As a grateful graduate of public schools, as a proud alumnus of our public university, I am an unapologetic advocate for public education. I am a believer in the power of education to transform communities, to drive our economy, and to uplift and ennoble our families and friends and neighbors.
New Hampshire has always been committed to our public schools, to the shared enterprise of educating our children. I have nothing against those who elect to send their children to private schools or teach them in the home, but it is poor public policy to take shared revenue out of our public schools to fund those choices. As taxpayers, we deserve accountability for the expenditure of public revenue, the kind of accountability that comes from elected school boards and a public budgeting process. As citizens, we deserve to know that our children will not be discriminated against or denied access to tax-funded schools. The voucher scheme championed by our deeply unqualified commissioner of education is bad education policy, bad fiscal policy, and bad for New Hampshire families.
Our approach to education should also include investment in higher education. Our public university system is among the finest in the country despite decades of limited support from Concord. The University System of New Hampshire is an important cornerstone in our higher education strategy, preparing our next generation of leaders and entrepreneurs. We need to do a much better job of funding our state university system. But traditional four-year college is only one piece of the puzzle. Trade schools, apprenticeships, and community colleges all have a role to play in maintaining New Hampshire’s talented and dedicated workforce.
As a member of the Executive Council, I will take every opportunity to vote for expanded access to education and training at all levels and for agency leadership with the experience and credentials to fight for our students.
Growing up, I watched as my parents devoted endless hours to making their small business work. When my brother and I were in high school and college, we spent summers working alongside my father on tree jobs around the New Hampshire seacoast. Dad’s company put food on the table and clothes on our backs. Like so many family businesses in New Hampshire, that was the kind of success he sought. Our economy in New Hampshire is a small business economy, driven not by huge international conglomerates with remote CEOs, but by our hardworking friends and neighbors. Seventy percent of small businesses in New Hampshire are sole proprietors with no employees at all, and most of the rest have fewer than twenty workers. Half of all workers in New Hampshire are employed at companies with fewer than 500 workers. Small businesses are the engine of our state’s economy.
During my years as a business banking relationship manager, I worked with countless New Hampshire entrepreneurs on cash flow, equipment loans, and the gritty reality of running a small business. These innovative and industrious entrepreneurs don’t need or want tax cuts for big companies from New York or Boston. They want a trained workforce, modern infrastructure, and local and state government that works in partnership to maintain the best small business environment in America.
As a member of the Executive Council, I will take every opportunity to vote for the kind of support our entrepreneurs and innovators and working families need.
And as we invest in that robust and expanding workforce, we must make sure we protect the rights of employees, both private and public. The right to a safe workplace, the right to organize and bargain collectively, the right to a living wage, the right to affordable health care. Our New Hampshire small business economy is strong because of our bold entrepreneurs and our second-to-none workers. Our economy succeeds because of all of us, and has to succeed for all of us.
As a member of the Executive Council, I will work to ensure that economic growth builds a shared prosperity for both business owners and wage earners, and protects the rights of labor.
Every member of our community should have access to quality health care. It’s a moral imperative as well as good economic sense. When my oldest son was two years old, he was diagnosed with a growth hormone deficiency. While he lay sedated in the MRI tube, his mother and I huddled under a blanket in the cold room, wondering whether our child had a brain tumor, whether he would need surgery, whether he would grow and thrive. Never once did we wonder how we would manage to pay for any of it. Because we were a military family, our medical needs were covered. As a society, we agree that our men and women in uniform and their families deserve that kind of access to medical care. It’s time as a society that we agree that all of our friends and neighbors deserve that kind of access to medical care.
As a member of the Executive Council, I will take every opportunity to vote for Medicaid expansion, for CHIP funding, and for agency leadership that places a priority on our health care.
We also face a monumental challenge in our state with addiction. Substance misuse has been with us for a long time, and is a public health battle that will be with us for years to come. We need to wage this battle with more than just well-meaning rhetoric, and on all fronts. We know that prevention, treatment, and recovery programs are successful. We need to invest in inpatient treatment facilities, in trained addiction specialists, in physician-assisted medical treatment like methadone and buprenorphine, in prescription drug monitoring, and in anything else we can get our hands on to confront this crisis. We also need to work with our businesses, schools, and communities to develop a culture of recovery, to support our coworkers and classmates as they fight their own battles. And we need to provide our law enforcement agencies with the resources they need to continue to confront the flow of illegal and synthetic narcotics into our communities.
As a member of the Executive Council, I will take every opportunity to vote for real, practical, and sustained investment in the public health crisis of addiction.
Few things are more precious in New Hampshire than our natural resources. We are a state of beauty and abundance, and that should not be for sale. New Hampshire families should be able to rely on the water they drink and the air they breathe. Corporations and public entities that knowingly pollute our environment and threaten the health of our families should be held accountable for their actions. Landfills, Superfund sites, and industrial operations that dump toxic chemicals into our watershed should be financially liable for cleanup and for the public health impact of their abuses.
As a member of the Executive Council, I will work with the Legislature and local governments to identify actions harmful to our environment, and to hold perpetrators responsible. I will also oppose schemes that seek to exploit our land and resources for private gain at public cost.