By Lloyd Jones
CONWAY — Before a crowd of about 35 citizens, Gene Chandler, New Hampshire House Republican Leader, officially endorsed Scott Brown in his race for U.S. Senate Thursday afternoon at Moat Mountain Smokehouse in North Conway.
Brown, with his wife Gail at his side, enthusiastically accepted Chandler's support in his bid to unseat Democrat Jeanne Shaheen in a race that has already attracted national attention and funding. Brown is one of several Republican contenders.
"He's just very down to earth and approachable," Chandler said. "I like his positions — having been in the U.S. Senate he can hit the ground running and seems very knowledgeable. Having met him a couple of times and spent time with him, I like him."
Fellow State Rep. Mark McConkey, of Freedom, along with former representatives Carolyn Brown, of Conway, and Frank McCarthy and Terry, his wife, of Conway, also formally endorsed Brown on Thursday.
Frank McCarthy also announced he will run for the House this fall.
"I'm going to run again," he said in a Sun exclusive. "I promised if my health held up I'd run again and (smiling) I'm as healthy as a horse."
McCarthy spent two weeks campaigning for Scott Brown when he won a U.S. Senate seat in Massachusetts.
"I wanted to take the (Ted) Kennedy seat (for the Republican Party)," McCarthy said. "Scott called it the people's seat. I'm a thousand percent behind him now. We've got to change things around on the federal level, and Scott Brown is a key cog in getting a (Republican) majority in the Senate.
"I'll put in as much effort into his campaign as my own," he added.
Brown arrived 55 minutes late to Moat Mountain due to a morning engagement running long.
"I smelled the food the second I got out of the car," Brown joked.
Chandler hoped everyone in the room at some point would endorse Brown.
"No offense to any of the other candidates but I think Scott is right man for the job," he said. "Most importantly, he is certainly the only candidate, in my opinion, and I have no criticism of the other Republican candidates and I wish them all well, but Scott has the chance, and I believe it's the only chance, at unseating the sitting senator — I guess I will have to say her name, Shaheen. Scott's ideals are much, much more in tune with New Hampshire ideals than are Senator Shaheen's, who as we all know has voted with the president 99 percent of the time on issues that affect New Hampshire a lot."
"Thank you, Gene, for your formal endorsement along with the other reps and friends," Brown said. "I'm honored that Gene has joined our grassroots team to fight for New Hampshire and get our country back on track. Gene has fought tirelessly for the North Country to make sure his constituents are well represented in the State House. I appreciate his support and dedication to restore conservative principles in New Hampshire. First of all, it's been fun and a lot of work. The last month to month and a half have just been overwhelmingly positive, very positive, a lot of good ideas, suggestions and thoughts, because I don't know it all.
"We've had an opportunity to learn and understand the issues that are affecting us," he continued. "And that is without a doubt Obama Care and how it is really destroying businesses, especially with the next tsunami coming affecting businesses after the election. A lot of businesses are actually getting their notices now and they've had good plans and provided insurance for their employees. You've noticed even the mountains are having to change the way how they do business, they closed earlier, and some of them are actually being dramatically affected by the summer wedding and tourist seasons as a result of Obama Care. That shouldn't have been the intent certainly, but it's happening. What do we do to deal with it? Well, you absolutely have to repeal it because it's such a mess."
Brown said the country needs to come up with a true energy policy.
"We don't have an energy policy," he said. "I don't know about you, but I get a chuckle when I'm at the gym and I see the ad they're running now. That's not an oil bill, that's a motorists bill. I don't know about you, but yesterday I filled up the truck and it was $65. The oil for my tank (at home) this winter was $750-$850 a tank, monthly, usually. The middle of a recession and in tourist season I'm not going to change the tax policy for industry after 20 minutes of just filing a bill and moving for closure, shutting off debate, I'm not going to do that. You want to have a conversation about energy, then let's have a conversation about the Keystone pipeline and how it affects getting good union and non-union paying jobs, middle-America middle income jobs on the market; and how it gets our oil on and in the system to stabilize prices to make sure that we don't continue to pay money to the countries and people that want to kill us and change our way of life. Jeanne Shaheen has voted against it over and over again. I'm in favor of it.
