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January 28. 2013 10:50PM

Nashua to host four-day Free State forum

NASHUA - Continuing with its mission to bring thousands of pro-liberty activists to New Hampshire, the Free State Project is planning a four-day conference to promote and educate others about its ongoing efforts. The New Hampshire Liberty Forum is now in its sixth year, with the 2013 event scheduled for Feb. 21-24 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Nashua.

"It has developed a reputation for drawing together people of diverse backgrounds from across the Northeast and beyond for the purpose of discussing strategies to reduce government interference in our lives and build a better society through business, the arts, volunteer work," says a release issued by Free State Project members.

In the past, the event has gathered about 400 people, according to Carla Gericke, one of the leaders of the Free State Project who moved from New York to New Hampshire in 2008.

"It looks like we are on track to hit those numbers again, maybe even reach 500 attendees," Gericke said of the educational outreach event. "I know several people who are flying in to participate."

Liberty Forum is designed to give Free State pledgers who are in the process of moving to the Granite State an opportunity to visit the area, network with others and learn more about job opportunities and housing in the area, according to organizers. Nashua is a good location to host the event because it is relatively close to the Boston area and its airport, according to Gericke.

"We have some great speakers coming this year," said Gericke, praising keynote speaker Tom Woods, a New York Times bestselling author of 11 books. She described him as an intelligent, funny and engaging speaker.

Gericke, who is originally from South Africa and whose parents are diplomats, says she is most excited about hearing blogger Cory Doctorow speak.

A job panel will be on hand to help participants learn more about the job market in New Hampshire and to offer tips on how to make job searching easier. There will be sessions on various topics, including a "know your rights" seminar that will tackle everything from the basic rules of firearm ownership in New Hampshire, to documentation and information that must be delivered to a police officer when being pulled over during a traffic stop. Other sessions include a rundown of what Free Staters should do after moving to New Hampshire, how to make a 72-hour survival kit and a brief overview of austere medicine for survival situations.

According to its website, the Free State Project has 1,130 participants already living in New Hampshire, with more than 13,700 committed to eventually relocating here. Its plan is to entice more than 20,000 pro-liberty activists to move to the Granite State, with participants pledging to "exert the fullest practical effort toward the creation of a society in which the maximum role of civil government is the protection of life, liberty and property," says the site.

Despite the attention the Free State Project will receive during next month's forum, there are still opponents of the controversial movement. Some elected officials in New Hampshire are critical of their efforts, previously voicing suspicion about how Free Staters will actually go about launching political change.

A total of 24 speakers will take the stage during the 2013 New Hampshire Liberty Forum, including Libertarian activist Ken Krawchuk, political correspondent Declan McCullagh, policy analyst Julie Borowski, historian Thaddeus Russell and more. The forum is not only an opportunity to introduce attendees to New Hampshire but to also "give them a taste of the many benefits of socializing, networking and organizing with a large group of like-minded people," according to a release.

For more information about the event, visit www.freestateproject.org.

khoughton@newstote.com

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