ESA regulations are on the move again!

Good morning all,

ESA regulations are on the move again! As expected, the Legislative Commission's Subcommittee to Review Regulations will consider the ESA regulations this week— Wednesday, December 30 at 10 a.m.

The meeting will take place in Las Vegas at the following location:

Grant Sawyer State Office Building

Room 4401

555 East Washington Avenue

Las Vegas, Nevada

Some members of the commission may participate in Carson City, where the meeting will be video conferenced:

Legislative Building

Room 3137

401 South Carson Street

Carson City, Nevada

Members of the public are encouraged to attend and participate in the process at both locations.

Some important facts:

Of most significance, perhaps, is that this will be simply a yea or nay vote. The subcommittee will vote for or against approving the regulations adopted and submitted by Treasurer Schwartz. Those regulations include, among other things, the kindergarten and military exemption.  It is important to recognize that this subcommittee cannot amend, modify or revise the regulations in any way.  Thus, commission members are unable to exempt the 100-day enrollment requirement for private school or homeschool students, or any other student groups. Nor can the subcommittee pass the regulations only in part. It’s all or nothing— yea or nay.

Remember, the Treasurer’s proposed regulations will not become effective until and unless they’re approved by the Legislative Commission’s Subcommittee to Review Regulations.  So now, as always, it is important to share your position on important issues with lawmakers — whether by testimony in person (my preference), by written testimony or by a phone message.  Nevada’s ESAs still face controversy, so lawmakers need to know you support the ESA program and the regulations adopted by Treasurer Schwartz.

At Wednesday’s meeting, comments on the regulations will be taken during the open public comment period at the beginning of the meeting.  There will not be a separate public hearing for the regulations. Be sure to make your comments at the beginning of the meeting before commissioners vote.

If unable to attend, the meeting can be viewed online via the legislative website

Hope to see you on Wednesday!

~Karen

 

Nevada’s ESA regulations are taking the next step!

Happy Holidays!

Nevada’s ESA regulations are taking the next step!

Monday, the State Treasurer approved the regulations and sent the appropriate paperwork on to the Legislature for its approval. Those regulations did include the long-discussed under-age-7 and military-family exemptions. Now, we wait for the Legislative Commission meeting to complete the process and put the regulations into effect.

Treasurer Dan Schwartz is optimistic that lawmakers will approve the regulations before New Year’s Day, 2016 — which means parents need to be ready for the Legislative Commission meeting next week. There may only be a few days’ notice, so keep your eyes peeled.

While everyone is busy with holiday schedules and plans, if you can make time for this meeting, it could make an important difference for Nevada ESAs. Indeed, the public’s participation in the policy process is key to success on any issue. If lawmakers and others are to realize the vast public support for this program, they all need to hear your voice.

Registration is now open for Participating Entities

“Participating Entities” are the private schools, programs of distance education, Nevada colleges or universities, tutors and tutoring firms, etc., that will be accepting ESA money. The registration process for them is now open!

To get started, they should visit http://www.nevadatreasurer.gov/SchoolChoice/Vendors/EntityHome/ and click on the Entity Enrollment link.

Setting up of parents’ accounts

In the next few weeks parents will be contacted by the Treasurer’s office to set up their accounts. At that time, you will be able to choose your funding date and select the participating entity(s) (registered schools, tutors, etc.) that your child will utilize.

Parents will also be asked to register as participating entities. This is required in order for parents to be reimbursed for their later educational expenses — and whether their children will be educated at home or not.

More acceptances going out

Finally, acceptance notices are going out this week for families who’ve applied for an ESA for a child over the age of 7! And if you have not heard from the Treasurer’s office by January 4th, says Treasurer Schwartz, please send an email to nevadaschoolchoice@nevadatreasurer.gov so staff can check your application status. Remember, too, that to expedite a reply, parents will need to provide the application ID in every communication with the office.

Remember, wait until January 4th to contact the office if you have not received a notice and your child is over age 7.

I will keep you informed on the Legislative Commission meeting date and time. Until that time, enjoy the holidays!

Warmest wishes to you and your families.

~Karen

 

Give the gift of liberty this year!

Every week, NPRI President Sharon Rossie writes a column for NPRI's week-in-review email. If you are not getting our emails, which contain our latest commentaries and news stories, you can sign up here to receive them.


Thanks to your support, Nevada Policy Research Institute has been able to give the gift of greater freedom to countless Nevadans over the course of the last year. Your generosity has helped to both preserve and expand liberty and individual freedom during a time of increasingly intrusive government.

