Once again I remind anyone running for state rep or state senate to email responses to the following 10 questions to email@example.com and I will post them here. I welcome responses even if they are incomplete so do not shy away if there is a question you wish to skip.
Candidate Response: Jason Bedrick
(Note: Jason is running in District 4 serving Windham and Salem)
1) What do you see as the biggest problems facing our state right now?
The top three issues are the budget deficit, education funding, and I-93 construction.
The 17.5% growth in the budget has left a $200 million budget deficit (even after all the tax and fee increases), and part of the deficit was paid with a bond, which essentially amounts to a tax on the future. The new education funding scheme is a mess and it doesn't address the needs of poor towns. The I-93 construction delays are hindering the economic growth of the entire state, especially the southern tier.
2) What do you propose as solutions to those problems?
First, we must restore fiscal sanity to the House. The legislature should pass a reasonable budget with minimal growth that respects the taxpayers and work to pay off the irresponsible bonds as quickly as possible.
I propose that the legislature pass a constitutional amendment to keep the courts out of the legislature's constitutionally assigned role as policymaker. The court's role is to interpret the law, not to make it. However, since we've seen that amendments are nearly impossible to pass, the legislature should simply do what needs to be done: target aid to the communities which need it most, while maintaining a system of local control.
The state should also give priority to I-93 construction and work to limit the abuse of lawsuits which are being used simply to impede construction rather than as a legitimate tool to address grievances.
3) Are there any current state reps you look up to and why?
This is an incredibly tough question since I look up to so many, so I'll limit my remarks only to those with whom I've served and who are running again (for state representative or higher office). Apologies in advance to those I've left out... In no particular order:
Greg Sorg is perhaps the smartest person in the House. I always learn something when I listen to him speak. He knows more about the Claremont issue than anyone else. He literally wrote the book on it! His Claremont Reader is required reading for anyone who wants a comprehensive understanding of the entire Claremont debacle.
Will Infantine was my mentor and he served with me on Labor. He's always professional and does his homework. Very few people know as much about insurance and workers' compensation as he does.
D.J. Bettencourt dragged me into this whole thing. He's very passionate and driven. He has a clear vision for the state and he's always thinking about how to further the interests of individual freedom and limited government. I think he'll be governor someday.
Marilinda Garcia is bright, talented, articulate and always true to her principles.
Joel Winters is willing to buck his party when he disagrees with their course of action. He cares deeply about freedom and won't compromise his beliefs.
Sharon Carson is a natural leader who's very bright, charismatic and competent. She's also a history buff (especially 18th century America).
Fran Wendelboe is hardworking, dedicated and doesn't let a set back keep her from achieving her goals. When she lost the race for party chair, she established the Reagan Network and dedicated herself to helping like-minded Republicans win election. Few people have their finger on the pulse like she does.
Mary Gorman served as the Labor Committee Chair after the unfortunate and untimely passing of Ed Mears. She's been wonderfully fair and she has an independent streak that makes some members of her own party's leadership a bit nervous. We very often disagree on the issues, but she's always pleasant and has a great sense of humor.
Russ Ober served with me on Labor as well. An old-style New Hampshirite, he says "No!" to almost every piece of legislation. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" might be cliche, but it's very true in the legislature. If 99 out of 100 ideas are bad ideas, losing the one good idea is a small price to pay for killing the 99 bad ideas.
Dan Itse is a man of deep faith and principle and a constitutional scholar par excellence. He has a disabled son who occupies much of his time, but I've never heard Dan complain nor have I ever seen him without a smile.
Howie Lund is a champion of school choice, limited government, and traditional values.
Paul Ingbretson proves that conservatives have a sense of humor. He's also very well-read with an incredible knowledge of history.
Steve Stepanek has gravitas. He's well-informed, professional, and a natural leader. He's also one of the go-to guys on financial issues.
Gene Chandler is the NH version of Newt Gingrich: an articulate former Speaker and policy whiz with a wealth of institutional knowledge.
