Yesterday, I attended my last meeting of the Free State Project board, after which my resignation became effective. This seems like a fitting time to review my time of service to the Free State Project.
I began contributing to the Free State Project well before I joined the board. For example, prior to the state vote, I co-authored the Idaho ballot paper. Fun trivia: the other co-author became the FSP’s first post-state-vote president (interim). Two of the five post-state-vote FSP presidents have been western state advocates, an irony not lost on me given New Hampshire’s selection as the destination for pro-liberty activists. Further fun trivia: both of us lived in Fresno, California when we wrote the Idaho ballot paper (2003).
In early-2004, I was elected to my first term on the FSP’s board. At the time, board terms were time-limited and I served the remainder of another member’s term after her early resignation. I attended the first Porcupine Freedom Festival in 2004 where I met a large number of FSP participants for the first time. While there, it became obvious that PorcFest ought to become an annual tradition. The organizers of the 2004 event were not interested in running another one, so I volunteered to do so. By the end of the year, I was not only eyeball deep in PorcFest organizing, I had also taken on leading the fundraising efforts for the organization and had moved to New Hampshire.
In early-2005, I was, again, elected to the board, and remained on the board since that time. Next month would have been 10 years of continuous service (the cumulative total is over that now). Despite the hard work, I enjoyed being the 2005 PorcFest ‘Czar’. Shortly thereafter, I became the Vice President of Operations for the FSP in an effort to split up the overall organizational leadership work.
By the end of 2005, we had decided to try a shorter, more aggressive sub-project and initiated the First-1000 pledge. I don’t recall who first had that idea, but I put considerable effort into it all along the way. I early-2006, I started my first term as President of the FSP and oversaw the successful completion of the First 1000 project. I also launched the New Hampshire Liberty Forum, laying out the vision and recruiting the lead organizer for the first event in early-2007. That first event was a hit and we have repeated it since.
I stepped down as president for a year or so, and resumed the position a second time in late-2008, which I maintained until 2011. My personal performance during that second stint as president was more mixed than the first, but I persevered, learned and adapted to the best of my ability. The signup rate did increase during that time, and the events grew considerably.
Since stepping down in 2011, I remained in the media rep rotation (though less frequently than before) and have continued to try to advocate wise strategy at the board level. My final project has been to clean up and update some of the organizational policies, which was completed yesterday.
There is always more to do, but the time has come for me to focus on other things. Stepping down from the FSP board is the last step in freeing up my disposable time after more than a decade of devoting most of that time to the FSP.
I am confident the FSP will ultimately reach the 20,000 signer goal, and that the movement will continue. I’m encouraged by many things, but maybe most importantly by the increased rate at which people are actually moving. For the last two years, the mover rate has averaged almost two dozen a month, an increase of more than 100% over the prior four years.
I won’t be on the FSP board anymore, but I’ll continue to focus attention on freedom and encourage others to do likewise. The FSP’s Statement Of Intent captures the concept of freedom nicely: we work towards the creation of a society in which the maxim role of government is the protection of individuals’ rights to life, liberty, and property. More than a decade after first hearing that statement of intent, I still believe such a society would be a wonderful improvement over what we currently endure.
It has been an honor to contribute to such an important and noble movement. I look forward to seeing the continued success of the project and it’s hopeful long-term effect: liberty in our lifetime.