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Entries in Election 2014 (3)

Friday
May162014

Gary Lambert - The Politics of Tough Choices 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

 

The politics of tough choices

 

By GARY LAMBERT

 

Gary Lambert, R-Nashua, is seeking the Republican nomination for New Hampshire’s 2nd District congressional seat.

 

There is perhaps no sector of the economy more vital to sustained economic growth than American domestic energy production. To become more competitive in a variety of economic sectors – technology, manufacturing, transportation –we need affordable energy sources with stable pricing in order to compete globally and create more jobs domestically.

 

A reasonable person might expect that given the importance of a strong American energy sector, an 830,000 barrel-per-day pipeline would be a sure thing to be approved by an administration which has repeatedly asserted its commitment to an all-of-the-above energy policy.

 

A reasonable person would be wrong. After an exhaustive review by a multitude of executive departments, President Barack Obama has still not approved the Keystone XL pipeline. Democrats in Congress are perfectly happy with that outcome; it means embattled incumbents like Ann Kuster don’t have to face a politically tough issue in an election year.

 

Earlier this year, White House Chief of Staff Dennis McDonough had this to say about the president’s approach to the Keystone XL pipeline approval process: “What the President’s role is now is to protect this process from politics.” Judging by the other promises the president has made and broken (“If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor” anyone?), we shouldn’t be surprised he broke this one too.

 

When the president last month delayed approval of the Keystone XL pipeline until after the November election, he gave up on any pretext that the delay was based on substantive issues about the pipeline’s environmental impact. Rather, President Obama basically admitted that there is only one reason why this project has not been allowed to go forward – politics.

 

The president does not want to give House Republicans, who have fought the administration’s delaying tactics at every step, a win in an election year. On the other end of the spectrum, liberal activists have fought the president at every step to delay, sabotage, and stop the pipeline project because it isn’t an energy source popular with the left – no windmills, I guess. To make matters even worse for the president, labor unions have supported the Keystone XL project from the beginning and now they are making their voices heard in favor of approval. So President Obama and Washington democrats like Ann Kuster are in a political pickle – trouble to the right and to the left.

 

No wonder people can’t stand Washington politicians. After statements flaunting “shovel-ready projects,” after a two-year re-election effort which highlighted the president’s “maturity” and “desire to get something done,” and after a 2014 State of the Union speech which declared a “year of action,” an item which satisfies all of those promises comes to the president’s desk for approval, and he takes a pass. He whiffs. He takes the coward’s way out.

 

As typical as that kind of “leadership” may be in Washington, I still find the president’s capacity to put the politics above the people absolutely astounding. It’s unacceptable leadership for a great nation and its unacceptable leadership for a trying time in America. We need better.

 

If you send me to Washington as your representative, I’ll raise my voice and cast my vote as many times as necessary to make sure the Keystone XL pipeline is approved and construction begins as soon as possible.

 

I cannot promise you that I can fix Washington alone. I cannot promise you that you will agree with me 100 percent of the time. If I did, we all know I’d be lying. What I can promise you is this – I will never take the coward’s way out. I’ll step forward and take the tough vote, take the stance which is right and honorable and moves our country forward. I won’t represent you based on political polls and the punditry; I won’t make a decision which directly affects American jobs and economic growth based on politics. I’ll represent you on the basis of what is best for America, New Hampshire, and the 2nd District. If the career politicians don’t like it, so be it.

 

That is my campaign pledge, and it’s why I’m running for Congress. I want to serve. I did it for 35 years in the United States Marine Corps and I did it in good times and bad. Service is the same regardless of the circumstances – you have a duty to do what is best for others. If President Obama understood that concept and understood that what is best for him politically is not what is best for the country, the Keystone XL Pipeline would have been approved long ago.

 

Gary Lambert, R-Nashua, is seeking the Republican nomination for New Hampshire’s 2nd District congressional seat.

 

Monday
Dec022013

Citizens For A Strong NH - NH's Obamacare Trio is Hiding 

"New Hampshire's Obamacare Trio is Hiding"
By: Derek Dufresne

 

 


Zero. Zilch. Nada. No matter how you say it, that's the number of public Town Hall meetings Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01) and Rep. Anne McLane-Kuster (NH-02) have hosted on ObamaCare since being sworn into office in January. It has even been longer than that since Senator Jeanne Shaheen hosted a public forum for Granite Staters to discuss the most important topic of the day. New Hampshire's "ObamaCare Trio" have made it their mission to avoid us, their constituents.

Despite thousands of New Hampshire residents being affected by the failing law that all three of the aforementioned politicians supported, they have taken to the Washington DC strategy of hiding in order to protect their careers. Instead of actively engaging with those most affected by their votes, Sen. Shaheen, Rep. Shea-Porter and Rep. Kuster, all who have voted to exempt themselves from ObamaCare, have effectively screened themselves from those who are forced to live with it.

For months, Citizens for a Strong New Hampshire has been calling on Sen. Shaheen, Rep. Shea-Porter and Rep. Kuster to host public Town Hall meetings where those who have lost their health insurance or seen their premiums increase can come together to tell their elected officials how detrimental ObamaCare has been to their families. We have been asking them to provide a venue where they can listen to the small business owners who have been forced to cut back employees' hours and are timid about expanding and growing their companies out of fear from mandates within the law. However, Sen. Shaheen, Rep. Shea-Porter and Rep. Kuster have refused to do so. At this point, the message is clear - New Hampshire's "ObamaCare Trio" have no interest in hearing from Granite Staters about the failing law they continue to support.

