Republican candidates share their platforms

Andy Sanborn, Bob Smith on health care, economy and more

HANCOCK — Republican candidates, including N.H. State Senator Andy Sanborn and U.S. Senate candidate Bob Smith, campaigned in Hancock on Sunday afternoon, speaking with a group of residents who attended the Hancock Republican Town Committee meeting.

Sanborn, who is unopposed in the Republican primary, will be facing Democratic opponent Lee Nyquist of New Boston in the November election. The race is a rematch of their 2012 contest, which Sanborn won by a margin of just 213 votes.

Smith is up against a host of Republicans in the upcoming primary, most notably former U.S. Senator from Massachusetts Scott Brown. Other candidates seeking the Republican nomination are Gerard Bebin, Robert D’Arcy, Miro Dziedzic, Mark Farnham, Bob Heghmann, Walter Kelly, Andy Martin and Jim Rubens. The winner will face U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen, the Democratic incumbent, in the General Election.

Also at Sunday’s meeting was Republican Pam Coughlin of Amherst, who is running in the primary to be re-elected as Register of Deeds in Hillsborough County. Louise Wright of Nashua will be running for the position as a Democrat.

Sanborn of Bedford started off the nightthe majority of his talk centered around the state’s budget and the need for economic growth. Several recent factors will cause the state’s budget to rise, Sanborn said, naming the state’s recent mental health settlement, and a much larger than anticipated influx of people seeking health care under Medicaid, following the enactment of the Affordable Care Act.

When Bennington resident Tony Pereira asked where the influx of people seeking Medicaid were coming from, Sanborn replied that the state had always expected an increase in that area due to the Affordable Care Act. The issue is that the state had been expecting an additional 1,200 additional people seeking coverage, he said, but had seen increases closer to 12,000. Part of that was due to marketing pushes to increase coverage, and part was due to decreased standards for eligibility, said Sanborn.

Sanborn told the gathered crowd that the state needs to focus on keeping its young generation in the state, as currently a large percentage of them are leaving the state after college to pursue job opportunities. Even among those who choose to stay in New Hampshire, 18 percent commute to out-of-state jobs, said Sanborn. “Our economy in the state of New Hampshire has truly stagnated, and it’s a self-inflicted wound,” said Sanborn.

The solution, according to Sanborn, is to reduce taxes, particularly in the business sector, and to decrease regulations to make it easier for businesses to thrive in the state.

The economy and the Affordable Care Act were also topics of discussion for Smith. Smith of Tuftonboro served as a U.S. Congressman from 1985 through 1990 during the Reagan administration, and followed that up with a 13-year stretch in the U.S. Senate. Smith lost the 2002 primary for the Republican seat to Republican Congressman John Sununu.

Smith said he has consistently seen Republicans take a middle line on some of the core issues, including gun control and abortion, so he decided to once again put his name forward for U.S. Senate.

One of the issues Smith discussed was the Affordable Care Act, which he said he would work to repeal if elected. Although there are aspects of the Affordable Care Act that are good in theory — such as requiring that companies provide coverage for those with pre-existing conditions — overall it is unconstitutional, unaffordable, and does not allow for free competition, he said.

“This thing needs to be repealed. There’s nothing good about it,” said Smith. He also espoused that any government-run health care system should not be compulsory, suggesting, “If it’s that good, people should want to get in it.”

Like Sanborn, Smith said he felt excessive taxation and regulation is the cause of the state’s “job drain,” and suggested eliminating or sharply reducing capital gains and corporate taxes. “You do that and you will bring them back,” said Smith of small businesses.

When asked about his position on foreign policy, Smith said he is not in favor of the current military actions in Iraq, because he feels the current situation is too open-ended. “This is not in our national interest,” he said of the U.S. military action against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS. “We cannot win there. Tell me what the mission is, what the resources are that are needed, and what the exit strategy is, and maybe I’ll support it.”

Erik Spitzbarth of Hancock asked about the current debate about the militarization of police departments, particularly the gifting of surplus military equipment to police departments, noting that the presence of armored vehicles at the Keene Pumpkin Festival had drawn some criticism.

Smith said he was not in favor of such programs and would vote to block funding in the future. “That shouldn’t happen. It’s unnecessary in my opinion,” he said.

New Hampshire primary elections will be held on Sept. 9. Voters may register with their town clerk by Aug. 30, or may register on Election Day. The General Election will be held on Nov. 4.

A photo identification is now required to vote. A voter who does not have an approved photo ID may obtain a free photo ID for voting purposes, only by presenting a voucher from their town clerk or the Secretary of State to any N.H. Department of Motor Vehicle office that issues identification.

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