Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I'm Supporting Jackie Cilley

I moved to North Conway in 1984. I've lived in northern Carroll County for most of the last 28 years. I've been here for the varying terms of six different governors. None of those who have served were from the North Country, or had ties to us. The northern part of the state is almost invariably treated like a pretty, yet redheaded stepchild. NH politicians love our hiking, skiing, fishing, and the beauty of our mountains. They ignore the economic devastation, the lack of infrastructure, the lack of telecommunications capability, the high unemployment and high rate of poverty and lack of health insurance. Instead, the north is a dumping ground for prisons, and other projects the rest of the state is too good for.

To be fair, both Jeanne Shaheen and John Lynch did a whole lot more than pay lip service to the north. Shaheen fought hard for the mill workers of Berlin. Governor Lynch was in a helicopter to Harts Location, to assess the damage to Rt. 302, as soon as the rains of Hurricane Irene stopped. He also helped facilitate the last sale of the mill in Gorham.

Jackie Cilley won't ever have to be reminded to care about the North Country. She's part of it. Jackie was born in Berlin. She grew up in a 3rd floor tenement, in a working class neighborhood. Her grandpa worked at the Brown Co. paper mill. Her mother worked in a factory, and her father was a truck driver. After graduating from Berlin High School, she moved to Manchester, where she moved in to the YWCA and went to work in a textile mill. After a brief marriage, as a single mother in her 20's, Jackie went to college at UNH, where she earned a BA in psychology. She was the first member of her family to graduate from college. Jackie went on to earn an MBA at the Whittemore School (at UNH) and became a member of the faculty. Jackie has been a successful small business owner, and she has served in both the NH House and Senate.

You may have heard this before. I repeat it, because it is important. Jackie Cilley is the embodiment of the American dream. No matter how modest our beginnings, we're all supposed to be able to grow up, work hard, get an education, and become a success. That's the promise of our nation.

It is a promise that is increasingly broken. NH has amongst the highest costs for in-state students of any state university system. NH ranks a firm 50th in the nation for state spending on post-secondary education. Our young people can't afford to get an education here, and if they go out of state to get one, they never come back - especially to the North Country.

We've all heard the NH GOP mantra: "New Hampshire doesn't have a revenue problem, New Hampshire has a spending problem." At this point in time, we all know that's a lie. NH doesn't have enough money to fix our ailing roads and bridges. Why not? Because we have an outdated tax structure, and because our current legislature has delighted in cutting revenue streams, as though businesses are just falling all over themselves to re-locate to a state that has a broken infrastructure and doesn't value education.

It's time for NH to stop kicking the can down the road. We must deal with the problems we have, and start building our future. Jackie's refusal to take the Loeb/Thomson pledge shows me that she won't march forward in mindless lockstep. Taking The Pledge means there is no discussion, just obedience. If those who want to lead are too afraid to even have the conversation, than how can we call them leaders? Jackie not only thinks for herself, she’s willing to stand up and be counted.

The current legislature is going to be leaving behind a mess comparable to what Hercules faced in the Augean Stables. We're going to need a tough leader to oversee the clean up. Someone who has a proven ability to work hard, and fight for what is right. Someone who loves every part of our state. I believe that leader is Jackie Cilley, and I'm proud to support her candidacy for governor of New Hampshire.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I agree that this candidate is impressive and courageous. And this is what the job is going to take. Great courage to stand up to the vitriolic intolerance and hatred of the GOP. Not to mention their unreasonable dialogue and complete lack of common sense and creativity. I'm very unpopular amongst acquaintances because I'm one of few who believe our gas taxes need to be increased along with many others. Although property taxes may be high, I think we should be raising property taxes on second home owners. Florida is one example of a state who has a different tax code for this condition. Many changes need to be made. Every town is complaining of lack of money. I have to wonder why and how this is.