This year has presented us with unique challenges the likes of which we have never seen before. The convergence of three “once in a life time” experiences with parallels to the 1918 Pandemic, the Great Depression, and the civil unrest of the 1960s has been historic and overwhelming. As a state representative, working with others, I am honored to lend my ideas, voice, and vote to address many of these issues, and more.
In the midst of civil unrest I hear ALL Americans calling for the same basic principles; that of respect, dignity, recognition, fairness, liberty, justice and redress. Progress toward these ends comes from promoting all that is good and working for reforms where necessary. Solutions arrive from listening to one another, considering different points of view, recognizing our common humanity, and compromising whenever possible. It should never be a question of us against them but instead recognizing that we are all in this together.
In regards to the COVID 19 pandemic, there has been much confusion, uncertainty, and anxiety. Knowledge is power. The more we know, the better equipped we are to guide our way through this pandemic and economic recovery. A well measured approach founded in scientific research, facts, and the most up to date medical advice is the best response.
As we address these challenges, the New Hampshire Constitution, Bill of Rights, Article 3 is clear.
“When men enter into a state of society, they surrender up some of their natural rights to that society, in order to ensure the protection of others;”
NH Constitution, Bill of Rights – June 2, 1784
Working for the common good.
Building a Better Future, Today
As a New Hampshire Teacher of the Year recipient, Milford resident for 33 years, and long-time community activist, I have dedicated myself to my family, students, and neighbors. Now as one of Milford’s state representatives, I am honored to bringing the same commitment to the state legislature on behalf of our common values.
Political debate has increasingly become too divisive and mean-spirited. Now is the time to put politics aside and begin working to meet the needs of the people. “We can disagree without being disagreeable.”
Working Together, Common Goals, Solutions
I believe in government that supports everyone’s right to be themselves and provides opportunities which enables individuals to maximize their full potential.
Along these lines, my focus as a state representative has been on property tax relief, education, children and families, public safety, veterans interests, equal rights, and economic and social justice.
Property Tax Relief
New Hampshire’s property taxes are the third highest in the nation and have been rising faster than the rate of inflation. The problem in part is due to the downshifting of costs from the state to the towns. Milford’s property taxes have increased 58% within the past decade! What happens as property taxes go up but paychecks don’t? People on fixed incomes are being priced out of their homes.
During the last budget cycle. House and Senate Democrats demanded and won substantial revenues for local government to ease the tax burden. Milford’s share? $2,519,185.00 Milford’s property tax rate fell from $29.23 to $25.97.
Quality education is the only means to move individuals and society forward. No child in New Hampshire should be denied opportunities because of inadequate funding in their respective school districts. Equitable K- 12 public education as well as affordable and expanded community and state colleges is a priority. I will work to establish policies that foster critical thinking, creativity, teamwork, and practical skills for meaningful civic engagement and employment in a constantly changing economy.
In 2008, the United States Supreme Court ruling in Heller vs. the District of Columbia reaffirmed the 2nd Amendment right to bear arms. However the conservative majority Court also ruled that the right to bear arms is not unlimited and that guns and gun ownership would continue to be regulated.
Just as individuals have the right to bear arms for self-defense, I believe the public has the right to defend itself from individuals who should not possess firearms. Criminal background checks and waiting periods have the potential to save lives. They are at best, an inconvenience to gun owners, but not a violation of their rights.
Responsible gun owners support measures to limit the misuse of the 2nd Amendment. I too support common sense gun safety measures.
I have long been a supporter of veterans interests, and now as a state representative, I am a member of the House Veterans Interest Caucus. We can never do enough to honor our brave veterans for their loyal service to our country.
There is nothing more basic to the American way of life than the principle of “liberty and justice for all.” I will strongly stand up and defend equal rights for ALL.
A statewide family and medical leave program is the best plan to insure coverage for ALL of New Hampshire’s workers, regardless of their income. There are times when individuals have no choice but to take time off from work for family and medical reasons.
The most recent bill called for a 0.5% payroll deduction which would provide insurance for up to 12 weeks off with 60% of one’s salary for maternity leave or to take care of a sick relative.
A voluntary buy-in option doesn’t work because premiums would be unaffordable for some. No one should be torn between their loved ones and their livelihood.
The minimum wage in New Hampshire is $7.25 an hour. While few workers earn that rate, even with a few extra dollars more, New Hampshire workers fall short compared to every other New England state. There is no “advantage” in New Hampshire for workers. Low wages is a contributing factor as to why so many of our residents commute to jobs out of state. I support a gradual increase in the minimum wage and making it comparable to other states in our region.
Children and Families in Need
Among the nation’s lowest funded child protective services and some of the highest workload cases, we were able to secure strong bipartisan legislation to support New Hampshire’s most vulnerable children. A significant number of caseworkers were added to DCYF along with nine mobile crisis units around the state.
The Future Begins Today
The values I speak of ensure personal liberties and freedom for all citizens, with opportunities to build safe, healthy, successful, and independent living, while moving New Hampshire forward.
New Hampshire already ranks at the very top of most measures of livability. The key is to build on our success and expand opportunities for all of our citizens.