Meet the Merrimack County District 1 House candidates
The Monitor sent questionnaires to area House candidates. We asked the candidates to answer a checklist of questions about positions the most recent Legislature took on a range of issues. Although we asked for yes or no responses, many of the candidates went further. Rather than limit the responses, we provided as much leeway as space will allow. Each candidate was also given a chance to add information specific to their candidacies. Here’s what they said:
Merrimack County 1
Andover, Danbury, Salisbury (1 seat)
Occupation: Retired businessman
Do you support . . .
Right-to-work legislation? No
Repealing gay marriage? No
Allowing guns on college campuses? No. I have guns, I am not anti-gun, but ask any law enforcement official, and their answer to allowing guns on college campuses would be: “Are you nuts ?”
Legalizing medical marijuana? Yes
Allowing any employer to exempt contraception from insurance plans? No. Another attempt to tell women what to do with their own bodies.
Last year’s 50 percent cut in university funding? No. I will work to reinstate the cigarette tax to restore funding for our universities and trade schools. There lies our future.
A constitutional amendment giving the Legislature full authority over education funding? No. We have already seen what this past Legislature has done with the education budget, cutting it by 50 percent.
A business tax credit to fund scholarships? No. Another attack on our public education system. Let’s face it, this past Legislature does not believe in public education and is out to destroy it.
The efforts of the Committee on Redress of Grievances? No
A constitutional amendment barring an income tax? No. Why tie our hands? In the future, when local property taxes go through the roof because of the policies of this past Legislature, voters might want to revisit an income tax in exchange for a reduction and a cap on property taxes.
Requiring voters to present a photo ID? I am not against it, but there must be a longer transition period and everyone domiciled here must be included, i.e. military personnel, students etc.
Some form of expanded gambling? Yes. But no mega-casinos. I would consider riverboat casinos and at resorts in the White Mountains. Little or no negative impacts on the communities, revenues that stay in New Hampshire instead of going out of state.
What would you like voters to know about your philosophy, principles or priorities? I value common sense. My goal is to focus on serving our towns. This will be best done by seeking common ground with Republicans and Democrats alike in the Legislature. I know that’s what voters want from us.
Where can voters find out more about your candidacy? marioratzki.com.
Occupation: Emergency medical technician
Do you support . . .
Right-to-work legislation? Yes. The unions shouldn’t have to take care of those that don’t want to join, and those that don’t want to join shouldn’t be forced too.
Repealing gay marriage? No. Government needs to get out of the marriage business. This issue needs to stop. It is playing ping-pong with people’s lives, and it is a private matter between individuals, not a public matter for the state.
Allowing guns on college campuses? Yes, a private school has the right to set its own rules. However, public places or those supported by taxpayer dollars are required to follow the Constitution, which in New Hampshire is very specific on the rights of law-abiding citizens to defend themselves.
Legalizing medical marijuana? Yes
Allowing any employer to exempt contraception from insurance plans? Yes. In a country where we allow a religious exemption on drivers licenses to women who wear a veil over their face, to religious exemption for school dress codes, we must also include those who practice the Christian religious beliefs where contraception is not holy.
Last year’s 50 percent cut in university funding? Yes, The university system has had a great amount of support over the years, including a modernization program for the buildings. While the taxpayer has continued to fund improvements, the university system continued to increase salaries. Now is a time for all to realize the economic realities.
A constitutional amendment giving the Legislature full authority over education funding? Yes, for state-provided funding. The local communities will still control how they spend the dollars raised on a local level.
A business tax credit to fund scholarships? Yes
The efforts of the Committee on Redress of Grievances? Yes. The committee has shown over two years they are able to defuse situations and also see the arguments for what they are. They are cautious and careful to apply the tenets of the Constitution and the laws of the state to every complaint.
A constitutional amendment barring an income tax? Yes
Requiring voters to present a photo ID? Yes
Some form of expanded gambling? Yes, as an industry like any other. Gambling should not be seen as the way to balance a budget and should comply with all rules and laws the Legislature sets.
What would you like voters to know about your philosophy, principles or priorities? If I had to point to three specific things I have accomplished it would have to be the creation of a new Purple Heart Trail to honor our servicemen and women; stopping the Department of Revenue from penalizing small businesses and forcing light on their actions; and working to stop the early release of violent criminals back onto our streets without the proper safeguards or services in place. We have a mental health care crisis in our state: All too often people cannot get access to proper treatment and are held in our emergency rooms and jails awaiting placement to a mental health facility for treatment. We must work with state agencies and local groups to ensure we have community services and safeguards in place to help people in need. We also must work to streamline the process of operating a business in New Hampshire.
Where can voters find out more about your candidacy? Call 748-1985, or write to firstname.lastname@example.org any time with any question, or visit jenncoffey.com, on facebook www.facebook.com/pages/Jenn-Coffey/59034003880