Some of the results have been truly amazing:

  • Nevada families have been given the gift of opportunity and choice with the passage of America’s most inclusive school choice program — providing thousands of struggling Nevadan students the opportunity to succeed by using Education Savings Accounts.
  • The gift of choice also went to countless Nevada teachers. Through NPRI’s widespread information campaign, teachers learned that they have the ability opt-out of their unions — saving those teachers nearly $800 per year in dues.
  • The gift of government transparency went to all Nevadans, via NPRI’s 2015 Nevada Legislative Session Review and Report Card — which tracks and scores lawmakers on their votes, rather than their misleading campaign rhetoric.

I hope that you are as proud of these accomplishments as am I. In the last year, because of your enthusiasm, we have been able to further the cause of limited government and individual liberty in the Silver State.

Please consider renewing your gift for liberty today, by making a tax-deductible donation before the end of the year. Your support will help ensure that the gift of freedom and liberty is everlasting for all Nevadans. I hope I can count on you as we approach the New Year.  

Thank you. Merry Christmas and happy holidays!

Warm regards,

Sharon J. Rossie
NPRI President


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If you love liberty, you’re certainly not alone

Every week, NPRI President Sharon Rossie writes a column for NPRI's week-in-review email. If you are not getting our emails, which contain our latest commentaries and news stories, you can sign up here to receive them.


Wednesday’s NPRI Open House in Las Vegas was a tremendous success. It was great to be able to meet so many supporters of limited government and individual liberty. My deepest thanks go out to everyone who was able to attend — it was a pleasure to see such a demonstration of support for what we do at NPRI.

One of the things I enjoy most about events like that is that it gives us a chance to hear directly from a wide range of our supporters. Given that the special legislative session is underway in Carson City, many attendees wanted to talk about the $300 million in tax incentives being offered to the launching electric-car company, Faraday Future.

Because everyday Nevadans now face $1.5 billion in new taxes passed during the last legislative session — the largest tax increase in state history — outrage over the Faraday special deal was widespread. When lawmakers are giving tax credits, abatements and other handouts to politically connected billionaires, it’s easy for average small business owners to feel targeted by big government.

That outrage is certainly justified. As Calvin Coolidge once said, “the men and women of this country who toil are the ones who bear the cost of the Government.” And that truth is rarely more apparent than when lawmakers, right after hiking taxes on average citizens, start crafting special deals for out-of-state billionaires.

Nevertheless, I still saw a lot of reason to be optimistic about free markets during the Open House.

The enthusiasm I saw for limited government confirmed to me that what we do at NPRI is not only vital, but appreciated by many Nevadans — regardless of their political leanings.

Our work on Education Savings Accounts is a perfect example of widespread, and effective, free market reform. It’s not only a success story for us here at NPRI, but a success story for parents in every demographic who want better opportunities for their children.

Many supporters also spoke on Wednesday about the issue of federal lands in Nevada. Currently, the federal government controls well over 80 percent of the Silver State’s land — making a mockery of the core ideas of federalism. NPRI’s recent discussion of federal government efforts to micromanage Nevada’s backyard received a lot of support.

In fact, the enthusiasm I saw on Wednesday for everything we do at NPRI gives me confidence that next year will be an effective and powerful year for limited-government proponents. ESAs will be implemented, government waste will be exposed and the opportunity for many victories is assured.

What the open house really revealed was that none of us who believe in limited government and free markets are alone. In fact, there are far more of us in Nevada than most people realize. Our passion for liberty, and our desire for a prosperous Nevada, is a common tenet uniting us as we head into an eventful new year.

2015 is almost over, and we face challenging — but still promising — work ahead of us in 2016. On behalf of everyone at NPRI, I want to say thank you for all the support you have shown us. We couldn’t keep moving forward without you.

Warm regards,

Sharon J. Rossie
NPRI President


Remember, if you'd like to receive the latest from NPRI, sign-up for our emails here.

 

ESA Update: Finalizing ESA regulations

Winter break beckons, so here’s a quick ESA note to update you before the holidays.

On Monday, December 21, the Treasurer will hold a public hearing to adopt the ESA regulations, including the Kindergarten and military exemptions for the 100 day enrollment rule. That hearing will take place at 10 a.m. at the following locations and will be video-conferenced:

Be sure to note the new locations and suite numbers.

