The Concord Monitor this morning endorsed Ovide Lamontagne for Governor, writing, "Republicans who want an effective spokesman for their views, one willing to at least try to put an end to the partisanship that's paralyzing government, should cast their vote for Lamontagne."
This is Lamontagne's fourth major newspaper endorsement. He has also been endorsed by the New Hampshire Union Leader, Foster's Daily Democrat, and Keene Sentinel.
The full text of the Concord Monitor endorsement is available below.
Lamontagne is the GOP's best choice
For the past two years, the face of the Republican Party in New Hampshire has been House Speaker Bill O'Brien, a politician whose bare-knuckled and unfair partisanship resulted in a legislative session that brought national attention to the state for all the wrong reasons. The next person to become the face of the Grand Old Party will be the man its members nominate for governor. That man should be Ovide Lamontagne.
Both Lamontagne and his main challenger, Kevin Smith, the former executive director of the conservative group Cornerstone Action, are genial, smart and well spoken. But Lamontagne, who is 54, has a track record of public service and community leadership that Smith, who recently turned 35, can't match. Lamontagne has been a high school teacher, a business lawyer, legal counsel to the state Senate and chairman of the state Board of Education. He has spent years on the boards of multiple charitable organizations and decades as a leader with the Boy Scouts.
Lamontagne understands the levers of government and how they work. His years of philanthropic work and experience as a lawyer involved in hospital and health care decisions has equipped him with a long list of contacts and potential advisers.
We disagree with Lamontagne on many issues but respect his ability to work with people who see things differently. If elected, he told the Monitor editorial board, he plans to "check my political party at the door. . . New Hampshire is too small a state to let party identity interfere with our ability to work with one another."
Should Lamontagne become his party's nominee, however, he should quickly reconsider his position on casino gambling. His current stance favoring one casino on land owned by a company represented by his law firm is indefensible. New Hampshire is better off without a casino, but if any are licensed, it should be through an open and competitive bidding process.
Lamontagne and Smith are social conservatives with nearly identical positions on issues like abortion, gay marriage and public support of sectarian schools, positions we don't share. There is, however, within Lamontagne's staunch conservative ideology, room for sincere concern for those who may need the state's help. He has worked with Easter Seals and other organizations that aid those with disabilities. And he has reservations that we share about moving them to a Medicaid managed care program.
Lamontagne has also argued in favor of increased funding for legal services to the poor, and he would make it a priority to restore funding for a program that awards needs-based college scholarships to New Hampshire students.
Lamontagne favors the privatization of government services when possible but opposes privatization when it comes to prisons because "the care of human beings doesn't lend itself to a cost-benefit analysis."
Republicans who want an effective spokesman for their views, one willing to at least try to put an end to the partisanship that's paralyzing government, should cast their vote for Lamontagne.