Gubernatorial Candidates Profess Love of Kids, Puppies

CONCORD – Six gubernatorial candidates participated in a forum hosted by the Childrens Alliance of New Hampshire Thursday at the Grappone Center. Republicans Ovide Lamontagne, Kevin Smith, and Robert Tarr spoke, as did Democrats Maggie Hassan, Jackie Cilley, and Bill Kennedy. The left-leaning audience of 100 people represented a variety of social service groups and advocates. The Democrats competed for support, and the Republicans mostly tried to avoid pandering and getting booed.

Shockingly, the candidates were in complete agreement on one thing: They like kids!

“Love kids. Don’t have them. Love puppies. Do have them,” Kennedy concluded, referencing the recent arrival of a litter at his home. Kennedy also voiced fondness for an income tax.

Cilley could use a puppy in her life. The Barrington Democrat wore her customary scowl throughout the hour and half program, and her remarks ranged from angry to just resentful. Cilley criticized “this legislature and those who stand with them,” decried “pledge politics,” and supported increasing the budget of UNH, where she used to teach in a non-tenured position.

The more pragmatic Hassan rattled off a list of what she considers her accomplishments as a state senator – public kindergarten, raising the minimum wage, expanding government regulation of health care – and came out in favor of “investments” in social services. Hassan opposes an income tax: “People can’t affford it and don’t want it.” Hassan did voice support for raising the state cigarette tax. She agreed with Cilley that reductions in state funding for UNH was “a terrible mistake.”

Smith quoted approvingly a Cilley reference to to making “investments” in social services, saying that spending on such programs saves thousands of dollars down the road. Lamenting cuts to social programs, Smith said he “would part company with Speaker O’Brien” in that Smith would only support cuts to social programs if the state budget were in deficit.

Lamontagne worked to disarm the audience by reminding them that he and his wife have served as foster parents to a disabled child, now an adult, and of his work with Court Appointed Special Advocates. He countered criticism of the legislature’s funding priorities by pointing out that Gov. Lynch allowed the budget to become law without his signature., June 21, 2012


Author: Fergus Cullen

Fergus Cullen is a former chairman of the New Hampshire Republican Party (2007-2008) and an editorial page columnist for the New Hampshire Union Leader.

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  • C. dog e. doG

    Hey, doesn’t the Grate One, BozObama, Clown in Chief, also like puppies?  Sautéd, I think.
    – C. dog always rememberin’