While it is likely they are avoiding New Hampshire residents because they know they will not like what their constituents will have to say about it, that is no excuse. New Hampshire has a long tradition of its elected officials, regardless of political affiliation, returning home from Washington to discuss their votes and positions on the issues with their constituents. In fact, before she was a congresswoman, one member of New Hampshire's "ObamaCare Trio," Rep. Shea-Porter, used to attend several of former Rep. Jeb Bradley's many Town Hall meetings herself. Now that she holds the office, does she believe she is immune from the kinds of criticism she used to give the former congressman?

On behalf of the tens of thousands of Granite Staters who have already been negatively affected by ObamaCare and the countless more who will be as more of the law is implemented, we once again call on New Hampshire's "ObamaCare Trio" to stop hiding. Stop putting your political careers and your paycheck ahead of real New Hampshire residents who are feeling the pain from your continued support for the failing law. Sen. Shaheen,Rep. Shea-Porter, and Rep. Kuster, perhaps if you stopped hiding from your constituents and actually listened to what they had to say about the disaster known as ObamaCare, you might realize why so many of us are imploring you to stop supporting it.  
 
Derek Dufresne is the spokesman for Citizens for a Strong New Hampshire, which is a diverse, nonpartisan coalition of concerned citizens, community leaders and other stakeholders concerned with promoting and preserving strong families and a strong economy for New Hampshire.

 

Saturday
Dec082012

Ed Mosca - NOW OR NEVER (OR AT LEAST NOT FOR ANOTHER FOUR TO SIX YEARS)

  Looking for a secure job?  Look no further than Governor of New Hampshire.  That is, as long as you are a Democrat who is pragmatic enough to pledge to veto an income or sales tax, who can exude an air of likability while running a ruthlessly negative campaign, and who can give the appearance of governing from the middle even when you are not. 

            Jeanne Shaheen: three terms, then left by her own choice to pursue higher office.  (Yeah, I know she won without taking the pledge her last term, but that campaign against Humphrey could have made even a David Axelrod wince.)  John Lynch: four terms, then made an early (some would say premature) decision to retire to his dacha in Hopkinton because he didn’t foresee Narwhal eating over one-half of the House Republicans.  While, on the other hand, poor Craig Benson (that’s poor in the figurative sense of course) was retired after one short term spent primarily butting heads with House and Senate Republican leadership (which in part was why he was a one-and-done Governor). 

            So history suggests that, if the New Hampshire GOP wants to stop Maggie Hassan from having a long shelf life, they better pull out all the stops in 2014.

            It should be self-evident after nine elections, and a winning percentage of barely above 10 percent, that the best possible candidate is essential.  No sacrificial lambs or sentimental favorites this time.  This race, not the United States Senate race or the Congressional races, is the most consequential for the future of the New Hampshire GOP and the future of the State. 

            While it is often said that New Hampshire has a weak Governor, the Governor still wields a veto and has the power to nominate judges and senior bureaucrats.  Despite all the histrionics about a “tea-party legislature” gone wild, 2011-2012 was far from transformative.  We still have a fiscally irresponsible defined-benefit retirement plan for public-sector employees, a fiscally irrational education funding system and a plethora of destructive, rent-seeking regulations. And despite an Executive Council consisting of five Republicans, Governor Lynch succeeded in putting not just a committed Claremontista on the Supreme Court, but a committed Claremontista who made no bones about being a committed Claremontista.  The New Hampshire GOP is never going to fundamentally change the political culture of this State without holding the Governor’s office.      

            It is also essential that Republican legislative leadership understand that the race for 2014 started as soon as the vote counting ended in 2012, and act in a manner that helps, not hurts, the next GOP gubernatorial nominee.  Shaheen and Lynch were able to portray themselves as bipartisan while governing as pragmatic partisans, and look at the political success they enjoyed.  Hassan, obviously, means to follow in their footsteps.  

            This doesn’t mean that Republicans in the House and Senate should obstruct simply for the sake of obstructing.  But they must not compromise simply for the sake of compromising.  There is considerable cause for concern because Senate Republicans and, based on their selection of Gene Chandler as Minority Leader, a small majority of House Republicans are smaller-government conservatives rather than small-government conservatives. 

            Smaller-government conservatism –moderating Democrat policies rather than presenting alternatives– plays into the hands of pragmatic partisans like Shaheen, Lynch and Hassan.  They get to grow government while wearing the mantle of bipartisanship.  While their base may grouse about the pace of change being too slow, the base clearly learned its lesson from the Mark Fernald debacle in 2002.  Just ask Jackie Cilley.

            Two areas are particularly concerning:gambling and an education funding amendment.

            Any gambling bill that does not dedicate all gambling-generated revenues to reducing existing taxes is a grow-the-government bill.  If the State Senate passes a gambling bill that provides some tax relief, but also materially increases spending, we might as well just ask Hassan how long she would like to serve and then tell Bill Gardner to leave the Governor’s race off the ballot until that point.  She will be able to run as a tax-cutter while doling out cash to her special interest supporters.  No Republican support for gambling unless it is a true tax-relief measure.

            Senate Republicans, and many House Republicans, have shown a willingness to support an education funding amendment that, while giving the elected branches more control over how to divvy up the education funding pie, cedes to the Court the authority to determine the size of the pie, its ingredients, and how it gets made.  Republican support for such an inadequate amendment would allow Hassan to run as the Governor who solved Claremont, without losing the support of the teacher unions.  Republicans need to stick to the amendment that passed the Senate last session and narrowly failed in the House.