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Editorial: Ardinger is the right choice for District 15

People who vote in the Democratic primary in Senate District 15, which comprises Concord, Hopkinton Henniker and Warner, can’t make a bad choice.

The candidates, Dan Feltes and Kass Ardinger, take essentially the same position on major issues. Both, for example, oppose the death penalty and favor increasing the minimum wage. Both are lawyers active in civic life and well-qualified to represent their fellow citizens.

They differ, however, in life experience.

Ardinger is 54 and Feltes 35, and her additional two decades solving problems, dealing with adversity and working cooperatively were apparent in the Monitor’s meetings with the candidates.

Ardinger’s answers to the editorial board’s questions had a depth that can only come from much thought and long public experience. That experience makes her the best choice to replace veteran Sen. Sylvia Larsen.

School boards are mine fields. A wrong step and an issue can explode into a dispute that divides the community. Service on a school board is almost always thankless, fiscal prudence a necessity.

The ability to negotiate with fellow board members, school administrators, parents and unions is the key to success, and Ardinger demonstrated those skills in her eight years on Concord’s school board.

As its president, Ardinger oversaw what can only be considered a remarkable accomplishment – the replacement of four outmoded elementary schools with three new schools. All three came in under budget and ahead of time, and they were built without increasing the city’s tax rate.

The accomplishment speaks to Ardinger’s ability to lead and her sensitivity to how decisions made by government affect taxpayers.

Several side issues marred the contest between Feltes and Ardinger.

The first was the early endorsement of Ardinger by the outgoing Sen. Larsen.

While it’s standard practice for office holders to seek a like-minded replacement, Larsen’s endorsement of Ardinger was clumsy. It gave the impression that she was anointing her successor. That angered many, but in the end it’s up to voters to decide who will best represent them. In this case, we believe that’s Ardinger.

The second distraction has been the mischaracterization by the Feltes campaign of Ardinger’s position on full-day kindergarten.

The decision to provide full-day kindergarten, barring statewide legislation to do so, is made at the local level so the issue is, at best, tangential.

Ardinger, as the mother of three children, one with a disability, is well-versed in the debate over full-day kindergarten, and she supports adopting it. Her opposition to it, as reflected in the minutes of a 2009 school board meeting, should be placed in context.

The question before the board was not to endorse or oppose full-day kindergarten but to add rooms to the new schools to accommodate a future decision to extend the kindergarten day.

Adding rooms would have increased the budget for the school construction project, affected the tax rate, increased opposition to the project and proven unnecessary if school enrollments declined as predicted. The decision by the board not to add extra rooms was unanimous and smart.

New Hampshire must make some tough decisions in the next few years. Ardinger has the right mix of experience, idealism and pragmatism to work effectively with senators of either party to make those decisions. She is the best choice for District 15 voters.

Legacy Comments12

Sorry CM...you're definitely in the minority on this one! http://patch.com/new-hampshire/concord-nh/poll-results-patch-readers-feltes#.VAm7Wst0zcs

Mr. Haas, the primary in this district is the election of the winner in the general election. It is a "fait accompli" if you win the Democratic primary.

After listening to both good candidates at two separate forums, I decided that Dan Feltes speaks to a broader range of issues. That's why I have been knocking on doors to support his candidacy. As a legal assistance attorney, he seems to have a strong understanding of the areas where state government needs to improve so that none of our citizens are left behind. John Corrigan

Well, state government needs to improve, that's for sure. Typical progressive thought process, however, "none of our citizens are left behind". For decades we have thrown money at every perceived issue and to what avail? Government can provide a safety net as a short term solution. However, citizens have a responsibility for making sure that they are not left behind if they are physically able to fend for themselves. But the state of NH is a bit of a nanny state. We waste much in the way of tax dollars. DOT hosts the Safe Route to School program wasting federal and state tax dollars which amounts to little more than make work for state hacks. Perhaps we should divert that money to more worthwhile programs regardless of how it keeps SEA parishioners worshiping the state as if they are entitled to single tasking employment, working less than 40 hours per week. Yes, let's start there.

I have not decided whom to vote for in the Ardinger/Feltes race. The Monitor editorial endorsing Ardinger is reasonbly explained but weak. The two candidates are not running for a school board position. The editorial fails to mention Feltes experience dealing with the legislature. Mentioning Ardinger's years of experience is fine, but was it necessary to mention their respective ages necessary. It smacks of age discrimination against a young candidate. Lastly, Feltes ability to articulate his positions versus Ardinger's reported difficulties leads one to believe he could influence votes to his position. We will have a good Senator regardless of who wins.

B.B. This is only the Primary, or are you referring to the General Election too? Re: it might be: http://ballotpedia.org/Lydia_Dube_Harman the R. But what is interesting is that what? almost $40,000 is spent by each candidate(?) to TRY to get this seat!? http://ballotpedia.org/New_Hampshire_State_Senate_District_15 WHO are they beholden to!? Or is that about forty thousand dollars per Political Party? Maybe Larry here can get us the "dirt" on this.

I think this editorial forgets or ignores Dan Feltes's negotiating experience. As a lawyer for Legal Aid, Dan Feltes had to work with opposing counsel to craft solutions for his low-income and elderly clients. His years with Legal Aid also required him to advocate for those same clients in the Legislature, negotiating compromises with both parties. As a former Monitor reporter, I saw Dan work in both arenas with skill, maturity, and an ability to consider the wants and needs of multiple parties. This experience is why I am voting for Dan Feltes.

Just what we need; anther bleeding heart shyster. His "crafting solutions" means you and I pay.

No, Cranky, "crafting solutions" means reducing confrontation, accomplishing something, and ultimately lowering costs by not dragging things through the courts. A conservative would approve.

Good to see you again, Annmarie. Just a quick heads up; your buddy Joe Haas is lurking in this forum, so...Be Careful!

Well, Monitor editorial staff . . . I'll give you one out of three for your endorsements so far. The one you got right was Havenstein for Governor. He is the most moderate on the bunch in the GOP governor's race. But your heinous pick of Gary Lambert is atrocious. Have you seen his anti-Garcia ad in which he plays up the "fear of hispanics" in a slimy, racist, hateful piece of propaganda? And though I admit that it's six of one, half dozen of the other in the Ardinger/Feltes race - I believe that Feltes legal experience makes him the MVP in this race. I have not yet seen who you support for the GOP candidate to go up against Shaheen . . . maybe I missed it. But I'll give you a hint . . . ANYBODY BY BOB SMITH!!!!!

Dan good post and right on point. I think that using progressive logic and progressive tactics that the editors of the Monitor could be called xenophobes by not supporting Garcia. The seems to be the progressive standard when anyone says the similar negative kinds of things about Obama.

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