Free State Project Forum

Archive => Which State? => Topic started by: directaction on September 18, 2003, 07:10:33 am

Title: New Hampshire Statehouse
Post by: directaction on September 18, 2003, 07:10:33 am
Has anyone addressed the comparative effectiveness of a seat in the New Hampshire statehouse?

New Hampshire seems to be scoring alot of points with past success at electing Libertarian legislators but the races there are hardly as difficult (money, desireability of the seat, etc.);  the N.H. legislature is hardly as powerful or significant as in most non-FSP candidate states.

When I was working for LP ballot access in New Hampshire in '84, the then state chair told me that "anyone could get elected" to the statehouse.

Maybe it's a small point to make, and we don't want powerful legislatures, but I think New Hampshire has drawn significant attention for electing almost no Libertarians when one considers both the size of the legislature and the fact that one good guy here or there is able to accomplish very little.
Title: Re:New Hampshire Statehouse
Post by: rdeacon on September 18, 2003, 09:17:42 am
The NHLP had also been using an ineffective plan and not organizing behind it.  Their new plan is to use fusion to elect candidates, and they claim they could get as many as 35 seats in the House as a result of this in 2004.  This remains to be seen, but they make a good argument for it.  Check out the plan at;

http://www.freestateproject.org/TowardsVictory.htm
Title: Re:New Hampshire Statehouse
Post by: directaction on September 18, 2003, 01:05:48 pm
Okay, but a fusion strategy for elections in the future is different than touting the "success" of New Hampshire Libertarians, and using that to appeal to voters in the FSP.  The message has been "hey, we've got it together here, come here" which I regard as bogus.  Not that Libertarians have it together anywhere; it's just that on the level of electing Libertarians, New Hampshire is not necessarily ahead of anywhere else.  Since the results everywhere are dismal, how can anyone be ahead?
Title: Re:New Hampshire Statehouse
Post by: Michelle on September 18, 2003, 01:13:00 pm
NH has the highest per capita of Libertarian elected and appointed officials in the nation.

LPNH has the highest per capita paid membership in the nation.

These are achievements that I am proud of, but absolutely - there are significant organizational and strategic improvements to be made and we are definitely hard at work on making them.
Title: Re:New Hampshire Statehouse
Post by: jgmaynard on September 18, 2003, 01:16:06 pm
.....on the level of electing Libertarians, New Hampshire is not necessarily ahead of anywhere else.

Not true. New Hampshire has 29 libertarians currently in office. That's three times more than all the other candidate states in the continental US combined.
It's true none of our horses are far enough down the track yet, but only 3 (NH, VT, AK) are out of the gate, and only one is well down the track already.

Plus, it is only the last year or two that we have rejected our financial relationship with the national LP, and have adopted a much more pragmatic approach.

We also got all of our candidates elected in the spring elections this year.

So, no state party is doing well enough yet, but the LPNH is still way ahead of everyone else. :D

JM
Title: Re:New Hampshire Statehouse
Post by: directaction on September 18, 2003, 02:29:37 pm
Glad to hear that NH LP'ers have discontinued your financial relationship with the national LP...That's the first step for any Libertarian in fighting the injustice of appropriation by thieves.

I'm always uncomfortable with the concept (used to be never heard, actually) that for the LP to succeed we have to win elections.  Further, I reject totally the concept that having more paid members per capita is a good sign (as Michelle notes)...only means more per capita have followed the go nowhere strategy of the national LP.

I'm not opposed to NH, or any of the candidate states, I just regard much of the listed "pros and cons" as bogus.  That said, NH is the only state where a Libertarian introduced me to her son, a person named Ragnar.  I could move there.
Title: Re:New Hampshire Statehouse
Post by: Dave Mincin on September 18, 2003, 03:47:34 pm
 The message has been "hey, we've got it together here, come here" which I regard as bogus.
_______________________________________________

Think you have missed the message. :(

The message is:  We are working real hard to get it together, lay the groundwork so we can begin winning elections right away, and gaining real political power now!

We are making progress and so much would appreciate your help.  Together we can make the Free State a reality!

Oops, let us not forget....you will be welcome and considered friends! :)
Title: Re:New Hampshire Statehouse
Post by: Mike Lorrey on September 19, 2003, 10:16:18 pm
I'd like to address one of directaction's original claims. He claimed that the NH legislature is weak. This is simply not true. NH has the weakest executive probably in the whole country, since the governor needs the approval of the executive council (each of which are themselves elected and not appointed) for anything he does. This gives much greater power to the legislature.

