I have watched with alarm as the current legislature has pursued an agenda which is out of step with the priorities of most New Hampshire voters. Education funding is being diverted from public schools to private schools and homeschool programs, women's choice is being eroded, climate change is ignored, and gun safety is thwarted. The Belknap County Nursing Home is not fully operational because it is insufficiently funded. A small group has attempted to either shut down or privatize the revenue-generating Belknap County Gunstock Ski Area. The current agenda is not that of our citizens, but of a minority determined to take control of New Hampshire and undermine our democratic institutions and our community values.
I am interested in hearing and representing your concerns and priorities. You will want to know where I stand on these issues as well. Following is a summation of my top concerns and of my positions as they stand today.
ON REPRODUCTIVE CHOICE:
The decision to carry a pregnancy to term should be between an individual and their health care provider. Restrictions from the government are an undue and inappropriate burden. Now that the US Supreme Court has reversed 50 years of precedent and overturned Roe v. Wade, a woman's right to choose is no longer protected by the US Constitution and states are free to pass whatever restrictions on abortion they want. The anti-choice forces in the NH legislature want to ban or severely restrict abortion access on our state.
It is the responsibility of the government to provide all of our children with the opportunity for an excellent education that will enable them to become productive citizens and to lead happy, fulfilled lives. If individuals want to provide a different education for their children, that is their right , but it is not the state's role to support them in these endeavors. We sent our children to private school, but we did not expect the government to support us in that decision. I oppose the move toward vouchers for private education and homeschooling. During the first year of the voucher system nearly $10 million (budgeted to be $129,000) of public money has been diverted to private schools and homeschoolers. The vast majority of families who took advantage of the vouchers already had children in private school or were homeschooling. The bill did little to expand school choice. All public money should be used to support our free public schools and the dedicated people who work there. I also support free and open discussion in the classroom without state interference. The "divisive concepts" law prohibits classroom conversations about discrimination in our society. It is purposely vague so that teachers are unsure what is permitted and what is prohibited. The price of deciding wrongly can be loss of teaching credentials, a hefty cost.
I also feel it is essential that schools continue to include the arts, languages, theater and music in the curriculum. The current Commissioner of Education proposed that we eliminate that requirement. This would unfairly impact students in property-poor towns. I will work to strengthen schools and school funding.
ON CLIMATE CHANGE:
We face unparalleled changes to our environment. Meaningful action is imperative to mitigate the worst of the potential results of our heating of the planet. I support the newly enacted federal legislation which will provide incentives for individuals and companies, including government and non-profit institutions, to switch to renewable energy sources. I believe that our state should be actively supporting the shift from the burning of fossil fuels to the expansion of renewable energy and of programs that support energy conservation.
ON GUN SAFETY:
I believe we need to take action to make our children and everyone less vulnerable to gun violence. I support background checks, waiting periods, and a ban on assault weapons. The current state government has passed legislation which makes us less safe. Guns are not banned in schools or the State House. Local officials are now prohibited from cooperating in enforcing federal gun regulations. I will vote to reverse these laws.
BELKNAP NURSING HOME:
I support full funding of the Nursing Home. It is wrong to have empty rooms due to lack of funding. Our elderly citizens deserve better.
GUNSTOCK SKI AREA:
The Belknap County Comission, comprised entirely of Republicans, wanted to either shut down or privatize the county owned ski area. The issue was temporarily resolved but the agenda of the Commission has not changed.