Al Baldasaro is fearless and doesn't mince words.
John Reagan is serious and knowledgeable. He reads faster than anyone I know and he's able to retain everything. The fact that so many legislators take the American's for Tax Reform Pledge is directly attributable to his hard work.
Mary Griffin is the "peacemaker" -- a great mediator who puts her diplomatic skill to good use. She's also a wealth of institutional knowledge.
Nancy Elliott is one of the HRA co-chairs and she sat in front of me in the House. She never shies from controversy if she believes that she's right.
Bob Rowe is thoughtful and deliberate in judgment. He's wary of the unintended consequences of even the most well-intentioned proposals.
Jordan Ulery has been very helpful when I've come to him with criminal justice issues. He's always informed and informative.
Andy Renzullo is one of the hardest workers in the House. As co-chair of the HRA, he compiles the infamous "Pink Sheet". He also has a terrific sense of humor.
Neal Kurk is one of the few people who can single-handedly overturn a committee report. Incredibly articulate and a passionate defender of privacy rights and foe of government intrusion, he very aptly lives in the town of Weare. (Pronounced: "Where?")
James Phinizy is one of my favorite Democrats. He knows the system and the players, he's professional, and he treats everyone well, no matter what party they're in. (He also looks like Alan Alda.)
Steve Vallaincourt is irascible and incorrigible, traits which can annoy the other legislators but which serve a purpose. I don't always agree with his views and often disagree with his tactics, but no one can deny that he's a parliamentary wizard who does his homework and isn't afraid to stick to his position even if it's 399-1.
And now that I've written about so many legislators, I feel even worse since I'm absolutely certain I've left some of the good ones out!
4) If you had to sum up why voters should vote for you in a brief statement what would you say?
I'm very clear about where I stand on the issues my voting record is in line with my campaign promises. I've made a strong effort to keep my constituents informed by writing regular "Legislative Updates" which I send out via email. I've also recently started posting them on www.jasonbedrick.com (see "Jason's Blog"). I scored 98% on the House Republican Alliance scorecard and the New Hampshire Liberty Alliance gave my voting record an A+ and named me "Legislator of the Year" for my "outstanding and consistent support of the cause of individual freedom."
5) What do you see as this states greatest advantages over other states?
New Hampshire has low taxes, limited regulation, and a healthy respect for individual liberty. That's why so many "tax refugees" are fleeing from other New England states to move here or, at the very least, to shop here. We also have a clean environment, plenty of open spaces, great skiing and hiking, safe neighborhoods, great schools, and friendly citizens. It's no wonder so many publications name us the best place to live!
6) What are your thoughts on taxes, tolls, fines etc?
Taxes should be as low as possible for the state to provide basic services. I oppose the implementation of a broad-based sales or income tax. Fees cover the cost of providing a service; they should not be used as means of collecting revenue to use elsewhere. Likewise, fines should be minimal; they should be only as high as necessary to act as a deterrent, not something that's used as a revenue stream.
7) What are your thoughts about working with the other party?
Most issues in the state house are non-partisan and such legislation ends up on the "consent calendar". When I find common ground with members from the other party, I'm happy to work with them. I proudly cosponsored several bills with Democrats this year, including legislation to divest state assets from Sudan, to establish commission to create an advanced "Running Start" program in high schools, and several others.
8) Do you have any experience with budgets?
Aside from managing the budgets of college student organizations and my own personal budget, I lack extensive first-hand experience with municipal or state budgets. My experience is essentially limited to reading the reports, consulting with colleagues, listening to the floor speeches, and voting.
9) Have you held any other elected positions before?
None aside from my current position as state representative.
10) Is there anything about anything you would like to say to the readers of NHInsider?
If anyone made it this far reading my answers, my hat goes off to you! Please check my website, www.jasonbedrick.com, and feel free to contact me with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And always remember the words of the great NH statesman, Daniel Webster: "God grants liberty only to those who love it and are always ready to guard and defend it."