Pro-Independence Rep Matt Santonastaso RE-ELECTED!
Earlier this year, the historic NH Independence constitutional amendment, CACR 32, was voted on in the state house. Thirteen brave state representatives stood in favor of allowing the people of NH to vote on declaring peaceful independence from the United States, which is all the bill would have done – simply let the people vote.
New Hampshire gets a lot of credit for having a thriving liberty activism migration here and many elected libertarians serving in the legislature as the “Freedom Caucus”. So, why did so many freedom-oriented state reps hide in the shadows on the CACR 32 vote? They privately would support independence, but these reps were too cowardly to show their true colors. A major objection from them was that secession isn’t popular, but the scientific polling done by the Foundation for NH Independence over the summer blew that fear out of the water, showing that nearly one-in-three Granite Staters and over 50% of NH republicans already support New Hampshire being an independent nation.
The other major objection from the reps who otherwise should have supported this issue was fear of not getting re-elected. Now we have the indisputable proof that this fear was also unfounded. Though it’s true that most of the NH population isn’t ready to secede, that doesn’t mean they don’t support putting it to a vote. According to the FNHI polling, 42% support putting the question of NH independence to voters, with 12% unsure. Still, most politicians aren’t known for their leadership and courage, so now they can look at the brave thirteen state reps who were willing to take the arrows from the loyalists to the Empire. Let’s take a look at what happened with those thirteen reps, and why it’s a success story for the NH Exit movement.
Of the thirteen reps who heroically voted in favor of CACR 32, several decided not to run again: Mark Warden, Raymond Howard, Dennis Green, Dustin Dodge, and Alan Bershstein. Of the eight running for re-election, three didn’t make it through the primary: The Seacoast’s Max Abramson who barely got defeated by 54 votes, or just over 1%. There’s no indication that his support of independence played a role in his narrow defeat. In the Lakes Region, longtime reps Glen Aldrich and CACR 32’s main sponsor Mike Sylvia lost handily to their republican opponents. However, Sylvia himself and other election observers attributed their losses to the Gunstock Mountain situation where they were targeted politically from the left and right for trying to de-fund and probably ultimately sell the state-owned ski area. That left five of the eight pro-independence reps who were seeking re-election, advancing to the primary.
All five were successfully re-elected! The big race to watch was Rindge state rep Matt Santonastaso. Santonastaso was a key leader with CACR 32 and was targeted heavily by the democrats for his support of NH independence. He doesn’t just want people to be able to vote on it, he’s a strong advocate for New Hampshire’s peaceful divorce from the United States. Every newspaper article I saw about him labeled him as a secessionist, even in the headlines. He won re-election, along with reps Glenn Bailey, Diane Kelley, Paul Terry, and Josh Yokela. Plus they gained at least one newly elected first-time representative, Jason Gerhard, who was endorsed by the newly-formed NH Independence PAC.
Empire Loyalist Brodie Deshaies, was DEFEATED in the primary!
The NHIPAC will surely be reaching out to the other new and returning liberty-oriented state reps – of which there were a record number elected this year, including a record 50 free staters – to see who is willing to go on the record in favor of freedom from the United States.
The state reps who had excuses before will probably still have excuses the next time legislation like CACR 32 comes up, but now they can’t claim they won’t win re-election or that no one supports independence, because those are simply fear-based and not the reality on-the-ground in New Hampshire. The popularity of peaceful secession is only going to increase as the federal government continues to ratchet up the tyranny no mater which political party is running it.
What’s next for NH independence? The newly elected and re-elected state reps have a couple of weeks to file legislation for the upcoming 2023 session that kicks off this winter. What secession-related bills will be filed this time? Stay tuned here to NHexit.US for the latest, and don’t forget to sign the petition if you haven’t yet.
P.S. Goodbye to the federal government’s loyalist rep, Brodie Deshaies – the young pro-tyranny state rep from Wolfeboro who was the key spokesman against CACR 32 in the state house. Deshaies didn’t make it through the primary! Of course a new loyalist to the Empire will rise to take his place the next time the state house debates NH independence, but the loyalists never have any argument except appeals to violence and “authority”.
