A few suggestions for Maggie Hassan and the Legislature
The Monitor’s Nov. 9 editorial, “An agenda for Hassan, Democrats,” and a rebuttal of sorts by our new governor-elect (“With election over, let’s focus on common ground,” Monitor Opinion page, Nov. 17) have got me thinking.
I can sum up my goals for the new politicians in Concord in one word: moderation. Though I am overjoyed by the results of the 2012 election, I’m only cautiously optimistic about the consequences for the next few years for the citizens of New Hampshire. Ever the independent, I agree with some of what the Monitor and Gov.-elect Maggie Hassan herself are proposing – but am also fearful of words like “common ground” not fulfilling themselves in deeds.
I would organize my dream agenda for our new governor and Legislature thusly:
Things not to mess with
Gay marriage. This one is a done deal. The trend in any democracy is towards freedom, and New Hampshire’s gay marriage law is a shining example of this. Gay marriage fits our state’s motto and Constitution. Freedom includes the freedom for any person to enter into a legally-binding marriage with any other person whom they love.
Things to reinstate
Higher education funding. The class of 2010 gutted our university and community college funding budgets. The future of our state demands that we undo that damage.
Planned Parenthood. If we learned anything from the 2012 election, it is that the public doesn’t want a government crackdown on personal health-care decisions. Planned Parenthood is not the bogeyman. Let’s leave it alone.
Things to do away with
The school voucher law. Unless someone can show me where in the New Hampshire Constitution it says that it’s lawful and necessary to take public money and redirect it to private institutions, this misguided law should be repealed.
The view tax. Not that I’m against taxes, just silly ones. Funny thing about trees, they have a habit of growing back. So unless a tax assessor is going to return to every residence where a view tax was levied 15-20 years earlier and remove said tax if the “view” is now obstructed, I say get rid of it.
Things to tweak a little
Voter ID. I disagree with the Monitor that we should do away with it. I’m fine with the concept of having to show ID to vote in principle. We must show ID to buy beer, cigarettes, get an auto loan, apply for a job, etc. Why not have to show it when we exercise the most important duty as citizens?
But if voter ID is to remain, we need a system by which all citizens can obtain the proper identification – especially the elderly and the poor. Contrary to what most people might think, not everyone has a photo ID.
Recent problems involving other states’ voter ID laws, like one in which a gun owner’s ID is acceptable, but a student ID is not, need to be avoided.
I suggest an inexpensive “citizen voter card” and a plan to make it as easy as possible for those with mobility issues, etc., to acquire one. We have two years until the next election. That should be plenty of time to get all legal residents in compliance.
Guns in the State House: As a hunter and gun owner I’m a staunch advocate of our Second Amendment rights. But I also believe the Legislature’s class of 2010 went overboard with its pro-gun-at-all-costs agenda.
How about this? Don’t reinstate the State House gun ban unless you are willing to install metal detectors manned by armed security guards – just like at courthouses across the state.
Caution: Doing this will cost money.
Don’t go there!
To the Democrats: Please don’t bring back the mylar balloon bills, orange bathing cap bills, anti-trapping bills, etc. To the GOP: Please, no more Magna Carta bills, pro-poaching bills, etc. None of these things are pertinent to the pressing issues we face.
We should focus on job creation, fair tax policies, reducing unnecessary spending, strengthening education, supporting the neediest among us and freedom and equality for all New Hampshire’s citizens.
And finally, a big thank you to the Monitor for giving me a soapbox for the past two years.
I’ve enjoyed my time on the Board of Contributors, have been pleased by the many positive comments I’ve received on my writing and hope I’ve given readers some things to think about.
(Dan Williams of Concord is a professional musician and educator.)