You might claim that any given legislator is weaker in NH just because there are more than usual. This all depends on how effective the individual is at their job, as well as how many allies the individual has. If a single libertarian legislator in NH has 150 allies in the GOP and 50 allies in the DP, then he has 201 votes and his bill passes.

If 20 libertarian legislators in Wyoming have only 20 allies in other parties, then none of their agenda passes.

This is why the fact that the NH government has expressed such a welcome to us is so incredibly important. It signifies that we have allies already in the state house (hint hint: 2 NH legislators are FSP members) and thus have a leg up in building a libertarian coalition in the state house.
Title: Re:New Hampshire Statehouse
Post by: directaction on September 19, 2003, 11:18:35 pm
Mr. Lorrey makes a good point, and I'm all for electing better people, and more better people.  Still, there's more to the picture.

First, New Hampshire lacks I&R.  Initiative, Referendum AND Recall are the only three tools by which citizens assert and maintain their sovereignty.

I realize that not everyone hereabouts is Libertarian, but I am.  I don't want to be ruled and I don't want to rule.  Frequently, arguments have been advanced that by winning legislative majorities, we win.  I say, make those legislatures much less important.

By all means, contest those battles, but if we expect to vote, and then have our "leaders" do the rest, well... let's hope a majority of us DON'T want that.

That's what is expected by the vast majority of American voters, and they haven't done too good a job that way.

My main point was with what the then State Chair of the LP had told me, which was that "anyone could get elected".  I was commenting on some hype I'd seen in FSP discussions promoting the NHLP, and it's comparative success in electing people to the statehouse.  Even if one allows for the numbers of electoral victories being higher than in other states, it's still a small percentage of the comparatively huge statehouse rolls (400), and the effort needed is less than in most other states.

Thanks for the heads up on the "weak executive" component.  I'm trying to learn about NH and this helps.

John P. Slevin
Title: Re:New Hampshire Statehouse
Post by: Mike Lorrey on September 20, 2003, 11:58:41 am
Mr. Lorrey makes a good point, and I'm all for electing better people, and more better people.  Still, there's more to the picture.

First, New Hampshire lacks I&R.  Initiative, Referendum AND Recall are the only three tools by which citizens assert and maintain their sovereignty.

Here again, directaction has fallen victim to pro-western disinformation. Here in NH, town government has the most impact on individual people's lives, NOT county or state government. In any town, less than a dozen signatures are needed along with an extremely small fee to get a ballot warrant (same as an initiative or referendum) added to the next town election. This is, I think, the lowest threshold in ANY candidate state for individuals to get initiative/referendum type actions voted on by the populace.

Ballot warrants overrule actions by boards of selectmen, city councils, or other town level governments.

Quote

I realize that not everyone hereabouts is Libertarian, but I am.  I don't want to be ruled and I don't want to rule.  Frequently, arguments have been advanced that by winning legislative majorities, we win.  I say, make those legislatures much less important.

This is one reason why I think that NH is better. While the legislature is stronger than the governor, it is far weaker than town level government. We have a "No unfunded mandates" law here in NH, which means that the state cant mandate that communities do something without the state providing the funds to do so. As a result, town government is far stronger than the legislature.

So far, the only thing we've found that trumps town government is the state supreme court.

Quote
By all means, contest those battles, but if we expect to vote, and then have our "leaders" do the rest, well... let's hope a majority of us DON'T want that.

That's what is expected by the vast majority of American voters, and they haven't done too good a job that way.

My main point was with what the then State Chair of the LP had told me, which was that "anyone could get elected".  I was commenting on some hype I'd seen in FSP discussions promoting the NHLP, and it's comparative success in electing people to the statehouse.  Even if one allows for the numbers of electoral victories being higher than in other states, it's still a small percentage of the comparatively huge statehouse rolls (400), and the effort needed is less than in most other states.

The effort needed is less in every district, which means that every Libertarian candidate will have an easier time getting elected if they put the time and money into running a professional campaign rather than an amateurish half-effort as too many do. The only thing holding the NHLP back from gaining significant share of the legislature is getting more people to run for office, and doing it professionally.

