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Free Staters pick N.H. over Vermont

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  • Hardy Macia
    http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/bfpnews/local/4000h.htm Free Staters pick N.H. over Vermont By Cadence Mertz Free Press Staff Writer An upstart political
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 2, 2003
      http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/bfpnews/local/4000h.htm
      Free Staters pick N.H. over Vermont

      By Cadence Mertz
      Free Press Staff Writer

      An upstart political movement opted Wednesday to bypass Vermont in
      favor of neighboring New Hampshire where its members plan to slowly
      infiltrate state government.

      The Free State Project, a group of libertarian-minded thinkers
      founded by a Yale University graduate student, voted on which of 10
      states to use as a testing ground for its political experiment. New
      Hampshire won. Wyoming came in second. Vermont finished seventh,
      ahead of Delaware, South Dakota and North Dakota.

      The outcome disappointed Vermont Free Staters who had hoped to avoid
      uprooting. Still, some put New Hampshire second on their ballots and
      said when the time comes they'll consider relocating.

      "I'm going to move, but not right away," said Free Stater and
      Libertarian Party member Hardy Macia.

      Macia, who lives in Grand Isle and was born in Vermont, said he
      figures he'll move in about three years.

      Free Staters believe in individual liberty and less government
      regulation. Members would work their way into New Hampshire's
      political structure, then work within the system to make the state a
      model of the group's ideals, according to the plan.

      New Hampshire has some advantages over Vermont, Macia said Wednesday.

      "No sales tax, no income tax, then personal freedom: They don't have
      helmet laws, seat belt laws," he said. Vermont politicians were less
      than welcoming when Free State president Jason Sorens visited earlier
      this year, Macia said. New Hampshire's governor, on the other hand,
      invited them in.

      The Free State Project has more than 5,400 members, but plans to have
      20,000 before the full move to New Hampshire. Member Scott Berkey,
      who lives in Randolph, said having a state selected could help build
      momentum. It is easier to recruit new members with a solid
      destination, he said.

      "They'll know exactly what they're getting into," Berkey said.

      New Hampshire libertarians did a good job of marketing the state to
      Free Staters, said member Sheldon Katz of South Burlington. A
      weeklong Free State/Libertarian jamboree in the Granite State this
      summer attracted crowds. A Free State meeting at the Vermont Pub &
      Brewery in Burlington this summer drew three people.

      Katz never committed to go to New Hampshire; members were allowed to
      opt out of certain states. His family will make a joint decision
      about whether to move, he said.

      Berkey, too, was unsure when he would pack up for New Hampshire,
      because he and his wife are building a home in Randolph. He said he
      is so focused on that project it is difficult to think about moving.

      Will he move when the time comes?

      "I expect to," Berkey said.

      Contact Cadence Mertz at 660-1847 or cmertz@...
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