Hassan on Hassan: “Barely able to use a screwdriver”
ROCHESTER – Gov. Maggie Hassan brought her budget-selling road show to the Tri-City Chamber of Commerce today where she was politely, if not enthusiastically, received by 100 local business and community leaders.
Hassan began by acknowledging the on-going Boston manhunt in response to this week’s “senseless act of terror and cowardice” and credited law enforcement for “doing their jobs incredibly well.”
The Governor read prepared remarks describing what she called her “innovation agenda” of increasing public spending on higher education, workforce development, transportation infrastructure, and social programs paid for by revenue from a new casino.
Hassan characterized the new spending as “rebuilding” from the combined effects of the recession and what she called “drastic” spending cuts made by the Republican-led legislature of 2011-12. She made no mention of her predecessor, four-term Gov. John Lynch.
Hassan claimed that underfunding has meant state troopers sometimes need “more than an hour” to respond to calls in rural areas and that mental health patients needing treatment are sometimes left “for days” in emergency rooms.
She also spoke about her administration’s efforts to expand the state Medicaid program using federal funds, assuring her audience that the federal government has historically met its Medicaid commitments. She did not mention that the federal government has not historically maintained its funding commitments in education and other health care programs, which is one reason many are concerned that local taxpayers will ultimately pay for the Medicaid expansion.
Hassan concluded her formal remarks by recommending her audience read biographies of founding fathers Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Hamilton, and Jackson. In language that would not have been out of place at a Tea Party rally, Hassan credited them for understanding that individuals, liberty, and freedom could lead to economic greatness.
After stepping out to take a phone call, Hassan returned to respond to four questions from the audience. Executive Councilor Colin Van Ostern (D-Concord) threw her a softball about workforce development. Hassan marveled at programs like FIRST Robotics, describing herself as “barely being able to use a screwdriver.”
State Senator David Watters (D-Dover) advocated for the construction of a new Exit 10 off the Spaulding Turnpike to access Somersworth and Rochester. Other questioners raised concerns about the state redirecting dedicated funds meant to fund alcohol treatment programs, and possible unemployment insurance fraud.
Fergus@ferguscullen.com, April 19, 2013