CONWAY — The finish line is in sight for Steve Marchand. The Democrat from Portsmouth announced he was running for governor of New Hampshire 17 months ago, and with the Granite State primary just over a month away, the former Portsmouth mayor is looking to make his closing argument on why he’s the right choice to lead the state for the next two years.
Marchand will be in the Mount Washington Valley on Tuesday. With no specific stops planned other than an editorial board at the Sun at 3:30 p.m., he hopes to get out on Main Street and mingle with area business owners during the trip.
Marchand, 44, is in a primary race with former state Senator Molly Kelly (D-Harrisville). While there had been no official polling of the race since April, many believe it’s close.
The primary is Sept. 11.
The winner will take on incumbent Gov. Chris Sununu (R-Newfields), who is unopposed, in the general election on Nov. 6.
This is Marchand's second run for the corner office in Concord. He admits he got into the race late in 2016 and vowed that would not be the case this time around. His thinking, he said, was "don't be coy, let folks know you're doing it and go get it, get to work."
Marchand, who was Portsmouth mayor from 2005-2008, owns a consulting firm for local, county and state performance management. He and wife, Sandi Hennequin, have two young daughters.
Since announcing his candidacy in April of 2017, Marchand has traveled across the Granite State going to more than 100 meet-and-greets. Marchand has vowed that no other candidate “will outwork him,” and that’s led to an active meeting schedule along with a presence in social media with his website and Facebook page.
Last election cycle, Marchand was the lone candidate to favor legalizing of marijuana, but it's not driving this campaign.
"It's a sexy issue in the sense that people like to talk about it, but it's not one of the first five things that I think about every morning when I'm thinking about public policy,” he said during a July 2017 visit to the Sun. “I’m really driven by education; I'm driven by what drives entrepreneurship and public growth; increasingly, I look at public health care."
Marchand believes in universal health care.
"The reason we have an employee-based system is because we've had one. And it happened because in World War II, the boys were off to war and FDR said, 'Look, I've got to put a wage freeze on,' and employees said, 'I can't pay you more, but I can give you benefits.' So, what they did was say, 'We'll give you lots of health care. Why not, because it's cheap, nobody changes jobs, and life expectancy is 66.' And, of course, those three things are completely untrue today."
Aside from supporting enacting universal health care, Marchand also supports paid family and medical leave, protecting a woman’s right to choose and protecting immigrant rights.
On July 30, Marchand released his energy policy which calls for a goal of 50 percent for New Hampshire renewables by 2030.
“States around the country are increasingly recognizing that aggressive, forward-looking energy policies create the opportunity to simultaneously protect our environment, reduce electric bills for residents and businesses and create quality local jobs,” Marchand states on his website. “If we are going to get younger as a state and develop a more dynamic, entrepreneurial economy, we need to be on the front end of energy policy. I am excited to make this a priority as Governor. …Currently, 18 percent of our energy comes from renewables. I have set the goal to reach 50 percent by 2030.”
He vows to answer “four primary question” in his plan: How can we maximize energy conservation? How do we maximize renewable energy, particularly NH-centric renewables? How can we diversify our sources of energy? How do we provide relief for ratepayers, be they residential or commercial?
“I am the only candidate for Governor who is 100 percent opposed to either Northern Pass or Granite Bridge,” Marchand states. “Why? Across party lines, powerful corporate forces have made it politically very uncomfortable for elected officials in “Planet Concord” to oppose either project, because of the amount of money they have injected into campaigns. I’m the only candidate for Governor who has never taken a dime from PSNH/Eversource, and I never will.”
Marchand and his wife, Sandi Hennequin, have two young daughters, Abbi and Maggie.