CONCORD – Republican candidate for governor Walt Havenstein sat alongside Democratic governors and other corporate chief executives discussing high-tech job creation at the Democratic Governors Association’s winter meeting of 2011.
As a more than three-year-old video of Havenstein at the DGA meeting emerged Thursday, Havenstein spokesman Henry Goodwin said the candidate was a CEO at the time and was communicating, as he should have been, with “people across the political spectrum.”
The video emerged a week after some conservatives circulated a brief video of Havenstein, in his role as a CEO of Science Applications International Corporation, deriding the Tea Party as “teabaggers.” That description prompted outrage from Havenstein critics.
The video circulated today may be viewed as controversial not because of what Havenstein says – because he says nothing outwardly political during the panel discussion– but because of where he is – at a meeting of Democratic governors.
Gov. Maggie Hassan is currently the vice chair of the DGA.
An anonymous Twitter account known as “John Stark” Thursday afternoon posted a two-minute video of Havenstein sitting on the panel as CEO of SAIC and being introduced by former North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue.
“We all know him,” Perdue says of Havenstein in the C-SPAN video.
In a separate hour-long video of the entire panel discussion, available on the C-SPAN website, Havenstein discusses the emerging cyber-security industry. Click here for the video. Havenstein speaks at the 46:30 mark.
Havenstein expressed concern about the protection of the “data that flows around the world.”
He praised the partnering of the cyber-security industry in Maryland with Maryland state government and the state university system to train a future talented workforce for the emerging industry.
He said his firm had worked with the University of Maryland to increase emphasis on training for cyber-security careers. He mentioned that he worked with Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, the DGA chairman at the time, on developing a “pipeline” to bring young people into the science and technology and cyber-security fields.
“We have to develop a culture in this country that creates heroes in science and technology and engineering and mathematics the way we do football, basketball, baseball, rock stars, and, frankly that’s not something that can be done solely in the classroom,” Havenstein said in the video.
The fact that he participated in a DGA meeting and is now running for the Republican gubernatorial nomination prompted a question from Alicia Preston, the campaign manager for Havenstein’s Republican primary foe, Andrew Hemingway.
“I wonder if the Republican Governors Association knew Walt was so cozy with the DGA when they sent up (RGA chairman) Chris Christie to endorse him,” Preston said. Christie endorsed Havenstein on June 20 during a visit to New Hampshire.
There was no immediate response from the RGA to the New Hampshire Journal’s request for comment.
Havenstein spokesman Goodwin said that Havenstein as a CEO of received “a lot of invitations” and attended the DGA meeting as part of his job.
“Walt was there in his capacity as a CEO and one of his roles was communication with people across the political spectrum,” Goodwin said.
Goodwin said Havenstein was a Republican at the time.
His record of political donations, according to OpenSecrets.org, shows he has given to a long list of Republican officeholders, candidates and committees over the years. But his critics point out his two donations to Democrats: $1,000 each to the late U.S. Rep. Ike Skelton of Missouri in 2010 and Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island in 2007.