Everyone is encouraged to fully participate in the public process. Please come to the hearing and share your opinions and comments during the public-comment periods. You can also directly submit written comments to the Treasurer’s office by emailing NevadaSchoolChoice@NevadaTreasurer.gov .

Monday’s hearing is just one step in the adopting and finalizing of the ESA regulations. Once the Treasurer adopts the regulations, the Legislative Commission will have to approve them. The regulations are not in force until the whole process is completed.

January is approaching quickly, and the Legislative Commission’s meeting will be here before you know it, and without much advance notice. Commission members need to hear your comments. Remember, they weren’t present at the previous public hearings to hear the concerns expressed.

Sen. Majority Leader Michael Roberson, who chairs the Commission, has been supportive of Treasurer Schwartz and his efforts. He and the other Commission members should hear your comments. You can contact Sen. Roberson and other members of the Commission here. Public participation in the hearing process is an important way to make change happen. So I strongly suggest being present at the Legislative Commission meeting. I’ll keep you informed on the date and time. Be ready.

There’s good news for prospective participating entities, such as private schools, tutors, opt-in parents, and so on: The Treasurer’s office is moving ahead with development of the registration website. Though it’s not quite ready, some valuable information for vendors has been released. To learn more, visit the Treasurer’s new Participating Entities page.

I know many parents are eagerly waiting to hear back on their applications. A few weeks ago about 900 letters were sent out. Another batch of notices is to go out in the next week or so. In total, the Treasurer’s office has to process over 4,000 applications. So if you haven’t received your notice yet, understand that they are in the works.

A few quick updates:

  • When is the 100th day of enrollment? That’s a question we’re hearing a lot. Here is a list of potential eligibility dates.
  • Special Session and the 100 day rule? As you’re probably aware, Nevada’s legislature is in special session, called by Governor Sandoval — who did not place the 100 day rule on the agenda. Nevertheless, from all reports the Governor and lawmakers were flooded with calls from parents. That is good news, because it will take a lot of active parents and community members to amend or repeal this requirement in 2017.
  • ESA lawsuits? Nothing much new to say, at the moment. The judge in the ACLU case heard oral argument on the motion to dismiss the case on December 10. He was well prepared and asked detailed questions of both sides. He took the matter under advisement, so now we wait for a ruling. The program continues to move forward.

The briefing on the ACLU's motion for preliminary injunction continues. In the Carson City case, a hearing is set for Jan. 6 on the Plaintiffs' motion for preliminary injunction.

I think that covers the big updates. If I’ve missed anything, feel free to drop me an email with your questions.

Wishing everyone a warm holiday season and a very merry Christmas!

~Karen

 

 

ESAs are already a success story — but we can still make them better

Every week, NPRI President Sharon Rossie writes a column for NPRI's week-in-review email. If you are not getting our emails, which contain our latest commentaries and news stories, you can sign up here to receive them.


When Nevada’s Legislature meets next week for a special session, an opportunity will present itself to expand Education Savings Accounts to every child in the state.

Although Nevada’s ESA program is the most comprehensive school choice program in the nation — accessible to roughly 93 percent of Nevada students — students must be in public school for 100 consecutive days in order to qualify. This means that families that just moved to the state, students currently enrolled in a private school and homeschooled children aren’t eligible for ESAs under current law.

It’s amazing for Nevada to have the best school choice program in the country, but that doesn’t mean we can’t make it even better.

The main objection to expanding ESAs to all students is a real one: How do you pay for it?

Fortunately, NPRI has found a way. I hope you’ll take a minute to read the report we released on Monday, which shows how to meet that funding question without raising taxes or even redirecting General Fund spending that’s clearly wasteful.

But this fix, too — just like the initial passage of the ESA legislation — faces an uphill battle. Reporters have been told that expanding ESA eligibility will not be included on the special session agenda, however public pressure can change things.

You, me, parents, voters and advocates of school choice will have to fight to get this issue included on the agenda for the special session.

You can do that by contacting the following lawmakers and letting them know this is a priority for you and the children you love.  

 

Without substantial public pressure, many politicians will be happy to let this unique opportunity slip by.

I look forward to seeing which lawmakers listen to parents, and take advantage of this special session to improve an already impressive reform.

But that’s not the only thing on my radar next week.

While lawmakers meet in Carson City, I hope to see you at NPRI’s open house event at our Las Vegas office at 7130 Placid St, Las Vegas, NV 89119. Our open house is next Wednesday, Dec. 16 between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. Additional information is available here.

