Granite State Progress Releases List of 13 Free State Project Candidates Running for Municipal Office in Manchester

Free State Project members running for political office often hide or deny their FSP affiliation; Granite State Progress’ Free State Project Watch exposes those connections

Granite State Progress released a list of 13 Free State Project members running for municipal offices in Manchester, including candidates for clerk, moderator, school committee, selectman, and alderman. The research brief includes candidate profiles for each, including citations for several who are leading efforts for New Hampshire to secede from the country or who have publicly discussed hiding their Free State Project affiliation in order to fleece Granite State voters into electing them.

“Granite State Progress has been tracking the Free State Project and its influence since 2008, paying particular attention to Free Stater activity in elections and legislation. Free State Project members running for political office often hide or deny their Free State Project affiliation from voters and downplay their extreme beliefs when asked. To challenge this, Granite State Progress researches and compiles a list of Free State Project candidates running for office so voters know about the extreme affiliation of those candidates,” said Zandra Rice Hawkins, executive director of Granite State Progress.

Over a decade ago, the ultra-extreme Free State Project voted on a state to move 20,000 libertarians to with the stated purpose to take over state government and dismantle it, and New Hampshire was the unlucky recipient of that vote. The Free State Project seeks to create a libertarian “utopia” void of public infrastructure and common laws, and to use their numbers to dramatically change New Hampshire. The Free State Project even threatens to secede from the rest of the country once it meets its initial goals:

“Once we’ve taken over the state government, we can slash state and local budgets, which make up a sizeable proportion of the tax and regulatory burden we face every day. Furthermore, we can eliminate substantial federal interference by refusing to take highway funds and the strings attached to them. Once we’ve accomplished these things, we can bargain with the national government over reducing the role of the national government in our state. We can use the threat of secession as leverage to do this.” – Announcement: The Free State Project by Founder Jason Sorens

To date, the Free State Project has recruited more than 20,000 people to sign the pledge to move to New Hampshire, hitting their goal to “Trigger the Move” – all those who signed up were supposed to start moving once the agreed upon goal was met. More than 1,800 people have already moved as part of the Free State Project.

“Free State Project members sign a pledge to move to New Hampshire and work to change the way of life in our state. They do not move here for a job, or for family, or even because they like what New Hampshire has to offer. Instead, they move here because a political group they are affiliated with voted on a state to move to and take over, and New Hampshire is the unlucky recipient of that vote,” Rice Hawkins said. “It is not surprising that so many Free Staters run for public office. Free State Project members uproot their families and move to New Hampshire purely to enact a political agenda, and running for office only further helps them reach that goal. Local communities who have dealt with them first-hand know how extreme their ideology can be, and that’s why we’ve seen push back from both Republicans and Democrats to expose them.”

Free State Project member candidates in Manchester by ward and office, including links to Granite State Progress’ Free State Project Watch profile on each candidate:

Ward 3: Selectman candidate Phillip Harris

Ward 3: School Committee candidate Phillip Harris

Ward 4: Moderator candidate Colin Gibson

Ward 4: Clerk candidate Holly Beene Seal

Ward 5: Aldermanic candidate Cameron Barr*

Ward 5: Selectman candidate Cameron Barr*

Ward 5: Selectman candidate Michael Garcia*

Ward 6: Clerk candidate Chandler Blair Gabel*

Ward 8: Selectman candidate William Cerf*

Ward 10: Aldermanic candidate Tammy Simmons (Honorary FSP member)

Ward 10: Clerk candidate Merav Yaakov

Ward 11: Aldermanic candidate Andre Rosa

Ward 11: Selectman candidate Andrew Vermiglio*

Ward 11: Selectman candidate Alexander Avery

Ward 11: School Committee candidate Alexander Avery

Ward 12: Selectman candidate Clarence Gardner*

* Free State Project members with additional roles or volunteer lead assignments with NH Exit or Foundation for New Hampshire Independence, Free State Project off-shoot groups specifically dedicated to organizing for New Hampshire to secede from the United States. See full candidate profiles for more details.

