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Katy Burns: Havenstein’s New Hampshire no longer exists

Havenstein isn't courting moderate voters.

Havenstein isn't courting moderate voters.

Walt Havenstein may well be a bona fide resident of New Hampshire, as the state’s Ballot Law Commission recently ruled. Although between 2007 and 2012 he lived and worked in Maryland, he maintained a legal residence here and thus is fully entitled to run for governor in this fall’s Republican primary.

And if he wins his primary – which is likely – he will be free to run against incumbent Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan.

But Walt Havenstein, a former CEO of both BAE Systems and technology giant SAIC, is clearly not a real resident of the Granite State. If he were, he would know that New Hampshire is not a right-wing state.

For evidence, Havenstein should take a good look at recent gubernatorial history. Since Democrat Jeanne Shaheen’s victory in 1996, the corner office has been held for just one term – two years – by a Republican, Craig Benson. Voters couldn’t wait to hustle him out of town, electing John Lynch and making Benson the first incumbent New Hampshire governor in 78 years to be denied a second term in office.

To be sure, New Hampshire has a well-deserved reputation for being a cheapskate state, personified by a tax system that eschews the broad-based taxes nearly all other states rely on to finance the provision of services. It’s why those running our state government – no matter what their political party – find themselves in a constant hunt for money to keep the lights on in the State House.

But aside from their devotion to what those in the budget business call a chronic structural deficit, Granite State voters are generally a pretty progressive – or libertarian – lot.

We have a long history of being environmentally conscious and protective, hardly surprising for a state with a long history of tourism. Clean water and clean, clear air are integral parts of our image.

We are generally friendly to unions. We have beaten back every attempt to impose union-busting “right to work” legislation on New Hampshire workplaces.

We support providing medical care access to all citizens, at least if someone else pays for it. In polls, New Hampshire residents were strongly in favor of expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

Women’s rights have done well in the Granite State, and some of our most effective state leaders in recent years have been female. We are firmly pro-choice. Even the 2010-2012 Legislature, easily the most conservative in recent history (and, in the opinion of many, clearly an aberration) wasn’t able to make much headway in its attempts to diminish pro-choice policies.

We are gay friendly. In fact, we were the first state to legalize gay marriage without court action or the threat of court action hanging over the Legislature. And even the right-wing legislative crew – presided over and personified by then-House Speaker Bill O’Brien – couldn’t change that, however much its leaders wanted to. Today, marriage equality is a given part of our society’s structure.

So how did Walt Havenstein introduce himself to the state’s mostly moderate voters?

From the day he formally announced his candidacy – with, of all things, former one-term governor Benson beaming over his shoulder – Havenstein has portrayed himself as a deeply conservative candidate.

He would cut taxes, although he carefully doesn’t specify what taxes he would cut. He opposes any tax increase, including the modest gas tax increase the Legislature recently passed to enable continued repairs to our state’s highways and bridges.

He opposes both the Affordable Care Act in general and specifically expanded Medicaid for lower income Granite State families.

He deplores the state’s participation in the northeast Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, despite the fact that it’s saving ratepayers in the state money and reducing overall greenhouse gases.

Just last week, Havenstein happily committed himself to signing a pledge – promoted by Americans for Prosperity, the main political arm of the notoriously right-wing billionaire industrialists David and Charles Koch – to fight for a right-to-work law in New Hampshire. That was also one of Bill O’Brien’s cherished goals, one he fell short on.

Havenstein has been a bit cagier on the two hot-button social issues, freedom of choice for women and equal rights for gay people. But, when pressed in an interview with WMUR, he finally said that, indeed, he would “consider” signing a bill repealing gay marriage, an admission that to a lot of people roughly translates as “sure, I’d sign it, but I’d rather not admit it.”

He readily admitted that he opposes an amendment to the New Hampshire constitution banning discrimination based on sexual orientation. In fact, he said he “would veto” such a proposed amendment, not realizing that governors have no veto power when it comes to amendments.

And while the candidate has been reluctant to get too deep into the abortion debates, former GOP governor Steve Merrill told an interviewer that Havenstein confided to him that he is anti-abortion and would certainly “consider” restrictions on a woman’s right to choose.

So far, Walt Havenstein is looking, unfortunately for him, like another Benson (albeit a more congenial one). That is, he’s a corporate chieftain with no governmental experience who is inexplicably convinced that government is just like business – which it assuredly isn’t.

Worse – particularly for the Republican Party – Havenstein, initially greeted as the GOP’s ticket back into the corner office, is running full-tilt as a candidate of the Bill O’Brien wing of the Republican Party.

That wing was pretty much discredited by O’Brien himself and his numerous acolytes, many of whom were ousted from office by voters horrified by the appalling institutional damage they did in two short years.

If Havenstein wins his primary, he’ll be up against Hassan, a centrist Democrat whose low-key and conciliatory approach to governing seems to fit the mood of Granite State voters these days.

It’s unlikely to be much of a contest.

(“Monitor” columnist Katy Burns lives in Bow.)

