22 miles x 8 miles), 40,000
miles of rivers or streams, and the White Mountains, New Hampshire offers
virtually every possible recreational activity within very scenic surroundings.
Boston, Massachusetts is only a short commuting distance for those free staters
desiring access to a major metropolitan area (for example, it is only 55 miles
from my home in the Seacoast Region) or a major international airport.
For those who enjoy wildlife or hunting, New Hampshire is home to more than
500 species of vertebrate animals, including black bear, coyote, bobcats,
moose, white-tailed deer, and beaver.
The Seacoast Region
New Hampshire's 18-mile coast offers history, culture, and beauty. Private
and public beaches can be found in Hampton and Rye. Ferry rides to the Isles of Shoals,
deep sea fishing, and whale watching cruises are popular with both tourists and
locals. Many lobsterman operate off the New Hampshire coast. Live lobsters are
available virtually everywhere and we usually feast on them at least once each
summer. My husband enjoys going out deep sea fishing with his friend who owns a
charter fishing boat, helping out with the customers in return for filling out
freezer with all the haddock, cod, cusk, tuna, and flounder we could want. The
seaport city of Portsmouth is home
to many shops, restaurants, taverns, and art galleries in the downtown area.
Portsmouth offers Prescott Park, cobblestone sidewalks, and a picturesque
harbor. My daughter and I enjoy going to Prescott Park for the outdoor, live
theater productions put on each weekend throughout the summer. I've never been,
but local bands often play in the park during lunch hour and on the weeknights.
Settled in 1693, the nearby town of
Dover was New Hampshire's first permanent settlement and Durham is home to
the University of New Hampshire. The town
of Seabrook is best known for its nuclear power plant. A great deal of
the surrounding inland area (including our town of Somersworth) is farmland and
countryside. As with the rest of the state, many old buildings still stand as
meetinghouses, covered bridges, and town halls. I once saw a family tree that
traced my direct ancestors back to the Dover area in the mid 17th century.
There is a lot of history here.
Dartmouth Lake Sunapee Region
The western border of New Hampshire is the Connecticut River and neighboring
Vermont. This part of the state is best described as hilly, lush, and green,
with many old barns, curving back country roads, and covered bridges. The
region around Lake Sunapee offers
golf, swimming, canoeing, fishing, and cross-country skiing. The lake is a
favorite for fisherman of trout, bass, salmon, and pickerel. Hiking and biking
trails up Mount Sunapee offer three-season recreation and the region is a
favorite among many skiers and snowboarders in the winter. We have personally
never done much more than drive through this region, but it is gorgeous.
The center of many towns, like
Newport and Claremont, revolves
around mills and churches. In Cornish you can find four covered bridges,
including the longest wooden covered bridge in the United States, connecting
New Hampshire with Vermont. Warner is
the home of Mount Kearsarge, which rises 2,937 feet above sea level. The
Blackwater River in Webster is known for its white water rapids.
The town of Hanover is home to
Dartmouth College and New London is home to Colby Sawyer College.
North Woods Region
The North Woods of New Hampshire is the region that may be of the greatest
interest to those Free Staters desiring space and solitude. You can drive for
miles and not see another person in this region that is best known for its
snowmobiling trails, deep forests, and moose sightings. Besides snowmobiling,
this is a haven for those people interested in camping, hiking, boating,
fishing, or hunting. It is quiet, serene, and secluded. It is home to towns
like Dixville, where the first votes in the Presidential Election are cast and
Colebrook, where hunting and fishing
are primary recreational activities. The town of Pittsburg, is a favorite among
snowmobilers and is also
known for frequent moose sightings. My sister-in-law spent a weekend in
Pittsburg last fall and said she could hardly believe all the moose.
Beginning where the White Mountain Region ends, the North Woods borders the
Canadian Province of Quebec to the north, Vermont to the West, and Maine to the
East. The Connecticut River begins in Pittsburg and breaks off into a group of
lakes known as the Connecticut Lakes.
Fishing is popular, with fish ranging from rainbow trout to salmon. Lake
Umbagog on the Maine border is popular for smallmouth bass angling.
The Lakes Region is most popular in the summertime, but offers something in
every season, from skiing and ice fishing in the winter, to fall foliage
viewing and antique shopping in autumn.
Towns in the region include places like Laconia, where the annual "motorcycle weekend" is held, an event
that attracts 300,000+ motorcyclists from across the country. The town of Holderness and Squam
Lake was made famous by the movie On Golden Pond. Plymouth State College is located in this
Of the 273 lakes and ponds in this area, Winnipesaukee, covering 72 square
miles and up to 213 feet deep, is the largest and most popular. Boating, scuba
diving, lake cruises, scenic rides, swimming, and antiquing are popular in this
region. Surrounded by mountains, other lakes in the area include Newfound Lake,
Winnesquam, Lake Chocorua and Ossipee Lake. This is a beautiful region and our
family enjoys taking leisurely drives around the towns or boating on the lakes,
especially in the summer and autumn. Truly, there is nothing so spectacular as
a boat ride around Winnipesaukee in autumn. The colors of the foliage on the
mountains surrounding the lake are incredible.
Merrimack Valley Region
The Merrimack Valley is named for the river that runs through it and is a
popular recreation area for kayakers, boaters, and fishermen.
Manchester, the state's largest
city, was at one time a mill town. Today, the mills have been refurbished to
accommodate high tech industries, insurance companies, shops, and restaurants.
Concord, the State Capital, also
sits on the Merrimack River as do farm towns like Litchfield and the
state's second largest city, Nashua.
The Merrimack Valley boasts New Hampshire
International Speedway in Loudon. There are several lakes in the area for
swimmers and picnickers and covered bridges span smaller rivers in this region,
like the Henniker Bridge at New England
College. Farmers Markets, antique shops, and apple orchards are all easily
sighted on a drive through this region. The town of Milford is well known for its wide
variety of antique and craft shops. Not unlike most of the state, there are
many places in the region to pick your own berries in the summer, and pumpkins
or apples in the fall.
The Southwestern corner of New Hampshire, the Monadnock Region, is known for
its hilly terrain, fertile farmland, antique barns, and two-hundred-year-old
town halls, churches, and meetinghouses. Writers like Samuel Clemens, Nathaniel
Hawthorne, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Louisa May Alcott spent time in this
region. It's the setting for Thornton Wilder's play Our Town. It's where the
Yankee Magazine and Old Farmer's Almanac are published.
Fresh produce and maple syrup is available from roadside farm stands. Mount
Monadnock is the second most climbed mountain in the world and there are
multiple covered bridges in the region. The Connecticut River passes through
the region and is a favorite fishing spot. Towns in the region include Keene, Hinsdale, and Chesterfield.
White Mountain Region
The White Mountains are home to New Hampshire's "Old Man of the Mountain"
and hundreds of other natural attractions. This is the favorite region for
hikers with more than 48 mountains reaching heights of more than 4,000 feet.
The Appalachian Trail, beginning in Maine and ending in Georgia, winds through
this region, through Crawford Notch, up the summit of Mount Washington and on to Pinkham Notch.
Scenic drives and the landscape are breathtaking in this region. Our family
owns a (very) rustic mountain cabin in the tiny town of Gilead, Maine,
bordering Gorham, New Hampshire, and spend many long weekends enjoying the
scenery, attractions, snowmobiling, and skiing of this region. The entire
White Mountain Region has some of the finest ski terrain in the east for both
downhill and cross-country skiers. I can also personally attest to the abundant
wildlife in the region. There are bear scratches on our cabin from the black
bears trying to get in (luckily, never when I have been there, although Jim
promises that they aren't aggressive to humans unless threatened!), the coyote
in the distance have convinced me, more than once, to use the port-a-potty
rather than venture to the outhouse in the night, and we've seen many
white-tailed deer, moose, fox, and hare while on our way to or at our camp.