While the low pay ($100 per year) keeps out the looters, it is also an impediment to individuals who work for a living. In this respect I agree with Radar and Joe about the problem of low legislator pay, but I see the immunizing effect of it to be more important, because for every potential working class libertarian candidate, there are 100 potential working class looter candidates out there. The low legislator pay incentivizes keeping those looters out of government and acts as a bulwark against statism.

Quote

Thanks for the heads up on the "weak executive" component.  I'm trying to learn about NH and this helps.

You are quite welcome. I really enjoy having calm informative discussions.
Title: Re:New Hampshire Statehouse
Post by: directaction on September 20, 2003, 12:18:50 pm
At least you didn't suggest pro-western "bias".

If local initiative and referendum (not quite what you've got in NH, but I'll accept your view that it is very similar) were all that was needed, New York city would not be such a mess.  To some extent, they've got them there and in other communities in New York, but haven't come close to getting them statewide, though Gov. Pataki ran on I&R as one of his 5 points.

Statewide initiative and popular referendum make a huge difference; not having them does cede control to those in office at the state level,and that is never acceptable to citizens who want to be in charge of their own affairs.

You are correct in pointing out that Libertarians in New Hampshire have had a great opportunity, unrealized, to elect far more candidates.  And you correctly point out that they must make a responsible effort.  I originally weighed in because many have been attempting to sell New Hampshire as the home of great Libertarian victories already achieved, and that just ain't so.

Again, I'm not knocking NH; just not accepting the hype.

Though I've favored Wyoming, it doesn't have a really great version of I&R, not along the lines of Calif., Oregon or Colorado.  And, probably, a whole lot of work would be required to reform that poor system before it could yield the kind of results one can expect from I&R, so I wouldn't accept the arguments of a Wyoming salesman that "hey, we've got I&R, so don't worry."

Some years back, citizens in New Hampshire were polled about I&R, and 60% or so favored establishing it.  And because New Hampshire is nestled next to Maine and Massachusetts, both of which have I&R, New Hampshire probably has a leg up on other states where a very real problem is explaining to people just what I&R is.

Seems like a real opportunity for a statewide group to seize the moment and build a reputation for their candidates.  Anyone there wishing to get started should check-out http://www.citizensincharge.org (run by Term Limits former director Paul Jacob) which is about establishing I&R where it's needed.  There's also a wealth of information at http://www.iandrinstitute.org (the home of the Initiative and Referendum Institute, in D.C.).
Title: Re:New Hampshire Statehouse
Post by: Mike Lorrey on September 20, 2003, 12:58:01 pm
I must point out that the LPNH HAS, in fact, the best election record. We have 29 LPNH members in office as we speak, far more than any other state, and more than all the other candidate states put together. Counting the 2 state legislators who belong to the FSP plus Gov Benson's support, there is no other state that can come within a mile of our success to date. That Governor Benson is being outed by the liberal press as a closet libertarian is also a sort of back door success for the LPNH, but one of immense importance.

As Jim Maynard's recent topic illustrates, town governments in NH exert significant power. By rejecting the No Child Left Behind Act as an unfunded mandate as well as an unconstitutional infringement on student's privacy rights, Keene, along with several other communities in rejecting it as well as the Patriot Act and rejecting the authority of the UN, are igniting a groundswell of local opposition to federal overreaching into 9th and 10th amendment issues.

Furthermore, town government imposes the single largest tax burden on individuals in NH, not the State or County, and exceeded only by federal income taxes. Because of the very low threshold for local ballot warrants, as well as local appeals processes to adjust one's property tax bill, NH has the very best means for individuals to directly change the impact that government has on their lives.
Title: Re:New Hampshire Statehouse
Post by: directaction on September 20, 2003, 06:24:06 pm
Commenting on Mr. Lorrey’s last:

I don’t disagree, but I don’t want to put an emphasis on New Hampshire’s “lead” on the rest of the nation, or rate other candidate states downward.  Some of our difference is, I think, semantics.  You say the NHLP has “the best election record”.

The low signature requirement you cite is indeed very important.

In lurking on other discussions, I find that too many of the words chosen to recommend one's chosen state versus others are loaded words, in that they knock earnest partisans of other states.  

I don’t intend to knock the success of people I don’t know, namely the members of the NHLP, and I hope nothing below is construed that way.

As for the number of officeholders. First, in NH there are 26 officeholders, not 29.  Don Gorman holds three positions, and Stephen G. Davis two.  That would lower your "three to one" ratio somewhat, but I don't think the contrast with other states is important.

