You have a choice
On Tuesday, you will have the opportunity to choose a Republican Senate candidate for Senate District 12. I appreciate what the incumbent senator has tried but failed to do, but I believe he is missing key issues impacting District 12.
In his recent letter to the editor, Sen. Avard talked extensively about energy and what he has done around improving energy policies (he serves on the Energy Committee). The Committee passed a Net Metering Bill that would have been excellent for Nashua as we have two hydro-electric dams that generate more electricity than we get credit for and homes in the towns that have solar panels, but it was vetoed by Gov. Chris Sununu. Unless the veto is overturned, that bill will not go into law. Perhaps, if Sen. Avard worked more cooperatively with the governor, the veto could have been avoided.
He further goes on to state that education is his top priority, but he has a much different idea about what a good education is than most professional educators. At a recent Republican City Committee meeting, he indicated that “Nashua Schools are failing” and that we should focus on charter schools. First, Nashua City Schools are not failing in an educational sense. There are some exams that students take that provide false readings on overall education and those need to be changed. These scores are used, incorrectly, to gage the educational quality of our schools. This is wrong. As an example of how wrong, our high school graduates go on in large numbers to the best schools in the country such as MIT, Dartmouth, Harvard, Princeton, Brown, Yale, BC, Stanford, Syracuse, RPI, RTI, John Hopkins, all the New England state universities and many others. In addition, the Nashua High math team this past year beat out Bishop Guertin and Bedford High to take the State Math title as one example of many educational accomplishments in our schools.
Charter schools are a good source of education for some students, but not at the expense of taking money away from public education. If the State wants to fund charter schools separately, I approve. I was on the Nashua Board of Education for 10 years, and served as president, and they do not waste money. I now serve as the liaison from the Nashua Board of Aldermen to the Board of Education and observed their budget process. The education budget, despite what some people think, is very tight, and I’m sure some of the items cut are very important, such as more paraprofessionals in kindergarten; more school psychologists; etc. But we have between 12,000 and 13,000 students who need education and must care for 18 separate facilities. …
My opponent has indicated on his website tht I’m a “big spender.” I’m not sure where his specifics are for that analysis, because the City Budget for FY19 is $1M under the “old cap.” The City Bond Rating is AAA, which is as high as a city can get and we provide a full slate of city services. While we do bond for long term projects, we try to keep the level of bonding approximately the same year to year. Also, I am but one vote on a 15-member Board of Aldermen. …
One key element of my priorities in going to Concord will be to try and get the state to fund part of their statewide retirement system. While the system works well, when it was founded 50 years ago, the state promised to fund 35 percent of the cost of pensions. The state invested the funds poorly and the State Pension Fund was in trouble. Now, the state funds 0 percent toward pensions in their system, and cities and towns get hit with the full bill for pensions. In Nashua, we paid the state some $23 million this year for pensions. If the state even picked up 10 percent of the share, that would be almost $2.3 million less we sent to Concord and lower our city budget by almost $2.3M. More than likely, that would be a lowering of your property taxes. How would that feel?
I have more than 35 years of experience in government at all levels and have the background as a Navy veteran and systems engineering manager at BAE Systems to help make sound, logical decisions in Concord. I ask for your consideration on Tuesday.