It’s always fun to see so many of our friends and supporters. It was wonderful to see so many old and new friends at our open house event in Reno last month, and I’m sure the event in Las Vegas will be just as special.

As you can see, next week will be full of news — hopefully including some good news for school choice. I look forward to discussing these issues, and more, with those of you who attend our open house event in Las Vegas.

  

Warm regards,

Sharon J. Rossie
NPRI President


Remember, if you'd like to receive the latest from NPRI, sign-up for our emails here.

 

Someone tell the feds: We Nevadans deserve to control the land in our own backyard

Every week, NPRI President Sharon Rossie writes a column for NPRI's week-in-review email. If you are not getting our emails, which contain our latest commentaries and news stories, you can sign up here to receive them.


Presidential hopeful Dr. Ben Carson recently told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that the federal government should consider returning federal lands to the states.

The retired neurosurgeon isn’t the first presidential hopeful to talk up an issue near and dear to Nevadans’ hearts. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz have also weighed in, arguing the Federal government holds too much land in Nevada and throughout the western states.

But even with three high-profile presidential candidates taking public stands on the federal government’s control over large swaths of the American west, the issue hasn’t really received the kind of national publicity it deserves.

With more than 80 percent of the land within Nevada’s borders under the command and control of federal government agencies — most prominently the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service — the issue should be front and center every time national politicians show up in the state. 

Ultimately, it’s simply bizarre that we Nevadans only control less than 20 percent of the land within our state. It almost smacks of pre-Revolutionary colonial times, when British commanders could take citizens’ homes for their own personal use.

No wonder the Revolutionary War ensued.

Today in the American West, a similarly avaricious governmental elite incessantly drives for more and more control over other people’s livelihoods. Virtually any excuse will do. Citing an alleged need to protect the greater sage grouse, the BLM and Forest Service this year unilaterally decided to restrict access to millions of acres of Western land.

The federal government claims it must micromanage land in the west to protect ecosystems, species and sprawling landscapes from exploitation. The end result, however, is that westerners (and Nevadans in particular) are stripped of the economic and natural benefit of our own rural backyard.

An analysis produced by Nevada’s Land Management Task Force showed that local jurisdictions could generate $205.8 million a year if they could lease or sell just 7.2 million acres currently controlled by the BLM. Upping that acreage to 45 million — leaving national parks, military bases, Indian reservations and congressionally designated wilderness areas completely untouched — those jurisdictions could generate up to $1.3 billion per year.

Instead, we’re repeatedly told by the federal government that Washington will decide what can and cannot be done with the soil under our own feet.

The presidential debate coming to Las Vegas on December 15th is a natural opportunity to press the candidates on how they would address the issue of federal lands. Getting some of the presidential hopefuls (in both parties) talking about it could prove to be a good first step toward gaining more control over our own backyard.  

Warm regards,

Sharon J. Rossie
NPRI President


Remember, if you'd like to receive the latest from NPRI, sign-up for our emails here.

 

Early ESA application deadline extended!

Hello all,

Great news!

Treasurer Dan Schwartz has extended the ESA early application deadline until tomorrow, Wednesday, December 2, at 5 p.m.

After an eleventh hour glitch in the system, caused by a "surge in enrollments" last night, the state's computer went down for about an hour.  

'We had an unexpected, last minute surge in enrollments," Schwartz wrote today. "As a result, our computers were down for about an hour."  Although staff quickly fixed the problem, Schwartz announced the office will "extend the enrollment deadline until 5pm Wednesday, December 2 to accommodate those who couldn’t get through last night.”

For those of you at Word of Life last night, I can tell you we just barely missed the glitch.  Somewhere between shutting down and me driving to Henderson, where I helped a family with five children attempt to register, the system went down.  By the time I got home, I had one phone call, a text and an email from frantic families trying to register.

Many thanks to the Treasurer's office for extending the registration, providing opportunity for the families effected across Nevada to complete their applications.

I also want to thank all the volunteers who showed up to help parents register at Word of Life last night.  And, a big thank you to all the parents who trusted us to get you registered — and apparently just in time!  It was a busy time scanning documents, answering questions, and completing the forms, but it was a good time. I look forward to adding several of you to my volunteer list! Your support is much appreciated.

If anyone receiving this email would like to be added to the ESA volunteer list, shoot me an email and I am excited to add you.  When there is a need for volunteers — such as last night— I will send out an email, or give you a call.  Whatever time or contribution you have to share will be greatly appreciated. Together, we will get the word out and assist families seeking educational freedom.

