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I'm writing to you, somewhat belatedly (but not too late thanks to the snow storm), about the candidacy of Jason Sorens to the Amherst Planning Board. While we can applaud the civic commitment of anyone who chooses to run for elected office, and hope the candidate is throwing their hat in the ring for the best of intentions, recent history here in New Hampshire suggests a measure of caution should be employed when scrutinizing the background of candidates. A newcomer to town elections, Jason Sorens, is a candidate that requires this extra scrutiny. There is no doubt that Mr. Sorens has accomplished a great deal from his former position at the Center for Ethics in Society at St. Anselm, to his current role at a Libertarian think tank, Sorens has established himself as an important contributor to the Libertarian cause. Arguably, Mr. Soren’s most important contribution could be as the brainchild of the Free State Party (FSP) which he proposed in a manifesto way back in 2003. Whether you agree or disagree with the basic tenets of the FSP, it is undeniable this insurgent philosophy has insinuated its way into New Hampshire politics and civic life in a big way over the past twenty years. (https://fspmovers.com)
I am a volunteer with the Granite State Progress No Hate team which meets weekly to track the growth of extreme Alt-right organizations and individuals including the FSP. While the Free Staters are cagey about their connections to the far right and secessionist movement, these connections are deep and influence every move of the dozens of FSP elected officials in the house and various offices around the state. (https://patch.com/new-hampshire/bedford-nh/how-st-anselms-prof-led-nh-house-bill-secede-us)
A recent multi-part series on Boston’s NBC 10 television station details the beliefs, growth and impact of the Free State Party on the Granite State in recent years. (https://www.nbcboston.com/news/local/life-liberty-and-the-pursuit-of-new-hampshire-an-nbc10-boston-original/2920007/ ) From the near defunding of the school budget in Croydon, to the attempted destruction of the Gunstock Ski area in Belknap county, and the failed legislative attempt for NH to secede from the United States, the FSP has had an outsized and negative influence on the lives of many of our friends and neighbors. The anti-government, pro laissez faire (aka unregulated and unfettered) capitalism approach of the FSP is growing through the efforts of significant numbers of Free Staters elected to the NH legislature, local school boards and other town offices.
While Mr. Sorens has distanced himself from the Croydon and Belknap incidents, his current connection to the Free State Party is undeniable since he was a featured speaker at the annual FSP Liberty Forum this month in Manchester.
While a seat on the Amherst planning board does not seem like the best place to begin a revolution, it certainly is worthwhile to not give the FSP a toehold in our town. My advice, support incumbent candidates Tom Quinn and Arnie Rosenblatt who have demonstrated their competence and experience and do not have allegiance or history with an antidemocratic and harmful social movement.
If you would like to discuss this further please contact me, especially if you have a different opinion about Mr. Sorens and his potential role as an elected official in Amherst. I'm open to hearing other thoughts. Feel free to forward this email in its entirety or in part to other voters here in Amherst.
No matter what, I hope you can get out to vote on March 28th.