In the New Hampshire Gubernatorial race this year,  incumbent John Lynch stepping down and retired.  The two choices offered up are Republican nominee Ovide Lamontagne and on the blue side Margaret Hassan.

For a constitutionalist, the choice seems clear enough.

Hassan served in the N.H. Senate as the Democratic Whip.  Under her tenure, programs like the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, and the Education Accountability – SB 180 among other big government minded programs were implemented.

Lamontagne preaches the Ronald Reagan gospel of less government, adherence to the Tenth Amendment, and state sovereignty.  In a recent debate for his party’s nomination, Lamontagne was asked “Would you sign a bill passed by the legislature to nullify an action of the federal government?”   In his response he said if other avenues were exhausted, and the legislature passes a bill to nullify Obamacare, “I will sign that bill.”   He also commented, “shame on us,” stating that New Hampshire should have been the first state to sue the federal government over Obamacare.

Although both candidates are career politicians, and lawyers, Lamontagne seems to understand the proper role of government.  When he was the head of the N.H. Department of Education, he said no to $9 million in federal funding, rejecting the “Goals 2000” program with the understanding that it would initiate more federal control over New Hampshire’s freedom to educate.

“To the extent we can keep government local, we’re going to keep government in check,” he said.

Hassan, his opponent, feels she can preserve the democratic process by keeping a bi-partisan outlook on things.

“One of the things I really worked on in the State Senate was making sure that when we develop policy; everybody comes to the table to do it. … I’ve always found it really important that I can hear different views at the debate in front of me because that informs really good policy making.”

However when it came time to vote, records show Hassan votes with the democrats 98 percent of the time, which means more tax and spend and more big government programs.  With education and jobs being her primary campaign focus, one could easily assume that big government programs which involve federal grants with strings attached could be in the future for New Hampshire if Hassan wins.

Hassan’s campaign reminds me of another gubernatorial candidate in my home state of Wisconsin, a Republican, who’s 1986 campaign slogan was “Jobs ahead of spending, Opportunity ahead of Taxes.”  A man who would work for Wisconsin. After Tommy Thompson was elected, he proceeded to veto every bill passed by the Democratic legislature.  This same man then went on to “mastermind”  Medicare Part D which subsidizes drug costs (negotiated by big pharma) via. federal tax dollars.  “Maggie” Hassan sounds like another big government career politician, possibly using New Hampshire as a stepping stone to bigger things, as Thompson did.

Lamontagne, on the other hand, seems to have the knowledge to serve the office correctly, often quoting James Madison on the limits of federal power, citing Article 7 of his states constitution as well as the 9th and 10th amendments of the U.S. Constitution, affirming his belief in the sovereignty of the people and his role to preserve that freedom.

If this really is a decision about what’s best for the people…Blue, Red, or Purple…you have to go with the person who understands the job correctly.  In addition, it’s not just enough to vote them in.  The residents of New Hampshire also need to hold their elected officials’ feet to the fire.  As Lamontagne himself said “The inertial state of government is growth…and unless we have checks and balances and barriers to growth we are going to continue to labor under the growth pattern in this country.”

One person elected to office can’t solve New Hampshire’s problems alone, but the RIGHT person in office with the resolve of the people can set a well deserved example of how government should work.

John Michaels
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