The Free State Project

By Dean Barker

The Free State Project, an anti-government movement, was first proposed in 2001 by Jason Sorens, a professor from New York. From his manifesto:

“What I propose is a Free State Project, in which freedom-minded people of all stripes … establish residence in a small state and take over the state government…. 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.”

A decade later, we can see the effects of the Free State Project on New Hampshire, the state the Free State Project chose to “take over.” A sizable number of Free State members are now in the ranks of the Republican statehouse supermajority, including two from our district.

One, Jennifer Coffey, is running for re-election this November. As a Google search makes clear, Representative Coffey has not tried to hide her affiliation with the Free State Project. For example, she believes America’s monetary system is “unconstitutional” and supports abolishing the federal income tax, the chief way in which America funds our military and our transportation infrastructure, among other things.

Rep. Coffey’s votes reflect her allegiance to Free State Project ideology. Most notably, she authored a bill that would have mandated signs along the Massachusetts border warning drivers that they were about to leave the state. The public’s rejection of this was swift and overwhelming.

Votes that achieved less notoriety but betray similar Free State Project values include repealing kindergarten; abolishing compulsory school attendance; allowing guns in the statehouse; defunding mental health, domestic violence, and the New Hampshire Healthy Kids programs; and cutting our public university system’s funding – already the least funded in the nation – by almost half. A more comprehensive list of how Rep. Coffey’s votes impacted New Hampshire can be found at

Thanks to the recent redistricting, mainstream Republican voters of Andover, Salisbury, and Danbury are faced with a dilemma. No longer can they opt to vote for a slate of candidates to balance the ticket, as in the past; Representative Priscilla Lockwood, a common sense Republican, for example, is no longer part of our district.

We will now have one public servant (besides the floterial district) representing us in the state house. As a result, a vote for a Republican here in Andover means a vote for the Free State Project and its goals.