The Free State Project candidate list is part of the Free State Project Watch of Granite State Progress, and can be found online at https://freestateprojectwatch.org/. Granite State Progress released similar candidate lists during the 2012, 2014, and 2016 general elections, and reviews municipal candidate filings periodically.

Members of the media and public are strongly encouraged to ask Free State Project candidates whether they disclose their FSP affiliation in campaign materials and, if not, why.

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Granite State Progress is a progressive advocacy organization that addresses issues of immediate state and local concern. Granite State Progress works as a communications hub for the progressive community to provide a strong, credible voice in advancing progressive solutions to critical community problems.

Governor Sununu’s Handpicked Education Commissioner Still Engaging in Partisan Politics, Keynote Speaker at Meeting to “Further the Right’s Agenda Within the State”

Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut is keynote speaker at “Right of Center” political strategy meeting in September; public has a right to know if Edelblut has been participating all along – and whether any other members of Governor Sununu’s leadership team are participating in partisan politics in their official capacities

Concord, NH – Governor Chris Sununu’s handpicked Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut is still using his Commissioner position to engage in partisan politics, this time as the scheduled keynote speaker for the September 13th Right of Center political strategy meeting where “Brainstorming how to further the Right’s agenda within the state is at the forefront of conversations.”

The bi-weekly meetings are organized by former House Speaker Bill O’Brien and the Hon. Stephen Stepanek under the banner of Liberty Tree Consulting Services, and hosted at the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity office. According to the hosts, the meetings are “for elected officials and political activists, centering around how to improve communication in NH through a center right agenda” and “create ‘Right of Center’ political progress” in New Hampshire. Commissioner Edelblut is not an elected official and New Hampshire commissioners typically don’t engage in partisan politics in their official roles – although Commissioner Edelblut has frequently done so with Governor Chris Sununu’s blessing.

See meeting announcement advertising Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut as keynote speaker

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/right-of-center-meeting-september-13-2017-tickets-36558016010?aff=erellivmlt

 

Statement from Granite State Progress Executive Director Zandra Rice Hawkins:

“It’s high time for Governor Sununu to tell his handpicked Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut to stop using his official position for partisan political purposes. Commissioner Edelblut’s participation in political strategy meetings is inappropriate, and his actions in office demonstrate how far he will go to enact his far-right political ideology. Commissioner Edelblut continues to put his personal politics over the best interests of Granite State students and families, and Governor Sununu is endorsing his behavior by not putting an immediate stop to it.”

Just months into his position as Education Commissioner, Edelblut has made waves for trying to re-open the Next Generation Science Standards that were just approved last year; he initially refused to come clean about making a donation to a school privatization lawsuit against the Department he now leads; he forwarded an internal education department job posting to one of his Free State Project friends and then sent that individual’s resume to the HR director (that individual is also on the Board of an off-shoot group literally organizing for New Hampshire to secede from the rest of the country); he is using his position to lobby for SB 193, school vouchers/privatization; and he tried to usurp the State Board of Education’s rule-making responsibilities by injecting himself between the State Board and JLCAR – all without informing the State Board.

“While Education Commissioner Edelblut is the keynote speaker for the upcoming meeting, it is unclear whether he has been participating in the bi-weekly meetings all along or if any other members of Governor Sununu’s leadership team are participating in their official capacities as well,” Rice Hawkins said. “Administrative Services Commissioner Charlie Arlinghaus ran similar political strategy meetings himself in the past before his current post. The Governor and Executive Council should check which Commissioners are abusing taxpayer time and money by engaging in partisan politics in their official capacities. Governor Sununu has a responsibility to keep his leadership team focused on addressing the real issues facing Granite Staters, instead of attending meetings designed to advance a particular political ideology.”