A popular trip in the region is a scenic byway known as the Kancamagus
Highway, a 34-mile road that runs from
Lincoln at the Pemigewasset River to Conway. Along the Kancamagus,
many people stop at Lower Falls to climb on the rocks and slide on the natural
water slide, created by slippery rocks and a deep basin of water that serves as
a pool. There are numerous waterfalls along this road and others throughout the
White Mountain region. Bear Notch Road, off the Kancamagus, is a shortcut to
the town of Bartlett for those who do not wish to travel the entire byway. I
will never forget coming around a corner on Bear Notch Road fifteen years ago
and being surprised by a large black bear, sunning himself in the middle of the
road. Bear Notch Road is closed to cars in the winter, but is a favorite spot
for racing snowmobiles up and down the road.
Mount Washington is the highest mountain in the northeast at 6,288 feet. It
is known for having the world's worst weather, with winds at times of well over
100 miles per hour during the winter. The Auto Road up the
mountain is the oldest man-made tourist attraction in America.
The Old Man of the Mountain, one of New Hampshire's most famous landmarks,
can be found in the town of
Franconia. The town of
Bath boasts the "oldest general store in the country" and has two covered
houses New Hampshire's oldest covered bridge still in use.
Like most New England states, New Hampshire is known for it's highly
changeable climate where the weather can be warm and sunny one minute and cold
and snowy the next ("Don't like the weather - just wait a minute!"). Each of
the four seasons vary greatly in their daily temperatures and weather patterns.
Climate variations are also due to distance from the ocean, mountains, lakes or
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New Hampshire has a long history of shunning taxes. Proposal of taxes
basically meant death to the campaign of whatever politician dared suggest
them. To this day we have no sales tax and no income tax although to
compensate, property taxes are relatively high in some areas. Retailers on the
NH borders do really well from people crossing the border to avoid the high
sales tax rates in the surrounding states. Unfortunately, we have had an
ongoing problem in the state regarding funding of public education. Funding of
schools on a local level by local property taxes (as had been done for as long
as I can remember) was ruled unconstitutional. Currently this has been
"resolved" by a statewide property tax and redistribution of funds, resulting
in huge controversy between "donor" towns and "recipient" towns. There is a
great deal of animosity over this issue, and even talk of secession by some of
the donor communities. Although there has been a great deal of discussion
about income and sales taxes, given the adversity of NH citizens to taxes, this
does not seem likely. Whatever the ultimate "solution", there is likely to be a
great deal of resentment and controversy surrounding it, a factor that could be
an advantage to the Free State Project if we loudly promote our tax-free
solutions to education.
I have a report titled "Where Taxes Are Lowest" published by Liberty
Magazine; I just received my latest copy of the magazine (September 2002) and
see that the report has been reprinted in it. Published in 2002, it ranks
states using data from 2000. New Hampshire won the #1 spot of all 50 states
when ranked as a percentage of gross personal income. New Hampshire is lowest
at 4.54% followed by South Dakota (5.05%), Texas (5.09%), and Tennessee
(5.52%). However, when taxes are ranked per capita, New Hampshire ranks #4
($1,372), beat by the three previously mentioned states. This is a rather
simplified summary of a detailed report, but ultimately, the author concludes
that while he had rated New Hampshire as the champ for having the lowest taxes
of all states in his last report, its increase in per capita taxes caused this
rating to slip, to be beat out by South Dakota.
The bottom line: while New Hamphire is no longer the winner for lowest
taxes, taxes are still much lower when compared to most states. Coupled with
its long history of rejecting taxes, combined with low federal, state, and
local spending as a percentage of gross state product (the best of all states
under consideration), and low dependency rating on federal dollars (the best of
all states considered), the Free State Project would be entering the state
closest to its economic ideals and in which many of its citizens will be
There was some talk on the FSP e-mail discussion list about New Hampshire
being the only state to let all defendants expressly advise the jury of the
right to acquit if they object to the merit, intent, or constitutionality of a
law. Unfortunately, I researched this, and it is not true. Of course, juries in
all 50 states have the right of jury nullification; the advantage would have
been if New Hampshire expressly allowed defendants to advise juries of this.
However, a bill for jury nullification did pass the NH House in 2000, 189-138,
but was later killed in the Senate. Thus, while it was never enacted, there is
some public awareness and legislative support surrounding this right.
Our gun laws are probably average; definitely not as favorable as Vermont,
but nowhere near as restrictive as Massachusetts. The New Hampshire
Constitution, Article 2-a states: All persons have the right to keep and bear
arms in defense of themselves, their families, their property and the state.
My basic understanding is that anyone can carry an unconcealed weapon (open
carry) and we have a "shall issue" regulation for concealed weapons permits.
Basically, application is made to the mayor or chief of police and they are
required to issue the permit within 14 days to "upstanding citizens" who state
a valid purpose (hunting, target shooting, and self defense are cited as valid
reasons). The only glitch we ran into when Jim applied for his permit is that
our chief of police "required" him to submit to fingerprinting. He claimed that
a whole list of other NH towns require this, but Jim called dozens of towns and
this is simply not true. Although he was issued the permit, Jim (obviously)
wants his fingerprints back on principle. Although he has met with the town
manager and chief of police several times, this is still not resolved.
In New Hampshire, those families wishing to homeschool must notify the
district superintendent of their plans and provide written information about
any correspondence courses, curriculum, and educational materials to be used.
Parents are required to keep a log of reading materials and a portfolio of each
child's work for the first two years. However, this portfolio is the property
of the parent and the superintendent cannot require that it be submitted for
review. Parents are also required to have their child's progress evaluated once
each year by a certified teacher, through a national achievement test or state
student assessment test, or any other measurement tool agreed on in advance
between the parent and the superintendent. I am not familiar enough with the
laws in other states to judge whether these regulations are more or less
restrictive than others.
I know that there are many members of the FSP who are interested in
homesteading and agriculture. Basically, the soil in New Hampshire is suitable
for most fruits, flowers, and vegetables. The forests are made up of pine,
spruce, and hardwood trees. New Hampshire is also famous for products made from
the sap of the maple tree. These figures are ten years old (1992), but should
still be fairly accurate. There are 3,100 commercial farms. Of 5.7 million
acres, approximately 6.7% is currently used as farmland; 35.1% of this is
cropland, 56.7% is woodland, 2.5% is pastureland, and 5.6% is categorized as
other farmland. New Hampshire's agricultural industry is over $675 million. The
state exports $20 million annually in food and agricultural products to
- Ornamental Horticulture: (One of the fastest growing segments)
- Specialty & Processed Food Products: (ice cream, yogurt, jams,
baked goods, etc.) $125 million
- Dairy: (40+ million gallons of milk are produced each year on
190 dairy farms) $54 million
- Horses: $30 million
- Hay & Forage Crops: $27 million
- Vegetables: $20 million
- Livestock: $16.5 million
- Apples: (1 million bushels of apples annually) $9.5 million
- Christmas Trees & Evergreen Products: $6 million
- Berries and Other Fruit: $5 million
- Maple and Honey: $3.5 million
While not comparable to real farming, for those interested in gardening as a
hobby, my experiences may be of interest. While I am uncertain about other
parts of the state, here on the Seacoast I can usually start my raised-bed
kitchen-garden with cold-hardy veggies sometime in mid-April (I've had success
with peas, lettuce, and radishes as early as mid-March) and rotate crops
through the season, winding down in late September or early October. While
early or late frosts are sometimes a problem, I just keep an eye on the weather
and cover everything with plastic sheets when I am concerned. This even
protected my garden from a freak 6-inch snowstorm in mid-May this past year,
the latest in history.
Property and Real Estate
This is difficult to summarize because, as it does everywhere, the price of
real estate really varies depending on so many factors. However, some real
estate summaries from 2001 can be found here. To get a better
idea of what is currently available and prices, you can search here. Here, in the Seacoast region, property
values are appreciating quickly, but I am uncertain if this holds true for the
rest of the state.
