By Matthew Geiger | CONCORD
Brandon Phinney (Republican), who represents Rochester wards four and five in the New Hampshire State House, has announced this morning that he is joining the Libertarian Party. Below is a 71 Republic exclusive interview with the Representative:
Matthew Geiger: Thank you for joining me tonight, Brandon.
Brandon Phinney: You’re welcome, let’s get into it.
Geiger: Who is Brandon Phinney?
Phinney: I am a first-term representative in the New Hampshire State House, representing both Ward four and five in Rochester.
My religion (or the lack thereof) has gotten me a lot of attention, and I would consider it a big part of my life. In February of 2017, I “came out” as an Atheist. While that may not seem like a big deal to many, being a Republican and an Atheist is quite uncommon, and I like to take pride in my ability to be outspoken about a particular part of me, even if it is against many of those in my own party. I don’t believe in God, but I still care about the people.
I don’t belive in God, but I still care about the people.
Geiger: Why did you run for office?
Phinney: My military service has given me a passion for public service. In addition to my interest in politics, I figured that holding public office would suit me well, and would let me be a voice for those not in government.
Geiger: Why are you switching to the Libertarian Party?
Phinney: The Republican Party just didn’t fit me. I would go to the statehouse every day and think, “What are they [the GOP] going to tell me to do today?” To be honest, the House GOP Leadership shut people out, prevented representatives from doing their jobs, and were not transparent at all. I was sick of it, and I wanted to be in a party that represented my philosophical beliefs.
Geiger: Who did you vote for in the 2016 Presidential Election?
Phinney: I voted for Governor Gary Johnson.
Geiger: On what issues are you most libertarian?
Phinney: There’s nothing that I’m “most libertarian” on. However, the method in which I decide whether or not to vote “yay” or “nay” on a bill is pretty Libertarian in my eyes. There are three things that I ask myself before I vote:
Is the bill going to expand government? Is it going to have a negative impact on the taxpayers? Is it going to decrease or increase liberty in New Hampshire?
Geiger: On what issues are you least libertarian?
Phinney: Nothing in particular, but I’d like to say that I agree with people having the right to have the freedom of expression, which includes the freedom to offend, but that people should be aware of consequences when it comes to free speech.
Also, on a federal level, I don’t necessarily “endorse” President Trump, nor do I hate him. I simply wish him the best, because if he succeeds, so does the country.
Geiger: Do you plan on running for reelection?
Geiger: Do you think that you have a chance of winning?
Phinney: I do. My district is very “purple” and swings back and forth. I also have a very good support system and will hopefully have an incumbency advantage. In addition, the electorate seems more concerned with issues, instead of party.
Geiger: How do you plan to work with Caleb Dyer and Joesph Stallcop (other Libertarian Representatives) in the House?
Phinney: I’m not going to change the way I talk to people and how I interact with my colleagues, the only difference is that we [the Libertarians] will have our own caucus to decide where our party stands on issues and bills, which should give me a lot more freedom when voting.
I’m not going to change the way I talk to people and how I interact with my colleagues.
Geiger: Do you know of anyone else that is considering switching to the Libertarian Party?
Phinney: Not at the moment. There are people that are liberty minded but would rather change the system from within and are more concerned about reelection than being principled.
Matthew Geiger is the CEO and Co-Founder of 71Republic, you can follow him on Instagram or Twitter using the username @mattg444.