Dave Ridley of the Ridley Report was also on-the-scene. His video contains his reporting on the events and also multiple “ambush” videos where he speaks to various politicians and bureaucrats as they enter or exit the hearing:
Karen and her handler Kathy Slade slinked away for now. What will they try next? I’m excited to see and grateful to them for providing the NH Independence movement with so much free publicity!
Specifically, assistant attorney general Kevin Scura who sits as an advisor on the Commission, was asked to speak to Karen’s complaint. Karen’s email to the Commission had claimed the state reps were in violation of the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution. The Scura made it clear that “insurrection” and “rebellion” – as cited in the 14th Amendment – involve the use of violence. This is what those of us advocating for peaceful independence have been pointing out. A ballot measure is using the democratic process to change the system, not open violence.
Karen had claimed that insurrection doesn’t necessarily involve violence and further went so far to make the laughable claim that simply speaking words against the government would qualify as “giving aid or comfort to the enemies” of the “United States”.
The commission stated clearly that they had no jurisdiction over constitutional questions, and voted 5-0 to dismiss Karen’s complaint. That’s great news, but it was also great news that dozens of NHexit supporters came out to support independence and even more importantly, the mainstream media was present. Curiously, the media was nowhere to be found when CACR 32 had its public hearing earlier this year, or when the state house voted on it, but as soon as a Karen showed up to start some drama, multiple media organizations descended. I made sure to thank Karen after the meeting for all the free publicity.
Full video coverage of the meeting and the confrontation of Karen will be posted here in the coming days. Meanwhile, here’s a quick media rundown of some of the coverage we’ve gotten within hours of the end of the meeting today. All of the media organizations below had reporters at today’s meeting:
Karen Sue Steele, Hates Independence, Originally from MN.
A real-life Karen is targeting the “Independent Thirteen”, the thirteen courageous state representatives who earlier this year voted against killing CACR 32, the NH Independence constitutional amendment. Karen Sue Steele of Atkinson NH has sent in a complaint to the “Ballot Law Commission” demanding the state reps be removed from office and barred from ever running again. She emailed her complaint his weekend and Secretary of State David Scanlan forwarded her email to all the state reps involved with an invitation to the upcoming commission meeting on Wednesday August 24th, 1pm at the Archives and Records Management building at 9 Ratification Way in Concord. All reps who have been identified in her complaint are allowed to speak at the meeting, which is open to the public. Pro-independence activists will rally outside the building starting at noon.
Karen’s email to the Commission says:
I would very much like to get on the agenda for this Wednesday’s meeting, August 24, at 1 pm in Concord.
It is my assertion that the following people are no longer eligible to hold office in NH and thus are unqualified to run for office as they are in violation of the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution, Section 3.
1) The seven (7) members of our NH House of Representatives who sponsored a bill to secede from the United States of America: 2022-2243/CACR32 – “Providing that the state peaceably declares independence from the United States and proceeds as a sovereign nation” and
2) The 13 members of the NH House of Representatives voted to not ITL (Inexpedient to Legislate) or kill the bill/NH Constitutional Amendment.
Given the overlap, there are a total of 14 individuals who should not be allowed to run for or hold office in New Hampshire.
Karen’s wrong, of course. Regarding her first-numbered point, the state reps in question did not sponsor a bill to secede from the United States of America, as anyone who actually bothered to read CACR 32 would know. The bill was a proposed constitutional amendment that, if passed by over 3/5ths of the state house and senate, would have placed a question on the ballot for the people of New Hampshire to decide on whether or not to declare peaceful independence from the US. Passing CACR 32 would merely have caused a vote of the people, and if over 2/3rds voted yes, then the constitution would have been amended to add the following to Article 7 of the NH Bill of Rights:
[Art.] 7-a. [Independent Nation.] New Hampshire peaceably declares independence from the United States and immediately proceeds as a sovereign nation. All other references to the United States in this constitution, state statutes and regulations are nullified.”
