In Laconia, Frank Guinta says N.H.'s middle-of-the-pack business climate must improve

LACONIA — Frank Guinta, the Manchester Republican seeking to regain the seat in the First Congressional District he lost to Democrat Carol Shea-Porter in 2012, visited with Scott Kalicki, president of Lakes Region Community College, and the staff of the advanced manufacturing program yesterday.

Guinta said that in attractiveness to operate a business, New Hampshire ranked 27th among the 50 states, noting that "if you're not in the top 10, you might as well be last." He said that the aging population, business taxation, energy costs, regulatory climate and diminishing workforce were all factors in the relatively low ranking. "We've got to turn that around," he said.

Keith Fletcher of LRCC said that the advanced manufacturing program has grown quickly, thanks in large measure to the 22 firms represented on the advisory board. Many of these firms have enrolled employees in the program. Moreover, Tom Goulette, vice-president of Academic and Community Affairs, pointed to the rising enrollment in the manufacturing program at the Huot Technical Center at Laconia High School, which with the college provides a pathway to a career in the manufacturing sector.

At the federal level, Guinta said that nine agencies spend some $18 billion on 47 different job training programs. "It's very convoluted and bureaucratic," he said, "and that's the problem." If elected, he said he would proposed consolidating all the programs and funding in one agency, most likely the Department of Labor, which he said would reduce the administrative overheads and stretch the dollars for the programs. "Efficiency creates more dollars for the intended purpose" he said. "it's something I plan on working on."

"Our economic needs are critical," Guinta said, "especially in this part of the state."

Guinta, a former mayor of Manchester, was elected to Congress in 2010, which he said branded him as a member of the Tea Party. "I wasn't a Tea Partier when I was mayor," he said. "I wasn't a Tea Partier when I sat in the New Hampshire House of Representatives. And I was not a member of the Tea Party Caucus in Congress." Instead, he said "I'm a conservative Republican."

Guinta said that as a mayor he sought to identify problems and find solutions. "This time one of the things I will do more strongly is to focus on what I can accomplish," he said, stressing that he remains a conservative with a firm commitment to limited government and fiscal responsibility. "It's very important to know what you can achieve and what you can't," he remarked.

Guinta is locked in a primary contest with Dan Innis of Portsmouth, former dean of the Peter T. Paul School of Business and Economics at the University of New Hampshire turned hotel owner, for the GOP nomination.


CAPTION: Frank Guinta, one of two Republicans seeking the nomination in the First Congressional District, visited Lakes Region Community College yesterday, where he discussed the importance of developing a skilled workforce with Keith Fletcher (black) and Dan Brough (orange) of the advanced manufacturing program and Scott Kalicki, president of the college. (Laconias Daily Sun photo/Michael Kitch).