CONCORD – GOP candidate for governor Walt Havenstein is in Aspen, Colo., for the Republican Governors Association meeting taking place today, tomorrow and part of Friday.
The New Hampshire Journal has learned that Havenstein, who was issued a formal invitation by the RGA, is one of only eight non-governors who are candidates for governor to be in attendance today, although more may arrive tomorrow.
RGA chairman and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie formally endorsed Havenstein in June and traveled to New Hampshire to campaign for him. Christie is scheduled to return to the state on July 31 to be featured at a fund-raiser for the New Hampshire Republican Party at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium in Manchester.
A RGA spokesman confirmed that Havenstein will meet with governors, fellow candidates and “supporters, filling them in on the state of the race, why he is in a strong position for victory, and sharing his ideas for making New Hampshire a stronger state to live, work and do business in.”
Also Wednesday, the Havenstein campaign said that Arizona Sen. and 2008 GOP presidential nominee John McCain will appear at a Washington, D.C. area fund-raiser for Havenstein next Wednesday, July 30.
The event will be held at the Army Navy Country Club in Arlington, Va., with tickets ranging from $250 to $2,000. Havenstein is a former Vice Chair of the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation and is a Marine Corps veteran. Four retired military generals are among the co-hosts.
Havenstein has been a contributor to the two-time New Hampshire presidential primary winner McCain in the past, according to CampaignMoney.com.
The event invitations state that McCain is appearing only as a special guest and “not to solicit funds or donations.”
The D.C.-area fundraiser for Havenstein drew criticism from Alicia Preston, the campaign adviser for Havenstein’s GOP primary foe, Andrew Hemingway.
“This is again a clear demonstration of how different these candidates are. Andrew is heading to Coin Congress in San Francisco to meet with entrepreneurs and venture capitalists, and Walt is going to Washington, D.C. to meet with the establishment. They are both working with those they know best.”
The Coin Congress is being billed as “an international conference series sparking discussion around the state of digital currency.”
Hemingway is known as a supporter of the digital currency Bitcoin.
Havenstein talks Northern Pass, biomass
Also on Wednesday, Havenstein said he is open to burying the transmission lines of the proposed Northern Pass project, but is also willing to consider alternatives.
After touring energy companies and lumber yards in Meredith, Bristol, Wentworth, Benton and Plymouth, and the Glencliff Home and Plymouth State University, with state Sen. Jeanie Forrester on Tuesday, Havenstein said:
“New Hampshire’s beautiful landscape is not only essential to our identity, but it is vital to the life and livelihood of the North Country. Currently, the only option which protects that is to bury the transmission lines. I have yet to be convinced that burying the lines would be economically unworkable. We need to see hard data before that determination can be made.
“Should any alternative approach emerge, I would carefully review it in consultation with stakeholders and local officials and would work to ensure that everyone’s voices are heard. Whatever the eventual solution, we need to ensure that the local communities along the route benefit from the development of Northern Pass,” Havenstein said.
Meanwhile, the state Democratic Party Wednesday criticized Havenstein for telling the Pemi-Baker Valley Republican Committee on July 18 that he is “not a big fan of subsidizing biomass plants,” which the party said is a key “economic driver” for the North Country.
In a video clip released by the NHDP, Havenstein says, biomass plants “are not economically viable. I built two biomass plants at my last job (as CEO of Science Applications International Corp.), one in Connecticut. And if the federal government wasn’t willing to give us $80 million as a subsidy, they weren’t willing to guarantee price breaks on that energy, it would’ve never been built.”
“The new Burgess BioPower biomass plant in Berlin was supported by both Republicans and Democrats because it is an important part of our electric and heat energy mix, and is providing good-paying jobs at the plant, with hundreds more working in the woods as loggers, foresters and haulers,” said state Sen. Jeff Woodburn, D-Dalton, in a press release issued by the NHDP.
“It’s disturbing to see Walt Havenstein so casually dismiss such an important economic driver for the North Country,” Woodburn said.