Viewpoint

On the Republican gubernatorial primary race

Dr. Emmet Fox once wrote, “As long as you accept a negative condition at its own valuation, so long will you remain in bondage to it, but you only have to assert your birthright as a free man or woman and you will be free.”

This observation, applicable to everyday life, is most particularly true on Election Day. Thanks to Franklin Piece University and the Monadnock Ledger-Transcript, the recent forum hosting Republican gubernatorial candidates allowed us all to be better informed in advance of casting our ballots on Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014.

I also thank Ben Conant for his excellent article on the FPU debate, which appeared in last Thursday’s Monadnock Ledger-Transcript. I was particularly impressed with the how he framed the scene, identifying the key question on the audience’s minds that evening: “Would any of these three Republican contenders emerge as a serious contender to incumbent Democratic Governor Maggie Hassan?”

Over my years participating in public service, I have grown to understand that there are three basic types of politicians: those who base their statements and decisions on inflexible ideological beliefs, those who base their statements and decisions on a personal political calculation of near-term gain or loss, and leaders guided by sound principles who work constructively with others to achieve the best possible results for those they are trusted to represent.

Although even the best of our leaders are only human, and may occasionally be tempted to base decisions on one of the first two types of motivations, I respectfully submit that an informed citizenry can and must demand better. It would be laughable, as well as quite impossible, to run for long a household or a business based upon an inflexible ideology or the kind of pure self- interest which favors “looking good” over “doing good.” If we hope to run well a state or a nation, we can ill afford to conflate the political aspirations of any but true public servants.

In this regard, I hope that interested voters will take the opportunity, as my wife, Kirsten, and I have done, to hear and meet Walt Havenstein.

Although Walt is new to the adventure of seeking political office, he has quickly been identified as one of the most qualified individuals to ever seek to lead our state.

I was particularly impressed at how Walt and his wife, Judy, function as a team. I am also moved by his core reason for running: to improve economic opportunity so that his children and grandchildren — and our children and grandchildren as well— will be able to find a good job in New Hampshire and come home to live in the Granite State.

Walt’s concern there is very real. Although Granite State voters are normally reluctant to deny a 1st term governor a second term in office, the following facts deserve a hard look this fall:

1.) In sharp contrast to previous downturns, our recovery has lagged behind all the other New England states — even Vermont!

2.) Casino gambling came within one vote of passage earlier this year with Governor Hassan’s active support; Walt Havenstein flatly opposes this perilous course.

3.) There are huge financial consequences to the state and our citizens resulting from Obamacare and other federal initiatives — these must be addressed with careful businesslike accounting to avoid major future shortfalls — which will not be dealt with by wishful budgeting.

On this final point, the attacks offered by other Republican contenders at the FPU forum, which criticized Walt for having participated in consulting work to help improve the rollout of Affordable Care Act, seemed to me misguided. As a business owner, I know that we have to deal with the changes resulting from the ACA whether we like it or not. I’d prefer to have a governor who understands it and can better help us to navigate the potential pitfalls of health-care reform in our common best interest.

I appreciate the opportunity to offer these observations and hope that Republicans and Independent voters will seek to become better informed and vote their conscience in this important Republican primary on Sept. 9!

Andy Peterson of Peterborough is a former Republican member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives; he was the senator for New Hampshire State Senate District 11 from 2002 to 2004.

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