What I Believe
Empathy is more important than ever – but practiced less than ever before. Many of us think about problems as a simple us vs. them equation, rather than trying to understand the struggles of others. This has turned government into an arena where everything becomes a zero-sum game. There is no negotiation, no finding common ground, no respect. And nothing ever gets done. This doesn’t help you, whether you’re a single mom trying to figure out who will watch your kids while you’re working or a retiree whose fixed income just doesn’t go as far as it used to. You need people who will listen to you, understand for you, advocate for you as a constituent.
New Hampshire’s advantage is helped by our tax structure. When I decided to move here in 2008, the fact that New Hampshire had no state sales or income taxes was amazing! Even now, when I visit other parts of the country, I’m a bit taken aback when I purchase something and realize not everywhere is like here. It’s also far easier for me to file my taxes every year. This is a critical bonus of living in our amazing state, and I will do what it takes to ensure that we remain free of broad-based sales and income taxes.
New Hampshire’s small businesses fuel our economic engine. As a small businessperson, I understand the challenges that small businesses face and realize the essential role they play in our economy. Many of New Hampshire’s recent high school and college graduates are leaving the state due to a lack of affordable housing, and this is choking the growth of New Hampshire’s businesses. The New Hampshire way has been to build businesses and grow them, whether they’re an independent pharmacy or a multinational corporation. I have lived all over the country (well, not since 2009, when we moved here and didn’t leave) and I’ll tell you that our state is unique in this regard. We are not on the frontier – but we are of the frontier, and those who start small businesses deserve opportunity.
New Hampshire’s public schools are among the best in the country – and they should be preserved and valued. When my family moved here in 2009, we selected our community based on the reputation of the public schools. Our public schools, teachers, and administrators are currently burdened with combative parents and special interests who seek to dismantle public schools to further their own agenda. Supporting our educators, not undermining their efforts, will allow them to support our talented students. Schools provide social outlets for children, a chance for them to be their authentic selves, and a place to learn about vital subjects at a depth that parent’s simply can’t. As a high school baseball coach, I understand how vital it is for my players to be among their peers in both social and academic settings. I have seen kids improve as players and people year after year. Teachers and coaches play essential roles in helping kids become their best selves, and while parents most certainly are central figures in this, we should all be invested in the next generation.
Our environment needs to be protected. Many of us are cavalier about the role we can play in environmental issues. “As one person, does what I do really matter?” Yes, it does. We can all play our part to keep New Hampshire’s waterways clean, foster our ecosystems, reduce usage of single-use plastics, and encourage businesses to take leadership roles in environmental advocacy. It starts with all of us, and I am determined to ensure New Hampshire is a leader in this arena.
Equality should be an actual fundamental right for all of us. We need to create legislation that is fair and helps marginalized citizens. All of us have had different opportunities and challenges along the way, and while empathy is but one piece of the puzzle, we need to understand that there are still de facto challenges that require thoughtful legislation to solve. We cannot turn the clock back to less equitable times. We need to continue to move forward and understand the tapestry of experience that defines us as Americans.
Women deserve bodily autonomy and choice. As valued, contributing citizens, women deserve to be able to make decisions about their bodies in the same way I can. That fundamental right needs to become part of state law.
Knowledge that your vote counts. I remember being a young child and going to the polls in southern California, where I grew up. I remember turning 18 and understanding my responsibility to use my vote. And particularly in New Hampshire, I have seen how small numbers of voters can decide an election. We need to focus on making it easier, not harder, to vote. We don’t all have the opportunity to leave the office early or schedule shifts or childcare to exercise this right.
Together, we can create a New Hampshire that serves its citizens at every stage of their lives with the best schools in the country, ample jobs and housing for students after they have graduated college, clean rivers and oceans, recreation for four seasons, and opportunities for those to live their lives as they choose.