New Hampshire's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for July 2002 was 4.2
percent, down 0.3 percentage points from the June rate. Nationally, the
seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for July 2002 was 5.9 percent.
In July of 2002, non-farm employment of NH citizens was broken down as:
- Total All Industries: 626,900
- Total Private Employment: 551,200
- Mining: 600
- Construction: 28,900
- Manufacturing: 99,300
- Durable Goods: 72,600
- Nondurable Goods: 26,700
- Transportation & Public Utilities: 20,400
- Trade: 169,400
- Wholesale Trade: 33,200
- Retail Trade: 136,200
- Finance, Insurance, & Real Estate: 34,400
- Services: 198,200
- Government: 75,700
Many people, particularly here on the Seacoast, commute to Boston for work.
Although he could easily find work in New Hampshire, for personal reasons, Jim
works in Maine. The downfall of working in the neighboring states is that your
income is subject to income taxes in that state. In recent years, in part based
on employment outlook combined with low taxes (I would guess), Manchester and
Nashua have been named "best place to live" by Money Magazine. Portsmouth also
ranked highly. New Hampshire supposedly has the highest concentration of
high-tech workers in the nation.
The two fastest growing jobs in the state, computer support specialists and
systems analysts, are expected to add 4,000 jobs by 2008. Occupations in the
professional, paraprofessional, and technical are expected to grow the fastest.
Desktop publishing, database administrators, home health aides, instructional
coordinators, physician assistants, computer engineers, medical assistants, and
medical records technicians are the other fasted growing occupations. More than
105,000 new jobs are expected to be created in New Hampshire between 1998 and
2008; more than half of these will be in service industries. Employment in
Belknap County is expected to grow faster than other NH counties. All of this
and more, is summarized in a brochure
A detailed report on NH projected employment by industry and occupation to
2008 can be found
Overall, based on my review of the job outlook data, I believe that New
Hampshire could (relatively easily) absorb and support 20,000 free staters
moving in over a period of several years.
Small Business Friendliness
A report prepared by the Small Business
Survival Committee indexes the states on how the state and local
governments treat small businesses and entrepreneurs. Many factors were
considered, including personal and corporate income tax, capital gains tax,
state and local property taxes, crime rates, number of full-time government
employees, and many more. Of the states, New Hampshire ranked #6, beat only by
South Dakota, Nevada, Wyoming, Texas, and Florida. This ranking could be of
primary importance to those free staters who choose to or need to start their
own businesses as an alternative to finding new employment.
Low Crime Rate
New Hampshire boasts one of the lowest crime rates of all the states under
consideration. Beyond stating this, the best I can do is describe our own
experience. Even though we live in a relatively high population area, there is
hardly anyone in out community who would worry about leaving doors unlocked
while away for a few hours or even leaving keys in vehicles overnight.
Basically, our neighbors keep an eye on our property and we keep an eye on
Universities and Colleges
For free-stater-students or parents who have children considering higher
education, the choice of colleges and universities in New Hampshire may be of
Besides the University System of New
Hampshire and the Regional Community
Technical College System New Hampshire offers:
Antioch New England Graduate
Colby Sawyer College, New London
Daniel Webster College, Nashua
Dartmouth College, Hanover
Franklin Pierce College, Rindge
Franklin Pierce Law Center, Concord
Hesser College, New Hampshire
Lebanon College, Lebanon
Magdalen College, Warner
McIntosh College, Dover
New England College, Henniker
New Hampshire Institute of Art, Manchester
Notre Dame College, Manchester
Rivier College, Nashua
Saint Anselm College, Manchester
Southern New Hampshire University,
Manchester (formerly NH College)
Thomas More College of Liberal
White Pines College,
The statistics and objective data are well presented in the FSP state data. Thus,
I have tried to focus
this report on more subjective factors that may make New Hampshire an
attractive state for the success of the Free State Project; I have also tried
to be realistic and present some of the potential pitfalls. Yes, I am biased;
there is nothing more that we would like to see than 20,000+ liberty-minded
people move to our beloved state to secure a free society. However, the success
of FSP is more important to us, and if another state is judged to be more
suitable for the achievement of our goals, we are behind that decision 100%.
Ultimately though, combining its high ranking in most of the objective data
categories, its geographic advantages of offering both a seacoast and an
international border, its possibilities for expansion into two neighboring
states also under consideration by FSP (Maine and Vermont), its native culture
historically known for orientation toward liberty, and its viability as a state
where the immediate quality of life is likely to be most comfortable for free
staters, we believe that New Hampshire should be considered one of the top
contenders in the final decision.
Major sources for this report included:
August 20, 2002
The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those
of the Free State Project, its Officers, or Directors.
Welcome to New Hampshire
Greetings from the White Mountains where the winters are cold and the women are
beautiful. I want to tell members of the Free State Project a bit about our
state to help you make a more informed choice.
Previously I have lived in three statist areas (Rhode Island, Massachusetts and
New York) but moved to New Hampshire in 1999. New Hampshire is a conservative
state, in the good sense of that word (referring to conservative Americans of
the 1950s, not to European conservatives). The credit for this belongs to
William Loeb, publisher of The Union Leader. Loeb turned his paper into
a fierce enemy of the welfare state, and it remains so today. It is the
dominant paper in the state and, while not completely libertarian, manifests a
lot of good common sense.
Crime is very low. In 1999, our total crime rate was the lowest in the nation.
The first winter I was here I was startled to find motorists leaving their
engines idling (key in ignition) while they ran into the donut shop for coffee.
In the small town of Brookline, in which I resided for a while (population
4,000), there was no case of murder in the 20th century. The right to keep and
bear arms is specifically protected by the state constitution.
Using the SATs to measure education (not good, but at least objective), New
Hampshire can claim to be the best in the country. There are states which
score higher, but these states have a much smaller percentage of their
population taking the test (hence only the smarter kids). Among states where
more than 60% of the students take the SAT, New Hampshire regularly gets the
New Hampshire is alive with small-business people. Almost everywhere you look
there are small plazas, or shopping malls, or little alleys, peppered with
small businesses. There is the same hustle and bustle that characterized most
of America in the 1950s. You can pretty much go into any major city in the
state without seeing loiterers. New Hampshire goes year after year with the
lowest unemployment rate in New England. In 2001, our unemployment rate was
43rd nationally. And our personal income per capita ranks 6th ($34,334 in
Americans are fleeing most Northeastern states. The more statist ones are
losing native population and only grow at all due to foreign immigrants. But
New Hampshire is gaining population at a rate of about 18% per decade, and has
more than doubled in size over the past half century. There is no specific
economic or technological event (such as oil vis-à-vis Texas, gold
discoveries vis-à-vis California, or air conditioning vis-à-vis
Florida) to explain this population movement.
The state's motto was coined by General John Stark during the Revolutionary
War. Recruiting a militia unit to march to the aid of Massachusetts (in what
later turned out to be the battle of Bunker Hill), he told his men, "Live free
or die." Stark's unit also played an important role in the battle of Saratoga.
New Hampshire has the highest mountains in the East, and the pine trees make
the air clean and sweet. We are tied with Rhode Island for the second safest
state (1.0 fatalities per 100,000,000 vehicle miles, in 2001). And the people
here have a passionate interest in politics. There are many small newspapers
of different views. There are only about 2,500 citizens per state legislator,
and the latter are paid $100 per year. As a result, anybody can run for the
state House of Representatives (two-year residency requirement). You can win
election in many districts with just 2,000 votes, and in some places 1,000
votes will make you a state rep. You can reach voters by standing in the
center of town or at the town dump and handing out leaflets; or for a small
cost you can do a mailing. Although the state is clearly Republican, any given
election can go either way.
