Saying his "background, experience and statesmanlike approach have earned him the opportunity to be his party's standard-bearer," the Foster's Daily Democrat this morning endorsed Ovide Lamontagne for Governor. The paper called on "Republican primary voters to give Lamontagne their clear and resounding support on Sept. 11." The full text of the endorsement is available below.
Ovide Lamontagne: The right candidate for Republicans
When voters go to the polls on primary day, Sept. 11, the Republican candidate they should choose to move on to the general election for New Hampshire governor is Ovide Lamontagne.
The decision of the editorial board here at Foster's Sunday Citizen to endorse Lamontagne in the Republican primary is one of the easier choices we will make this campaign season.
This is not to slight either Republican challenger, but it is to recognize that Lamontagne's background, experience and statesmanlike approach have earned him the opportunity to be his party's standard-bearer.
We will not dwell on Lamontagne's personal and professional resume. It is too lengthy and can easily be found on the web. Suffice it to say voters will find his curriculum vitae most bountiful — from clerking for Judge James Emmett Barrett of the United States Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit to chairman of the New Hampshire state Board of Education.
But that resume is only part of what makes Lamontagne the right person to take on whomever will represent the Democratic Party.
Having watched Lamontagne from near and far for well more than a decade, Foster's is impressed with how this lawyer, Boy Scout volunteer, father of three and husband of 32 years has matured.
Politically, we first met Lamontagne on the campaign trail during his run for governor in 1996. At the time voters passed judgment on his experience and political skills by giving then-state Senator Jeanne Shaheen a double-digit victory and the first of three terms as governor.
Fast forward to 2010 when Lamontagne revisited the political arena, losing in the GOP primary for the U.S. Senate to Kelly Ayotte. But instead of a trouncing, Lamontagne lost by a margin narrow enough to easily justify a recount. Instead, Lamontagne showed dignity and courage. He stepped aside gracefully, allowing Ayotte to focus on the general election race she would eventually win.
In retrospect that was probably the turning point — the game-changing moment — that turned Lamontagne from what could have been another blip on the political radar screen into a serious contender for the Republican gubernatorial nomination.
Having earned widespread respect with that decision, Lamontagne brought his message of "Leadership for a change — not just ceremony" to his meeting with Foster's editorial board.
"I'll be a leader in the legislative process and I'll be proactive," Lamontagne said. "I will not be sitting in the governor's office saying, 'Here comes a bill, and I don't know what's in it,'" — a reference to what some see as outgoing Gov. John Lynch's more laid-back legislative style.
While it can be argued Gov. Lynch was the right candidate for his time, much has now changed. The New Hampshire economy hangs from a thread. The unemployment rate here in the Granite State, while better than much of the nation, has stalled. Federal stimulus money that helped the state budget limp along in recent years is gone. Meanwhile young workers continue to leave the state in search of higher paying jobs.
This — and more — dictates the next governor use the bully pulpit to shape and mold an economic plan that creates job opportunities and promotes an educational system that meets the challenges of the 21st century.
When all is said and done, the Republican best suited to meet those challenges is Ovide Lamontagne. As a result, Foster's Sunday Citizen urges Republican primary voters to give Lamontagne their clear and resounding support on Sept. 11.