Like most of you, I have been deeply frustrated by the political parties’ inability to work together both at the federal and State level. Normally, the democrats are just left of center, the republicans just right of center, and the electorate squarely in the middle voting with democrats on social issues and with republicans on economic and security issues.
The electorate typically does not change much but political parties do. In 2010, New Hampshire swung strongly to a Republican majority following the slow recovery to the economic recession taking both houses of the legislature and a new Republican Senator as a reaction to concerns over the economy and a desire to moderate spending. Today, we are in the opposite situation, with a national government pulling us decidedly to the right on issues such as climate change, national isolationism, immigration, and even management of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Contrary to the sad name calling such as the ‘radical democratic agenda’, the New Hampshire Democratic party has been pulled over to the middle of the political spectrum due to the Republican party’s move to the right. There is very little that is ‘liberal’ about a financially sound budget, gun safety with protection of second amendment rights, paid family medical leave (which is something that the majority of economically developed nations offer), a livable minimum wage, affordable State education to retain young NH talent for local businesses, support for local businesses, law enforcement, affordable housing, our State and County infrastructure, particularly during the COVID pandemic, and equal rights under the law. These are perspectives and values that most Americans and Granite Staters hold dear.
Because a 2/3 majority is needed to overcome any vetoes by the governor of NH, the legislature was unable to enact common sense gun safety laws, the elimination of barriers to voting, the elimination of redistricting which would favor one party over another, support for renewable energy, paid family medical leave, and a minor increase in minimum wage among others. These are issues which the majority of people in New Hampshire support and want to see legislation enacted to move them and their families forward.
When I was elected as State Representative for Carroll County, District I, I committed to vote in the best interests of the communities that I serve; not in the interests of any political party. That is not how it turned out with the Republican shift to the right and the Democratic shift to the middle. I work with my Republican colleagues on the Judiciary Committee to craft bills that meet both political party perspectives and have learned the importance of bringing as many stakeholders together to craft legislation that can anticipate potential consequences for all. I enjoy working with my Republican colleagues on a multitude of issues. It is a joy to take part in respectful conversations where our views often diverge dramatically, but there is mutual respect by the committee members and dare I say affection for one another. There have been times when I have voted with my Republican colleagues on Judiciary bills because they made a stronger case for particular legislation and because I thought enacting a law was in the best interests of the people of New Hampshire.
I am most often compelled to vote with my party during general votes because of the moderate nature of Democratic positions which reflects the values of the majority of voters that I serve. If the Democratic party were to swing to the left and the Republicans to the middle, I would have no problem voting with the Republicans to represent my constituents to the best of my ability. I am here to serve the voters and their interests and not either political party. I have always been a political moderate and will continue to vote according to what I believe serves the greater majority good.
I pledge to all of my constituents that I will continue listening to your voices and vote with the party that best reflects your interests and pledge to continue to serve your needs if re-elected to the House this November.