Of the 26, I don’t know and haven’t got the time right now to learn how many might be non-elected and just what the various boards and commissions might do or prevent from being done to the individual; maybe you have that information handy.

Perhaps this is something which current residents of New Hampshire have already posted elsewhere and which would make a good primer for those of us who would be moving in.  Best to know what we're walking into.

Of course, only those holding elective office can be counted when one is talking about “the best election record”.  A better indication of NHLP success is the fact that, if I've got it right, three elected people were just re-elected.  Another will be further success at recruitment of new candidates.  

I don’t discount the value of any non-elected posts, I just don’t know enough about the various boards and commissions, etc. are, to know if they help put NH further “out of the gate” than other states. So I’ll refrain from any judgements on that either way.  

Anyway, in my comments, I was concentrating on the 400 member General Court (I think it’s 24 or so senators and the rest on the other, representative side of the legislature).

I’m all for the more “pragmatic” and “hands on” approach which I understand the NHLP has recently chosen to pursue.  Indeed, a whole slew of new activists would find fertile grounds when coming to a state where the LP already was more than a supper club.

And it's best to start at races for which people want to run and at which they can begin to make a difference, rather than just mounting paper candidacies.  That newer focus of the NHLP is a solid recommendation.

My question remains: of what practical use are these “office holder” numbers in determining which state for the FSP?

Basically, nowhere is the LP far enough down the road, or “out of the gate” or whatever language we choose to brag about it.  That’s not saying that those in the NHLP shouldn’t be happy about their success and energized to further accomplishment.  Obviously, they should.  I salute them.  

About 20 years ago, a noted Libertarian (who goes nameless here because I don’t know the person’s disposition on the FSP) and I discussed the fact that many of our fellow California LP members were touting the fact that the California LP had passed the Peace and Freedom Party in statewide registration.  That noted Libertarian said:  â€œThat’s like saying we’re better than dogshit.”

Again, any of the fifty states is okay to target for a beachhead landing of the FSP; or 1,000 activists (the most I feel will come out of any plan for 20,000) spread around the country.  That number beats to hell any number ever fielded by the Libertarian Party, which, with a paucity of numbers still has managed to obtain ballot status and ballot access victories, continually and nationwide since 1980.

As for the Governor, I’ve noticed that NH FSPer’s continually mention Gov. Benson, and some go as far as to assert something to the effect that “he’s one of us”.  Having a Governor, of a generally pathetic and morally bankrupt party doesn’t sway me.  I just don’t see why having a Governor who has been friendly to the FSP is a leg up on other candidate states.  That said, I recognize that the New Hampshire version of Republican may be a heck of alot better than what it is here in Colorado and elsewhere.  Another solid recommendation.

As to his personal positions, Benson backs parental notification.  Since he advocates sending goons into doctors’ offices and feels it’s okay to stick government’s big nose into the doctor patient relationship, I’d vote against him the same as if he proposed to unleash the gun grabbers or hobnob with IRS agents; and I know he’s after my dimes and compliance to fund his social goals; I won’t grant either.  

I don’t know anything about his stance on the Drug War, which, among other things, is a huge pocketbook issue.

As goes the quote from the NHLP website: “In matters of principle, stand like a rock.”---Thomas Jefferson.  And a well chosen quote it is.

That said, I could work with anyone who disagrees with me on that one subject and who agrees to hold the line against, say, new taxes, an income tax, etc.

The best thing I’ve seen about NH is the enthusiasm of the various FSP members.  Though many of the claims don’t sway me, that enthusiasm IS a factor.  Wyoming has that going for itself as well.  I don't live in either state, and I consider that a draw.

Another post in another discussion complained that not enough people attended the meeting in New Hampshire.  I found that position curious.  The fact that the meeting WAS held and that it drew SO WELL was a good indication to me that NH deserves credit and consideration from any FSP voter.

It still comes down to Sorens and Co. having an exciting idea and doing something with it.  My reason for making the committment.  I discount most of the "flaming" talk for or against any state, and believe that most of those people won't move anywhere, anytime.

I don’t really care which state is chosen.  If not Wyoming, hell, I’d go anywhere if someone had the moxie to pull even half that 1,000 activists, actually, even one tenth that.  I'd just have to buy a little more gas to get there.  