State Rep Mike Sylvia Speaks on the State House Floor about CACR 32
Second, we’ve heard her ridiculous claim that the US Constitution’s 14th amendment prohibits what the heroic NH reps did, from loyalist state rep Brodie Deshaies at the public hearing on CACR 32. However, as Mike Sylvia – CACR 32’s prime sponsor – previously argued, the 14th amendment only prohibits office-holders from “engaging in insurrection or rebellion”. Anyone who bothers to actually look up those terms in a dictionary, would see they both involve violence against the state. Obviously a proposed vote of the people on a constitutional amendment to peaceably exit the US isn’t violence in any way, so it will be interesting to see how the Ballot Law Commission rules on this at Wednesday’s meeting.
We knew the loyalists to the Empire would be making secession a major issue this election season, which is great news! The more attention independence receives, the more people in New Hampshire will consider peaceful secession for the first time. The more people on the fence will be convinced to join us. I’m grateful that Karen brought this complaint as either way the Ballot Law Commission decides will make things more exciting. If they rule to disqualify the reps from office it could lead to an appeal to the NH Supreme Court and if they rule to keep the reps in place then it’s official that the reps were indeed working within the system’s own rules by proposing the amendment, which means Karen and her ilk will be even more frustrated.
Interestingly, Karen Sue Steele is quite the busybody around Atkinson, Danville and Rockingham County, as anyone with the ability to search the internet could discover. Also, turns out that Karen’s not from New Hampshire, originally hailing from La Crescent, MN. Many of the most ardent big government supporters in New Hampshire are not natives. I wonder if Karen is willing to debate Alu Axelman about independence for NH. He has yet to be able to find any loyalists to talk publicly about their viewpoint. Alu also covered the news about Karen’s attack on the state reps in his detailed article at the Liberty Block. If you’d like Karen to debate this publicly, she helpfully included her contact information in her public complaint. Be kind if you decide to reach out:
The loyalists are desperate and don’t realize what they are up against. NH Independence is already surprisingly popular amongst NH inhabitants, with nearly one in three supporting New Hampshire being an independent nation and 52% of republicans. See the details on the recent, first-ever Survey USA poll results here.
The recently-formed NH Independence PAC has called for supporters of an independent New Hampshire to gather for a rally starting at noon on Wednesday August 24th, outside the State Archives at 9 Ratification Way (formerly 71 South Fruit Street) in Concord prior to the start of the Ballot Law Commission meeting at 1pm. They will then attend the meeting in support of the brave state reps who are under fire from this literal Karen. Hope to see you there!
29% agree, “I would prefer New Hampshire to govern itself as an independent country.”
Thanks to the folks at the Foundation for New Hampshire Independence, we now have the results (PDF, web) of their first-ever scientific poll of the people of NH on various questions related to NH independence from the United States! Conducted by SurveyUSA, 625 adults in New Hampshire were asked 27 questions, so there’s a lot of data to go through, but here are some important takeaways.
First, 29% of all respondents either said they strongly agree or somewhat agree that they “would prefer New Hampshire to govern itself as an independent country.” This alone is tremendous news! Nearly one in three already onboard is an excellent starting point to begin persuading the rest of the population. Given only 2/3rds are needed to pass a constitutional amendment, we’re almost halfway there! Another 14% said they were “not sure”, so those people are already on the fence on the issue.
Someone may claim this is a fluke poll, but it’s actually in line with another secession poll conducted in 2021 by Bright Line Watch which asked people across the country if they “support seceding from the US to form a new regional union”. It’s not as good of a question for our purposes, as we don’t want to be in a union with the rest of New England, but it does give some insight into regional interest in independence. In that poll, 34% of New Englanders said they support seceding for joining a regional union! That result is right in line with the SurveyUSA numbers targeting only NH respondents.
63% agree, “I trust my state government more than I trust the federal government.”
An even more interesting takeaway from the NH poll is that 52% of republicans say they strongly agree or somewhat agree that they “would prefer New Hampshire to govern itself as an independent country.” Plus, 11% said they were “not sure”. When the historic, proposed constitutional amendment to peacefully secede came up this year in the state house, despite having several republican sponsors, the establishment republicans spoke firmly against it. Others quietly told us they agreed with the bill, but were too afraid they’d lose their re-election if they supported it. Ultimately only thirteen voted against the establishment motion to table the bill. Now that we have the encouraging results of this poll showing majority republican support for secession, perhaps some of the state reps will find a spine. Hopefully the newly established NH Independence PAC will be able to use this data to try to persuade them to stand up in favor of independence for New Hampshire.
