Allan Herschlag: Secretary of State Gardner has consistently done the right thing

  • Gardner

For the Monitor
Published: 8/10/2018 12:09:42 AM

Here’s what I think: William Gardner should be re-elected by the General Court to continue as New Hampshire’s secretary of state.

I attended many of the hearings when the secretary of state’s office pursued the case against the Local Government Center for improperly using members’ funds. I also blogged about many of those hearings.

As I understand it, the case was brought to the attention of the Secretary of State’s Office by David Lange (a Seacoast firefighter) and was then taken up by the Securities Division. None of this would have happened without Gardner’s willingness to pursue a case that ultimately led to $50 million being returned to member communities and the Health Trust.

Secretary of State Gardner pursued this case not because it was politically popular or advantageous for him or the Secretary of State’s Office. He pursued this case because the LGC had illegally held onto and illegally transferred municipal, retirees and firefighters funds. He pursued this case because the LGC registered LLCs out of state, contrary to N.H. laws.

Gardner directed the Securities Division of the Secretary of State’s Office to pursue the case against the LGC because it was the right thing to do.

When the president directed the vice president to form a commission to study voter fraud, Gardner became a member of the commission, not because it was politically expedient or advantageous for him. He joined the commission because it provided him the platform to state the facts. Busloads of illegal voters were not crossing our border to vote illegally. He did what he has done his entire career as secretary of state: He stated what he knew to be the truth.

And at the end of the day the voter fraud claimed by the president was debunked, and the commission was disbanded. Gardner did it because it was the right thing to do.

Gardner has been the secretary of state for 42 years not because he went along to get along; not because he played political football with whichever party happened to be in power; not because he politicized the office of secretary of state and sought to cater to the popular public opinion of the day.

Gardner has been secretary of state for 42 years because he does the right thing.

He protects New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary. He respects the office and understands his commitment to protect your rights to free and fair elections. His commitment to doing the right thing has never wavered during the 42 years he has been secretary of state.

The position of secretary of state is not and should not be a popularity contest. It shouldn’t be a reward for a political crony for the party that happens to be in power. The Secretary of State’s Office is responsible for overseeing the state’s archives and records, corporations, elections, securities regulations, and lobbyists and their financial reports and vital records.

This is much too important a job to be determined by personal popularity or party loyalty. Gardner’s service and record over the past 42 years confirms that he has earned the General Court’s confidence as our secretary of state. This is why Gardner has been re-elected by a combined vote of the New Hampshire House and Senate for 42 years, regardless of which party controlled the State House.

Gardner would like to continue serving the people of New Hampshire, and he has earned that privilege. It is the right thing to do.

(Allan Herschlag represents Ward 2 on the Concord City Council.)

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