Martin O’Malley calls climate change ‘greatest business opportunity’

Martin O’Malley, former governor of Maryland and Democratic candidate for president visited the Tilt’n Diner Friday. One person handed him a toy moose and explained tha moose are dying because of the increase in ticks prompted by a changing climate. (Michael Kitch/Laconia Daily Sun photo)

TILTON — During the New Hampshire Presidential Primary of 1984, Martin O'Malley, then 19, slept on a floor in Manchester while working for Sen. Gary Hart of Colorado, who began his campaign with barely 1 percent of the vote, but crowned it by topping former Vice President Walter Mondale by 10 points to win the primary.
This year, O'Malley, who served as mayor of Baltimore for eight years and governor of Maryland for another eight, is himself a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, standing where Hart began, with 2 percent of the vote in a race dominated by Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, with just 17 days until the ballots are cast.
"You have three candidates to choose from. Not just two," O'Malley told a couple dozen voters at the Tilt'n Diner yesterday afternoon. He said he was encouraged to hear that when three Democrats met in Iowa yesterday to choose their favorite in anticipation of the caucus on Feb. 1, they split evenly among the three candidates. At the same time, he said he was often told "I really liked you in that debate, but why didn't they let you speak more?"
"I've always been drawn to a tough fight ," O'Malley said. "I didn't run run for mayor of Baltimore because things were going well." He claimed that the schedule and format of the debates among the Democratic candidates were "rigged" to favor Clinton and place her rivals at a disadvantage.
"Wherever I go I hear two phrases," O'Malley said, "new leadership and getting things done." He said that as mayor he inherited a city marked by rising crime, failing schools and a flagging economy and reversed all three trends.
"We make our own future," O'Malley insisted, stressing the importance of a growing economy. "Our economy is not money, it's people," he said. "We have a demand problem," he continued, explaining that some 70 percent of economic growth is driven by consumer spending, but wages and salaries have been stagnant. Meanwhile, he said that as middle class families have borrowed to educate their children, debt has become a drag on the economy.
Invoking the memory of President Theodore Roosevelt, O'Malley said that the power of monopolies should by curtailed by the enforcement of anti-trust laws and free competition restored to the marketplace. At the same time, employers paying low wages should no longer be subsidized by taxpayers who fund the benefits their employees receive to supplement their earnings. He questioned trade agreements like the Trans Pacific Partnership, which encouraged firms to invest in operations overseas and failed to protect producers at home.
A strong environmentalist, O'Malley described the challenge of climate change as "the greatest business opportunity for America in 100 years." Speaking with two gentlemen at the diner, one of whom handed him a stuffed moose, he said that he learned the moose population was declining as warmer temperatures prolonged the lives of ticks bearing disease. He said when he asked the men what could be done, they replied "less carbon in the air" and he told them he has a plan to create a "100 percent clean electric grid by 2050."
O'Malley also called for a new foreign policy of "engagement and collaboration" aimed at anticipating threats "before we're pushed into a military corner" and overcoming through alliances and diplomacy.
"You have three candidates to choose from, not just two," O'Malley reminded the voters. "I'm giving you another choice."

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City man allegedly assaults former girlfriend, is charged

LACONIA — Police arrested a Winter Street man after his former girlfriend reported to them that he had violated a restraining order, come to her home and assaulted her.
Ronald Steele, 22, of 12 Winter St., Apt. 3, is charged with two counts of simple assault – domestic violence; one count of violating a protective order for entering her home; one count of false imprisonment – domestic violence for physically restraining her from leaving her home; and four counts of violating a protective order for sending her text messages.
Affidavits said responding officers found Steele hiding in one of her closets. Police said he told them he would leave and not return if they didn't arrest him because he didn't want to go to jail.
Police said Steele picked the woman up from the floor by grabbing her face and lifting her. The alleged victim said Steele threw her onto the bed and blocked her from leaving the room.
Steele allegedly assaulted the victim on Jan. 16, then was taken to Laconia Hospital for a psychiatric evaluation. While there, police said he texted the former girlfriend four times. He countered by saying she was also contacting him.
Judge Jim Carroll ordered him held on $5,000 cash bail and set a curfew on him should he post bail. Carroll also ordered that if Steele gets a bed in the New Hampshire State Hospital his bail shall be reduced to personal recognizance. If he posts bail without getting a spot in a hospital, he is ordered to attend compliance court weekly at the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division. Steele is also ordered to seek a mental health evaluation from Genesis Behavioral Health.