As the Foundation for NH Independence pointed out in their announcement of the poll numbers, over time people’s opinions can shift on an issue once considered impossible, like shall-issue gun permits. They say in 1990 that shall-issue permits were less popular than secession is today, but opinions changed and now the supermajority of states have them. Let’s look at some reasons why the numbers are going to shift in favor of independence for NH:
The federal government is going to become more and more oppressive, inflation is going to continue destroying peoples’ livelihoods, and war against peaceful people around the planet will continue. You can count on the feds to get more evil, regardless of who wins the election. Plus, large majorities of NH people already know the fed gov is bad, as shown by other questions on the poll:
79% agreed: “The federal government’s financial decisions and economic regulations hurt our livelihoods and could lead to inflation and bankruptcy.”
69% agreed: “Politicians in Washington, DC violate our rights more than they protect our rights.”
64% agreed: “Laws, regulations, and court rulings coming out of Washington, DC are incompatible with New Hampshire’s culture of freedom.”
63% agreed: “I trust my state government more than I trust the federal government.”
Only 29% of NH respondents think that the feds, “have my best interests in mind when passing legislation.”
We already have roughly 2/3rds of people in NH who are frustrated with the federal government. As the feds continue to get worse, more and more will let go of their indoctrinated, nationalistic love of the United States and join the side of NH independence.
Of people over 65, only 5% strongly support secession. Time is on our side.
“National Divorce” has been trending in recent months and the conversations about secession are going to continue. Meanwhile people around the country are migrating to states that they consider more like-minded to their beliefs.
The Free State Project, a migration of libertarian activists to New Hampshire, had record movers in 2021 and 2022 may top that number. Most of these people support secession and are active. The more people talk to their neighbors and friends about independence, the more will flip to supportive.
Interestingly, only 39% of respondents agreed that, “If New Hampshire were not already part of the United States, it would be beneficial for the state to join, and be governed by DC.” Showing that even though some in NH aren’t ready to leave just yet, they sure wouldn’t want to join this terrible union! Further, 42% said that the question of secession should be put to New Hampshire voters, and 12% said “not sure”.
Will NH’s state reps be persuaded by these numbers?
Whenever one speaks to people about declaring independence from the United States, the number one objection is the fear that the military will be used to attack the state that is seceding. This is an understandable fear, given what happened in the 1800s. However, this poll shows it has no basis in reality, as across all eight states that were polled, an average of only 6% would support military intervention if a state secedes. While 37% would support some form of “economic sanctions”, the majority – 57% – say the state should simply be allowed to leave. Americans don’t want to kill their own families and friends just because they want to leave the union and if the federal government gets violent with a seceding state, it will only undermine their legitimacy even further.
The New Hampshire Independence movement is just getting started and I’m excited that so many people are already supportive. If you love liberty and want to secede, you should be here in NH. Come help us make this a reality sooner rather than later. Time is of the essence. You can start by signing the petition!
You can see the full results including crosstabs (PDF, web) for yourself, so feel free to dig through the data yourself!
The #1 thing that state reps said they wanted to hear before they’d vote yes on independence was that their constituents actually wanted independence. We know that the people of New Hampshire want independence thanks to a Union Leader poll that evidenced 70-78% of New Hampshire voters supported the idea. However that isn’t good enough for many state reps so now we have to go a step further. We created bumper stickers & t-shirts to ensure that on the next go around they can’t so easily excuse away not voting yes on independence! Pick up a NHexit.US bumper sticker and/or t-shirt and let everyone know how you feel about New Hampshire independence.
In 1784 the people of New Hampshire formed a government, founded upon the sovereignty of the people. The people shared with that government a limited portion of their own sovereignty which was detailed in Part II of the New Hampshire constitution. Notably, the people retained to themselves rights which could not be infringed upon nor delegated to others. This is known as our New Hampshire Bill of Rights which make up Part I of our constitution.
