Smith to Lamontagne: "It's about the economy and jobs, not a century-old clause"

Kevin Smith says education reform must focus on strengthening public education and tomorrow’s workforce

MANCHESTER – Today, Kevin Smith, Republican candidate for governor of New Hampshire, responded to comments made by his primary opponent, Ovide Lamontagne, regarding a repeal of the 1877 Constitutional Amendment that prohibits state funding for religious schools in New Hampshire.

In a recent candidate forum, and then again in an editorial board interview last week with the Concord Monitor, Ovide Lamontagne expressed his view that he would pursue the repeal of an 1877 amendment to the New Hampshire Constitution that bans public funding for religious schools.

“Ovide’s personal opinion about funding for religious schools is not the problem. The problem is that instead of promoting more pressing and more achievable reforms that directly impact our economic future, Ovide’s out there picking fights he can’t win and that distract from the main issues. What’s more puzzling is that Ovide purports to be the education guy, because he once served on the Board of Education almost twenty years ago, and yet he’s dedicated all of three sentences on his website to education reform. Does he really want to make the repeal of a 135-year old amendment his fourth sentence?

“This election is about the economy and jobs, not a century-old clause that bans state funding for religious schools. That’s why I’m talking about improving education by expanding public school choice, increasing support for charter schools, providing greater flexibility to principals, reforming tenure, and making sure that our education and business communities are working together to ensure that New Hampshire has a skilled workforce for the 21st Century economy.

“I’ve said all along, if we are going to make New Hampshire the most economically competitive state in the country, and grow more good-paying jobs, we have to be disciplined in our focus on improving our economic and business climate, and do the things that will have a real impact on job creation and growth. Ovide has not shown discipline on this and other issues, and he’s not focused on the right things, which is another reason why I am better positioned to be our Party's strongest nominee in November.”