New Hampshire has neither an income tax nor a sales tax. There are some minor
exceptions to this but nothing significant. In 1999, New Hampshire ranked
lowest in general revenue going to the state government on a per capita basis
(Statistical Abstract 2001, p. 279)
There are a great many businesses located right on the Massachusetts border to
attract Bay Staters trying to avoid their state's sales tax. These businesses
employ a lot of people and pay a lot of municipal property tax. So there is an
enormous vested interest against a state sales tax. On those rare occasions
when the idea is floated, it dies a miserable death. A campaign was recently
made for a state income tax (to obey the Supreme Court's very bad educational
funding decision). The Democrat who led the fight was at first repudiated by
his own party. When he was finally given the nomination, he suffered a dismal
defeat. I expect that this was the death knell for the state income tax in New
Hampshire as a practical political issue for the foreseeable future.
Statists from Massachusetts have tried to argue that New Hampshire's low state
taxes are offset by high (municipal) property taxes. This is not true.
Municipalities in New Hampshire have pretty much the same functions as anywhere
in the country: education and police. Tax rates in New Hampshire are a little
higher than in Massachusetts (which is limited by state law to 2.5%). In my
town the rate is 2.8% on assessed valuation. But this is offset by the fact
that land values in New Hampshire are much lower (for a Northeastern state
close to a major job center); thus the amount of property tax the average
person pays is probably lower than in Massachusetts (although I have not done
the statistical work on this point).
If the Free State Project does choose New Hampshire, then the first order of
business should be to start a newspaper in the southern part of the state
(where there is minimal competition with The Union Leader). The
Nashua Telegraph is a juicy target.
By the way, we New Englanders do not drop our "r"s. We do have a broad "A".
And we do not talk the way JFK talked. (He was Irish and made a bad imitation
of a Boston Yankee accent.)
So, if you want to come, we would love to have you.
Montana: Bring Guns And Money
by Quincy OrHai, Bozeman, Montana
I find it highly ironic to be writing an essay extolling the reasons why
Montana should be the Free State of choice, when for years I've been
downplaying the awesome beauty and easy, relaxed social atmosphere of my
adopted state. Frankly, I and most Montanans don't really want a bunch more
city folks moving up here and jacking up land prices and diluting the laid back
ambience of our state. So generally when we are traveling out of the land of
the free (as I usually refer to Montana) and queried by some city dude about
what it's like up here on the highline, we will say something about how we
really like nine months of winter (the other three months are road
construction). It barely got cold last winter, only fifty degrees. Below. Or
we marvel about how few of our children were killed by rattlesnakes last year.
Maybe we'll casually suggest that you don't hug the grizzlies, pet the elk or
try to ride the buffalo, as these critters usually score at least a few human
casualties every year. Anything to discourage would be immigrants.
So why am I daring to promote, on the internet no less, a place I dearly
love and wish to remain untrammeled? Well, I guess I'm hoping that anyone with
the gumption to consider packing up and moving to a state with the hope of
helping create political influence for liberty will actually be an asset here,
rather than another "Let's remake the place in the image of LA" type.
As Ben Irvin succinctly states in his
Montana Report "...If
freedom alone is the primary objective, no other state comes close." That's why
I'm here. I immigrated from New Mexico over eighteen years ago, fell in love
with the scenery and society, and I've gotten to where I seldom venture out of
state anymore. Too depressing.
Montana has a kind of blank slate quality to it. It's still high, wide and
handsome, and plenty of room to throw a loop, so to speak. I've always felt
that what I love most about this place is how no one has ever bothered me here.
If people don't like me, they just ignore me. The people that move here
generally think that they know what they want, and they deserve to get it good
and hard (to paraphrase H. L. Mencken). The emerging problem, from my
perspective, is that like so many other Americans in this day and age, quite a
few of our recent newcomers seem to want another Nanny State to replace the one
they are running from. The way some of these pilgrims vote, I reckon they want
to remake Montana into another California, but with grizzlies.
So as I see it, we need the folks like you fellow liberty lovers to
counter-balance the statist immigrants that are becoming altogether too common,
especially in the fastest growing "big cities". For instance, my home town,
Bozeman, has grown to 27,509 in 2000 from 22,660 in 1990, an increase of
21.4%. Montana's population as a whole grew 12.9% during this ten year period.
My home is in Gallatin County, which grew from 50,484 in 1990 to 69,422 in
2001, a startling 37.5% increase in 11 years! In my personal observation, many
of these newcomers seem to be well heeled liberals, with lots of new imported
cars and new Carharts, providing a considerable contrast to the older style of
poorer working class, more conservative immigrants (like myself) from the
1980's and earlier.
Just to further complicate the picture, there is what we call the slow
churn factor. Back in the 1980's a Montana State University sociologist,
Patrick Jobs, studied the population turnover of Bozeman, and of Gallatin
County residents (excluding Bozeman). He left town in 1993, but to roughly
summarize his findings (now dated, but still relevant), he found that Bozeman
residents turned over an incredible 85% in five years, and Gallatin County
(rural) residents turned over 80% in ten years. I used to have the source for
these figures, but unfortunately I can't find it now (pre-hard drive :>).
Basically, the way things work around here is like this. Mr and Ms
Immigrant move here from California, or Minnesota, or New York or ????. They
have sold their last house for a tidy profit, and they are tired of the crime,
the traffic jams, the general rat race. So they are making a fresh start in
scenic Montana. He wants to be an elk hunter, or fly fisherman, or to ski
uncrowded powder slopes. She wants to raise the children "someplace safe".
(Please excuse the stereotypes, I'm just trying to make a point here.) So they
move. Maybe they buy (the smart ones), maybe they rent. Anyway they join the
slow churn. They get Montana driver licenses. Their kids enroll in school here.
They go to work, usually at about half the pay they were making elsewhere. And
they discover that, as the saying goes, "You can't eat the scenery." Most will
find that it is very hard to make a living here. Some will stick around. Most
will leave, within three to five years. But as they head out, others are moving
in to take their place. The good news is, a good bit of their "nestegg" got
scrambled into the local economy.
One result of this New West social situation is that Bozeman is really two
social scenes. One set of citizens (the smaller set, say 10-20%) are oldtimers,
either born here or been here for decades. We know each other, at least in
passing. We party together, we network together, and to some extent, we stick
together. The other (larger) set of citizens, from our point of view, are just
passing through. If they stick around, eventually they will become part of the
oldtimers. In the meantime, on the downside they are speeding up the traffic
pace, inflating the real estate market, and trying to bring in strange laws and
customs (like zoning). On the upside, they are spending a lot of money here
that came from somewhere else, and they also bring in fresh views and culture,
as well as being, in most cases, decent human beings. On the whole, this human
churn is a source of public vitality and social excitement. Newcomers [as long
as they respect the code of the west (see
www.co.gallatin.mt.us/code.htm)] are generally welcomed here, or at least
cheerfully tolerated. After all, they will soon be gone.
Out in the boondocks, Montana is quite different than around a swinging
town like Bozeman. Some towns are so small, they play three person basketball.
(By the way, basketball is a BIG DEAL in rural Montana. See the novel Blind
Your Ponies, by my friend Stan West for details). Tolerance isn't just an
abstract idea here, it's reality in the hinterlands. If your neighbor seems a
bit odd, well, he or she probably is, in a harmless sort of way. Social
isolation does that to people. Lots of eastern Montana is not measured in
people per square mile, but in square miles per person. In my experience, rural
Montanans are a quirky combination of tough and kind, clannish and hospitable,
loyal to a fault, hardworking and laid back, and surprising open minded about
things out in the wide, wide world. Just don't try to tell them about
environmental matters. Most ranchers have forgotten more about nature than
other folks will ever know. Don't judge us by appearances. The unshaven old guy
with tobacco juice stains on the side of his 1976 F-250 might well turn out to
be a Harvard PhD with a multi million dollar brokerage account and a seat at
the statehouse. Or not. The waitress at the cafe might own half the town, or be
the mayor or school board chair. Or not.