The people of New Hampshire declared our State to be forever a sovereign state. (more…)
It was a historic day as New Hampshire was the first state since the “Civil War” to have a house floor discussion about secession. As reported on this blog previously, CACR 32 – the constitutional amendment that would have allowed NH voters to decide the question of declaring peaceful independence from the United States – was voted down 323-13 on Thursday. Now you can watch video of the full discussion from the floor of Rep’s Hall:
Don’t miss this post at Free Keene which gathers together seventeen hysterical posts from SHOCKED democrats in response to the heroic thirteen state reps who voted to try to stop CACR 32 from being killed.
We’re just getting started promoting independence for New Hampshire. CACR 32 was just the beginning to get the conversation going. Stay tuned here to NHexit.US for more. Meanwhile, be sure to sign the petition and join the community via the links in the top menu and help us do even more!
Today was the big day, the first time ever that a bill relating to New Hampshire independence was heard by the full state house. With over 330 of 400 reps in attendance, the historic proposed constitutional amendment was sadly shot down 323-13. We didn’t expect to win the first time out, of course. The point of CACR 32 was to get the conversation started.
No thanks however to multiple so-called “liberty reps” who put fear-based political concerns over principle and refused to back up the brave reps who sponsored this bill. I was there greeting the reps this morning as they entered Reps’ Hall and I heard various excuses. Free Stater rep Jess Edwards said it shouldn’t go to voters unless reps support the idea, and he doesn’t. This is literally the same thing some of the democrats told me as they were entering the chamber, expressing that they were against democracy as they see themselves as “gatekeepers”. One Democrat, rep Tim Egan, even admitted in an email to me, “legislators can absolutely not trust voters with this decision”. The state reps don’t trust you to decide, whether they be Republican or Democrat.
Representative Tom Ploszaj used the excuse that no one from his constituency had reached out to him in support of CACR 32. Of course the bill got very little attention in the media, so it’s likely few people were even aware of it. Ploszaj and other “liberty reps” seem very concerned with what voters would think if they voted in support of CACR 32. Ploszaj said in an email, “My personal opinion and stance on the CACR is irreverent [SIC] since I was elected to represent my district and uphold the Constitutions not to make decisions based on my own agendas.” This is a strange statement as we all know that no one can truly “represent” a diverse group of people. If Ploszaj ran a campaign and was honest about supporting liberty, then that is presumably why he was elected, not to do anything a handful of people who call him up suggest. If a few people called Ploszaj to request he sponsor some Communist legislation, I suspect he would say no, even though some constituents wanted it.
Jason Osborne, Free Stater and the current House Majority Leader said that he supports California seceding, but doesn’t think the people of New Hampshire want independence. He told me instead NH should lead the way for America. Another Free Stater, five-term rep Brian Seaworth expressed that he didn’t want to support the bill because he didn’t think it would pass and he felt that voting for it would put him in jeopardy of losing the next election. Melissa Blasek, state rep and executive director of Rebuild NH said that while she likes the idea, she’s worried the democrats will use it against her in her reelection campaign.
I guess we’ll see if the thirteen heroes who voted for this bill will be defeated in their re-election attempts later this year. What if they are re-elected? Will the “liberty reps” who refused to stand on principle develop a spine? Don’t get your hopes up.
Perhaps they’ll be prosecuted for treason or rebellion as statist rep Brodie Deshaies suggested in his attempts to intimidate the reps into opposing CACR 32. I’d bet against any reps being prosecuted. Despite the claims to the contrary, this was an attempt at peaceful secession. No violence was ever suggested. Secession is legal and constitutional, as rep Matt Santonastaso explained in his speech on the house floor today. Article one, section ten of the US Constitution outlines the specific things that states are not allowed to do. Leaving is not one of those prohibited things. In fact, secession isn’t talked about at all in the US Constitution. Therefore, it’s a right left to the states under the tenth amendment of the Bill of Rights. We CAN do this. Some state is going to be first to go. Whether it’s Texas, California, New Hampshire, or elsewhere, the only question is when.