Did you know, nearly 4000 Nevada parents have taken advantage of the Treasurer's early ESA enrollment period? 

And, next year, families who missed early enrollment or were not eligible for an ESA during the Early Enrollment period can apply during any of the following 2016 open enrollment periods just released by the treasurer today.

Open Enrollment Periods
February 1 – March 31
May 2 – June 30
Aug 1 – Sept 30
Nov 1 – Dec 31

The Treasurer also announced, the date for the next Adoption Hearing for exemptions for active duty military families and kindergartners (ages 5-7). The hearing will be held on Monday, December 21, at 10:00 AM at the Gaming Control Board, Suite 100, 1919 College Pkwy in Carson City, NV and by video link at the Grant Sawyer Building, Suite 2600, 555 E. Washington in Las Vegas, NV.

I will follow up with more information on the hearing later.

For anyone needing assistance with early applications, feel free to drop by NPRI's office at 7130 Placid Street, Las Vegas, 89119.  We are happy to scan documents for you and walk you through the application process.  You can also call with any questions, 702-222-0642.

Have a great day!

~Karen

 

ESA early enrollment is almost over!

Happy Thanksgiving!

It’s hard to believe, but ESA early enrollment will be closing in less than one week. I hope everyone qualified has submitted their applications. If not, NPRI, in partnership with Word for Life Academy, will be holding one last registration event for the public on Monday from 4pm to 7pm. There will be volunteers on hand to assist Spanish-speakers with their applications. The location is:

    Word of Life
    3520 N. Buffalo Dr.
    Las Vegas, NV 89129

If you are coming to the registration, you will need the following information or documents:

  • Student's public school ID number 
  • Copy of parent's valid government issued ID, not expired;
  • Copy of Child's birth certificate, a verified copy;
  • Proof of residency such as a utility bill, rental or lease agreement, mortgage statement;
  • Copy of 2014 income tax return (first 2 pages) or current pay stub, if claiming the income qualification for annual household income within 185% of the federally designated poverty level;
  • Copy of IEP if student is considered a pupil with disabilities. (NRS 388.440)

It would be helpful if the above documents can be brought on a flash drive or CD-ROM, as saved, individual files. However, a scanner will be available if needed. Of course, scanning documents may take some time, so plan accordingly.

If you’re an applicant filing during this early application period, remember that you will be allowed to choose your funding start date — February, May or August 2016.

You must have been enrolled in a public school — and charter schools are public schools — for the 100 school days immediately preceding your application. The 100 days can go back into last school year

If you were unable to register during this enrollment period, registration will reopen in January.

Here's a quick ESA status update…

ESA Regulations:

As you know, the November 23rd ESA regulation hearing was postponed. Nevada Treasurer Dan Schwartz wanted to ensure that parents and the public have plenty of time to review the proposed regulations. Those are now posted on the Treasurer's ESA webpage.

The Treasurer anticipates a hearing in mid-December. I’ll keep you informed.

Military and Kindergarten exemptions:

You can read the proposed regulatory language regarding the military and Kindergarten exemptions (to the 100 day enrollment rule) on the Treasurer's website. These exemptions are still in the proposal stage and will have to go through the regulatory approval process — which means adoption by the Treasurer in mid-December and then approved by the Legislative Commission. I will let you know when those meetings will occur, so that you can voice your opinion on the regulations.

Where's my application?

Good news! The Treasurer's office has started sending out approval (and denial) notices! Chief of Staff Grant Hewitt estimates about 900 notices will be going out his week. So, some of you may have already gotten them. If so, let me know your status! I'm excited for every family!!

Lawsuits:

In Duncan v. State, which is the lawsuit filed by the ACLU in Clark County, the State and the Parents who have intervened in the case have moved to dismiss the lawsuit. There will be a hearing on Thursday, Dec. 10 at 1:30pm in front of Judge Eric Johnson on the motion to dismiss. If the judge dismisses the case, the ACLU will have to appeal to the Nevada Supreme Court. If the judge denies the motion to dismiss, the next step will be for the judge to hear the ACLU’s motion for preliminary injunction — filed yesterday according to the ACLU’s local attorney, Amy Rose. However, the motion for preliminary injunction, as of yesterday, had not yet shown up on the district court’s website.