If any of you folks reading this decide to give us a whirl, just remember
to be patient. If in doubt, act western. Think carefully before making enemies.
Lots of folks here have mighty long memories, as well as kind hearts. Stick
around for a decade or so. You might find you don't need to make so many
changes after all, to experience liberty in your lifetime. Oh yeah. Bring guns
102 Reasons Why Montana Should be Chosen
as the Free State
- Making Government Work Real Representation
... 15 total reasons
- Montana has the country's largest-population Congressional district. This
means that a population increase as few as 10,000 people will cause Montana to
be split into two Congressional districts when redistricting is done
after the 2010 Census, just about the time we would be ready to run a candidate
in a no-incumbent race for a federal House seat, giving us the best chance of
adding to the pool of freedom-loving Congresspeople.
- At least two Montana libertarians are currently serving in state
government. State Senator Jerry Neill and State Representative Joe Balyeat are
both libertarian members of state government, elected on the Republican ticket.
There are others, as well, but these two gentlemen spoke at the Grand Western
Conference in Missoula, MT.
- The current governor, Judy Martz, enjoys only an 18% approval rating with
her constituents. Because of this, she is considering not running for
re-election. Currently, there are no Republican prospects to replace her,
leaving a void in Montana's Republican party which could possibly be
filled by a freedom-loving candidate, especially with the help of the FSP.
- The Montana Constitution includes the following clause:
Section 2. Self-government. The people have the exclusive right
of governing themselves as a free, sovereign, and independent state. They may
alter or abolish the constitution and form of government whenever they deem it
necessary. This makes it clear that power in Montana belongs to the people, who
may even abolish the state government as they deem necessary.
- At least 1% of Montana's House, and 2% of Montana's Senate, are
libertarians NOW, although they were elected on the Republican ticket.
- Montana has citizen initiative referenda.
- Montanans can recall state officeholders.
- Montana has term limits. This leaves government seats without
incumbents, which will make it easier to get freedom-minded people elected to
- Montanans can even change their Constitution by citizen initiative.
- Montanans can even use citizen initiative to call a Constitutional
- In Montana, the legislature meets for only 90 days every two years.
Both state senators and state representatives serve two-year terms,
which means that they are going to stand for re-election after only one
legislative session. Therefore, everything they do in every session of the
legislature is going to be scrutinized by their constituents at election time.
This should have the effect of keeping the wishes of their constituents
prominent in the mind of each state senator and state representative.
- Residency requirements to be a state senator or state
representative in the state of Montana are easily met, even for relative
newcomers wishing to run for office. A candidate must be 18 years of age. He
must have lived in Montana for at least one year, and lived in the district in
which he is running at least six months. Montana voter registration law is in
the process of being changed to allow registration at the polls on election
- For those who are concerned about ballot fraud, 20 of Montana's 56
counties offer voting by hand-counted paper ballots:
Beaverhead, Blaine, Carter, Chouteau, Daniels, Garfield, Golden Valley, Granite,
Judith Basin, McCone, Meagher, Petroleum, Phillips, Powder River, Prairie, Sweet
Grass, Teton, Treasure, Wheatland, and Wibaux.
Many of these counties are within reasonable commutes of the bigger towns, but
none of them have populations over 10,000. 16 of the 20 have populations under
5,000, making them good possibilities for the county-sized prototypes
that are favored by some. Beaverhead County, with a population of 8,790 (2000
Census) is larger than New Hampshire.
- Montana's legislature has a fairly high amount of turnover, due to
short terms and term limits. Turnover in 2002 was 24% in the House, 36% in the
Senate. This factor will contribute to the ease of electing porcupines to the
- Montana has banned punch-card voting machines, a voting method
shown by the 2000 elections to be particularly fraud-prone.
- Small is Beautiful, When It Comes to Government
... 22 total reasons
- Montana's laws are written in such a way as to provide incentives
for local governments to disband. Incorporated towns receive no tax money
from the state, while unincorporated places do. A few years ago, Butte, the
fourth largest city in Montana, decided to completely disincorporate, meaning
that the lowest level of government in the area is the Silver Bow County
government. This means there is an incentive to have fewer layers of
government to deal with.
- Montana has relatively small state level legislative bodies,
meaning that we don't need to get very many people elected in order to gain
real influence at the state level. Montana has 50 state senators, and 100 state
- Both Montana Senate districts and Montana House districts are population
based. This means they are concentrated in the towns, providing a number of
fairly compact districts for those who think distance is a major concern
- Montana has a number of very small-population counties (under 5,000
people), for those who want to try to gain major influence in a county-sized
- Montana's state Legislature meets for only 90 days every two years,
meaning that, the vast majority of the time, the state's legislators are in
their districts, living their real lives, working their real jobs, and
available to their constituents.
- Montana is in the process of deregulating the electricity market,
thereby reducing government's size and influence in this essential market
- In the 2002 election, Montanans voted to keep government smaller by
voting against the notion of state government acquiring and operating currently
privately-owned hydroelectric dams within the state.
- To Serve and Protect Only
- Montana has restricted law enforcement jurisdictions. Municipals
have jurisdiction only within their municipalities. Sheriffs are restricted to
their own counties, and the Montana Highway Patrol numbers under 200 officers,
to provide 24/7 coverage over a state the size of Germany. Their jurisdiction
is restricted to the highways only.
- Probable cause or a search warrant (equivalent to home
search standards) is required to search a person's vehicle. For our purposes,
this means that, unlike the lower threshold allowed in other states, in order
for a police officer in Montana to search your car, he has to have a reason
that meets the standards for getting a search warrant.
- Montana has few law enforcement officers as a proportion of the
population. There is only one Montana police officer for every 512.6 Montanans.
For comparison purposes, Washington, DC, which has the most police per capita
of any state-type region in the country, has one law enforcement officer for
every 53.9 residents. For Montanans, and Porcupines, this means the Montana
police do not have time or resources to spend bothering people for trivial
- Montana law requires that all who are in police custody be read the
... 26 total reasons
- Montana A Sovereign State
- There exists in Montana an active culture of resistance to government
overreaching, with such activities as reopening federal forest roads being
not at all unheard of. This shows that Montanans are willing to be activists
- Missoula, Montana, has refused to enforce the parts of the USA-PATRIOT Act
that infringe on the rights of citizens.
- Montana did not ratify Prohibition, nor did Montana law enforcement
enforce Prohibition within Montana's borders.
- The Montana Constitution includes the following clause:
Section 33. Importation of armed persons. No armed person or persons or armed
body of men shall be brought into this state for the preservation of the peace,
or the suppression of domestic violence, except upon the application of the
legislature, or of the governor when the legislature cannot be convened.
This has been used, in the recent past, to limit federal law enforcement
incursions into the state, a fact which has been credited with being
responsible for the group known as the Montana Freeman being arrested (by the
Montana police, who wished to prevent another Waco-type incident), without a
shot being fired. This means that Montana does not feel that the feds have the
unlimited right to do as they please in Montana, or to Montanans.
- A resolution has been passed by the Montana legislature requiring federal
law enforcement that wishes to do anything in Montana to act through the
appropriate local sheriff. The intention is to eventually give this the force
of law. This tends to signify Montana's sovereignty as a state, as well
as its willingness to stand up to the feds, a quality that the Free State
Project will eventually find useful.
... 31 total reasons
- Property Rights, Upon Which All Other Freedoms are Based
- Montana has banned future federal purchase of state lands. This
shows a desire to reduce federal land ownership within the state.
- Montana has few land use planning ordinances, zoning laws, or
building code or permit laws, which shows a respect for the right of a citizen
to use his property as he sees fit.
- Montana state law requires the majority of citizens living in an area that
a municipality wishes to annex, to vote in favor of the annexation before it
can take effect. This indicates that Montana does not allow municipalities to
have power over those who do not live within their boundaries.