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Granite State Progress is a progressive advocacy organization that addresses issues of immediate state and local concern. Granite State Progress works as a communications hub for the progressive community to provide a strong, credible voice in advancing progressive solutions to critical community problems.

NH SOS and Trump Election Commission Member Asked Whether Trump Will Use Personal Voter Database for Own Purposes – “We’ll Discuss at First Meeting”

NH Secretary of State Bill Gardner responds to the question on everyone’s mind: Will the Trump Administration – or Trump Organization –use the extensive personal voter data requested by Trump’s ‘Election Integrity Commission’?

CONCORD, NH – This afternoon NH Secretary of State and ‘Election Integrity Commission’ member Bill Gardner was asked the question on everyone’s mind: could he guarantee President Trump wouldn’t use the national vote database in any way, shape, or form? The exchange:

GSP Video: Trump Election Commission Member Asked Whether Trump Will Use Personal Voter Database for Own Purposes

Video Transcript, July 6, 2017, NH Secretary of State’s Office

Granite Stater: My follow-on question is, can you guarantee the current administration won’t be using that database in any way, shape, or form?

[Long Pause]

NH SOS Bill Gardner: “We’ll have these discussions when there’s the first meeting.”

Mo Baxley of Laconia, NH: “And you won’t turn over the information until those conversations.”

NH SOS Bill Gardner: “I want to make sure that this is not in the public domain, and what the guarantees are for that, and I expect that that is the case, and before it gets turned over, I will make sure that I’m satisfied that, that, that’s the case.”

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GSP Video: Trump Election Commission Member Asked a Second Time Whether Trump Will Use Personal Voter Database for Own Uses

Granite Stater: “Once that information is gathered – you still couldn’t answer my question, sir, about where’s the guarantee and where’s our confidence level that the current administration will not use that national database for something? That’s of great concern to me. I agree with what you said, it may be nothing nefarious, it’s all good, we’re going to get a good outcome from it, but that data is now centralized and available to the current administration. What are they going to do with it? And you don’t have an answer to it, and that is my great concern. And that is a question I hope you will ask, and then report back to us with the answer, because they cannot have a centralized database with everybody’s information on it. My great concern is that.”

Mo Baxley of Laconia: “I’m less concerned with this administration than I am with the Russian administration, quite frankly. Thanks, Bill [Gardner].”

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Statement from Granite State Progress Executive Director Zandra Rice Hawkins: “The next commission meeting should include a public and thorough conversation about who will have access to personal voter data, how it will be used, and what the commission will do to safeguard a national voter database from special interests, domestic and foreign. Americans should be able to have confidence that this commission will not further jeopardize our elections and thus the commission should first outline its objectives and strategies before casting a wide net for voter data, especially when security experts have stated that the process selected is shaky and unsecure and puts individual voters at risk.”

Media outlets may request the entire video by emailing zandra@granitestateprogress.org with a FTP site.

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Granite State Progress is a progressive advocacy organization that addresses issues of immediate state and local concern. Granite State Progress works as a communications hub for the progressive community to provide a strong, credible voice in advancing progressive solutions to critical community problems. Press releases online at www.GraniteStateProgress.org.

Breaking: NH SOS and Trump Election Commission Member Does Not Approve of Public Distribution of Voter Lists He Plans to Give to Sham Commission

NH Secretary of State Bill Gardner tells concerned citizens he does not want the ‘Election Integrity Commission’ to publicly share personal voter info but he still plans to share voter file with commission

CONCORD, NH – NH Secretary of State Bill Gardner told concerned citizens today that he does not approve of the ‘Election Integrity Commission’ plan to publicly distribute personal voter data. The commission sent a letter to all 50 states last week requesting them to release personally identifying voter information, which it will then make public. Gardner serves on the commission and last week stated he will share the voter file with the commission. The NH ACLU filed a lawsuit for a temporary injunction on the matter earlier today to prevent him from doing so.

