Last Day of House Session 2018
New Hampshire House of Representatives
Strafford 24 District
|Predecessor:||Laura Jones (R)|
|Successor:||Mona Perrault (R)|
Libertarian Party of Seacoast NH
|Founder and Chairman|
Libertarian Party Secular Caucus
|Birth:||April 27, 1988 |
|Education:||Great Bay Community College:
Associates in Criminal Justice with Certificate in Homeland Security
Southern New Hampshire University:
Bachelor of Science in Justice Studies - Policing and Law Enforcement
|Military:||New Hampshire Army National Guard - 12R: Interior Electrician. 2009-2019. Operation Spartan Shield veteran 2015.|
|Party:||Libertarian Party (since 2017)|
Republican Party (before 2017)
Brandon Phinney (born April 27, 1988) is an American politician and former member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives, representing Strafford County's 24th district. Elected as a Republican in 2016, Brandon Phinney served on the State-Federal Relations and Veterans Affairs Committee. He was also involved in the Veterans Caucus. In 2017, he changed his party affiliation to Libertarian after becoming frustrated and disenfranchised with the New Hampshire Republican Party's failure to budget responsibly among other contentions with their social policies.
Brandon Phinney sponsored legislation relating to criminal justice reform, repealing outdated and erroneous laws, and expanding personal freedom. Out of 29 bills sponsored and cosponsored, 6 were signed into law by Governor Chris Sununu (R). Brandon Phinney is also notable for having been the first openly atheist Republican in the country in 2017.
Brandon Phinney was born in Haverhill, MA in April 1988 while his mother lived in Plaistow, NH. When he was very little, his family moved to Duluth, Minnesota where he lived until he was 6 years old. In the mid-1990s, he moved to Chiefland, Florida where he lived until he was 9 years old. It was then that his family moved back to New Hampshire, where he has lived ever since. He moved to Rochester, New Hampshire where he would spend most of his life. Brandon graduated from middle and high school in Rochester and eventually spent one semester at Eastern Nazarene College in Quincy, MA before returning home and going to work instead. In 2009, Brandon had his first child, Emma.
When he was 21, Brandon was looking for a career change and decided to enlist in the New Hampshire Army National Guard on the suggestion of a friend and former bandmate. He decided to enlist as a construction engineer to learn a trade skill and it was through his service that he was able to obtain both an Associates and Bachelor degree. In 2015, Brandon was activated for deployment to United Arab Emirates in support of Operation Spartan Shield where he spent the year. Brandon has received the following awards: Army Commendation Medal Armed Forces Reserve Medal with "M" device, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Overseas Training Ribbon (2), State Service Bar. Brandon concluded his service in 2019.
During his 2015 deployment, Brandon watched certain events transpire with the New Hampshire legislature that left him increasingly frustrated. Already being an avid reader of politics and philosophy, Brandon was influenced chiefly by the policies of Ron Paul, which prompted him to run for office upon his return to the States. In June of 2016, Brandon registered as a Republican candidate for State Representative for Strafford 24. The Libertarian Party did not have ballot access at this time. He campaigned on criminal justice reform, fiscal responsibility and personal freedom. Brandon's opponent was School Board member and Democrat Karen Stokes. Brandon won his election with 51% of the vote. Also, in 2016, the Libertarian Party of New Hampshire gained ballot access based on 4% of the vote for Gubernatorial candidate and current State Representative Max Abramson.
Beginning in 2017, Brandon sponsored legislation on criminal justice reform, fiscal responsibility and election law changes. The following sponsored bills were signed into law in 2017:
HB104 - Repealing the commuters income tax
HB160 - Relative to the use of cannabis for therapeutic purposes
HB652 - Establishing a veterans track within the court system and relative to annulment of a sentence imposed by a mental health court
In early 2017, Brandon Phinney penned a letter to the editor of his local newspaper, Foster's Daily Democrat, in response to an article outlining the issue of secularism and the closing of churches (https://www.fosters.com/news/20170220/rise-of-secularism-in-nh). Atheist groups picked up the letter and media blogs like Friendly Atheist (https://friendlyatheist.patheos.com) interviewed Brandon Phinney (https://www.patheos.com/blogs/progressivesecularhumanist/2017/02/nh-lawmaker-brandon-phinney-defends-church-state-separation/) where he confirmed that he was an atheist, which made him the first atheist Republican officeholder in the country.
In June 2017, after enduring grueling House budget sessions and witnessing increased state spending, Brandon Phinney decided not to affiliate with the Republican Party and switched parties to the Libertarian Party.
In 2018, Brandon continued to sponsor legislation. The following bills were signed into law:
HB390 - Relative to parties on certain election forms and ballots
HB1285 - Relative to dancers and entertainers in premises serving alcoholic beverages
HB1407 - Repealing the prohibition on the use of milk containers
Brandon spoke at numerous Libertarian Party state conventions including New York, Connecticut, New Hampshire and Texas. In July of 2018, Brandon was a featured speaker during the business session of the Libertarian Party National Convention in New Orleans, LA. It was during the National Convention that Brandon, with the assistance of the Secular Coalition for America, founded the first Libertarian Party Secular Caucus (https://www.facebook.com/LPSecularCaucus) and became its inaugural Chairman.
Brandon Phinney ran for a second term in fall of 2018. His campaign focused on his legislative record, which supported responsible fiscal policies, expanded personal liberties and criminal justice reform. Brandon was the first Libertarian to run for State Representative in his district. Brandon was defeated in his bid for a second term in a three way race in which he received 10% of the vote, which was one of the highest percentages in the state for the office.
On New Year's Day, Brandon Phinney announced his bid for Rochester City Council for Ward 4 citing the need for council members to remain fiscally responsible, curb aggressive code enforcement tactics and small business support. Brandon was elected as Vice Chair of the Libertarian Party of New Hampshire Seacoast affiliate in early 2019 and is running for At-Large for the state Executive Committee. In 2018 and 2019, Brandon served on the Libertarian Party of New Hampshire Platform Committee.
2018 New Hampshire House of Representatives Strafford District 24 Campaign
- Bill Weld, 68th Governor of Massachusetts. 2016 Libertarian Nominee for Vice President.
- Darryl Perry, former Libertarian Party of New Hampshire Chair, founder of Liberty Lobby, LLC and 2016 Libertarian Party Presidential candidate
- Larry Sharpe, Libertarian Party Vice President candidate in 2016, candidate for Governor of New York in 2018, activist