Candidate Response: Andy Sylvia

Once again I welcome anyone running for state rep to submit to me answers to the 10 questions answered below and I will post your views up here for debate and discussion as well as additional attention for your campaign.  Simply email your responses to and I will post them here as you supply them to me.

Candidate Response: Andy Sylvia

1) What do you see as the biggest problems facing our state right now?

Education and our Energy Policy, although the biggest issue my district faces is an inequitable toll policy

2) What do you propose as solutions to those problems?

With Education, I lie somewhere in the middle of CACR 34 (complete state control) and CACR 32 (complete local control). However, I believe that funding policies should generally come from the decisions of the general court while everything else should be controlled at the local level by partnerships of teachers, students, school boards, parents and taxpayers.

With our overall Energy Policy, I believe the critical thing is that we as a state do our part to reduce our country's dependence on petroleum (perhaps the only thing the General Court can do to lower gas prices) and the strain on our food supply by helping pass legislation that develops and encourages private and or public interests to invest in renewable energy sources not coming from food commodities. This includes some forms of cellousic ethanol stores that can be grown or found here in New Hampshire (hemp, switchgrass, straw, sawdust, etc.). I'd also support tax incentives or investment in wind and solar investment, particularly in the North Country.

With the toll issue, I propose a three point plan. First, we as Merrimackers would need to not only stop using the tolls, but keep track of how many times we avoid them so we can let the state know that we will not take this lying down anymore. Secondly, our legislative delegation will have to develop true coalitions with other delegations, perhaps even assisting them on non-toll related issues, in order to make sure toll inequity eventually comes to the forefront of the already crowded legislative agenda. And finally, we'll need to use the money that we save from not going through toll booths to spend towards legal representation against the state as well as helping elect legislative allies from elsewhere in the state who are willing to help us bring a just and fair turnpike system for all New Hampshire residents.

3) Are there any current state reps you look up to and why?

I look up to several....

Suzanne Harvey of Nashua for teaching me the ropes

Bette Lasky and Jane Clemons of Nashua and Dan Eaton of Stoddard for thinking i'm more important than I probably am.

Jim O'Neil of Merrimack and Claudia Chase of Francestown and Susi Nord of Candia for letting me know that i'm never going to be alone.

Suzanne Butcher of Keene for reminding me that there are some things more important than being a legislator.

David Pierce of Etna, Gail Morrison of Sanbornton, and Ed Butler of Hale's Location for showing me that you can be an average person and still be a legislator in New Hampshire.

Jim Ryan of Franklin for showing me that you can be an honest person and still be a legislator in New Hampshire.

Tom Buco of Conway for reminding me that 9/10ths of everything is showing up.

Dick Barry of Merrimack and Lee Quandt of Exeter for reminding me that sometimes parties don't matter.

Jim Splaine of Portsmouth for reminding me that sometimes parties do matter, but you don't have to be rude about it.

Marcia Moody of Newmarket for reminding me to remember your roots.

Marlene Dechane of Barrington for making my life easier many times.

Scott Merrick of Lancaster, Andrew Edwards and Jeff Fontas of Nashua, Mike Brunelle of Manchester and all the other State Reps under 35 that I haven't met for letting me know I won't have to wait another 50 years if I want to be a legislator.

Steve Shurtleff of Concord and Jim Webber of Kensington and Jennifer Daler of Temple for showing me the value of kindness and a smile.

Chuck Weed of Keene because he has a great name and he was a great professor in college.

Bob Watson of Rochester for reminding me that if you don't look out for yourself that nobody else will.

Joel Winters of Manchester and Betty Hall of Hollis for showing me that you don't always have to go with the crowd.


4) If you had to sum up why voters should vote for you in a brief statement what would you say?

I can guarantee that I will work hard, probably harder than any other candidate. It's one of the only three things that I can ever guarantee (the other two are listening and being tactfully honest). I've spent the past four years of my life developing myself to become a state rep, even changing the path of my career. I doubt any other candidate can say that, let alone those in my district.

5) What do you see as this states greatest advantages over other states?

Our advantage is our cultural tradition as a regional melting pot. We take in all of the advantages of the perspectives of our neighbors Maine, Massachusetts, Vermont and Quebec while applying our uniqueness and individualism on top of those perspectives, giving us a much broader understanding than many other states when we tackle issues.

6) What are your thoughts on taxes, tolls, fines etc?

I believe they should not be done arbitrarily, but be decided by the people whenever possible by making sure they understand what is in the state budget, asking them what they want, and asking them how it should be paid for.  We have to make sure that all regions and demographics of the state pay their fair share, and we should go forward with any cost saving measures that will not cost us significantly more as a state later on.

7) What are your thoughts about working with the other party?

Often, the ideological lines in the state legislature are not along party lines but rather along lines of personalities and individual issues. Working with the other party is essential because on some bills, legislators may side with their regional or ideological interests or side with other legislators that they trust and respect while on other legislation, party leadership might pressure its caucus to go a certain way. I believe a legislator must be fluid and open minded in order to be effective for their constituents.

8) Do you have any experience with budgets?

Yes, on the Merrimack School District Budget Committee.

9) Have you held any other elected positions before?

Merrimack School District Budget Committee and Merrimack Ethics Committee

10) Is there anything about anything you would like to say to the readers of NHInsider?

Please visit my website, And thanks for reading NHInsider! The DeMauras helped me develop my views by giving me this forum to blog on in the past, I wish them all the best in the future.


Andy Sylvia
Executive Director
Merrimack Democratic Committee