GSP Video: NH SOS Gardner Does Not Approve of Public Distribution of Voter Lists He Plans to Give to Sham Commission

Video Transcript, July 6, 2017, NH Secretary of State’s Office

Mo Baxley of Laconia, NH: “You’re telling us that you will not, as a commission member – which I’m not sure you should be wearing both hats – you’re saying that you will not allow this information to be made public in any way, shape, or form. Can you guarantee us, with our fears, that you’ll abide by those laws, you’ll respect the spirit of those laws, and protect the privacy of New Hampshire voters?”

NH SOS Bill Gardner: [mumble]

Baxley: “To your best?”

Gardner: “I, I will make sure …”

Baxley: “You’re making me nervous here!” [laughter]

Gardner: “I will make sure that that information is not gonna be put in the public domain. So, I don’t know how else, how else to put it. “

[crosstalk]

Baxley: “That’s good, that’s a good guarantee, and I appreciate that.”

[crosstalk]

Gardner: “I don’t want that information to be that somebody –you know. I don’t want it to be put online. I don’t. And, and, it was not – It, I mean I didn’t expect that, that it would be.”

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Statement from Granite State Progress Executive Director Zandra Rice Hawkins: “We are pleased to hear Secretary Gardner share the grave concerns community members have about the public distribution of their personal voting information. We remain concerned about the overall tenor of the commission and the lack of transparency about what it seeks to do. We call on all of the Commission members to speak out about the goals of this massive data collection and articulate exactly what they plan to do with this information once collected. Americans should be able to have confidence that this commission will not further jeopardize our elections and thus the commission should first outline its objectives and strategies before casting a wide net for voter data, especially when security experts have stated that the process selected is shaky and unsecure.”

Media outlets may request the entire video by emailing zandra@granitestateprogress.org with a FTP site.

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Granite State Progress is a progressive advocacy organization that addresses issues of immediate state and local concern. Granite State Progress works as a communications hub for the progressive community to provide a strong, credible voice in advancing progressive solutions to critical community problems. Press releases online at www.GraniteStateProgress.org.

Breaking: NH SOS and Trump Election Commission Member Says Kobach To Issue “Retraction Letter”

NH Secretary of State Bill Gardner told concerned citizens that ‘Election Integrity Commission’ leader Kobach to issue “retraction letter” around publicly sharing personal voter info

CONCORD, NH – NH Secretary of State Bill Gardner told concerned citizens today that ‘Election Integrity Commission’ leader Kris Kobach is issuing a “retraction letter” regarding its intention to publicly release the personal voter information that the commission has requested from every state.

GSP Video: NH SOS Gardner on Kobach “Retraction Letter”

Video Transcript, July 6, 2017, NH Secretary of State’s Office

Sylvia Gale of Nashua, NH: “…Mr. Kobach’s letter mentions that this information will be made publicly available?”

NH SOS Bill Gardner: “I understand that —

Mo Baxley of Laconia, NH: “I have concerns with him as an individual being in charge of this.”

NH SOS Bill Gardner: “I understand that he sent out a retraction letter. I haven’t seen it but I was told that last night.”

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Statement from Granite State Progress Executive Director Zandra Rice Hawkins: “We are eager to see a retraction letter that addresses some of the grave concerns community members have about the public distribution of their personal voting information. We remain concerned about the overall tenor of the commission and the lack of transparency about what it seeks to do. We call on all of the Commission members to speak out about the goals of this massive data collection and articulate exactly what they plan to do with this information once collected. Americans should be able to have confidence that this commission will not further jeopardize our elections and thus the commission should first outline its objectives and strategies before casting a wide net for voter data, especially when security experts have stated that the process selected is shaky and unsecure.”

Media outlets may request the entire video by emailing zandra@granitestateprogress.org with a FTP site.

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Granite State Progress is a progressive advocacy organization that addresses issues of immediate state and local concern. Granite State Progress works as a communications hub for the progressive community to provide a strong, credible voice in advancing progressive solutions to critical community problems. Press releases online at www.GraniteStateProgress.org.