Calvin "Cal" Warburton was the first sitting legislator to switch parties to the Libertarian Party, and the first Libertarian legislator in the contiguous 48 states. Warburton was a Republican state representative in New Hampshire when, at age 81, he switched to the Libertarian Party.
"I have joined the Libertarian Party because it is the party of freedom -- economic freedom, personal freedom, social freedom, and judicial freedom," Warburton announced at a July 16, 1991, press conference in the Legislative Office Building in Concord, New Hampshire. Warburton had served seven terms in the New Hampshire state legislature as a Republican.
In 1992, Warburton was re-elected to the state legislature as a Libertarian representing Raymond and Epping. Warburton declined to run for re-election in 1994.
As a Libertarian legislator, Warburton filed bills to allow property tax abatements for parents who sent their children to private schools, require the state government to divest of private businesses, curb the soaring spending in the state's executive department, and repeal a business tax increase introduced by the Republican governor. All measures were defeated by Republicans and Democrats in the legislature.
Before he became a legislator, Warburton earned a degree in theology from Boston University, served as an Army chaplain for eleven years, and was a Methodist minister in Kansas, Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
Warburton was very active in the Libertarian Party, serving two terms in the state legislature, running unsuccessfully in 1992 and 1994 for the party's gubernatorial nomination, speaking at Libertarian meetings across the state, advising Libertarian candidates and working the polls on election day.
Warburton underwent surgery for an aorta aneurysm in early December 1994, which left him in a coma. He recovered from the coma, and remained active in the Libertarian Party until his death, on October 18, 1995, at age 85.
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