By MICHAEL KITCH, LACONIA DAILY SUN
LACONIA — A pair of closely matched conservatives — Bob Giuda of Warren and Brian Gallagher of Sanbornton — will square off the Republican primary Sept. 13 in Senate District 2 for the chance to succeed Jeanie Forrester, who stepped down after serving three terms to run for governor.
Bob Giuda is resuming a political career that was interrupted when he retired from the New Hampshire House of Representatives in 2006 and stalled when he lost a bid for a congressional seat in 2010.
A graduate of Pittsfield High School, Giuda earned an appointment to the United States Naval Academy, and after graduation served as a fighter pilot and flight instructor with the United States Marine Corps, retiring with the rank of captain in 1985. He flew with the Federal Bureau of Investigation before embarking on a career in commercial aviation in 1986 with United Airlines. Nearing retirement, has has most recently flown Boeing 777s on international routes.
Giuda began his political career in the 1990s as a selectman in Warren, and in 2000 was elected to the first of his three terms in the House, the last of which he served as deputy majority leader. In 2010 he ran for Congress, placing a distant third in a field of five in the Republican primary in the Second District behind Charlie Bass and Jennifer Horn.
Having worked for three decades in public finance, Brian Gallagher is reaching for a seat in the Senate after serving one term in the New Hampshire House of Representatives. Raised in Johnston, Rhode Island, he graduated from Boston College with a degree in political science and later earned his master's degree in business administration from Plymouth State University.
Gallagher spent 12 years in the budget office of the New Hampshire Department of Administrative Services, which provides fiscal, budget and administrative oversight to all state departments and agencies and another eight years with the administrative office of the courts, which prepares the budget for the judicial branch and oversees its human resources, information technology and security. After leaving state service, he served as the first business manager of the Newfound School District, where he designed the budgeting model for the cooperative school district of seven towns. Taking the same position in what was the Windham-Pelham School District, he managed a budget of more than $90 million and oversaw construction of a new high school.
Fiscally and socially conservative, the two are cut from the same bolt of cloth. As a lawmaker Giuda backed a constitutional amendment to forever ban an income tax and legislation to introduce a state spending cap. Gallagher refers to "fighting against a sales and income tax" and curbing wasteful government spending as immediate challenges in Concord, together with budgeting without new or higher taxes. However, he allowed when revenues are strong revenue sharing and rooms and meal tax proceeds withheld from cities and towns should be incrementally increased.
For both Giuda and Gallagher, accelerating economic growth and expanding employment opportunities are high priorities. Giuda noted that rankings of business friendly states by the American Legislative Exchange and CNBC placed New Hampshire 38th and 48th among the 50 states respectively.
Both favor reducing business taxes, both the business profits tax and business enterprise tax, and relaxing business regulation. They claim that lower taxes will enable businesses to increase employment and raise wages, which will in turn will expand the tax base and generate more revenue from lower tax rates.
"It's classic supply-side economics," Gallagher said, likening the beneficial effects of lower taxes to ripples on a pond.
Likewise, both favor a voucher system that would provide parents choice in schooling their children and call for tailoring the secondary education curriculum more closely to the aptitudes and skills needed by employers. Giuda said that the education provided by the public school system has become "detached from the requirements of employment in the real world." At the same time, Gallagher said, "Everyone does not need to go to college," noting that any number of essential skills that support well-paid jobs can be learned and developed at regional technical centers and community colleges.
Giuda also stressed the need for investment in transportation infrastructure and high-speed internet, as well as lowering the cost of energy and worker's compensation. For his part, Gallagher said that the state should work more closely with businesses seeking to locate operations in the state, particularly by assisting in finding suitable sites and navigating local regulations. A champion of right-to-work legislation, he said that companies prefer to locate where the law has been enacted and projected "it would turn the exodus into a migration."
Like Forrester who was a staunch critic of the Northern Pass project, Gallagher and Giuda insist that the project should not proceed unless the the entire length of the transmission line is buried. Gallagher added that New Hampshire should get a greater share of the power. "Bury it and leave more power power behind," he said.
Although the two march to the same drumbeat, Giuda has chided Gallagher for sponsoring legislation to forbid women from going topless in public places, a matter he said, not entirely correctly, is addressed by local ordinances. In any event, when reminded of his bill, Gallagher said, "I think we can have a good laugh on that one. It's part of our changing culture, I guess."