ALTON and GILMANTON— Three Republican candidates – incumbent Peter Varney and newcomers Gerald Theodora and Michael Maloney – are running for the GOP nomination for the two seats in the New Hampshire House of Representatives representing Alton and Gilmanton.
Varney has devoted 32 years to the fire and ambulance services in Alton, Farmington and New Durham, where he has served as fire chief, code enforcement officer and building inspector for the past six years. Trained as an electrician and electrical engineer, he also has owned and operated Applied Technical Services, an electrical contracting business specializing in high voltage installations that has taken him to Europe and Asia, for 27 years. And, since 2013 he has operated Granite State Armory, a machine shop and gunsmith alongside his home in Alton.
An outspoken conservative, Varney said that accelerating economic growth and promoting small business are his top priorities. High business taxes and energy costs, he said, are the primary deterrents to attracting new businesses and expanding existing businesses. “Young people are moving out of New Hampshire for higher wages and more challenging jobs,” he said. “We’ve got to make it more attractive for them by creating more opportunities.”
Varney voted against the expansion of Medicaid, concerned that those receiving subsidized health insurance were not required to contribute sufficiently to it cost and indicated he would oppose reauthorizing the program if these concerns were not addressed. “Those who are capable of working should be required to find employment,” he said.
He also had misgivings about the appropriation to support “Granite Hammer,” an initiative to strengthen law enforcement’s hand in curbing drug trafficking, which he claimed placed the cost of policing Manchester on the entire state. He said that treatment, recovery and, above all, a good job are the strongest antidotes to addiction.
Describing himself as a fiscal conservative, he said he was especially pleased that the Belknap County Convention trimmed the county budget and returned $750,000 to the county taxpayers.
After vacationing in New Hampshire, Theodora said, “I fell in love with it and moved here in 1997.” He owns and operates The Rock Hog LLC, a hydro-fracking firm, an alternative to explosive blasting that which the pressure of water boosted by a propellant charge to fracture and break ledge and boulders.
“I’m very conservative,” he said, explaining that he lived and worked in California and was troubled by changes that overtook the state. “I saw a lot of the same games being played here,” he said. “I know there are 400 members of the House, but if I can make a small difference, I’ll be very happy.”
Theodora stressed the importance of making New Hampshire “a business-friendly state.” He said taxes and regulation are stifling small businesses and despite the low employment rate “There are too many people who are not working.” Recalling that once the high-tech sector of the New Hampshire was the envy of other states, today it is generating fewer well paid jobs.
Lowering taxes and easing regulation, he said, would be at the top of his agenda, along with security.
He noted the impact of illegal immigration on California and expressed support for Donald Trump’s promise to build a wall. “Jobs and security are huge issues for me,” he said.
The third candidate, Michael Maloney, could not be reached for an interview.