Positions on policy issues, in no particular order;
One of my primary focus areas in Concord is on reforming various aspects of the legislative process. This is a wide-ranging issue, ranging from increasing transparency to overhauling the legislative ethics rules to reduce-or-prohibit conflicts of interest in the legislature. I’ve filed legislation, and fought for rule changes, to reduce the influence of paid lobbyists, make it easier for regular people to testify at legislative hearings, overhaul our ethics rules, reform campaign finance laws, and a variety of related topics. People don’t trust politicians or legislative institutions anymore, and all of us in government should be working to fix that serious disconnect. It is very important to me that when I’m done serving you in the NH House, that I’ve left the institution a little more transparent and trustworthy than I found it.
I am a strong supporter of establishing a right to individual privacy at the state level. We need to protect our citizens from having their personal information (such as your social security number) being shared by private companies without your consent, and strengthen our right against unreasonable search & seizure by the government. As things stand, the law provides almost no protection for you and your family in terms of privacy from other people. The US Constitution gives you a measure of privacy protection against intrusion by the federal government but as things are now, you have very little protecting your privacy from invasion by private interests. I take personal privacy incredibly seriously, and have voted against several measures (automated license-plate scanners, etc) which would have eroded individual privacy even more and have co-sponsored legislation expanding privacy protections.
Access to healthcare is one of the most critical issues facing most Americans these days. I am a supporter of a national single-payer plan to bring our healthcare system into the 21st century. At the state level, I’ve consistently supported Medicaid expansion, family medical leave, and other policies aimed at making it easier for you to get the healthcare you need – when you need it – even if you fall on hard times financially. Nobody should ever be at risk of going bankrupt because of a medical problem or injury.
Marijuana, Drugs, Opioid Crisis
The issue of Marijuana legalization cross-connects with several other issues, including criminal justice reform and healthcare. I have consistently voted for Marijuana decriminalization bills, and for full legalization back in my first term. Its obvious that our inclusion of Marijuana in the “war on drugs” is absurd and counterproductive, and I will always vote accordingly. This extends to industrial application of hemp products, though I don’t want to see Marijuana become another “cash crop” of large national agribusiness and prefer to focus on legalization for personal use rather than commercial use. I generally favor decriminalization of individual possession of small single-use amounts of drugs, while I support harsh penalties for those caught dealing and importing drugs to our community. In short, we need to stop punishing the victims, and crack down on the enablers.
Environment & Climate
Man-made climate change is real, and already happening. Man-made pollutants also can cause a variety of illnesses (as we’ve seen with the recently identified cancer cluster here in NH) both to humans and wildlife. We need to do everything practical to reduce the amount of pollution we dump, and clean up the damage we’ve already done.
As a product of New Hampshire public schools, I feel that our teachers are an outstanding resource and deserve our full support. In years past, when I served on my local school budget committee, I was distressed to learn how difficult some teachers are finding it to serve their students without up-to-date textbooks and without adequate materials. We owe it to them to provide our full support whenever we can, and I will do my best to help raise teacher pay, escape NCLB, and support higher education whenever possible. We also need to extend our support to the state’s university system which is tragically underfunded (NH is dead last out of all fifty states). We should be doing everything possible to ensure our students can graduate debt-free.
A strong economy is built upon the foundation of a strong infrastructure. New Hampshire has an opportunity to serve the double interest of creating jobs and developing our local infrastructure at the same time. Repairing our roads and bridges and keeping our airports in good condition are vital priorities for New Hampshire’s diverse business community and helps create opportunity for all of us. I will work hard to make sure our economic infrastructure is developed, and maintained. During the 2013-2014 term I’ve voted for numerous measures to secure funding to finally finish I-93 as well as repair or replace our red-list bridges. I also fought hard to protect the budget for finishing Exit 4, when there was an attempt to repeal that funding.
Workers in any career field have a right to collective bargaining as a means to secure equitable benefits and wages for themselves. This right does not cease if one is employed by the state or a municipality. Our teachers, fire fighters, police, and other civil servants are dedicated professionals who deserve a fair livable wage and decent benefits. Professions that serve the public good should be aspired to, and not looked down upon. I will strongly oppose any measures that aim to remove or restrict collective bargaining rights for anyone in New Hampshire, and have stood by my convictions by participating in union picket lines for many years. Similarly, we need to maintain workplace safety standards and basic worker protections to prevent exploitative employment contracts or conditions. This includes protections against wage theft and worker misclassification as well as raising the minimum wage to something people can actually live on since most minimum wage earners are actually adults – it isn’t a “starter wage” for teenagers anymore.
I consider myself a moderate on gun issues, and legislation dealing with firearms and related topics often ends up being rather complex. I examine every gun bill we get, and my vote is often influenced by the “minor details” in the legislation. Generally speaking I favor common sense policies such as universal background checks, restrictions on “cop killer” ammo sales, and banning military heavy weapons from civilian ownership but I don’t support things like “wide net” gun confiscation. As a moderate on gun issues, neither ‘side’ usually likes me on this one.
Criminal Justice Reform
Recently there has been a push in the Granite State to outsource our justice into the hands of large national for-profit corporations. This horribly unethical, and woefully unjust, idea needs to be discarded immediately. For-Profit prisons are mathematically not capable of providing a cost-savings to the taxpayers (assuming the same level of rehabilitation is provided to those in the justice system), and also stand in very murky ethical grounds where they have a financial interest in locking people up as well as keeping people locked up. It’s not hard to imagine situations where someone is exonerated or has a medical emergency, but a for-profit prison suppresses efforts that might lead to their release – since they stand to profit from continued incarceration. The very idea of private prisons is antithetical to everything I believe in, and flies in the face of the very concept of justice itself. I pledge that I will vote against any measures to outsource our justice system.