... 34 total reasons
- Upholding the Second Amendment
- Montana has exempted itself from the federal Gun Free School Zones Act,
denoting both Montana's support of the Second Amendment and its willingness to
defy the feds when necessary.
- Montana does not require a concealed carry permit, unless you wish to
carry a firearm concealed under your clothing, in town. The state of Montana
does not consider such things as a lady's purse or a backpack to be clothing,
so carrying a weapon in one of them does not require a permit.
- It is legal in Montana to carry a loaded, concealed weapon in one's
vehicle, whether or not one has a concealed carry permit.
- The Montana Constitution contains the following clause:
Section 12. Right to bear arms. The right of any person to keep or bear arms in
defense of his own home, person, and property, or in aid of the civil power
when thereto legally summoned, shall not be called in question, but nothing
herein contained shall be held to permit the carrying of concealed weapons.
- In the state of Montana, you cannot be held criminally or civilly liable
for a crime committed with your gun after it has been stolen from you.
- An amendment to the Montana Constitution providing for the right to hunt,
in addition to the Second Amendment, and the related clause of the Montana
Constitution, will be on the next ballot as a referendum question for the
- Over 90% of Montana homes contain firearms, with one informal poll setting
the average number of firearms per home as high as 27. This testifies to the
staunch support of Montanans for the right to keep and bear arms.
- While Montana schools are not required to teach firearm safety, they are
encouraged to do so. The Montana Shooting Sports Association often provides
materials to schools for this purpose. Schools are also encouraged to have team
participation in the shooting sports and many do.
- The Montana legislature has actually declared an official, yearly, Right
to Keep and Bear Arms week.
- Montana has banned nuisance lawsuits against gun makers. Actual product
liability suits are still allowed, of course.
- There are no Montana state laws regarding machine guns and silencers. Only
relevant federal laws apply in Montana.
- Montana has gotten a grade of "F" from the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun
Violence every year since at least 1997, the earliest year for which I saw
data. This can easily be seen as a good marker of Montana's respect for the
rights of citizens to be armed. If they were consistently getting a good grade
from the Brady Bunch, I would be very worried.
- The Montana Legislature has passed and sent to Washington, DC, a
resolution urging Congress to repeal the Brady Act.
- Local governments may not pass gun laws in Montana, with the exception of
laws regarding the discharge of firearms within city limits.
- The Montana Legislature passed and sent to Washington DC, House Joint
Resolution Number 12, the brief summary of which follows:
HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 12 INTRODUCED BY D. FUCHS, BALYEAT, BOOKOUT-
REINICKE, EVERETT, FISHER, GALLUS, GILLAN, HAINES, HAWK, HEDGES, JACKSON, LAKE,
LANGE, MAEDJE, MATTHEWS, MENDENHALL, MOOD, MORGAN, A. OLSON, PETERSON, RICE,
ROSS, B. RYAN, SALES, SCHRUMPF,STEINBEISSER, STOKER, B. THOMAS, TROPILA,
The full text of the Resolution is available here:
A JOINT RESOLUTION OF THE SENATE AND THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE STATE
OF MONTANA EXPRESSING A RECOGNITION BY THE PEOPLE OF MONTANA THAT INDIVIDUAL
CITIZENS OF THE UNITED STATES, ACTING TOGETHER WITH LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES
AND EMERGENCY PERSONNEL A ND IN SUPPORT OF OUR MILITARY FORCES, ARE THE SOLE
EFFECTIVE MEANS OF THWARTING TERRORISM IN THESE UNITED STATES;
ASSERTING THAT FREEDOM OF INDIVIDUALS WILL NOT BE PRESERVED BY THE TRANSFER OF
POWER FROM INDIVIDUALS TO GOVERNMENT IN THE NAME OF FIGHTING TERRORISM; AND
ENCOURAGING CONGRESS TO PASS AN ACT THAT SUPPORTS AND AUTHORIZES INDIVIDUALS TO
INTERDICT TERRORISM WHEREVER IT MAY OCCUR ON THE SOIL OF THE UNITED STATES,
RECOGNIZES THE IMPORTANCE OF INDIVIDUALS HAVING TOOLS TO FIGHT TERRORISM,
REMOVES CIVIL AND CRIMINAL LIABILITY FOR ACTIONS TAKEN TO INTERDICT TERRORISM,
AND CREATES A REWARD FOR INDIVIDUALS WHO PLAY AN EFFECTIVE PART IN PREVENTING
TERRORISM AGAINST THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES.
... 49 total reasons
- Taxes Reducing the Pain
- Montana is one of the few states in the country to, in the current
economic situation, slash income and capital gains taxes. The highest
income tax bracket has been cut from 11% to 6.9%, while the capital gains tax
has fallen from 11% to 4%
- Montana has no sales tax.
- Montana's property taxes are very low sometimes as low as $1
- Montana has a "Tax Me More Fund" to which those who think taxes are not
high enough are welcome to contribute.
- Montana does not require any vehicle safety or emissions inspections, and
the price of license plates decreases as the age of the vehicle increases.
... 54 total reasons
- Montana Is a Good Place for Business
- In Montana, anyone who holds a liquor license may open a casino that has
25 gambling machines or less. Other forms of gambling, such as blackjack or
poker tables are also allowed in the casinos.
- Any business owner who wishes to pay the $250 fee can obtain a liquor
license. No other restrictions apply.
- Montana state university professors do not have tenure. Their contract
must be renegotiated every four years.
- During the most recent legislative session, the Montana legislature
unanimously abolished the minimum wage for home health care workers.
This action argues that the government of Montana realizes that minimum wage
laws harm, rather than help, the employment market.
- Montana has no less than 18 breweries. I'm not a beer drinker, but those
that the man of the house sampled ranged from drinkable to "pretty decent". He
was not, unfortunately, able to make a full sampling, so I regret that this is
but a partial report.
- Taverns in Montana may serve liquor from 8 am till 2:30 am. They do not
need to close at that time. They merely have to stop serving liquor for 5
- Shooting ranges may only be forced to close due to proven safety defects,
and then only after the owner, given opportunity, has failed to correct them.
Ranges may not be forced to close due to noise, claims of lead or copper
pollution, zoning, population encroachment, or other reasons.
... 61 total reasons
- Lived Freedom and Personal Responsibility in Montana
- Montana has no obscenity law, or other restrictions on the First
Amendment. This signals Montana's belief that people can be responsible for
what they, or their children, read or see.
- Montana has no open container laws. The state of Montana trusts that you
are responsible enough to drink while driving without being drunk while
driving, which is illegal.
- Montana's homeschooling laws require only that a parent notify the
local superintendent of schools that the children of the family will be being
homeschooled. There are no testing or parental education requirements.
- Montana has few anti-nudity laws, instead placing faith in the individual
to know when it is appropriate to wear clothing.
- The Montana Supreme Court has ruled that no locality may have obscenity
laws that are stricter than the state's law, which does not exist.
- The Montana Supreme Court has ruled that no locality may have smoking laws
that are stricter than the statewide ones.
- Montana was the last state to enact an age limit for buying cigarettes,
and did so only under federal pressure.
- Montana has no laws barring minors from being in casinos or bars. They
trust parents to decide what is best for their children.
- Montana state law makes it illegal to arrest a publicly intoxicated person
unless he is actively endangering himself or others. Being drunk is not a crime
in Montana. Only doing illegal things while you are drunk is.
- There is little enforcement of polygamy or prostitution laws in Montana.
In fact, Butte had an established brothel in operation, from the turn of the
20th century, until 1982. Today, it is the Dumas Brothel Museum.
- Montanans may obtain a drivers' license at the age of 15. As far as I can
find out, Montana does not have the increasingly popular in other states
"graduated licenses" for young drivers. Again, Montana trusts parents to guide
their youngsters and realizes that a parent best knows what kind of driving
their teenager is responsible enough to handle.
- Montana has no motorcycle helmet law for adults.
