Special Election: Mattson calls in GOP’s big guns

  • Rita Mattson speaks with supporters during a rally at Pelletier's Sports Shop in Jaffrey on Saturday. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—

  • Rita Mattson speaks with supporters during a rally at Pelletier's Sports Shop in Jaffrey on Saturday. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—

  • Rita Mattson speaks with supporters during a rally at Pelletier's Sports Shop in Jaffrey on Saturday. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—

  • Rita Mattson left, with former U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte, speaks with supporters at Pelletier's Sports Shop in Jaffrey on Saturday. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 10/20/2021 3:50:51 PM

Rita Mattson of Dublin, with support from key Republican party figures, spent Saturday knocking on doors in Jaffrey, asking for support in the upcoming special election to be the next State Representative for District 9.

The election, scheduled for next Tuesday, will fill the seat left empty by the death of Doug Ley, D-Jaffrey, who died of cancer in June. Mattson is facing Harrisville Democrat Andrew Maneval in the general election. The winner will join fellow District 9 State Rep. Dick Ames, D-Jaffrey.

Mattson, who followed up her day campaigning with a rally at Pelletier’s Sports Shop in Jaffrey and a barbecue for supporters in Dublin, was touted by her supporters as a “woman of the people” and a purveyor of “common sense.”

“I’m not a politician, you all know that,” Mattson said, during her speech to her supporters on Saturday. “But I will do my darndest to represent every single one in my district. I’ll be available for people to call, to text, to talk to, to represent you how you want to be represented.”

Mattson pledged to protect Second Amendment rights – pointing to the Sports Shop, and noting that she buys her own firearms there – and said she would protect all constitutional freedoms.

Mattson did not speak expansively on her platform to her supporters, calling herself a “doer, not a talker,” but spoke further about her goals in an interview following the rally.

One issue that’s become increasingly relevant to her supporters in the past weeks since the primary election is COVID-19 vaccination, Mattson said. Mattson joined protesters Thursday outside of MilliporeSigma in Jaffrey, to protest the company requiring all employees to be fully vaccinated by Dec. 8. Mattson, while holding a sign declaring “Force is tyranny,” said getting the vaccination should be a personal choice.

On Saturday, Mattson said she was not anti-vaccination, but still felt strongly that the decision to vaccinate was a personal one that should be made between an individual and their doctor.

She also opposed broad-based taxes, including an income or sales tax, and said she would be for “smaller government and lower taxes.”

Mattson said she was also a strong supporter of the school voucher system that has been adopted by the state, which allows qualifying students to use state education dollars to seek alternate schooling outside of the public system.

“I think the money should follow the student,” Mattson said, noting that the public school system doesn’t work for every child. In her own family, she noted, her granddaughter attends a private school that’s more suited to her educational needs. Public school budgets have grown “fat” Mattson said, and money is being spent in the wrong places.

Mattson also spoke about the housing and worker shortage facing the state, noting that both are long ongoing problems.

“I know there’s a problem,” Mattson said. “It’s been hard for 20 years.”

Mattson noted that she would be willing to work with local zoning boards to find ways to address the housing issue, saying she didn’t have a ready solution.

“I’m not sure what the answer is, but I will find out,” Mattson said.

Mattson was no in favor of increasing the minimum wage in the state, which is currently set at the federal standard. The minimum wage is mainly for young, entry-level jobs where there is room to grow, Mattson said, and she feared there were small businesses who could not sustain a substantial increase in the minimum wage.

State Senator Kelly Ayotte spoke at Mattson’s rally, calling her a “rock rib conservative,” and praising her common sense and grit.

“We need her in Concord,” Ayotte said.

Ramona Branch, Chair of the Dublin Area Republican Committee, said she has worked with Mattson as a member of the committee and found her to be among the first to raise her hand whenever there is a call for volunteers.

“Whenever we need something, Rita is the first to say, ‘I can do that,’” Branch said. “She will be a woman of the people.”

The general election for the Cheshire District 9 seat is scheduled for Oct. 26. Elections will be held in Jaffrey from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Jaffrey Fire Station. Masks are required in the building, and for those who do not want to wear a mask, voting from your vehicle will be possible. Elections in Dublin is scheduled to be held on the third floor of the Dublin Town Hall from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Due to mold remediation currently ongoing at the Dublin Town Hall, the location may be subject to change and a final location will be announced this week.


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