Education should not be an accident of geography. In my professional capacity as a lawyer, I have represented communities fighting to protect public funding for schools including in the Claremont School Funding suit and on behalf of the City of Dover. As a first-term (actually first month) Executive Councilor, I led the challenge to the Governor's appointment of an unqualified Education Commissioner. We lost; however, the concerns I raised about Commissioner Edelblut have, unfortunately, proven true and I continue to be a vigilant opponent of his efforts to dismantle our state's education system. I believe that it is our duty to provide all of New Hampshire’s children with the tools they need to compete in the marketplace of ideas, no matter where they live.
New Hampshire is one of the healthiest and most livable states in the nation. We need to build on this and give New Hampshire citizens and businesses a further advantage by making good, quality healthcare universally available. I am guided in this effort by my former work as the strategic planning chair of the Manchester Community Health Center and by my work on presidential campaigns. I know the Executive Council plays a key role in maintaining Medicaid Expansion and in ensuring that managed care models respect the rights of individuals who need care.
We must also work to retain vital funding for Planned Parenthood, the Equality Health Center and other healthcare providers targeted by extremists. These programs across our state provide crucial health care to men and women, including cancer screenings, STI screenings and treatment, and birth control.
As a lawyer, I represented the New Hampshire Retirement Security Coalition in its effort to protect public workers’ pensions. I now must approve appointees to the state pension system board. The Governor has made these appointments political. I view appointments based on their merit and work to ensure top quality supervision of these critically important funds.
In addition, I understand state and federal labor laws and I do not hesitate to ask hard questions when agencies fail to pay state workers fairly and in compliance with the law.
Finally, at every Council meeting, I ask about the wages paid by state vendors to their employees. With colleagues in the Legislature, I am pursuing protections against vendors who underpay their workers and expect the state to make up the difference through safety net programs. We don’t need this form of corporate welfare and I have shed light on vendors who don’t pay their workers at least $15/hour.
The Executive Council plays a critical role in our state as champions for all of our citizens. I understand the importance of fair judges and of a strong, transparent, and well-informed process for their selection. As a Councilor, I have participated in the confirmation of judges at all levels and I know what to expect of a fair-minded judge.
The Executive Council plays a critical role in our state as champions for all of our citizens. I understand the importance of fair judges and of a strong, transparent, and well-informed process for their selection. As a Councilor, I have participated in the confirmation of judges at all levels and I know what to expect of a fair-minded judge.The Executive Council plays a critical role in our state as champions for all of our citizens. I understand the importance of fair judges and of a strong, transparent, and well-informed process for their selection. As a Councilor, I have participated in the confirmation of judges at all levels and I know what to expect of a fair-minded judge. The Department of Corrections is an expensive state agency that can make or break the lives of victims and offenders. The department requires a great deal of attention. For example, the state will open its new Women’s Prison a year behind schedule because it does not have the staff to open the facility. This is unacceptable. It is unfair to the women offenders and wasteful of state funds used to build the facility.
We can be more effective in dealing with crime and punishment and we should be more careful in how we spend our tax dollars. An understanding of addiction is critically important in this time of opioid crisis. We must not return to the failed “war on drugs” but must seek more productive, evidence-based approaches to what is now recognized to be a mental health crisis.
The Executive Council is charged with approving the state’s Ten Year Transportation Plan which is a road map for the transportation projects to be built in New Hampshire. I was the first Councilor to advocate for the Capitol Corridor Commuter Rail monies when we began our planning process in July 2017. With Councilors Pappas and Prescott, we ensured that $4 million in federal monies to study and start permitting commuter rail were included in the Ten Year Transportation Plan that we passed to the Governor and, with much cajoling, the Governor kept these funds in the plan that he provided to the Legislature.
I also joined Councilors Prescott and Pappas in advocating for a modest toll increase so that projects related to safety, reduction in congestion, and job creation could move forward. The Governor removed this from the plan even though he had promised the Council that he would not undermine our efforts. As a result of the Governor’s change in position, $37 million was removed from the Ten Year Plan and projects in Manchester, Concord and Bow will not be completed in a timely manner. Sound walls so critical to residents on the Seacoast and in the Bedford area will not be built. Merrimack will also continue to have its on ramp toll booth.