The rotten climate there ain’t so much a sacrifice since I’ve already lowered my standards enough to have lived in Oregon, New York, Conn. and Colorado.  And I hear the fall colors are maybe near as nice as Conn and Vermont.  That too is something.
Title: Re:New Hampshire Statehouse
Post by: jgmaynard on September 21, 2003, 09:33:14 am
How nice.. An intelligent, useful discussion.... :)

Actually, it is 29 people in office in NH.... National has yet to catch up with our spring victories.... On top of what they had, we also elected Charles Carrol (Rindge selectman?), Howard Wilson, and Mary'L Gere, who we found out was an LPNH member holding office.

As for the Benson endorsement, and ally is an ally. And he was a registered independent until a year before the election. I think he only signed on as a R to not split the anti-tax vote.

Yes, Benson did back parental notification, but like you, I would and do work with people who agree with me on holding the line on taxes, guns, etc. If someone agrees with us 97% of the time, they're a friend.

So, we don't have a perfect libertarian in the governors office (though there is a strong argument to be made, IMHO, that parents should be notified of any medical procedure their child undergoes), but we have someone who is the most libertarian governor in the country. And we don't have enough LPNH members in office, but we have far more people in office in any other candidate state, and far more per capita than any other state.

So, are those two aspects promising a current libertarian utopia? Nope.
Is it reason to think that NH is an extremely promising place to start? Darn tootin'! :D

JM

Title: Re:New Hampshire Statehouse
Post by: Sean Coven on September 21, 2003, 11:45:23 am
NH's relatively small, multi-seat districts mean we can elect more people there... yes, at the end of the day, the average legislator has less impact, but we can elect more.

The ultimate result is that we can elect 60 or 70, perhaps, right off the bat in New Hampshire, all of whom would have the same power as 5 or 10 in certain other states. 60 or 70 active libertarians in the statehouse, IMO, would be better.

And anyway, I, too, support parental notification... I think the right for a parent to be aware of their child's medical conditions supercedes the right of the child to make medical decisions for themselves.
Title: Re:New Hampshire Statehouse
Post by: directaction on September 21, 2003, 04:07:32 pm
Regarding jgmaynard's last:

Okay.  I think the "which state is best" criteria is largely meaningless, but there have been many meaningless arguments all around. If NH partisans disagree with me, it's moot when the selection is made.  As long as the state of New Hampshire provides free thermal underwear.

John P. Slevin
Title: Re:New Hampshire Statehouse
Post by: Mike Lorrey on September 21, 2003, 04:33:00 pm
And anyway, I, too, support parental notification... I think the right for a parent to be aware of their child's medical conditions supercedes the right of the child to make medical decisions for themselves.

I find it rather odd that when it comes to kids, so many otherwise libertarian parents become petty tyrants. If a parent can't trust their kids to inform them of their medical decisions, then the parents a) haven't done a very good job parenting, or b) have done a fine job, to the point their kids are able to judge that their parents are not capable of maturely handling such information.
Title: Re:New Hampshire Statehouse
Post by: Sean Coven on September 21, 2003, 04:49:26 pm
"A" is the reason why I support physician waivers in lieu of parental notification, as well.  :)

As for B... well, see "A". ;)
Title: Re:New Hampshire Statehouse
Post by: BillG on September 25, 2003, 08:53:45 pm
Quote
Actually, it is 29 people in office in NH.... National has yet to catch up with our spring victories.... On top of what they had, we also elected Charles Carrol (Rindge selectman?), Howard Wilson, and Mary'L Gere, who we found out was an LPNH member holding office.

Make it an even 30...Rep. Dick Noyes (R) is a confirmed and enthusiastic Geo-Libertarian!
Title: Re:New Hampshire Statehouse
Post by: jgmaynard on September 25, 2003, 09:15:31 pm
Those numbers only count members of the LPNH.... But if you know him, give him a ring, and get him to join... We would love to have him aboard! :D

JM
Title: Re:New Hampshire Statehouse
Post by: BillG on September 25, 2003, 10:30:08 pm
Quote
Those numbers only count members of the LPNH.... But if you know him, give him a ring, and get him to join... We would love to have him aboard!

Sounds like a plan except for one small problem Jim. Unfortunately the Libertarian Party's platform treats labor-based property and land-based property the same in strict violation of classical liberal principles and therefore Geo-libertarianism.

Since the party is technically in violation of your own motto "the party of principle" I don't think he would be able to join out of his own principles.