To The Daily Sun,
On Oct. 22, the League of Women Voters held a forum in the town of Grafton for the state representative candidates of Grafton districts 9 and 17. Both Steve Darrow and Catherine Mulholland running in District 17 were there, but I'm not writing about them today. Of the four candidates running to represent District 9 (two will ultimately win) only one showed up. This is inconceivable.
Jeff Shacket, a.k.a. "No Show" Shackett, the only incumbent in the race, did commit to be there after many attempts to get a response to the invitation. He said he would be out of town on the 29th, so despite that being a better date for some other participants, the league chose the 22nd in order to have four of the six candidates participate. But it was announced at the opening of the forum that Mr. Shackett had called that morning to beg off as he had a "business emergency" in Florida he had to fly out immediately for. (While he wasn't expected to be there by those he had told on the preceding Saturday he had no intention to fulfill his promise, the excuse he gave was still shocking to them.) He was asked to at least give the league a statement they could read for him, but didn't.
The other candidate running in the Republican Party column, Bob Hull, not only didn't attend, but didn't even have the courtesy to respond to numerous invitations to participate.
On the Democratic Party side of the ballot, Judy Wallick was there, and admitted getting a phone call from Alexandria resident Jennie Tuthill telling her what the hot topics are and what her position should be. Ms. Wallick talked about a need for bipartisan problem solving as she's somehow connected to a group called No Labels that wants Washington to "reach across the aisle" and socialize with members of "the other" party. It wasn't clear on this, or many other relevant issues that came up, just how her answers told us what she intends to do should she be elected. The number of times she responded without answering the question (3), "I don't know" (3) or "I agree with" either Steve (Darrow) or Catherine (Mulholland) (4) left most of us wondering if she had done any research or could even think for herself.
She seems like a very nice lady, but I couldn't help wondering when it was all over if she would just end up being another Catherine Mulholland who only votes as the Democratic Party tells her to. They did, after all, pay for some very pretty postcards to be mailed to voters. Postcards filled with scare-tactic spin that she should be ashamed of having her name on. One thing she did clearly repeat was that because we have no sales or income tax, there's no good way to "increase the broad income" as she's opposed to "drastic" spending cuts.
Unfortunately, Jeremy Olson, the other Democrat running against Wallick was also a no-show. No-show and no response as well. I know a lot of people won't vote for Mr. Olson just because he's a Free Stater, but he's intelligent and articulate. It would have been nice to get a chance to hear his views and compare them to the other candidates.
So what do we do on Nov. 4? We're again left having to choose between the "lesser of the evils." I'm tired of having to choose between drinking the rubbing alcohol or the turpentine. (sigh) Too bad it's too late for someone worthwhile to launch a write-in campaign.
Last Updated on Friday, 31 October 2014 08:29
To The Daily Sun,
In response to a recent letter by Mr. Norm Paquette of Laconia, another friend of Mr. George Hurt, regarding my record, I would like to provide the following factual information. Please forgive me if I bore you with the details and facts, but feel that it is important to respond to set the record straight.
The oil fee I assume Mr. Paquette is referring to that I supported, relates to the New Hampshire Fuel Oil Discharge Cleanup Fund, which is a reserve fund that is utilized to assist with oil spill clean-ups in our state. The reserve fund has been going down since the use of fuel oil in New Hampshire has been reduced by people using other energy sources, and due to the cost of actual oil spill clean-ups.
The fuel oil import fee was raised back to the level of 2009, in order to allow for sufficient funds for oil spill clean-ups and prevention throughout our state. The fee assessed on oil at the time of importation into our state, not when sold to homeowners, reverted back from $0.01 to $0.0125, an increase of $0.0025 per gallon.
I'm sure we can all appreciate the negative effect oil spills have on our environment and the health of our citizens when oil spills into our lakes, rivers and streams and into the ground water used for drinking. Oil spills can also have a negative effect on our economy which relies heavily on our natural resources and scenic beauty for tourism, and can affect the sale of real estate that has oil contamination issues, plus spill clean-ups are extremely costly.
Most environmentally conscious states have such funds, and one of my priorities is protecting our environment and important natural resources, especially here in the Lakes Region.
