To The Daily Sun,
I wrote a letter last week noting my disappointment that the Republicans running for state rep to represent Gilford and Meredith had turned down an opportunity from the League of Women Voters to debate their Democratic opponents. The Sun put the headline of "Debate is Thursday night, what are the Republicans afraid of?" Their question got me thinking, why would they not debate their Democratic opponents in a debate hosted by the non-partisan League of Women Voters?
Two of the Republicans running, Glen Aldrich and Herb Vadney, currently serve in the House and are running to be re-elected. Without a lot of time to review all their voting records I did look at votes on bills related to what all consider one of the most pressing issue in New Hampshire, the opioid crisis. In fact the head of the DEA recently stated that New Hampshire is the center of the opioid crisis. They voted against the bill, HB-1000, which established a state grant program to assist state and local law enforcement agencies in addressing the opioid crisis. This was a bipartisan bill with three GOP sponsors and two Democratic sponsors. HB-1000 passed 235-74.
They voted against the bipartisan bill, SB-576, which added fentanyl to the N.H. Controlled Drug Act. SB-576 passed the House 276-69.
They voted against SB-533, which appropriated $2.5 million for drug prevention and treatment programs, $2 million to New Hampshire Housing for funding supportive housing for persons with substance abuse disorders. SB-533 passed the House 235-109.
They voted against HB-1696 which expanded Medicaid. The billed passed 207-136.
Rep. Aldrich was one of only 46 "no" votes on a call from Gov. Hassan in November 2015 for a special legislative session to address New Hampshire's drug crisis and to submit a bill ASAP to address the opioid crisis.
In each case, Reps. Aldrich and Vadney voted against what the clear majority of their fellow representatives' saw was needed for the residents of New Hampshire in dealing directly and indirectly with the opioid crisis. This seems to me to be completely ignoring a current crisis in our state as well as avoiding addressing the future impact on New Hampshire. It also seems easy to see why they did not want to be questioned on important issues facing New Hampshire.
Reps. Aldrich and Vadney, along with their GOP running mates Marc Abear and Norman Silber are all endorsed and supported by the New Hampshire Liberty Alliance. If you are not familiar with the Liberty Alliance, take a look at their website. The NHLA believes "private charity is a more effective way to help those in need. We encourage everyone to be a good neighbor, helping those who need it, without government intervention." Is there anyone who believes that there are not many problems that require help beyond one's neighbors? Certainly this opioid crisis does.
These individuals have an R next to their names on the ballots but they clearly represent a very far right view from the platform and views of the Republican Party. The Tea Party and the Free State Movement has been infiltrating New Hampshire town, county, and state politics for years now and these four individuals clearly represent the Tea Party and the Free State movement far more then they represent the core Republican Party.
Unfortunately there are only three parties that individuals can run under even if they do not represent the core values of that party. Likely another reason these four candidates did not want to debate and answers questions.
Before we vote, I encourage all residents to look at the actual actions, votes and endorsements that candidates have and not just at the D, I and R next to their names on the ballot. Learn and think before you vote on Nov. 8. Think if it was your child, your grandchild, another family member, your fellow parishioner or your neighbor caught in this crisis — would you want Reps. Aldrich, Vadney and their running mates to be casting votes to address the needs of those you love and care about?