- If you live below the poverty level in Montana, the state would rather
help you to provide for yourself than give you handouts. To this end, laws
regarding hunting seasons and licenses do not apply to those living below the
poverty level, so the poor person who is willing to do some work can have a
freezer full of wild game.
- Montana has legalized the commercial production of hemp within the
- Montana officially recognizes the therapeutic value of marijuana. Their
current law is written in such a way that, if the feds authorize the use of
marijuana as a prescription drug, it will automatically become legal for
therapeutic use in Montana.
- Montana does not require a social security number to obtain a drivers'
license, which, of course, helps protect the privacy of their citizens. The
only other Free State Project candidate state that does not ask citizens for a
social security number to obtain a drivers' license is Vermont.
- Game lawfully killed in Montana immediately becomes the property of the
hunter, who may do with it as he sees fit, including storing it, transporting
it, using it, contributing it to charity, etc.
- Harassment of those involved in lawful hunting activities is against the
law, with the second offense being a felony.
- Montana allows both a religious and a medical exemption to childhood
... 80 total reasons
- Montana, Truly the Last Best Place
- Montana has its own railroads, including some passenger touring service.
These railroads are privately owned, and are profitable.
- Montana has its own TV network.
- Montana can be self-sufficient in food. In fact, Montana is a net exporter
of food. Montana's treasure trove of natural resources, allowing it to be
self-sufficient, or nearly so, place it in a better than average position from
which to bargain with the federal government, when the time comes.
- Montana is also set up to process its own food for sale, with its own
slaughterhouses, butchers, and canneries.
- Montana is also a net energy exporter. State laws are written in such as
way as to encourage independent energy use by individuals.
- Three major transcontinental fiber-optic cables cross Montana, meaning
high-speed internet access is available. Indeed, high-speed internet is
available in some places where grid-supplied electricity is not!
- Missoula, Montana has the highest number of both published writers and
bookstores per capita of any city its size in the country.
- Because the air in Montana is very low in humidity, the cars do not
rust. I saw little hatchbacks from the early eighties that I know, from
personal experience, are rustbuckets, driving around without a speck of rust on
- Montana is bordered on three sides by other FSP candidate states (ID, WY,
SD, and ND). It is bordered on the north by the most freedom-oriented Canadian
provinces (Alberta, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia). This would give a
Montana-based-FSP friendly neighbors, as well as room to expand into a huge
- Montana has a healthy and varied mining industry, and is a net exporter of
- Montana has its own steel refineries.
- Montana both pumps and refines oil.
- For the airborne among us, Montana has 15 state-owned airports, 118
public-use airports, and 350 private-use airports. Subdivisions made of 20-acre
plots that have an airstrip for the use of the residents of the subdivision are
- For those to whom proximity to a major city is important, there are places
in extreme western Montana that are no farther from Spokane, WA, than Cheyenne,
WY, is from Denver.
- Montana places third of our ten candidate states in terms of expected
- Montana has the most privately and locally owned land of any of the
ten candidate states.
- Montana has lots of space. 53 of Montana's 56 counties are larger than the
state of Rhode Island.
- Two of our nation's most important river systems, the Columbia and the
Missouri, have their headwaters in Montana.
- Montana is growing fast enough that the FSP migration will not put a
strain on its resources, but not so fast that they will pass the upper
population limit for a candidate state before the end of the migration time.
- Montana's cost of living, at 95% of the national average, is 3rd lowest
among the candidate states.
- Famous Montanans include the rock band Pearl Jam, Evel Knievel,
Gary Cooper, comedian Dana Carvey, actress Myrna Loy, actor Dirk Benedict
("Face-man" on the A-Team), actress Martha Raye, actor George Montgomery,
filmmaker David Lynch, economist Lester C. Thurow, author Will James, author
Dorothy Baker, and Jeannette Rankin, the first female member of Congress.
... and, finally, Reason 102:
- To paraphrase Quincy OrHai, Montana is a place where people live because
they want to, because they love Montana and its culture. The goals of the Free
State Project seem perfectly fitted to enhance, rather than change the culture
Montanans love. We will be a good fit there, with our goals matching the
desires of many Montanans.
My thanks to: Michelle Dumas, whose idea I borrowed (and my apologies to
her for criticizing the way she posted her Reasons, as it was the best possible
way), Heather Duncan and Corey Brenner, for editing and guidance,
Quincy OrHai for providing contact information, manning the phone, and
printing some of the reasons as part of Montana's ballot insert, and all
those who are too many to name that provided links and data that went into
For more information about Montana, visit freestateproject.org, check out
groups.yahoo.com/groups/FreeMontanaProject, or call 1-866-LIVE FREE.
You can also consult the following individuals in Montana:
- Quincy OrHai and Rae OrHai (citizens, goat ranchers and liberty activists)
- Representative Joe Balyeat (State Legislator, Libertarian / Republican)
- Senator Jerry O'Neil (State Legislator, Libertarian / Republican; Sec. MT
Libertarian Party) Kalispell 406-892-7602
- Gary Marbut (President Montana Shooting Sports Association) Missoula
Living in Montana means taking responsibility for yourself
by Susan Duncan, Country lifestyles
A popular perception among newcomers to Montana is that we have no rules here.
No county building permits. No hassles. Ahh, and all that open space. No
limits. No boundaries.
When you come from a place with so many people who don't talk to each other, I
guess regulations for everything are necessary. Montana is different. We assume
people have common sense and respect their neighbors. So, not every detail has
to be codified in law. As a result: You have to accept responsibility if you
live in Montana.
Unfortunately, American culture is going in the opposite direction. Lawsuits
show that more and more Americans are refusing to take responsibility for their
own actions. No wonder newcomers are in culture shock and need a copy of
Gallatin County's "Code of the West" to adjust. Despite what newcomers think,
we do have rules here, but they are not written down. The rules are in the
climate, in the open space and in the culture.
Climate rules here. It's more arid than it looks and prone to serious
wildfires. Growing seasons are 60 to 90 days. Frost can occur anytime.
Microclimates challenge even the best gardeners.
Newcomers find this out the hard way. "All I want is a ripe tomato!" "Why
don't I get any corn?"
A visitor from back east contributed his back-east wisdom: "Put wood ashes on
your garden," he said. (My garden soil is already alkaline. Wood ashes would
make it more alkaline.) That's good advice back east where heavy rainfall
leaches out the bases and makes the soil more acidic. It's bad advice in
"Why do they burn the grain fields? All that pollution!" Because it's not wet
enough, warm enough, long enough for stubble to rot over winter.
A man from Maryland moved into his dream home a log house in a dense pine
forest with a frosting of dry pine needles on the shake roof. Ahh paradise. The
fires of 2000 made him realize his paradise was a firetrap and he set to work
Everybody loves open space, but open space means you are on your own. You have
to take responsibility for your own welfare if you live in Montana. If you
are on a well and septic tank, you are your own sewer and water company. You
need to learn to fix things for yourself. If the clothes washer breaks, the
nearest repairman is at least five miles away and probably 15 to 20. Service
calls will break your budget.
Who grades the road? Who plows the snow? Who controls the weeds? Chances are
you do, or you and your neighbors, through a homeowner's association.
Don't expect the fire department, police or EMTs to arrive at your door in five
minutes. They have a lot of territory to cover. What can you do in the
meantime with first-aid training or a garden hose?
You may want to be left alone, but in Montana, neighbors are still important to
fill the gaps in all that open space. You can't afford to threaten to sue your
neighbors for trespassing on your property. Who will help you if you have a
medical emergency, if your car is stuck in your driveway or your well goes dry?
One former resident passed on this bit of advice to a new homeowner: "One thing
I can say: The neighbors will help you even if they don't like you." Montana
law doesn't require you to be a considerate neighbor. But you have to accept
responsibility for the welfare of your neighbors if you live in Montana.
Call it enlightened self-interest.
