By MICHAEL KITCH, LACONIA DAILY SUN
LACONIA — U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte brought her re-election campaign to the Lakes Region this week with a visit to Aavid Thermalloy that came on the heels of news that the firm, which designs and manufactures thermal management systems for a myriad of applications, won a contract that will add another 30 to 40 employees to its payroll.
Ayotte, a Republican serving her first term, is defending her seat against a stiff challenge from Gov. Maggie Hassan, a Democrat. The most recent polls indicate the two are running neck and neck, with Hassan ahead by a legible margin in race expected to go down to the wire.
At Aavid, Ayotte met with President and Chief Executive Officer Alan Wong and the management team, from whom she learned that the company provides the systems that cool a vast range of electronic devices from individual iPhones to massive data centers. Describing the firm as "the gold standard" of the industry, Wong said that Aavid's products support the infrastructure of the information technology and telecommunications industries. Ayotte drew an immediate response from the executives when she stressed the importance of reducing and reforming corporate taxation with the aim of stalling "inversions," the migration of companies overseas, and repatriating capital of American firms parked abroad.
After touring the facility, Ayotte met with some 50 employees in the cafeteria. Recalling her tenure as New Hampshire Attorney General, she remarked that her experience as a "murder prosecutor was sometimes good training for Washington." As a member of the Senate Armed Services, Homeland Security and Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committees, she said that she is experienced and placed to assist firms like Aavid.
Ayotte began by addressing what she called the "unprecedented" epidemic of opiate addiction, by summarizing the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, stressing her role in the bipartisan legislation that combines a "public health response" of education, treatment and recovery with aggressive efforts to stem the flow of heroin into the country, especially across its southern border. At the same time, she noted that 99 percent of prescribed painkilling medication is consumed in the United States and the legislation also includes measures to monitor and oversee prescribing practices.
Turning to the cost of health care, Ayotte referred to the Affordable Care Act, not "Obamacare," which she said was primarily intended to expand access to health insurance rather than to manage the cost of health care. To address costs, she said that there should be a wider variety of health insurance plans and more competition among health insurance carriers, along with greater transparency in the pricing of medical services and procedures. She said there are taxes in the Affordable Care Act, including a tax on medical devices and the so-called "Cadillac tax" on overly generous insurance plans, that contribute to high costs.
Relying to a question about the Northern Pass project, Ayotte said flatly "bury it." She pointed out that Eversource has buried the transmission lines for similar projects in other states, Vermont among them, and should do the same in New Hampshire.
Alan Wong, President and Chief Executive Officer of Aavid Thermalloy, a designer and manufacturer of thermal managment technology describes the firm's products and markets for U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, who visited the global company's headquarters on Tuesday. (Michael Kitch/Laconia Daily Sun)
U.S. Senator Kelley Ayotte fielding a question during a Q & A with employees of Aavid Thermalloy during a visit to firm's headquarters in Laconia on Tuesday.
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