Regarding the gas tax, both Democrats and Republicans, after careful consideration, and with the support of the New Hampshire Business and Industry Association, which is the New Hampshire Statewide Chamber of Commerce, worked together and voted to increase the gas tax by 4.2 cents per gallon. This increase, the first since 1991, still keeps the New Hampshire gas tax rate the lowest in New England, and provides funding for critical road and bridge projects such as the expansion of I-93 and repairs to secondary roads that affect Gilford, Meredith and all of Belknap County.
Further, this funding helps to offset costs to our towns for road and bridge repairs, thus helping to keep local tax rates in check. It is also key for economic growth and attracting business and tourism to our state and region, allows people and goods to move safely throughout our state road system, and helps to keep the cost of vehicle repairs down from driving on poor roads. In July of this year when the legislation was enacted, the price of a gallon of gas in New Hampshire averaged $3.60 a gallon, the current cost per gallon is about $3, oil prices are also down significantly. As you know, there are many factors, both domestic and international, that affect the fluctuation and manipulation of gas and oil prices, most of which are beyond the control of our state.
Lastly, there is a reference to fees for paint cans. Again, I can only assume Mr. Paquette is referring to a bill that was presented to mirror programs in other states in New England for the safe and proper disposal of paint. The focus of this bill was based on environmental protection and basically called for a fee on cans of paint that would then fund a proper disposal program in our state. Since the bill was never enacted, I will spare you all the details, but once again, the focus was on environmental protection. I can provided further information if anyone would like.
As you can see, a short negative statement about a voting record can have a lengthy backdrop and explanation. Each of these issues are typically discussed, studied and reviewed extensively before decisions are made as to how to vote. Please know that I take these bills seriously and do the due diligence required to make the best informed decision I can with an open mind, not paralyzed by politics, or an ideology based on saying no to everything.
I am always available to discuss these issues, or any other issue of concern. Once again, I ask for your support and vote on Nov. 4. It's important that you have a committed and sensible Representative that takes the time to study the issues and make informed decisions for the citizens of Gilford and Meredith.
Thank you for your consideration and support. For more information, assistance, or to support my re-election, please visit www.lisadimartino4rep.com.
Rep. Lisa DiMartino
Belknap 2, Gilford & Meredith
Last Updated on Friday, 31 October 2014 08:26
To The Daily Sun,
In over 50 years of living in New Hampshire I've seen a lot of politicians come and go. Some unfortunately didn't go quite fast enough.
I am writing for the dual purpose of endorsing candidate Robert Hull (R) for state representative, and to rebut some sour grapes-type false allegations others have put forth concerning Bob.
I know Bob Hull to be a thoughtful principled man who believes in the ideals of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. He isn't interested in running your life for you. He thinks that's your job. However he repeatedly demonstrates his kind heart and giving attitude when deciding how he will run his own life.
He has and continues to give his time as an unpaid member of both the Volunteer Fire Department and as an ambulance driver for the Grafton Emergency Responders. Additionally, he has made many donations of supplies to the Grafton Fire Department among them ice vests and an inflatable rescue boat. Bob has also funded numerous other private charity endeavors, helping to provide scholarship money for college-bound kids, food for church and disaster relief causes and housing the elderly and the homeless out of his own pocket.
He's been a member of the Grafton Planning Board, which has a reputation for protecting the rights of property owners and has set a precedent of fiscal responsibility. Bob is a supporter of the Second Amendment and is very well read when it comes to both the Constitutions of the United States and of New Hampshire.
Bob came to New Hampshire as a successful small business owner about 10 years ago to find more freedom, having "escaped" from New Jersey. He didn't arrive here as a Free Stater from Florida as somebody erroneously stated in another letter.
Another sour grapes writer chastised Bob for using his own money in a lawsuit when he fought to save taxpayers' money. A few years back Hull mounted a legal challenge that proved illegal meetings took place when the "powers that be" were determined to saddle the taxpayers for years to come with the multimillion-dollar Grafton County complex. While Bob personally did not believe the expensive construction was needed, his proven legal arguments centered more on the illegal tactics employed by elected officials who ignored procedural laws regarding notifying the public of meetings. Those same laws which the hypocritical powers that be had sworn to uphold.