The rules are in the culture. Newcomers choose to move to this scenic area for
its low population density, its rural lifestyle, its rural culture. The reality
of a rural lifestyle is dusty roads, machinery and animal noise, pesticide and
fertilizer application, and odors like manure and fermented ag-bagged hay. The
rule is: Accept the reality of rural life rather than trying to force others to
conform to your vision of rural Eden.
Never rat on your neighbor to the cops. If the neighbors do something that
offends you (ATVs going up and down the road or an underfed horse), give them
the courtesy of talking to them privately about it first.
Never pretend to be someone you are not. Montana was settled right after the
Civil War. Northerners and southerners traveled west in the same wagon trains
to become neighbors. For the sake of harmony, no one asked about a person's
past. Then and now, we accept people at face value. We give you the chance to
be who you say you are. You will be judged only on how you treat each
individual since they have known you. Even today, those who try to transfer
former accomplishments (done elsewhere) into prestige in the present time
(here) are unsuccessful. Often, they give up and return to the site of their
Those with a past do have a chance to start over in Montana, but they have to
leave their past behind. If they represent themselves as honest and it comes to
light that they did not settle their past debts, did not serve their time, or
continue to take advantage of their neighbors for personal gain, they will find
no sympathy and no second chance. You have to accept responsibility for your
behavior if you live in Montana.
Montana still has a rural culture. The rules come from internal controls
imposed by adaptations to climate and open spaces and by social controls
(neighborliness and honesty). You have to accept responsibility if you want to
live in Montana with fewer government controls.
by Anita L. Joule
Nevada can be a fun place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there. It
offers ample opportunities to indulge in guns, gambling, and girls. One would
think that a state with legalized gambling and prostitution would be extremely
liberty oriented. This however is not the case in many areas that FSP members
would be interested in.
One area of concern is the hostile homeschooling regulations. For a child to
be legally exempted from compulsory attendance in a government (public) school,
the parent may seek a waiver of attendance by submitting a "Notification of
Intent to Provide Home Instruction" form. This form must be accompanied by
"evidence to the local school district that their child will be receiving
appropriate instruction at home." The following criteria are considered
evidence of qualification for providing "appropriate instruction."
- A teacher, other than the parent, who possesses a NV teaching license OR;
- The parent, when a parent qualifies for a teaching license for the grade
level to be taught OR;
- The parent, in consultation with a person who possesses a teaching license
or who has provided instruction in the home for the grade level to be taught
for at least three years OR;
- The parent, when the child is enrolled in an approved (licensed by the
state board) correspondence program.
Another area of concern for many is the fairly strict marijuana regulations.
It has been said that you can get falling down drunk, frequent the whore
houses, and lose all you money in the casinos, but let them find a single
marijuana seed in your ashtray and its off to jail you go.
Fortunately there has been some progress in this area. According to NORML,
the decriminalization of marijuana in Nevada has begun. "The state has
decriminalized marijuana to some degree. Typically, decriminalization means no
prison time or criminal record for first-time possession of a small amount for
personal consumption. The conduct is treated like a minor traffic violation."
There has also been progress in medical marijuana legislation in Nevada. For
Nevadans, "the law removes state-level criminal penalties on the use,
possession and cultivation of marijuana by patients who have 'written
documentation' from their physician that marijuana may alleviate his or her
Even so, the fines for misdemeanor marijuana violation are fairly high and
subsequent violations result in increasingly harsh fines and eventual
incarceration. This however, applies only to adults, age 21 and older. Those
who are under 21 years and possess less than 1 oz on their first or second
offense, will be found guilty of a felony, punishable by one to four years of
incarceration. Additionally, anyone found in possession of paraphernalia is
guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a $1,000 fine and 6 months in jail and
paraphernalia sale is a felony punishable by a fine of $5,000 and 1-4 years in
Nevada State Demographer estimates the state population at 2,066,831
indicating that Nevada's population has passed the limit originally set for our
target states. Nevada's population growth over the past decade makes it the
fastest growing state in the nation. Population increase estimates for 2010
would place the total statewide population at approximately 2,710,000 far
exceeding our population limits for the project.
This leads to another obvious concern, employment in Nevada. As reported by
the U.S. Department of Labor, Nevada ranks 33rd among the states with a jobless
rate of 5.5 percent. The 1.1 percent annual job growth pitted against the
projected average population growth of 2.6%. An influx of 20,000 unexpected and
unforeseen new residents flooding into the state could spell disaster for
Nevada as well as the FSP.
In 1981, Nevada switched from a property-tax based system, to one based on
gaming and sales taxes. But those tax revenues are highly susceptible to
economic downturns -- a problem some classify as a structural defect that will
result in a $1.2 billion deficit in coming years.
The Nevada Task Force on Tax Policy, created by the Legislature when the
2001 session ended without any major proposals to address the state's economic
shortfall that currently sits at $270 million, is readying a recommendation
that is expected to propose:
- Creating a broad-based business tax.
- Increasing the current cap on how much property tax a local government
- Expanding what's covered under the sales tax.
- Increasing "sin taxes" such as those on cigarettes and alcohol.
- Increasing certain fees businesses pay and possibly ask voters
to approve a lottery.
However, the Legislature and Gov. Guinn worry that increased taxes will ruin
what makes Nevada attractive to so many newcomers.
Pro-business Nevada has a constitutional prohibition on income taxes. The
state does not tax the income of its corporations or its state's citizens. A
Nevada corporation is also not subject to any other hidden taxes such as
franchise taxes, capital stock taxes, or inventory taxes. Sales tax applies
only to products sold within the state.
Selected Taxes Common to Many of the 50 States But Not Nevada
|Type of Tax ||Number of States Using
|Corporate Income ||46
|Personal Income ||44
|Special Intangible ||10
|Capital Stock ||2
Because Nevada has no state income tax, and because Nevada does not keep
much information on their own residents or their corporations, it has
steadfastly refused IRS requests for reciprocity. Most other states freely
exchange all of the information they have on every resident and corporation.
Nevada has developed a corporate structure that is unique. Nevada began with
corporate statutes based on Delaware's and then went further, establishing a
corporate structure that allows investors and owners of Nevada corporations to
remain completely private. Since these changes in Nevada's statutes came into
effect in 1991 the number of new incorporations in Nevada has exploded.
To ensure privacy, Nevada is the only state that allows its corporations to
use bearer stock certificates. It is virtually impossible to prove the
ownership of a Nevada corporation handled in this manner. Since the state does
not require a corporation to list with it the corporation's vice-president(s),
a vice-president utilizing bearer shares can have complete control and
ownership while remaining anonymous.
Currently Nevada is experiencing a medical crisis caused by the withdrawal
of the largest medical malpractice carrier from the Nevada malpractice
insurance market. The company, which had covered 60 percent of the state's
doctors, cited large malpractice awards. Nevada's only top-level trauma center
closed for 10 days earlier this month in Las Vegas after 58 orthopedic doctors
temporarily quit. Legislators are considering a number of proposals.
President Bush formally approved Nevada's Yucca Mountain as the nation's
high-level nuclear waste dump on 7/24/02, ending a 20-year political fight and
shifting the battle to the courts. "Our best chance in defeating Yucca Mountain
is in the federal courts, where impartial judges will hear the factual and
scientific arguments as to why Yucca Mountain is not a safe place to store this
nation's high-level nuclear waste," said Nevada's Republican governor. Bush
hopes the move will pave the way for more nuclear energy production. Government
planners have set a 2010 opening date, but the General Accounting Office has
said the target cannot be met.
All in all, I would not rank Nevada very high as a choice for the Free State
Project. There are a number of huge problems that would need to be addressed
and frankly given the large percent of federal land, the projected population
increases, the unemployment rate, and the nuclear waste project, not to mention
the lack of water, poor soil, and extreme heat I do not believe we should waste
our time with further consideration of this state.
July 28, 2002
The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those
of the Free State Project, its Officers, or Directors.