LTE: Free Staters go too far

I am a candidate for the NH House in Hillsborough County district 39: Deering, Goffstown and Weare. My Republican opponent is Free State Project member and 2011 NHLA 'Legislator of the Year' Mark Warden.

The Free State Project has disturbed me for years, for a number of reasons. I've tried to peg it down in a letter to the editor, published in today's Concord Monitor: Free Staters go too far.

I instantly fell in love with New Hampshire when I moved here in 2002. The combination of natural beauty and frugal Yankee pragmatism got me. I'm here for life.

I moved here for work, not part of a Yale graduate student's sociology experiment. Such is the journey of Free State Project members. The group's goal is to move 20,000 libertarians to New Hampshire, get them involved in politics and change our state to their ideals.

Many are already here. Eleven known Free Staters running as Republicans were elected to the New Hampshire House in 2010. This is partly why I'm running for state representative in Deering, Goffstown and Weare. After all, we are New Hampshire and we can govern ourselves.


I'm not suggesting all Free Staters think alike, or everything they do is bad, but their adherence to libertarian ideology guides their votes and often goes too far. For example, their ideal solution for the marriage equality question was HB 569, which would have eliminated all marriages and replaced them with domestic unions.

In another example, HB1511 would have loosened restrictions on convicted felons possessing weapons. The sole sponsor of this bill was my opponent, Rep. Mark Warden, and eight of 58 favorable votes were from the 11 Free Staters.

Loosening restrictions on convicted felons possessing weapons? Eliminating all marriages? That's not New Hampshire; that's going too far. Imagine what happens when 20,000 Free Staters move here, get elected and vote!

If elected, I'll vote for New Hampshire common sense instead.

AARON GILL – Deering

NHGill.com

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  • FrankLloydMike

    This is an excellent, succinct letter. And frankly, it’s great to see a candidate putting in so much effort to differentiate himself from his opponent in a House race.

    It’s often said that because of its huge House, in New Hampshire, everyone knows his/her representative. I think far too often the opposite is true. The multi-member districts and the incredibly small constituency means that candidates often can’t–or choose not to run campaigns on the issues.

    Instead, they rely on people voting for the R or D next to their name. We saw how that turned out last time, and we need more candidates doing what Aaron Gill is doing–informing voters of his positions, philosophy and ideas, and exposing those of his opponent.

    Don’t let the Free Staters and Tea Partiers fly under the radar again; don’t let them be another Mel Thomson in Walter Peterson’s clothing.

    • GreyMike

      but those of us who knew him know the difference and will never forget.

  • Rep. Jim Splaine

    …which New Hampshire citizens everywhere need to read.  The hypocrisy of the so-called “Free Staters” is stunning.  They’re sometimes right-wingers with just a new name that sounds less frightening, or descriptive.  

    And on marriage equality, some of them who are professed to be “free” staters and thinkers just didn’t want to let gays and lesbians get married.  We’re not in their image.  

    Good luck on your campaign.  You’re doing important work!

  • DianeR

    GREAT letter. I couldn’t agree more. I’ve spent the last few years telling everyone who will listen about this absurd group. The responses range from complete disbelief to laughter to concern. I know my own sister didn’t believe me — I know that blank stare. But no one is staring or laughing over the harm done to our state.

    And FrankLloydMike you are so right! Our legislature is so huge that when I go into the voting booth (and I’m more informed than many folks) I often think, “who the heck is that?” No more. I’m checking out every last teabag and wingnut who dares to run in my district. And I do plan a letter to the editor before the election in which I mention the number of times my three rightie reps have responded to my correspondence during the last two years: ZERO.

    • Rep. Jim Splaine


      “I’m checking out every last teabag and wingnut who dares to run in my district.”

      Best Quote Of The Week!

  • GreyMike

    I have told people from out of state (including AZ) about this malarkey for years,  and they think I’m making it all up, it sounds so off the wall.

    Keep the lights shining, this kind of stuff thrives on being in the shadows.

  • Ray Buckley

    They should have stopped in another state! Any other state.

    • GreyMike
    • The Money Magician

      Without his support, it’s unclear that they would have picked NH.  A gift that keep on giving.  It’s yet another reason (along with Bush, Walker, et al) why I never think “how bad could s/he really be?” anymore about Republican candidates for executives – I know they may be far worse than I can imagine.

      • Ray Buckley

        The Old Man fell down from embarrassment.

        Still waiting for that concession speech from 2004…

  • nhveedub

    I’m amazed at how little people know about the Free State Project.. I’ve got a lot of work to do:)

    • cblodg

      We have a lot of work to do.

  • cyndychase

    When 3 of us from Keene ran as Democrats in the 2009 elections we were “primaried” by a Free State/Free Keene candidate who registered as a Democrat.  These individuals will look at the political realities of the community they want to run in and will register as a member of whatever party seems to represent a majority of citizens.  Now, it is no secret that Keene is a very blue place!  ”Ian Freeman” not his real name, registered to run as a Democrat, the idea being that he would slip through and represent Keene as someone who was really a Free Stater.  Three of us (Sam Hawkes, Gladys Johnsen and I) took him on and beat him handily.  But we had to go door to door and point out to all that even though he registered as a Democrat, he was really a Free State/Free Keene candidate trying to pull a fast one.  Most people had no idea.  Now, Free Keene had done some really stupid things like having their female supporters parade up and down Main Street bare breasted and waving at the buses taking middle school kids home. (Hey mom, guess what I saw today!)  So folks knew who they were once we pointed out the name.  I write to make sure that everyone realizes that you absolutely CAN NOT assume that the only candidates for the NH House who are Free Staters are Republicans. Some of these people lie to further their narrow personal and political agenda.  We need everyone out there shining a light on this group and what they hope to accomplish.  We candidates can not do it alone.  We have seen what they have wrought for the last two years in Concord.  NH deserves better than this but in order to take back our state, we must educate, educate, educate.  Thanks for the soapbox.

    Full disclosure:  I am a candidate for reelection from Keene, as is Gladys.  

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