Published DateNew Hampshire voters are fortunate to have four excellent candidates running for governor: Republicans Ovide Lamontagne and Kevin Smith, and Democrats Maggie Hassan and Jackie Cilley.
For Tuesday's Primary, we endorse Lamontagne and Cilley
The choice is crystal clear for Republicans. Issues are not what separate Lamontagne and Smith; both are far to the right on fiscal and social issues and represent the most conservative wing of the Republican Party.
Smith is just 35 years old and is a rising star in New Hampshire politics. His time will come, but he lacks the political gravitas we see in Lamontagne, a man who has dedicated much of his public life to politics and education. For decades of service to his party and loyalty to conservative principles and ideals, Lamontagne deserves to be the Republican's standard bearer.
The choice is not so clear for Democrats. Both Hassan and Cilley are former state senators, and are supremely capable, accomplished and experienced; liberals would be proud of either taking over the corner office.
The differences between them are less about policies and more about style, background and personality.
Two factors tip the scale for us. Cilley is a Berlin native with a special interest in the north country, and she shows a rare streak of political independence and willingness to break ranks with her own party — qualities we see less of in Hassan.
Here are two examples. Hassan has taken the politically safe pledge against broad based taxes. Cilley compares pledge-taking to pandering and says she won't rule out any ideas for tax reform. That's a high-minded, honest and defensible position, but a danagerous one that even has other Democrats running for cover.
Of special interest to the Sun, which a few years ago ran afoul to the labor department's unfair and capricious enforcement of its own regulations, is recently enacted legislation that directs the department to give businesses warnings instead of fines for first offenses of minor violations.
The bill passed in 2011 under the Republican dominated legislature, but it first came up in 2009 with a bill co-sponsored by Cilley and Republican state Sen. Jeb Bradley. The bill never made it out of committee, which happened to be chaired by Hassan, who didn't support the much needed reforms then and still doesn't.
Asked at an editorial board at the Sun why she's visited Berlin only once in her campaign, Hasson said the geographical realities of running a statewide campaign keep her in the southern part of the state.
That makes political sense, but the north country will be better served by a governor who cares more about its future than the number of votes it represents on election day.
Cilley, who grew up poor on the third floor of a triple-decker in Berlin, has been quoted, "I'm from Berlin, I don't roll over." That's north country attitude worth voting for.
Our picks for state reps
At $100 per year in pay and countless days required in Concord, we're surprised there are enough candidates to fill all the seats in the state legislature, never mind having enough to create contested races.
Yet, the the field must be trimmed for the general election in November.
In District II, covering Conway, Chatham, Eaton and Hale's Location, there are three seats available with eight people on the ballot, four from each party.
On the Republican ticket we continue to be impressed by the active role of incumbent Karen Umberger. She goes above and beyond the job with her open approach to government and keeping her constituents informed.
Fellow incumbent Frank McCarthy is as honest as the day is long and we think he deserves to move on to the general election along with political newcomer Dick McClure, who points outs you don't need to have the most signs to get elected; you just need to know where to strategically place them.
That leaves fellow Republican Steve Steiner on the outside looking in. We encourage him to continue to stay involved in the community as an active member of the Conway Municipal Budget Committee.
On the Democrat ticket, Bob Bridgham was a victim of the Republican tsunami in 2010 that cost him his seat in the House when he represented Eaton, Madison and Albany. He's very smart, and his calm demeanor is a asset in working across the aisle.
Syndi White brings an unmatched passion to the table and we believe she'd be an advocate for all of the people of her community. Her slogan, "People not Politics" couldn't be more timely than now.
Dick Pollock admits he's a political newbie, but that may be a good thing this time around and we support his advancing to the general election.
This leaves former three term legislator Tom Buco off our ballot. We thank Tom for his years of service but it's time for new blood, and we wish him well as a new commissioner for the Conway Village Fire District.
The final contested race in our area is for the newly created District VII Floterial seat which covers Albany, Bartlett, Chatham, Conway, Eaton, Freedom, Hale's Location, Hart's Location, Jackson, Madison and Tamworth.
Republicans Norm Tregenza and Michael Callis are vying to represent their party in the general election. Callis ran for president a few years ago, and while we appreciate his willingness to serve, Tregenza gets our support in the primary for getting out and asking people in the district for their vote. On the Democratic side, former state rep Ed Butler is running unopposed.
In District I, covering Bartlett, Hart's Location and Jackson, Republican Gene Chandler and Democrat Gino Funicella avoid primary campaigning and will meet in the general election.
The same holds true in District III, covering Albany, Freedom, Madison and Tamworth for two seats, with Republicans Mark McConkey and Maynard Thomson to face off in the general election against Susan Ticehurst, a Democrat from Tamworth.