Hassan Calls on Lamontagne, Smith to State whether they agree with GOP Chair that Education is "Distraction" , "Side Issue"

MANCHESTER – Maggie Hassan, Democratic candidate for Governor, today called on Republican candidates Ovide Lamontagne and Kevin Smith to state whether they agree with comments made by the Republican Party chair calling education “distracting” and a “side issue.”


This week, Hassan unveiled her Innovate NH jobs plan, which focuses on education as key to building a 21st century workforce that will enable New Hampshire businesses to innovate and grow.  


On Monday, Hassan released a new television ad which focuses on her work in the State Senate to lower dropout rates and establish statewide kindergarten. In a press release responding to the ad, Wayne McDonald, the Republican Party chair, said talking about education was “distracting” and a “side issue.” (NH GOP Press Release, 8/7/2012)


“Education is not a side issue. It is not a distraction from economic issues.  The quality of the education we offer our children will determine whether our middle-class families will succeed and whether our state will have a strong economic future,” Hassan said.  “Education is critically important to the future of every child, every adult and every business in New Hampshire. That’s why it is the centerpiece of my Innovate NH jobs plan.”


“We should have a strong debate about our vision for improving education in New Hampshire during this campaign,” Hassan said. “That is why I am calling on Ovide Lamontagne and Kevin Smith to state whether they agree with the Republican Party Chair’s comments calling education a ‘distracting’ ‘side issue.’”


Maggie Hassan’s Innovate NH jobs plan


1.      Re-invest in Higher Education, Freeze Tuition for New Hampshire families: The legislature cut funding for higher education in New Hampshire nearly in half, making it even harder for middle-class families struggling to keep the dream of a college education alive. As Governor, Maggie will begin re-investing in New Hampshire’s public colleges and universities, and ask them to use the additional state funds to freeze tuition for New Hampshire students for two years.

2.      Keep New Hampshire’s Future Workforce in New Hampshire: As state support for higher education has slipped, New Hampshire’s public colleges and universities have had to rely more heavily on out-of-state students. A recent report by the New Hampshire Department of Education found that 5 percent fewer of our students are staying in New Hampshire for college than a decade ago. Only 55 percent of University of New Hampshire-Durham students are from New Hampshire, 45 percent of Keene State students, and 50 percent of Plymouth State University Students. As Governor, Maggie will work with the University System to increase the number of slots for New Hampshire students by at least 10 percent over the next five years. Building and retaining our home-grown workforce will help New Hampshire keep and attract new companies.

3.      Putting the Power of the University System to Work Helping Businesses Innovate and Grow: As Governor, Maggie Hassan will help put the power and expertise of the University System to work helping businesses innovate and grow. Building and expanding on programs such as the existing Green Launching Pad, The Innovation Launching Pad will let the University System provide research-and-develoment, marketing and its business expertise to a broad range of start-up New Hampshire businesses.

4.      Supporting Efforts to Commercialize Inventions: As Governor, Maggie Hassan will support ongoing efforts by the University System to commercialize the discoveries being made on their own campuses, including supporting UNH’s business incubator at Pease.

5.      Set Rigorous – Engaging — Science Standards for Elementary and High School Students: Building the workforce New Hampshire needs to compete, must start with ensuring elementary and high school students have a sound grounding in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). In January, the Thomas Fordham Institute gave New Hampshire’s science standards a D. As Governor, Maggie Hassan will work with teachers, local schools, higher education and the business community to ensure New Hampshire has the rigorous STEM education system it needs to prepare students to compete in the future. As Governor, Maggie will also work to make sure we include hands on-learning, through programs such as FIRST Robotics, in the curriculum to engage and interest students in pursuing STEM careers.

6.      Increase Number of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math graduates: As Governor, Maggie Hassan will work closely with the University and Community College systems of New Hampshire to implement their joint plan to increase the number of STEM graduates by 50 percent by 2020 and double the number by 2025.

7.      Keep the Community College System Strong and Flexible: Maggie Hassan believe the community college system must remain a critical gateway to college for many of our students and a training ground for future and current workers. She will support efforts to keep the community system strong and flexible to the ever-changing demands of business and technology.

8.      Ensure Access to Job Training for Workers and Businesses: As a State Senator, Maggie Hassan helped create the Job Training Fund that has helped more than 12,000 New Hampshire workers improve their skills. As Governor, Maggie will work to make sure businesses and workers have access to the job training they need to compete in a rapidly changing economy.

9.      Double the Research-and-Development Tax Credit: As Governor, Maggie Hassan will support doubling the research-and-development tax credit to encourage businesses to develop the new products and technologies of the future here in New Hampshire. She will also work with New Hampshire’s public colleges and universities and businesses to encourage them to develop new strategic research partnerships.