Sunday, August 31, 2014

Because I care. Because good governance matters.

If you are reading this, you probably care about good governance too.  Of course, what is "good" in government will mean different things to different people...even to people in the same party.  Some Republicans believe that climate change is chiefly caused by human activity; others do not.  Some Democrats believe in supporting casino gambling or an income or sales tax; others do not.

So, it seems that no one will ever see a perfect world...or a perfect government...or a perfect candidate.  For many people, that realization causes them to simply "give up" on politics and civic engagement.  The evidence in political science research is pretty clear.  More than 20% of American adults who are eligible to vote are not registered.  Only 35% of eligible voters actually make it to the polls on a regular basis. The other 43% vote occasionally or rarely.

The most frequent reason given for not voting is that the person, "doesn't think it matters."
A friend of mine posted a meme on FaceBook that said, "When you skip voting, it's not rebellion; it's surrender." 

Don't vote because you feel guilty.  Vote because this is your government, your town, your state, and your country too.  Make your voice heard.  Even if you think no one is listening; I promise you that you will feel more hopeful than if you "sit it out."

On the flip side, is the fact that it takes so much money to run for office that it can hardly be claimed that we have a "representative" democracy.  In the US House, over half the Representatives are millionaires.  In New Hampshire where we pay our Representatives $100 per year, it is hard to imagine a working age person being able to serve in the NH Legislature without being independently wealthy.  Even running for little old Cheshire 14 can cost as much as $6,000 at 50 cents per voter...and most campaign guides suggest $1 to $2 per voter.   If you're not wealthy, you need to be a good fundraiser and be able to mobilize a grassroots effort of volunteers to get out the vote for you.

Money and power.  It sounds scary, but our saving grace is that even if you are rich and powerful; you still only get one vote.  People working together can make a difference.  Look at what happened with Market Basket this summer.  As one cashier said to me, "The Business Schools will be talking about this story for decades to come."  Little people stood together for the sake of one another and the future of the company.  Why can't we do the same thing with our government?

I believe we can.  I am asking for your vote and your help because I believe people who actually care about good and fair governance can get elected if they have the support of other people who care.

Whenever someone tells me (or I tell myself), "It will never happen.  People are too apathetic and discouraged to get involved," or that "All politicians lie to get elected," I think and talk about Granny D and her long, long 3,000 mile walk across America at the age of 89.  Her courage and determination in making a statement about the need for campaign finance reform is almost unimaginable to me.  In her 90th year, Granny D averaged 10 miles a day for almost a year.  She suffered from arthritis and emphysema, but she kept on going.  I've walked with the NHRebellion on 6 and 16 mile walks in memory of Granny D and felt the relentless pounding of the pavement in my back and hips...I marvel at her amazing spirit to do this day after day...and I draw inspiration from it.  Granny D just kept putting one foot in front of the other despite the weather, despite the terrain, despite the discouragement of foot in front of another until the job was done.  

What do I hope to accomplish if I'm elected to the Legislature?  My highest priority now and after I am elected is to listen to what the people of my district need and then to work hard to meet those needs. If I depend on the people of Cheshire 14 to help get me elected, I am depending on them even more to help me understand how I can help them once elected.  I believe a Representatives' primary role is listening, studying the issues,and being a voice for the people of the district in the legislature.

It will probably come as no surprise that I will also work hard to help New Hampshire move toward greater energy independence and sustainability.  My work on the Rindge Energy Commission has been both rewarding and frustrating.  While the States around us are encouraging renewable energy projects and weatherization, New Hampshire has lagged behind.  Much of the reason that we are behind is because of policy.  We joined the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, but hobbled it's potential by artificially suppressing the price of Renewable Energy Credits and simply "passing money back" to ratepayers ( after an administrative cost!) instead of investing all of it in weatherization or renewable production. 

Another big concern I have is the emigration of our young people.  Nearly 60% of our high school graduates move out of state after graduation; the second highest rate of loss in the country.  The loss of our young people to better opportunity elsewhere makes New Hampshire the fourth oldest state in the country with an average age of 41.1 years.  NH is also last in the Nation in supporting public higher education.  Those are not attractive statistics for companies looking to hire young professionals for the industries of the future.

Anyone involved with community organizations also knows that engaging young people is an essential factor in keeping an organization alive and vital.  Without a constant influx of young people, even the most venerable of organizations will wither and die out.  Pretty soon no one at the meeting has the physical strength to set up the tables and chairs or to run the events that define them as an organization.

How can we secure greater opportunity for our young people and simultaneously grow our economy?  I truly welcome your ideas on this subject.

Also high on my list of concerns is our crumbling infrastructure.  The people of Fitzwilliam and Harrisville have been particularly impacted by State roads that have fallen into disrepair.  When can they expect some relief? 

Most of all, I hope that my candidacy will inspire people to look around them and figure out what they would like to see improved or changed and then support the candidates who are willing to help make those changes.  I hope people will turn out to vote.  And, I also hope that people will consider running for office themselves. 

Please feel free to contact me with your questions and concerns.  You can comment below or email me at Your ideas and challenging questions will help make me a better candidate and, with your support, a better Representative.

No comments:

Post a Comment