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My Turn: Hemingway is the kind of leader the GOP needs



Being a good leader isn’t about your age or how many years of business experience you have. It’s about the kind of experience you have and what you can do with it.

Andrew Hemingway is a young, high-tech entrepreneur running for governor of New Hampshire, and I support him.

Republicans have talked about encouraging young people to join with us, to grow our base and help us elect leaders to fight for our conservative ideals. But our words and our actions don’t always match.

When Hemingway announced for office, the GOP establishment stirred from its slumbers. “He is too young. He hasn’t earned his wings in party politics yet,” they grumped.

Instead, self-appointed party pooh-bahs put forward an older, establishment candidate to vie for the Republican nomination in the Sept. 9 primary election.

This high-handed approach has failed the GOP over and over.

What’s wrong with youth? What’s wrong with fresh idealism? What’s wrong with new ideas?

Hugh Gregg was in his 30s when he became governor. Likewise, the people of New Hampshire elected me to the U.S. Senate when I was in my 30s. Instead of welcoming Hemingway’s candidacy, the GOP big names in Washington and Concord have pushed a candidate who spent the better part of two decades inside the Washington Beltway, working both sides of the aisle to get as much money as he could for the big defense and government services firms he led.

Through political contributions, this candidate’s firm added half a million dollars to Democrat coffers in Washington in 2010 alone – including contributions to Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Harry Reid.

Did the party pooh-bahs in Washington and Concord take this sordid matter into account before anointing their chosen candidate? Evidently not. That once again money had trumped integrity did not seem to concern them in the least.

Hemingway is a 32-year-old entrepreneur who has built and sold two companies and is working on his third. He is a New Hampshire native who has a lovely family, with a third child due weeks before the general election.

While the establishment candidate was hobnobbing with Democrats in Washington and funneling donations to anyone who had influence, regardless of principle, Hemingway was energetically leading the charge in New Hampshire to repeal the Limited Liability Corporation Tax and working hard to get 100 new state representatives elected to the New Hampshire House – all while building his business and raising his family right here in the Granite State.

Hemingway is the only candidate who has been releasing serious, concrete and innovative plans to fix this state’s serous problems. He proposed an overhaul of the entire business tax structure to eliminate most taxes and impose a 2 percent flat tax instead. That’s innovation. That’s sound and serious policy, based on conservative values.

That’s the way to create jobs worth having. His opponent released a plan that was proposed more than 20 years ago and hasn’t worked yet.

We need new leadership, fresh leadership, idealistic leadership. We need a candidate who can engage new voters and inspire traditional voters searching for innovative solutions based on conservative American values. The time has come to pass the torch to the next generation. We need experience in Concord, but we need the right kind of experience. We need the experience of Andrew Hemingway.

(Gordon Humphrey served in the U.S. Senate from 1979-1990.)

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