At its core state government is the process by which we, the citizens of the State, answer the question, “What do we want New Hampshire to look like?” The answer determines how we allocate scarce resources, structure our affairs, and invest in our future.
Reasonable minds can differ about which near-term projects should be prioritized by the Statehouse. When setting the State’s priorities, however, elected representatives must take great care not to trade large, long-term benefits for small, short-term gains.
It is for this reason that I read Rick Notkin’s August 23, 2018, letter to the Editor, “Where Will The Money Come From to Provide Assistance?” with concern.
Mr. Notkin suggests that he and his colleagues, The Frugal Four, who were then running for the Statehouse, would, if elected, refuse to devote any resources to test 1 and 2 year-olds to determine whether they have been exposed to lead, despite the fact that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) states that “no safe blood level in children has been identified.” Mr. Notkin also suggests that he and his team will similarly refuse resources to counter the opioid crisis that has touched every corner of the State.
I understand how important it is to be cautious with public funds. However, refusing to invest in the health of New Hampshire’s children and families is short sighted. Lead exposure can cause developmental and health problems that require a lifetime of assistance. Opioid addiction can do the same. Both shatter lives and impose untold costs on the state’s economy and taxpayers that far negate any temporary savings that might be realized by ignoring the issue. Indeed, a 2018 study by the American Enterprise Institute found that the opioid crisis cost every New Hampshire citizen $3,640 in 2015 alone.
Any answer to the question “What do we want New Hampshire to look like?” that both saves money in the long-run and invests in the success of our children, our families, and our workforce, is worth considering. Should we test our children for lead and continue to work to end the tragic epidemic of opioid addiction in the State?
Although Mr. Notkin is no longer a candidate for the State Legislature to represent Gilford/Meredith, the other three members of the former “Frugal Four” are and one must assume that their answer would be “No”. Let’s carefully prioritize where and how to spend our resources.
Let’s invest in New Hampshire’s future. I and Diane Healy, Rosemary Uicker, and Steve McBrian plan to do just that. It’s the right thing to do.
Candidate for State Rep., Gilford and Meredith