FRANKLIN — Harold French, a Republican serving his first term in the New Hampshire House of Representatives, announced yesterday that he will run for the Senate in District 7, the seat held for the past two terms by Democrat Andrew Hosmer of Laconia.
A real estate broker, auctioneer and folk art sculptor, French, who is originally from Concord, has lived in half a dozen towns in Merrimack County and graduated from Hopkinton High School and attended Plymouth State University. Along with his deep roots in Merrimack County, he operated the Gold Street Gallery in Laconia for several years during what he called "my art phase" and was was among those led by the late Wanda Tibbetts who began the Lakeport Association.
French represents Wards 1 and 2 in Franklin and the town of Hill in the House, where he is a member of the Commerce and Consumer Affairs Committee.
In formally announcing his candidacy, French said in a prepared statement "I am now ready to work for my constituents in the Senate." Noting that he has done business with people throughout the district, he said that "very few have have told me that they think we do not pay enough taxes already" and "the overwhelming majority are opposed to tax increases. " He pledged to continue to oppose any new taxes.
"I just know from my experience," he said Monday, "that we're really tapped out right now."
Instead, he called for easing the regulation of business and lowering the cost of energy to generate opportunity for those seeking better jobs and higher wages. "The more people there are doing business, the more money will be flowing," he said. French also stressed support for "all our schools," including home schooling and charter schools.
French said that state lawmakers file some 1,200 bills each year, three-quarters of them unnecessary and 60 percent of them backed by both parties.
"Then it gets philosophical," he said. "I didn't realize how far apart we are on some things." Nevertheless, French said, "I eat lunch more often with Democrats than Republicans. We just don't vote the same way."
In 2014, Hosmer withstood the challenge by Republican Kathleen Lauer-Rago of Franklin to hold his seat by 155 votes — 9,543 to 9,423 — following a recount. French said that Lauer-Rago indicated to him that she would not run this year, adding that "if she were running, I probably would not be."
Lauer-Rago did not return calls yesterday.
Senate District 7 consists of the city of Laconia and towns of Belmont and Gilford in Belknap County, and the city of Franklin and towns of Andover, Boscawen, Canterbury, Northfield, Salisbury and Webster in Merrimack County.