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Editorial: Two solid county choices

On Tuesday, Merrimack County voters in two of three districts will be asked to elect a county commissioner. In both races, we encourage voters to choose the Republican candidate.

In District 1 – which includes Concord, Boscawen and Webster – the race pits incumbent Democrat Liz Blanchard against Republican Liz Hager.

Blanchard, a two-term commissioner, is a wonderful person who has the interests of county residents at heart, but Hager would be a far more forceful advocate on behalf of taxpayers. It would be mistake for voters not to take advantage of Hager’s exceptionally strong financial and administrative background and her willingness to serve.

Hager spent 26 years in the House of Representatives, much of it on the committee that formulates the state budget. She served on the Concord City Council for nine years, including two as the city’s first female mayor. Once again, much of her time was spent overseeing budgets. She recently retired after 16 years as executive director of the Merrimack County United Way, raising money and deciding how to spend it in a way that provided a maximum benefit to the charity’s recipients. She also has a master’s degree in public administration, precisely the kind of training that would help a commissioner run the county in the most cost-effective manner possible.

As a longtime leader in the Legislature, Hager has the skills and experience to lobby for sorely needed changes, including measures to put a stop to the practice of stranding mentally ill violators of the law in county jails unprepared and untrained to assist them. We strongly endorse Hager for county commissioner.

In District 3 – which includes Bow, Bradford, Danbury, Henniker, Hopkinton, Hooksett, New London, Newbury, Sutton, Warner and Wilmot – we strongly favor giving incumbent Republican Commissioner Peter Spaulding another term.

His Democratic opponent, Bill Cohen of Bow, is an experienced and affable administrator who acknowledges that he’s running to give voters a choice, not because he disagrees with Spaulding’s voting record or job performance. While we think Cohen would be an able commissioner, Spaulding’s three decades of experience in government is hard to beat, and he knows the issues cold.

Spaulding has served on the county commission for more than two decades and spent about the same amount of time on the Executive Council, where he approved or rejected state contracts and gubernatorial appointments.

Spaulding is a moderate who strongly believes in open, accessible and accountable government. He deserves your vote.

I expect the Kuster endorsement to come on Sunday and the Van Ostern (Van Hirschberg) endorsement to come as early as tomorrow or Saturday. When it does, just remember folks, nothing to see here, nothing unexpected........

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