That's not representation, that's fraud. Bob Hull opposes systemic fraud and will do all he can to operate government accountably and in the open, not in the fraudulent shadows. He doesn't just say he'll hold elected officials accountable, he's already done it.
If personal freedom is important to you, you might consider Bob's approach to the legalization of marijuana. He doesn't use it, never has, but thinks what you do with your own body is your business. As well, he knows that consuming your hard-earned money to pay for the prosecution and incarceration of peaceful people for victimless crimes is a slippery slope that ends in an unsustainable fiscal crash.
I'm confident whether he wins or loses, Bob will continue to quietly donate his time and resources to worthy charitable causes. If you appreciate an intelligent, unassuming and ethical man that walks the walk when it comes to helping others and respecting other persons rights, please vote for Robert "Bob" Hull.
Last Updated on Friday, 31 October 2014 08:13
To The Daily Sun,
On Oct. 28 Mr. Ewing had yet another letter with the blanket claims that everything from the Democrats is bad and everything from the Republicans is good. He continues to make broad sweeping claims, and as you might expect many are simply opinion but stated as fact. In his last paragraph he writes "In November, vote Republican to oppose President Obama's assault on our jobs, our health, our liberties, and the unity of the American people. Vote Republican to show you want to return to proven policies that make our country strong and the American people free and prosperous."
Does Mr. Ewing want us to return to the G.W. Bush days of collapsing banks, a collapsing housing market and mistruths that led to unwarranted wars? I would think if Americans wish to go back to any time in the last two decades they may well choose the Clinton years when we did in fact prosper. Perhaps Mr. Ewing is thinking back to the days under Reagan. If so, it is widely acknowledged that Ronald Reagan could not win a Republican primary in most "red" states now as he did not hold the extreme right-wing positions that dominate the Republican Party today.
Much of what directly impacts our lives is governed at the state level. I recently saw a new survey from 24/7 Wall Street (a Delaware based LLC which runs a financial news and opinion company with content delivered over the Internet) of the 10 worst states for women to live in and another from iVillage (the largest content-driven community for women online) of the Best to Worst States for women. I looked at what they reported and then at which party governs the states identified as the best and the worst — here is what I found. I did not include the state legislative party makeup due to space and time but for those I checked it reflected that of the governor, U.S. senators and congressional reps.
24/7 Wall Street Survey — Ten Worst States for Women. Based on the gender wage gap, jobs, the poverty rate for women, the infant mortality rate and the percent of women in state legislature they found the 10 worst states for women are:
State Governor's party / Senators party / Congressional Reps party
Utah R / 2R / 3R, 1D
Wyoming R / 2R / 1R
Idaho R / 2R / 2R
Mississippi R / 2R / 3R, 1D
N. Dakota R / 1R, 1D / 1R
Montana D / 2D / 1R
S. Dakota R / 1R, 1D / 1R
Indiana R / 1R, 1D / 7R, 2D
Alabama R / 2R / 6R, 1D
Kansas R / 2R / 4R
iVillage Survey — In presenting their data iVillage wrote: "Politicians and pundits love to stir up arguments around the most divisive social and moral issues, but we know what is truly most important to us as women: We want to live in a land where women can thrive; where we can live in good health, get quality care for our kids, and have a government that truly gets our priorities. To help American women make the best decisions in those voting booths come November, iVillage examined the quality of life for women in our country today — and we found that all states are not created equal."
10 Best States for Women — 10 Worst States for Women
State Gov/Senate/Congressional Reps State Gov/Senate/Congressional Reps
Conn. D / 2D / 5D — Mississippi R / 2R / 3R, 1D
Hawaii D / 2D / 2D — Oklahoma R / 2R / 5R
Maryland D / 2D / 7D, 1R — Arkansas D / 1R, 1D / 4R
Mass. D / 2D / 9D — W. Virginia D / 2D / 2R, 1D
Calif. D / 2D / 38D, 15R — Kentucky D / 2R / 5R, 1D
Vermont D / 1D, 1I / 1D — Alabama R / 2R / 6R, 1D
New York D / 2D / 21 D, 6R — Louisiana R / 1R, 1D / 5R, 1D
Minn. D / 2D / 5D, 3R — Indiana R / 1R, 1D / 7R, 2D
Washington D / 2D / 6D, 4R — S. Carolina R / 2R / 6R, 1D
NH D / 1D, 1R / 2D — Idaho R / 2R / 2R
Both of these surveys are clear in the results — that the worst states for women to live and thrive in are states that are primarily governed and represented by Republicans and the best states identified for women to live and thrive in are primarily governed and represented by Democrats.