"To have an energy policy to establish a relationship with our greatest trading partner is a no brainer," Brown continued. "It's gone through all of the reviews and it's time to move it forward. And, when you're talking about whose side you're on, I'm on the side of our energy producers and the people who want good paying jobs, who want to step back from our dependence on foreign oil. I'm in favor of the job creators who want to have a health-care system that works for us in New Hampshire, that takes into account our values and the things that are important to us, the good costs, the good diet for a dollar that doesn't raise taxes that incorporates all of the things you have concerns for. We can do it."
Brown called Shaheen "a good person," but believes someone needs to go to Washington D.C. to represent Granite Staters.
"It's not personal and all of the candidates who are run in the (Republican) primary are all good people too," he said. "There are good people on all sides of every issue that we're discussing, but the question in the case of Senator Shaheen is whose side is she really on when she votes 99 percent of the time with the president last year and a 100 percent of the time the year before and I believe 98.5 percent the year before that. How does that represent our values? How do the president's values translate down to us here? I'm sorry there is no translation, there is no translation.
"The Obama Care, I was there, and she was the deciding vote," Brown added. "She voted against every single grandfathering amendment to protect your doctors, your hospitals, your nurses, every single one she voted against it. She said, 'I'm trying to fix it, I didn't know it was in there.' Well, you should have read it. You should have read the bill. The old Nancy Pelosi approach, 'Oh we have to pass it before we know what's in it.' No, you should read the bill and understand and know that when you pass a bill like this, a 2.3 percent tax is going to hit our medical advice companies. She should know that three-quarters of a trillion dollars is going to be taken from Medicare, our seniors' Medicare, to back-fill and prop up Obama Care. You should know that. You should know that our insurance companies have no competition, they've been chased away by the legislation she signed into law when she was governor. We have a choice. Let's just say we don't agree on one issue, let's say we don't agree on energy for some reason, which I think we all do. Let's take that one energy issue and put it aside; what about all of the other things we agree on? There's like 100 percent of everything else. President Reagan said, 'I'd rather be 60, 70 to 80 percent friend,' I'm paraphrasing, 'versus your 100 percent enemy.' You have somebody right now in Jeanne Shaheen who is representing us and voting 99 and 100 percent of the time against our interests. We deserve better. You deserve better. Like I said, I don't know it all but I'm a good listener, I'm a good learner, and I will always have my door open and I will always have the ability to have you at a seat at my table, literally and figuratively, to get that guidance and knowledge that I don't maybe have the expertise on that you do or you do or you do. I don't care what the issue is."
Brown asked everyone for their vote and support.
"I'm asking for your vote and support because I think I have the ability," he said. "Number one I have no learning curve to understand the issues in a personal, visceral manner. I have the ability to battle on a national level against the race that this will become. It will be one of the biggest races in the country. You all supported me back in 2010 when I was the 41st senator to try to stop Obama Care. We stopped a lot of is because if I had not been elected there would have been a big takeover of our health-care industry. I want to go down there and be the 51st senator to empower every other Republican senator to be the 51st senator through reconciliation to get rid of Obama Care and then almost in a federalist sort of way to allow us as a state to get together with our elected leaders to come up with a plan that works for us without the federal government telling us how to do it, what to do and when to do it. So we have a very, very real choice and I can't do this alone."
Brown again thanked Chandler for his endorsement.
"Gene, to have your guidance and leadership and knowledge on issues up in this area and just generally is amazing," he said. "To have your experience and everyone's input is welcome, it's welcome. I want to win this area big. Every single vote — Democrat, Independent, Republican — every single vote matters."