Keene Sentinel Endorses Maggie Hassan

Gubernatorial candidate Maggie Hassan is a respectful voice of reason and conscience

Numerous debates, campaign appearances and media interviews have clearly illustrated that the political differences between New Hampshire’s candidates for governor are stark. Democrat Maggie Hassan, an Exeter attorney, strongly favors increasing the state’s investment in education and supports expanding the state’s Medicaid program, which provides health insurance coverage to low-income families. Republican Ovide Lamontagne, a Manchester attorney, hangs his campaign on pushing for smaller government, saying he doesn’t support an expanded Medicaid program as it’s outlined in federal law. He also wants to place greater control of education at the local community level, in spite of concern from some that doing so will also shift a greater share of the cost to the local level.

Hassan and Lamontagne are both amiable, respectful candidates who vow to work with the Legislature to do what’s best for residents. They both oppose new broad-based taxes, support business development and want to bring gambling to the state. But after the extreme and destructive actions of the Legislature over the past two years — and the uncertainty about its future make-up — it’s important to elect a candidate for governor who is focused on setting New Hampshire on a path to recovery that will better position it for future opportunities in stable, economic growth and technological innovation. That candidate is Maggie Hassan.

With a strong leadership background during her past service as Senate Majority Leader, she knows how to work with both parties to shape a role for state government that supports New Hampshire residents and businesses without stepping on their independence. Hassan will stand up to lawmakers who want to legislate Granite Staters’ personal choices and she will speak strongly for the need to repair the state’s vital safety net for vulnerable residents. She supports investing in technical colleges and freezing tuition at the University of New Hampshire to help families deal with the cost of college, while also proposing a serious review of ways to pare down costs in the system.

For his part, Lamontagne is a thoughtful candidate with a background working with hospitals and in the state’s education system. Yet his approaches to health care and educational reform are out-of-touch and off-the-mark. Companies and young people won’t flock to a state whose governmental policies work against, rather than toward, a flourishing population of educated, healthy people.

Also troubling this campaign season is Lamontagne’s insistence that his staunchly conservative views on abortion, gay marriage and other social issues are simply not important in this election. The issues are there, whether simmering quietly or boiling over as they did recently under the current Legislature. For Lamontagne to say they shouldn’t matter to voters, while at the same time signing conservative social advocacy group pledges, attending earlier this year an anti-gay marriage rally and saying he’ll sign conservative social legislation if it crosses his desk, is disingenuous at best. The past two years have put New Hampshire’s long tradition of personal freedom in jeopardy, and Hassan stands as an antidote to those who would further chip it away.

The state has had a popular and effective leader in Gov. John Lynch over the past eight years, but now voters must choose someone new. Hassan is a respectful voice of reason and conscience at a time when this state needs it most, and that’s why we support her bid to be the next governor.