If you are a woman or care about women then you may want to cast a careful eye on this information and other similar surveys and carefully consider who you will vote for on Nov. 4.
Contrary to Mr. Ewing's suggestion, these surveys clearly show that if you are a woman it may not be in your best interest to vote for Republicans.
Last Updated on Friday, 31 October 2014 08:08
To The Daily Sun,
In less than a week this election will be decided, and the negative political ads and the signs littering the public roads will mercifully disappear. The question this Tuesday, Nov. 4, will be on what the voters will base their decisions: On slogans, sound bites, those ubiquitous ads, signs, and mailers, or... on actually knowing the issues and the candidates.
The correct answer should be the latter, but in many cases it unfortunately will be the former. Too many voters may fail to grasp that the whole truth cannot always be found in a convenient and easily remembered phrase. Although "less taxes" (I believe to be grammatically correct that line should read "lower taxes" or "fewer taxes") and "smaller government" sound good, it is the responsible methodology and consideration to attain those ends that is the true test.
Arbitrary reduction of taxes or elimination of public employees or agencies will never be the answer. Looking to make government more responsive and efficient should always be the proper approach. Cutting taxes without replacing that source of lost income is both naive and counterproductive. Many of those who espouse such action feel that as long as they or those they know do not personally feel the pinch, or can benefit, then such action must be good. They do not understand the ripple effect such decisions can elicit. Reducing the workforce in such agencies as the Attorney General's Office, the Department of Environmental Services, and Health and Human Services, to name but a few, can mean that when help is sought, unnecessary delays can be encountered or in some cases, no help at all will be forthcoming. Reducing welfare, unemployment benefits, health-care access, mental health treatment, or aid to the developmentally disabled will only add to the burden of the taxpayer, not reduce it.
No one of us is insulated from the effects of every decision made, so it is paramount that the true consequences of our actions be completely understood. Every public servant owes it to every one of their constituents, whether they voted for that official or not, to look at every issue from all angles, and not cast a vote on any matter before them based solely on an agenda, a party's preference, or worse, on personal convenience. To do so is a disservice to the office they hold, and more importantly, to all the people they are supposed to represent.
There has been a lot of talk, some exaggerated with hyperbole, about state debt, overspending, raising taxes and fees instead of cutting them, and hurting businesses in the process. New Hampshire, by Constitution, must have a balanced budget and incur bond debt only to the extent to which its resources will allow. The impact on businesses should always be taken into consideration, but so should the larger picture in which those businesses only play a part. It is not only employers who must benefit, but employees as well. Balance on any issue is the key to success.
To blindly accept that taxes should never be raised, regardless of demonstrated need, is to ignore the simple fact that few things in life go down in price. To insist that business taxes all be cut, is to ignore the revenue requirements of the state to meet even a base level of acceptable service. The cost of those vital services continues to rise, and so should the ability of the state to address those increases with revenues adequate to meet the needs of its people.
No one lives in a vacuum. Cutting education funding affects us all. Not providing appropriate insurance coverage to the people of this state would allow uncompensated care costs to continue to spiral higher and impact private insurance premiums and hospital bills for those who can afford to pay. Not providing financial aid to those struggling will only result in making desperate people more desperate, perhaps pushing them into irresponsible action, ultimately costing the taxpayer even more in additional police, judges, courts, and jails.
And lastly, until we can all decide that public education (not funding private schools with public funds) is priority No. 1, this society will continue to suffer the ills borne of ignorance, lack of usable skills, and the despair those conditions ultimately engender.
My name is Leigh Webb, and I ask that every voter consider a dedicated approach to problem solving involving fairness, common sense, and balance. I invite anyone who seeks more information on how I view the critical issues facing this state to contact me via either phone or email using the information provided at www.nh.gov, Legislative Branch, House of Representatives Dash Board, "Find Your Representatives."
Rep. Leigh A. Webb
Merrimack Dist. 3, Franklin & Northfield
Last Updated on Friday, 31 October 2014 08:02