As the Wonk Room has been reporting, the Koch brothers’ Americans for Prosperity (AFP) and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) are orchestrating campaigns to radicalize New Hampshire state politics. But another radical organization called the Free State Project (FSP), founded by the Koch-funded Mercatus Center’s Jason Sorens, has also infiltrated New Hampshire.
Members of the Free State Project, an effort to take over New Hampshire’s political process with a radical anti-government agenda, are attempting to dismantle the state’s clean energy economy. Dan and Carol McGuire, a husband-and-wife team that moved to New Hampshire in 2004 and subsequently won seats in the 400-member state house, have introduced legislation to eliminate passenger rail service and clean energy financing.
The New Hampshire Rail Transit Authority (NHRTA) secured $4.1 million in federal money after a vision of a national rail network was introduced by President Obama in February. But, in March, FSP’s Rep. Dan McGuire (R) proposed legislation to repeal NHRTA. Dan McGuire said that NHRTA “is not something that can make money” and that “is why the private sector is not involved.”
McGuire, a libertarian ideologue, ignored all the benefits of commuter rail — relieving traffic congestion through New Hampshire’s “capital corridor” and spurring economic development. Chris Williams, president of the Greater Nashua Chamber of Commerce, noted that “[n]o one is saying we ought to take away public funding for roads and airports and have the private sector fund that.”
The Republican-controlled state House passed McGuire’s repeal legislation in early March, and the bill is up for a vote in the Senate this week.
In February, Dan’s wife and fellow Free State Project member Rep. Carol McGuire (R) sponsored HB 1554, which would repeal the state’s Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program that allows towns and cities to create clean energy and efficient districts. PACE was signed into law in August 2010 and established a voluntary loan system, enabling towns and cities to finance new renewable and energy efficient projects.
Carol said PACE was “not good public policy,” claiming that the “program benefits the few at the expense of everybody else.”
These assaults on the environment by State Reps. Dan and Carol McGuire’s in New Hampshire are not an accident but a carefully orchestrated play by the Free State Project. In 2003, members of this libertarian website — who have dubbed themselves the “Porcupines” — decided through an online ballot that New Hampshire would make the best state for a revolution. Among many reasons, FSP members landed on New Hampshire because it has “the largest state legislature in the US, providing the highest ratio of representation and easy access to politics.”
The Free State Project then launched a campaign to get 20,000 members to move to New Hampshire, where “FSP leaders” would direct “newcomers to real estate offices, schools and business opportunities” to make the biggest impact. In 2003, Don Gorman — a former leader of the Libertarian caucus in the New Hampshire House and self-proclaimed FSP transition leader — trained people to run for the 400-member House, and lesser offices too, saying, “[w]e want them to get involved in the volunteer fire department, the playground committee, [and] the library board.”
Although there’s no evidence that thousands of anti-government radicals have flooded the Granite State, that is the story of Carol and Dan McGuire. In 2004, Dan McGuire was coordinating libertarian events in Oregon and Washington for FSP. After FSP called for its members to make the pilgrimage, the McGuires moved to New Hampshire. Dan got involved with local politics — becoming the Chairman of the Epson Town Planning Board. Carol won a seat as a Republican in the New Hampshire House in 2008. Dan was subsequently elected as a Republican to the state House in 2010.
Less radical state legislators are working to save PACE. But the same can’t be confidently said for NHRTA. The work of FSP’s Dan and Carol McGuire — as well as Koch’s AFP and ALEC — are indicative of a larger pattern sweeping the nation, where the advancement of a healthy environment is sacrificed for all, in favor of stubbornly advancing dirty energy that only benefits the few — the wealthy.