Maggie Hassan for governor
New Hampshire voters have three well-qualified candidates to choose from when voting for the successor to Gov. John Lynch, who leaves office after an unprecedented four terms as one of the most respected political leaders in state history.
Whoever wins the election Nov. 6 faces a difficult challenge to match Lynch’s ability to bridge political divides while standing arm-in-arm with Granite State residents.
Indeed, Republican Ovide Lamontagne and Democrat Maggie Hassan have paid tribute to Lynch’s low-
volume leadership skills as a style in which to emulate. But both also realize that with the state facing a host of vexing challenges, it’s time to confront those issues with a greater sense of purpose.
It’s therefore paramount that the next governor reflects the social and economic values of most Granite Staters and have a solid record of well-reasoned and bipartisan leadership.
We believe Maggie Hassan best embraces those qualities.
Foremost on that list is her pledge to veto a broad-based sales or income tax, a position Lamontagne shares as well. “The Pledge” is buried deep in New Hampshire’s political bedrock and to even suggest otherwise is waste of energy.
Hassan also has demonstrated a strong commitment to improving educational quality at all levels. She fully appreciates New Hampshire’s economic future will be determined by its ability to build and maintain a highly educated and skilled workforce.
Lamontagne, on the other hand, has offered worrisome statements regarding his view of the state’s role in supporting local and post-secondary education. Most troubling is his reversionary suggestion that kindergarten should be the purview of individual communities.
That battle was fought and resolved more than a decade ago, when New Hampshire accepted the oft-proven fact that kindergarten is an essential ingredient to a good education and that there is a moral imperative for the state to ensure its availability to all students.
Lamontagne’s kindergarten stance raises red flags in another area as well – cost-
shifting from the state to local communities. If the state abandoned its commitment to kindergarten, local school districts would be on the hook to pick up that costs, and that means higher property taxes.
It should not be lost on voters that it’s likely Republicans will maintain control of the House of Representatives, Senate and Executive Council. Judging by some of the legislative antics we’ve witnessed the past two years, it would be in the best interest of the state to have at least one alternative voice capable of providing some political balance to the discussion.
Lamontagne diligently has discounted the importance of social policy during his campaign. He has said repeatedly that issues like abortion and same-sex marriage are not on his agenda.
But they don’t have to be, if the Legislature is there to take the lead. And a quick look at some of the bills legislators are getting ready to offer next session shows why it’s more important than ever that someone like Hassan is sitting in the corner office to offer some well-reasoned balance.
Hassan served six years in the state Senate, two of them as majority leader. During her tenure, she proved she can be an effective leader willing and able to engage and cooperate with her colleagues regardless of their political persuasions. She knows the state faces another two years of economic and budgetary challenges that must be met with intelligence, reason and compassion.