DSCC - Foster's Daily Democrat: Democratic U.S. Senate hopeful discusses policy in Dover

I thought he made his points well — it doesn't mean it changed my mind," said Bill Ollar, a Republican from Dover who said he enjoys attending political forums to remain an informed voter.

Foster’s Daily Democrat: Democratic U.S. Senate hopeful discusses policy in Dover

John Quinn

October 19, 2009

http://www.fosters.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20091019/GJNEWS_01/710199918/-1/FOSNEWS

DOVER — Congressman Paul Hodes said he plans to spend a lot of time on the Seacoast and represent the entire state if he is elected to the seat now occupied by Republican U.S. Sen. Judd Gregg, who is not running for re-election in 2010.

Hodes, a Democrat re-elected to a second term as the U.S. Representative for New Hampshire's Second District in 2008, spoke to 25 area residents for about an hour and fielded a few questions at Temple Israel in Dover Sunday afternoon.

"I thought he made his points well — it doesn't mean it changed my mind," said Bill Ollar, a Republican from Dover who said he enjoys attending political forums to remain an informed voter.

"It was a nice, low key event," said Carol Tompkins, of Somersworth. "There were lots of good questions."

Longtime friend Alan "Goldie" Goldfrob, of Dover, introduced Hodes as someone who once had aspirations to be an actor and was an expert on quality Jewish deli rolls from New York City.

Hodes currently represents all residents in Cheshire, Coos, Grafton and Sullivan counties and some communities in Belknap, Hillsboro, Merrimack and Rockingham counties.

"For those who are new to the state, it is the left side of the state," Hodes joked.

Michael Behrendt, of Rochester, asked Hodes where the country should be in 2016, leading Hodes to pause while considering his answer.

"My question was asking him to give us some hope for the world," Behrendt said, adding that he was pleased by the response.

Hodes said he wants the world to see the U.S. "as a force of good" which works with others through diplomacy to find solutions. He said he also wants to bring manufacturing back to the U.S. and fix the nation's food policy, which subsidizes unhealthy products that lead to obesity, diabetes and health problems.

This year, he said, he wants to help the country enact a viable health care plan and refine its energy policy, but is not in favor of taxing health benefits or seeing any tax increases on the middle class. He added that he believes a public option needs to be part of any health care reform plan.

The work will be far from over even if a viable plan is enacted, he said.

"Whatever happens with health care, there will be unintended consequences," he said.

He also suggested enacting a federal spending cap since the country's budget deficit, which now is more than $1.4 trillion, is a serious issue.

He said he has not determined how the U.S. should handle the war against Islamic extremists in Afghanistan, especially since that nation's government hasn't proven itself credible.

The administration must clearly define what the guidelines are and establish an exit strategy, he said.

"I have many more questions than answers, and I can tell you there are no good answers about Afghanistan," he said, adding that he has "great doubts that an influx of troops will help" since their presence could further fuel the insurgency.

He said the departure from the "misadventure in Iraq" can't come soon enough, especially since it will have cost the country trillions of dollars in an effort which may not have been "necessary to protect our national security."

He said he plans to return to the Seacoast next weekend.