NH priorities worth fighting for

In her State of the State address last week, Gov. Maggie Hassan highlighted the strong bipartisan progress we are making together and outlined the urgent challenges our state still faces. Gov. Hassan showed a clear vision for combating the heroin and opioid crisis and laid out plans to keep our state moving forward, including reauthorizing our bipartisan New Hampshire Health Protection program, passing a 10-year transportation plan and launching a new job-training initiative called Gateway to Work.

I was surprised and disappointed to read an editorial this week from The Telegraph that referred to these important policies as "talking points" and "political bromides." Downplaying the significance of these critical priorities dismisses the concerns that I hear consistently from families in Nashua and across the state.

The people of New Hampshire do not believe that the heroin and opioid epidemic is a "talking point." Rather, we know it is the most critical public-health and safety issue facing our state. Gov. Hassan recently signed bipartisan legislation to combat this epidemic into law, and we all know there is much more work to do in this fight. That’s why the governor presented a detailed approach to continue to strengthen our state’s efforts and provide more resources to help in the effort to save lives.

Another priority the governor focused on in her State of the State address is our bipartisan New Hampshire Health Protection plan, which is getting real results for our families and is boosting our economy. This program has given more than 46,000 Granite Staters access to quality, affordable health-care coverage, and I agree with the governor’s call to reauthorize it without delay.

Strengthening our transportation infrastructure, ensuring quality education at all levels, and raising the minimum wage are all policies that matter to families in New Hampshire. Each of these policies is critical to expanding opportunity and building a strong workforce, and I am grateful that Gov. Hassan is fighting for them.

The governor also announced a new program called Gateway to Work, which will help develop and expand our workforce while closing the opportunity gap for our families. This type of
forward-thinking policy is exactly what we need to be doing to help our businesses thrive and help workers get ahead.

Under Gov. Hassan’s bipartisan leadership, we’ve been able to bridge the political divide and help our economy stay ahead of the curve. She made clear in her address that to make New Hampshire even stronger, we must work together to deliver results, and I am proud to join her in those efforts.

Bette Lasky is a Democratic state senator from Nashua.