Friday, July 22, 2016

Led by the Dead

There are 14 candidates running for the office of Governor of New Hampshire. Five are Democrats, five are Republicans, and there are four not affiliated with the two major parties. Only two candidates are women, one Republican and one independent. Most of them don’t have high name recognition. Just for fun, I’ve read their websites. I’ll begin by reporting on the Republican candidates, and cover the rest in upcoming columns.

Frank Edelblut is currently serving his first term as a state representative, from Wilton. According to his website, Frank thinks that NH should be the first state to try new ideas, and the first to jettison old ideas. Reading through the priorities section was illuminating. Frank thinks that cutting business taxes and eliminating regulatory hurdles will create jobs. He wants to do something about energy costs. He wants to enable a 21st century workforce. And he wants to “get a handle” on healthcare costs. Can anyone find the new here? Frank is going to stand up for families, which translates as: “Frank wants to make women’s reproductive decisions for them.”

Frank loves our community college system, though he says nothing about funding it. It’s difficult to discern exactly what he means when he says he supports all options when it comes to schools, but it sounds as if he thinks we taxpayers should be paying for private religious schools. Frank supports the 2nd Amendment. He owns a gun. MOAR GUNZ! Frank also wants to reform welfare. He wants us to know he’s the only candidate for governor who has consistently opposed “Medicare welfare expansion.” I’m guessing this means he opposed the NH Health Protection Program, aka expanded Medicaid. I hope this doesn’t mean he’s referring to the earned benefit seniors receive known as Medicare. Frank wants us to know that he values the NH environment. He supports Northern Pass, he wants to build pipelines, and he’s miffed about those who turn environmental concerns into political issues. Frank appears to view the NH environment as one big potential cash cow. He says nothing on his site about state parks, clean water, or clean air. And finally, he wants to end politics as usual, by doing exactly the same things that have been failing our state for the last 30 years.

Jeanne Forrester’s website tells us that she is a real conservative and a break from the past. She’s currently serving as a state senator from Meredith.

It’s not an appealing or intuitive website. Over a photo of a lake, we learn that she is pro-life. It’s repeated a couple of times, just in case there is any doubt, and it’s also listed in the section where one can download position papers. She, too, seems to think that taking back NH will be accomplished by taking away women’s bodily autonomy. Forrester thinks that prevention education will solve the opioid crisis. She thinks that the answer to our state’s economy and job creation is lowering business taxes and eliminating red tape. Senator Forrester has taken The Pledge.

Jonathan Lavoie wants you to know that he’s a REAL New Hampshire citizen. According to his website, he’s a regular person. Not a career politician or a millionaire. He’s against restricting our freedoms. He’s running as a Republican and did a little compare views with other candidates – but he only compared his views with the Democrats. To his credit, he thinks abortion is none of his business. He has no economic plan listed on his site.

Ted Gatsas is the current mayor of Manchester. On his website we learn that he’s taken The Pledge. His devotion to dead Mel and Bill* is so strong that he would like to enshrine that Pledge in our state constitution. Gatsas would like to replace expanded Medicaid with a NH solution. He offers no specifics on what that might look like. He wants to stop Common Core. He believes in STEM education, in local control, and sending kids to tech schools. He will create jobs by cutting business taxes. What a maverick! To his credit, Ted is in favor of investing in infrastructure (he and Sununu are the only candidates who mention it on their websites) and he doesn’t say a word about abortion.

Chris Sununu has the benefit and the curse of a well-known name. In this anti-legacy campaign year, it’s difficult to know whether that will help him or hurt him. One of the first things he wants us to know is that he’s taken The Pledge. According to his website, he also wants education reform, funding for charter schools, and school choice. His “vibrant” economic plan consists of cutting business taxes and eliminating red tape. He wants to reorganize DRED, and reduce health care costs. Sununu also wants to make NH a right to work state, because right to work states get all the jobs. (That those states have better infrastructure, lower energy costs, and a lower cost of living hasn’t occurred to him.) That union jobs are some of the only good paying jobs that offer benefits in our woefully underpaid state is of no concern to him. That right to work states have even higher poverty rates would not interest him. This is about busting up unions and has nothing to do with what is good for workers in our state. 

Sununu blames the NH infrastructure crisis on the Democrats. No one seems to have told him that the GOP had control of the NH House for 150 years, until 2006. The infrastructure didn’t fall apart in a decade. The last two items in his economic plan are infrastructure and telecom infrastructure. He says he’ll get expanded fiber connectivity through public/private partnerships. Sure he will. The monopolies that have control of our telecommunications aren’t interested in expanding, because there’s nothing in it for them in the way of financial reward.

There is nothing new under this sun. All of the GOP candidates promise new, innovative thinking, and bold leadership. All of them propose exactly the same things that their party has been saying for the 30 years I’ve lived in this state. Taking the pledge means never having to think for one’s self. NH has been run like a poor state for decades, as the condition of our infrastructure illustrates. The Republican war cry continues to be, “NH doesn’t have a revenue problem, NH has a spending problem.” Just like trickle down economics, this is a failed policy. And just like trickle down economics, conservatives are intent on perpetuating the failure. NH has a housing crisis, which none of the candidates even acknowledge. None of the candidate websites mention the north country. It’s the same old recycled stuff, wrapped in The Pledge, and served up as “innovative leadership.”

Mel and Bill are chuckling from their respective graves. *

*Mel Thomson and Bill Loeb 

This was published as an op-ed in the July 22 edition of the Conway Daily Sun newspaper 

1 comment:

Junior Mints said...

Nothing innovative will be done in Kochland by the Koch agents. Most people will still have to spend half their waking day in a car schlepping to Massachusetts for a decent wage paying job.