Legacy Comments4

Walt is just what we need in Concord. He would bring his legacy of leadership from SAIC to the Statehouse. Of course that is a legacy of helping to perpetrate fraud against NYC on a software contract. Being in charge as NYC was defrauded of $600 million, resulting in jail time for some executives, firings, demotions and an SEC lawsuit. Ever the vigilant CEO, he agreed to a $600 million fine in exchange for dropping legal proceedings only to retire a few months later. Right a check and voila, no crime - no foul. Is this what we need. Bottom line he was either complicit or derelict in his duties as CEO - some legacy.

More hate speech about Republicans from Ms. Burns. YES, I SAID IT, as usual this is just more innuendo; armchair analysis from a person who writes columns and is out of touch with regular folks who live paycheck to paycheck. I will say it again, this column and many others are little more than hatred of people who don't see things in her blinders squarely on viewpoint. Cheapskates? No we simply don't believe that every single problem is our problem to solve. We simply don't believe that it takes a village of holier than thou do-gooders demanding more and more of our paychecks to fund everything and all things social. Burns talks about Obamacare? Does she realize that about 67% of the population is unhappy with this terrible piece of legislative garbage? Gay friendly? I say live and let live but like Obamacare being rammed through in Washington, gay marriage was rammed through here by Democrats. I am not a Havenstein fan, I will probably vote for Hassan, but I will never support anyone who thinks like or believes as the ever extreme, radical Katy Burns. Yes, more hate speech from the side of the populace who would silence even mild criticism of progressives.

Thank you Katy for that statement on page D4 in the next to last column of: "In fact, he said he “would veto” such a proposed amendment, not realizing that governors have no veto power when it comes to amendments. " but that of even worse than this blunder is that of Hassan being in an RSA Ch. 643:1 "refrain" of criminal "Official Oppression" for KNOW-ing that NOT of an Amendment, BUT that of an actual Article in the N.H. Constitution pre-scribes what she and her Executive Council are supposed to do and that is to give "advise and consent" to the Commissioner man of The Dept. of Revenue by Article 5 in Part the Second of whether they agree with the N.H. Supreme Court who wrote at: back in 1997 that: "The majority holds today that the present system of taxation to provide funding to meet this constitutional duty violates part II, article 5 of the State Constitution, because it is not reasonable or proportional. " nor wholesome, reference the unlawful state-wide education property tax for the schools, of only then can the Deputy Commissar Stephan W. Hamilton lawfully send out the Tax Warrants to the cities and towns, to The Board of Town Selectmen, as an example, of they can then give their Tax Warrant as Assessors too to the Tax Collector to then lawfully be able to bill and collect, of that without such, then to vote for the other guy: Andrew Hemingway (R) to show this as THE "way" of HOW to reduce that slice of the property tax pie and give this "pro choice" * its FULL and Article 14 "complete"ness in that of the Rose & Milton Friedman plan of 1980 of the "Free to Choose"* the school of one's choice, and to only subsidize of to LEND* to the poor, because to use FORCE us to have to GIVE to the rich AND poor in this Reverse Robin scheme is against my religion** as a Protest-ant that is supposed to be a guarantee for me by Article 5, Part the First & Bill of Rights ** that all these public servants supposedly did Article 84 "make and subscribe" (draw up and sign) an oath to by either RSA Ch. 42:1 at the local level, or by RSA Ch. 92:2 otherwise at like the state level. So if Hassan doesn't "Wise Up", to thus get rid of her at the next General election in November with someone who WILL be of Honor. Hassan right now of an Article 41 Her Excellency, but Her Excellency in Evasion! And for her taking her every-other Friday paycheck with-OUT doing her job, she is also a THIEF! You do not reward thieves with $more money, but put them to half (50%) of their RSA Ch. 480:1-9 homestead (by the Writ of Elegit process as outlined in the Morsell case of 1875 at the U.S. Supreme Court) to pay off their debts. That brings me to that Lynch creep whose duty was to us Article 12 inhabitants of to protect us from "other laws"*** never N.H. Article 1 "consent"ed to, reference: the Ed & Elaine Brown contest against these U.S. Codes *** enacted by too many M.O.C.'s! / Members of Congress. When is Hassan going to do what Lynch FAIL-ed and REFUSED to do of that Section 2 penalty in the Fourteenth (14th) Amendment of to get rid of one of these two Federal Reps (Shea-Porter or Kuster) because when we (and the people in ten other states) can-NOT vote for our state "Judicial officers" then the representation in Congress "shall" (that's a must / mandatory requirement by her Article 51 duty "to execute the laws of this state AND of the United States" BOTH (emphasis ADDed.) Thus to read what the A.G. RSA Ch. 666:3 July 31st, 2014 Election Law Violation Report is upon Hassan that is going to the two Election Law Committees of the House and Senate. WHEN will your newspaper print this corruption!? or will it ever be discussed on the campaign trail? If not by R&D's then WHO as THE Independent in the General Election of to vote for him or her as in that: "None of the Above" R&Ds. (;-)

Cheapskate! Just because we don't try to solve all problems by merely thoughtlessly throwing money (mostly other peoples) at it like some other states - doesn't make Granite states cheapskates. It means they are more responsible tax-n-spenders.

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