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Friday, August 1, 2014

GOP candidate for governor Walt Havenstein faces criticism for profiting off Affordable Care Act

CONCORD – Despite running a Virginia-based company that received $5.1 million in federal contracts to implement the Affordable Care Act, Walt Havenstein said he can still credibly criticize president’s heath care reform plan as a Republican candidate for governor.

“I have always opposed Obamacare, and this illustrates that the business responsibility I had and my personal, political beliefs with regards to business decisions were not one and the same,” Havenstein said during a telephone interview Tuesday. ...

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CONCORD – Despite running a Virginia-based company that received $5.1 million in federal contracts to implement the Affordable Care Act, Walt Havenstein said he can still credibly criticize president’s heath care reform plan as a Republican candidate for governor.

“I have always opposed Obamacare, and this illustrates that the business responsibility I had and my personal, political beliefs with regards to business decisions were not one and the same,” Havenstein said during a telephone interview Tuesday.

He could not recall an instance when either his personal views or those of Scientific Applications International Corp.’s board of directors affected decisions the company made regarding profitable government contracts.

“First of all, someone’s personal or political beliefs, by me or other executives at the company, weren’t the basis for which we would make strategic decisions,” Havenstein said.

Republican primary rival Andrew Hemingway, of Bristol, said Havenstein’s opposition to national health care rings hollow given his work experience.

“Walt Havenstein signed a pledge today to oppose Obamacare, but that comes three years after his company made millions off of it,” Hemingway said in a statement Wednesday.

“So, in the style of John Kerry – I guess he was for it before he was against it. Specific to the state, Walt doesn’t just favor Medicaid expansion, he’ll let you pay him to expand it.”

A Democratic Party spokesman also pounced on this relationship SAIC had with Obamacare, first reported in The Huffington Post on Wednesday.

“Apparently Walt was fine using the Affordable Care Act to boost SAIC’s sagging profits as CEO, but wants to deny the benefits of the ACA for 50,000 hard-working Granite Staters,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party spokesman Bryan Lesswing.

“Once again, Walt Havenstein has shown that he is more concerned about looking out for himself than looking out for the priorities of the people of New Hampshire.”

Havenstein and Christie toured BAE Systems in Nashua on Thursday afternoon, getting a firsthand look at its cutting-edge technology for the military and speak with about 170 employees.

Christie is chairman of the Republican Governors Association that has already endorsed Havenstein over Hemingway for the Sept. 9 primary.

On Wednesday, Havenstein was in Washington, D.C., for a fundraiser starring 2008 presidential nominee and two-time New Hampshire presidential primary winner John McCain.

“I was very grateful Senator McCain would endorse my campaign with such positive passion,” Havenstein said.

“Governor Christie coming back to the Granite State on my behalf is another sign of my growing momentum to replace Governor Maggie Hassan with an experienced, fiscal conservative.”

Havenstein, a retired Marine, served BAE Systems in many management roles including a stint as CEO of all New Hampshire operations headquartered in Nashua.

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