Editorial: For Democrats, Colin Van Ostern

  • Van Ostern

Sunday, September 04, 2016

There are three good candidates seeking the Democratic Party’s nomination for governor. By far the strongest of those is Executive Councilor Colin Van Ostern.

He chose a life in politics at an early age and went on to intern in the White House. He was drawn to New Hampshire by its role in politics and went to work for the Democratic Party before founding a consulting firm.

Van Ostern earned an MBA from Dartmouth and became a marketing executive with Stonyfield Yogurt, one of the state’s biggest business success stories. He then went on to become head of marketing for another success story, Southern New Hampshire University’s College for America, an online learning option that’s become a national model.

Those experiences make Van Ostern the candidate who really could attract companies to New Hampshire and convince existing employers to expand here. It makes him the candidate best able to help kick-start the state’s economy.

Because he’s been a player on the state’s political scene for so long, Van Ostern knows who to talk with to make things happen and how to build consensus. Experience on the Executive Council has given him a sharp understanding of tax and budget matters and what to look for when nominating the people who will carry out the Legislature’s policies and run government effectively.

On the council, Van Ostern, the father of two young children, was the staunchest defender of federal funding for Planned Parenthood, a provider of health care and family planning services for men and women alike.

He is committed to policies that will help New Hampshire’s families, and he is also a pragmatist. He knows that the public does not support establishing a broad-based sales or income tax, and nor does he. He does, however, have the skills to pursue policies that fuel economic growth without such a tax.

Van Ostern’s opponents, former Portsmouth mayor Steve Marchand and former director of the Bureau of Securities Regulation Mark Connolly, are both strong candidates who should seek legislative office at a lower level. Marchand, however, has proposed two ideas for generating revenue that are essentially dead on arrival. The first, an increase in the state’s business profits tax, is a bad idea; the second, legalizing and taxing marijuana, may happen someday, but not in the imaginable future.

As for Connolly, he was a tough and dogged regulator who secured tens of millions of dollars from errant corporations for New Hampshire’s treasury, but his agency’s role in the FRM Ponzi scheme scandal that bilked investors out of millions would hurt him in a contest against Republicans.

Van Ostern has not only earned his party’s nomination, he is the Democratic candidate who, as governor, would be best able to guide the state to a prosperous future.