Sanborn: Grow economy

Last modified: 10/9/2010 12:00:00 AM
Andy Sanborn sees government as an economic enabler, one that promotes low taxes, limited regulations and lots of commerce.

In an interview with Monitor editors, Sanborn, a Republican candidate for state Senate, called for a streamlined government that stays out of private enterprise. Why, he wondered, does the state run a tree nursery? Why isn't the state buying electricity in bulk? How can the Legislature help attract more small businesses to New Hampshire?

Focusing on economic expansion, he says, is the only way for the state to repair its troubled finances and avoid similar problems in the future.

"There is no magic bullet to fix this," he said. "The problem is bigger than that. It's naive to say we can just go in and cut (the budget). There are so many things we can't just cut from an operational standpoint."

Sanborn lives in Henniker with his wife, Laurie, who is running for the state House of Representatives. The couple owns The Draft, a sports bar in downtown Concord, and Sanborn serves on the board of directors for the New Hampshire Lodging and Restaurant Association.

This is Sanborn's second bid to represent Senate District 7, which includes 19 small towns to the north and west of Concord. In 2008, he challenged Democratic Sen. Harold Janeway, losing by just more than 1,000 votes. This year, he faces Boscawen resident Michele Tremblay, who decided to run after Janeway announced plans to retire.

Even before formally announcing his candidacy, Sanborn was drawing attention as he rallied opposition to the so-called LLC tax, which changed the way many small businesses were taxed. The tax has since been repealed, but Sanborn continues to advocate for a government favorable to small business owners.

Sanborn favors boosting tourism through marketing, improvements to the state parks and road projects that make it easier for visitors to reach rural areas of the state.

"How many people are we missing because every Friday, Saturday and Sunday we're a parking lot from the tollbooth to Tilton?" he said.

To pay for such efforts, Sanborn suggests trying to avoid pricey lawsuits like the one that delayed the expansion of Interstate 93 and using the money for projects beneficial to both the state and environmental groups.

He tends to "lean against" gambling, but if the state were to allow casinos he'd like to see the money used to reduce existing taxes.

Sanborn has spent ample time on the campaign trail since announcing his candidacy, attending close to a dozen parades and hosting pasta dinners throughout the district. The mood, he says, is different from two years ago. People are more vocal, more frustrated and more focused on the bottom line. He hasn't received a single question about abortion or crime. Rather, he says everyone wants to know about jobs.

"They ask how are you going to cut my taxes? I need to find a job," he said. "People minds are really on 'how do we make it?' "

(Meg Heckman can be reached at 369-3313 or

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