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Friday, June 13, 2014

Hassan, Hemingway file to run for governor

CONCORD – Gov. Maggie Hassan signed up for a second term touting her bipartisan accomplishments while acknowledging there’s “more work to do” on the job growth front in New Hampshire. Hours later, Republican gubanatorial candidate Andrew Hemingway offered a very different version of reality, insisting Hassan has failed to lead in producing a more streamlined state government and offered only “status quo” politics.

“The people of New Hampshire are ready for change; they are ready to defeat the status quo,” said Hemingway, 39. ...

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CONCORD – Gov. Maggie Hassan signed up for a second term touting her bipartisan accomplishments while acknowledging there’s “more work to do” on the job growth front in New Hampshire. Hours later, Republican gubanatorial candidate Andrew Hemingway offered a very different version of reality, insisting Hassan has failed to lead in producing a more streamlined state government and offered only “status quo” politics.

“The people of New Hampshire are ready for change; they are ready to defeat the status quo,” said Hemingway, 39.

The incumbent and GOP challenger were the two most high profile candidates to sign up for office on the eve of the end of the filing period.

All candidates must sign up by 5 p.m. Friday to appear on the Sept. 9 primary ballot.

Locally, Nashua physician Steve Hattamer signed up as had been expected to run as a Republican for the Executive Council seat that Debora Pignatelli, D-Nashua, is retiring from this fall.

“As a physician, small businessman, and father of four, I understand the challenges facing our state and will work to find creative solutions while holding the line on spending, keeping taxes low, and ensuring the process is always open and transparent to the public whom elected us,” Hattamer said.

Former Executive Councilor Dave Wheeler, R-Milford, will oppose Hattamer in the primary.

During her first two years in office, Hassan said she’s most proud of freezing college tuition rates in the state, doubling a tax credit for research and development, expanding Medicaid coverage for more than 50,000 low-income adults and raising the gas tax to spend more money on bridge-repair to include completing the widening of Interstate 93.

“We’ve been listening to the people of New Hampshire and solving problems the New Hampshire way by bringing people together,” Hassan said.

As expected, Hassan, 56, said she’d block adoption of a broad-based tax in New Hampshire.

“We have produced a balanced, fiscally responsible budget without a sales or income tax, and I would commit to oppose and veto one if it came to my desk,” Hassan said.

Hassan resisted the claims of her conservative critics that the state faces a potential budget deficit at the end of this month because of a problem with spending rather than revenue.

Hassan said the budget picture looked right on target until April when it was slumping returns from taxes on businesses and investments that raised concerns the budget would balance by June 30.

Less than two weeks later, Hassan announced she would seek and win approval of a freeze on state hiring, equipment purchases and out-of-state travel.

“We took an unprecedented step and a proactive one,” Hassan said.

She did not cite a specific public policy she would pursue in the next two years other than to try to make college more affordable and help companies create good-paying jobs.

“The unemployment rate is the lowest it has been since 2008 but we’ve got some more work to do,” Hassan said.

Hemingway said his youth and experience as a small-business owner set him apart from his major GOP challenger, retired defense contracting executive Walt Havenstein, of Alton.

“I’m one of the millennial generation. I am also an entrepreneur; I have only been involved in small businesses and the free market,” Hemingway said.

Havenstein tried to steal some of the spotlight Thursday by releasing his first television ad, a 60-second, biographical spot which focuses on his marriage to wife, Judy.

The Havenstein campaign also released economic data that showed economic growth fell from 2012-13 and was worse than Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Vermont.

“These figures are very disappointing for the people of New Hampshire, but they’re not a surprise. Maggie Hassan has been in office now for nearly two years and has failed to produce a proper economic development plan. When the governor shows no leadership, the economy suffers,” Havenstein said in a statement. “Instead of wasting taxpayer money taking lobbyists on a junket to Turkey, Maggie Hassan should be working for the people of New Hampshire.”

For her part, Hassan defended the week-long, trade mission to Turkey that she starts next Friday.

New Hampshire led the nation in export sales growth in 2013 and as the 12th largest trading partner, Turkey offers job opportunities in defense and aerospace industries, Hassan said.

Hemingway lampooned the idea.

“This trade junket to Turkey smells like baloney” Hemingway quipped.

The $15,000 in state dollars to support it would be better spent sending state officials to lure away businesses in states such as Massachusetts and New York, Hemingway said.

Several lesser-known candidates have also filed for governor, two to oppose Hassan in the primary.

Clecia Terrio, of Manchester, is running for the Democratic nomination; she ran and failed to win her party’s primary for state representative in 2012.

Ian Freeman, of Keene, the other Democratic candidate, is an activist in the Free Keene movement that protests criminal penalties for the use of marijuana.

“The governor has been complicit with law enforcement in pursuing jail time for recreational use of cannibis,” Freeman said.

On the GOP side, Daniel Greene, of Pittsfield, also signed up to run for governor. Greene served on his town’s planning board in 2008-09.

Kevin Landrigan can reached at 321-7040 or klandrigan@nashua
telegraph.com. Also, follow Landrigan on Twitter (@Klandrigan).