By ROGER AMSDEN, LACONIA DAILY SUN
LACONIA — State Sen. Andrew Hosmer (D-Laconia) told residents of the Taylor Home who turned out for a town hall meeting with him last evening that he thinks that a well-educated work force is the key to a healthy economy for New Hampshire.
Hosmer, who is completing his second term as District 7 senator, said that trying to bring new businesses into the state by cutting business taxes is not the best way to grow the state's economy.
"My priorities are investing in education,'' he said, noting that with unemployment in the state below three percent that the main thing businesses need is an educated work force.
"They can't find qualified workers. We've got to make the investments in people that will create jobs here and keep our graduates here," he said.
There were about a dozen people at the meeting and Hosmer asked them to sit in a semi-circle close to him as he avoided the podium and took a seat in front of the gathering.
He said that major accomplishments in the current legislative session from his standpoint were passage of the New Hampshire Health Protection Act, which has enabled 50,000 people who previously lacked health insurance to obtain coverage, and investing more money in mental health.
"We used to be a world leader in mental health. Now we find ourselves in situations in which adolescents find themselves in the emergency room rather than being treated at a community mental health center. And we're losing mental health professionals because we can't pay them enough," said Hosmer.
Much of the conversation centered the around the epidemic of heroin-related drug death in the state, which topped 500 last year. "Everyone knows someone whose life has been touched by the drug crisis," he said, pointing out that a new approach of treating drug problems as an illness rather than as a crime can make a difference.
Police Officer Eric Adams of the Laconia Police Department described how the the department tries to make as many services as possible available to those who show up at the hospital with overdoses to try and get them the help they need to deal with addiction problems.
Both Adams and Hosmer said that they are confident that recovery center will be coming to Laconia in the near future and said that the Community Corrections facility which is being built by Belknap County will offer the kind of programs and community support system that inmates need to deal with their addictions.
Hosmer also said that he thinks the Northern Pass project will eventually get done through compromises by EverSource and that it will provide a much needed economic benefit for the city of Franklin, which in one of the communities he represents in District 7.
Peter Millham, left, and Alida Millham, right, chatted with State Senator Andrew Hosmer (D-Laconia) prior to the start of a Town Hall session with residents of the Taylor Community Thursday night. (Roger Amsden photo for the Laconia Daily Sun)
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