My Turn: New Hampshire deserves better than Gov. Sununu

For the Monitor
Published: 8/13/2019 7:00:19 AM

The governor’s veto of common-sense gun safety bills together with his message citing the culture of our state and the progress the state has made in addressing mental health issues illuminate, yet again, the need for new leadership for New Hampshire.

I do not dismiss the underlying societal issues around mental health, isolation and despair that impact those, mostly young, white males, who have wreaked such havoc using weapons of mass destruction.

However, it is crystal clear that appropriate gun-safety measures are necessary to address the public health crisis we face. New Hampshire’s culture does not countenance unchecked violence. New Hampshire is a state where common sense and problem solving have been watchwords of our political system, even in this age of tribalism and discord. Keeping guns away from schools, keeping track of commercial gun purchases at gun shows, and brief waiting periods don’t impact the Second Amendment or our state’s culture.

The governor’s policies are out of step with New Hampshire now and New Hampshire’s future. If there was any doubt before, there is no doubt now. We deserve better. We’ve got too many pressing issues to leave our state in the hands of a backwards thinker.

New Hampshire needs an educational system marked by excellence, not mere adequacy, in order to develop a 21st-century workforce. We should be calling on the ingenuity of our citizens to lead on sustainable energy. At a time when progress at the state level is necessary given the dysfunction in Washington, the governor has hitched his star to Donald Trump-style politics. He’s exercised his veto power in unprecedented fashion, 40 times and counting, while gleefully gloating about his obstruction of the will of the people at his fundraising events.

He’s already vetoed bills including the state budget, eliminating the death penalty, paid family medical leave, raising the minimum wage and bills to move New Hampshire forward on sustainable energy. The governor’s joking about standing in the way of progress as a badge of honor reveals the truth underneath his affable manner. He’s got to go.

(Paul Hodes of Concord served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2007 to 2011.)

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