In Lopez v. Schwartz, which is the lawsuit backed by the “Educate Nevada Now” group and was filed in Carson City, the Plaintiffs have moved for a preliminary injunction and the State Defendants have cross-moved to have the case dismissed. Those two motions will continue to be briefed through December 17. A hearing date to be set sometime after the 17th.

I will keep you updated.

We at NPRI value all our partnerships and want to thank all those individuals and organizations who make it possible for us to keep Nevada parents and our community informed on this groundbreaking opportunity for Nevada! We truly could not do our work without your support!

To all the parents and members of this community, thank you for trusting in us to keep you informed and up to date. It is a true pleasure to meet each and every one of you!

Thank you to all, and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

~ Karen Gray
Citizen Engagement Coordinator
Nevada Policy Research Institute

 

The little-known story of Thanksgiving

Every week, NPRI President Sharon Rossie writes a column for NPRI's week-in-review email. If you are not getting our emails, which contain our latest commentaries and news stories, you can sign up here to receive them.


Around the Thanksgiving holiday, we hear a lot about Plymouth Rock, the Pilgrims and the Mayflower. For some reason, however, we rarely hear about the real reason we give thanks every fourth Thursday in November.

The “official” story of Thanksgiving is a Disney-style fairytale about a group of tenacious pilgrims surviving the hardship of winter and befriending the local Native Americans. But that’s not exactly the whole story. What we’re rarely told is the story of entrepreneurship, individual freedom and limited government that ultimately saved the Plymouth plantation from slipping away into obscurity.

From the beginning, the colony was plagued with poor harvests, harsh winters, starvation and disease. Increasingly, colonists grew convinced that Plymouth was just a month or two away from being wiped out by Mother Nature. But as the years wore on, Governor William Bradford began to think maybe there was a more obvious culprit for all their suffering.

Like Jamestown before it, Plymouth had initially adopted an economic system of “shared ownership” among all its residents. Profits and harvests were placed in a central fund, of which it was proclaimed, “all such persons as are of this colony, are to have their meat, drink, apparel, and all provisions out of the common stock.”

In other words, people to put into the common stock all they could afford, and take only what they needed.  Bradford and his colonists had embarked on a truly socialist experiment roughly two centuries before Karl Marx would start ranting about the bourgeois and proletariat.

In his History of Plymouth Plantation, Bradford later wrote that the system of shared resources was “riddled with corruption,” and that “confusion and discontent” was rampant. Young men resented having to care for other people’s families, and often refused to work. Other families resorted to stealing from their neighbors, claiming such criminal acts were justified because of the society’s communal nature. The crops that were planted were neglected, food supplies spoiled and resources were wasted as the colonists refused to take ownership of their “common” responsibilities.

The first Thanksgiving, held in 1621, was less of a celebration, and more of a final meal ahead of the inevitable decline into winter. It was viewed by many, including Bradford, as a solemn occasion marking what they thought were the final days of a dying community.

As a group the Pilgrims endured the winter, but after continued famine and another disappointing harvest in 1622, Bradford reexamined his vision for the struggling community. The families in the colony “began to think how they might raise as much corn as they could, and obtain a better crop,” wrote Bradford.

The solution has proven to be a testament to the power of individual liberty.

Each family received a parcel of land, and was told that the crop they harvested on their own land was theirs do with as they saw fit. For the first time since founding Plymouth Colony, individuals would be entirely responsible for their own success or failure.

The colonists quickly learned that allowing individuals to pursue their own self-interest actually helps create prosperity for all. Colonists who couldn’t produce a suitable harvest began exchanging their skills for corn from their neighbors — many of whom had more than enough corn to share with those in need. Commerce erupted in Plymouth, and within just a year the region was producing such a crop surplus that the colony was able to begin exporting its goods.

William Bradford did more than simply lead the colonists at Plymouth into better times — he unleashed the spirit of entrepreneurship and free markets upon the New World.

“Instead of famine now God gave them plenty,” Bradford wrote, “and the face of things was changed, to the rejoicing of the hearts of many, for which they blessed God.”

The prosperity for which we are thankful today would be impossible without the individual freedoms adopted in 1623 on the rugged shores of Massachusetts.

That “freedom to fail” that saved the colony was Bradford’s gift to the generations that followed — and for that reason we continue to give thanks every year for the family, freedoms and prosperity we enjoy today.

To you and yours, I wish you a very blessed Thanksgiving.

Warm regards,

Sharon J. Rossie
NPRI President


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