Kasich takes the road not taken

LACONIA — John Kasich is fond of saying that "the Republican Party has always been my vehicle, but it has never been my master," and his showing in the New Hampshire Presidential Primary will likely hinge less on his appeal to the party faithful than to the independent voters.

Speaking about the dysfunction in Washington to some 175 people at the Gilford Community Church this week, Kasich said, "Our politicians have forgotten they are Americans before they are Republicans or Democrats." At the Laconia Rotary Club a day later, he lauded the New Hampshire lawmakers, who the day before "forgot their party affiliation and put aside their ideology" to adopt measures to address the scourge of drug addiction.

Kasich has staked his bid for the presidency on the New Hampshire voters, 44 percent of whom are neither Republicans nor Democrats. No candidate has spent more time in the state where he has already taken questions at some 60 town halls and intends to spend all but two of the remaining days until the primary on Feb. 9. Moreover, he has spent much of his time in counties President Obama carried in 2012.

There are signs this strategy is lending momentum to his candidacy. Six polls this month show him placing in the money, though still well behind Donald Trump, in New Hampshire. Several polls indicate he enjoys the highest favorability rating of the Republican candidates among independent voters. And he is drawing larger crowds and more press, along with fire from the super PAC backing Jeb Bush, which dropped a direct mail piece this week.

Despite the disdain Republican voters have expressed for insiders, Kasich, who served 18 years in Congress and two terms as governor of Ohio, touts his experience.

"That's why I'm doing this," he said, "because I've done it before." While some of his rivals have tapped the anger and fear of voters, Kasich insisted "We're not an angry people," and declared "I don't believe in playing on people's worst fears." Other candidates talk of "losing our country" or "taking our country back," but Kasich said "I don't think our problems are that big, not so complicated and difficult to solve."

As the GOP field has come to resemble an circular firing squad, Kasich has stepped outside the circle, refraining from directly attacking his rivals. Likewise, his appearances lack the partisan edge honed so sharply by other Republican candidates. He has avoided or muted criticism of the Obama Administration, likening himself to his bus driver, who looks down the road, not in the rearview mirror.

"America's best days are clearly ahead," Kasich said. "I think you should respect the President," explaining that without respect there is no order and "things break down." He has repeatedly stressed that major issues like balancing the federal budget, reforming the tax code and restructuring the entitlement programs cannot be addressed without cooperation from both parties. "Don't let politics get in the way of fixing things," he said.

At the same time, Kasich has not tailored his message to what has become conservative orthodoxy.

"If it weren't for immigration, I'd probably be running for president of Croatia," remarked, dismissing proposals to deport illegal immigrants and bar the door to Muslims. Although he favors replacing Obamacare, he said "You can't just uninsure people who have insurance." Rather than resist an increase in the minimum wage, he would urge the states to address the issue. And he would enforce, not scuttle, the nuclear accord with Iran.

Kasich noted that successful governance requires "people to feel they are part of something bigger than themselves, that life is not just about them." He added that "My greatest gift is getting people to do what they know they should do, but don't want to do," a remark the primary will put to the test.

In Gilford, Kasich was philosophical about his fortunes. After a back-and-forth with a woman about the future of Social Security, he said "If I lose this election, if I don't do well here, life goes on. But, I'll remember this conversation, because I told you the truth. I didn't pander to you ... well, maybe a little bit."

 Presidential candidate John Kasich talks with some attendees of the Laconia Rotary Club meeting yesterday at the Belknap Mill. Several polls have shown Kasich gathering some momentum in New Hampshire, as he appears to be drawing support from independent voters. (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Michael Kitch)

Photo: Presidential candidate John Kasich talks with some attendees of the Laconia Rotary Club meeting yesterday at the Belknap Mill. Several polls have shown Kasich gathering some momentum in New Hampshire, as he appears to be drawing support from independent voters. (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Michael Kitch)