SEA backs Hassan for governor post
The State Employees' Association has endorsed Democrat Maggie Hassan after the union's first choice for governor, Jackie Cilley, was defeated in the Sept. 11 primary.
The SEA announced the endorsement yesterday, citing Hassan's opposition to right-to-work legislation and stance against introducing a 401(k)-style defined-contribution retirement plan for state workers, among other things.
Hassan, of Exeter, faces Republican Ovide Lamontagne of Manchester in the Nov. 6 election to replace retiring Gov. John Lynch, a Hopkinton Democrat.
'The outcome of the gubernatorial race will determine whether we will have a governor who promises to be 'Scott Walker on steroids' and 'radically different' from Gov. John Lynch, or whether the corner office will be occupied by a governor who stands up for working families and is committed to making the Granite State as strong as it can be,' SEA President Diana Lacey wrote in the union's emailed announcement.
The state workers' union endorsed Cilley back in June, citing her refusal to take 'The Pledge' against a state income or sales tax.
'We lock ourselves into hundreds of different fees and the property tax,' Lacey said at the time. 'It's important to have a conversation where you put all the cards on the table and you see what the viable solutions are. I think that is what has been missing.'
Hassan defeated Cilley in last week's Democratic primary. Lacey said yesterday that, after looking at Hassan and Lamontagne, 'We really feel Maggie is the superior candidate.'
And while Hassan has pledged to veto any broad-based tax, Lacey said, 'everything else is basically in alignment with where we are.'
The SEA didn't endorse Lynch, a Democrat, or Republican opponent John Stephen in the 2010 gubernatorial contest, when Lynch won a fourth term in office.
Lacey yesterday said that reflected the fact that union members would have been familiar with the incumbent Lynch and Stephen, the former commissioner of health and human services, while Lamontagne and Hassan are less known.
'So it's really the unknown quantity versus the known quantity for us at this point,' she said, 'as well as (Lamontagne's) positions on some issues,' such as privatizing some Department of Transportation and other services.
(Ben Leubsdorf can be reached at 369-3307 or email@example.com or on Twitter @BenLeubsdorf.)