Editorial: Republicans should choose Havenstein
Politicians and business executives love to tout their leadership skills – whether they have them or not. But the real leaders are easy to spot. When they talk about accomplishments, they talk about the team.
On Sept. 9, New Hampshire Republicans and undeclared voters will choose the candidate for governor they believe is best equipped to build a team capable of leading the state to a more prosperous future. That candidate is clearly Walt Havenstein.
As a popular chief executive officer of BAE Systems Inc., Havenstein managed a budget that was about three times the size of New Hampshire’s annual budget. While allocating resources at a for-profit company is quite different from trying to stretch every dollar to keep the state running, Havenstein’s financial experience would undoubtedly help him spot inefficiencies in government operations.
Havenstein also understands that a promise to create jobs in New Hampshire requires not just statistics and equations but a commitment to building a better workforce. During his time at BAE, Havenstein formed partnerships with Dean Kamen’s FIRST Robotics program as well as the University of New Hampshire’s engineering department, which received a $1 million donation from BAE and invaluable advice about how to redesign the program to give students an edge entering the workforce. When Havenstein left BAE in 2009, 70 percent of the company’s interns were from UNH.
While we don’t back Havenstein on several issues, including his opposition to repealing the death penalty, we do agree with his belief that the push for casinos amounts to supporting a dying industry. We also believe that his 28 years in the Marine Corps will provide him with an important perspective on veterans’ issues.
Andrew Hemingway, Havenstein’s main opponent in the Republican primary, is an energetic young candidate, but he is ill-prepared for the seat he is seeking. His go-it-alone mentality stands in stark contrast to that of proud team-builder Havenstein, whose maturity, intellect and even temper would better serve his party and the state.
The clear danger for Havenstein is that voters on the fringe tend to dominate midterm elections, and those voters are increasingly backing Hemingway. But if Republicans want to seriously challenge the incumbent, they would be wise to choose the electable candidate.
Havenstein’s proven abilities to lead employees and manage a large budget, as well as his abiding respect for those he has worked with, make him the Republican Party’s best choice to challenge Gov. Maggie Hassan on Nov. 4.