State Rep. races: Merrimack County District 26 (Boscawen, Canterbury, Franklin Ward 3, Loudon, Northfield)

  • Joanne Smith—© Headshots Photography/...

  • Howard Pearl

Boscawen, Canterbury, Franklin Ward 3, Loudon, Northfield (one seat)
Wednesday, November 02, 2016
Merrimack County District 26

Lorrie J. Carey

Party: Democrat

Age: 53

Town of residence: Boscawen

Occupation: Small business owner

Incumbent? If so, how many terms: No; one previous term (2012-14)

Do you support commuter rail funding? The constituents of Merrimack 26 have raised this as an important public transportation issue. The Concord, Manchester and Nashua chambers have indicated that commuter rail would be a positive economic driver for the rail corridor. I would be supportive of state rail funding leveraged with federal and other available funding.

Do you support providing more state money for higher education? Yes. Local college students and their families regularly raise this issue. N.H. ranks at the bottom nationally in terms of funding higher education with in-state families expected to pay 81 percent of college costs. Between 2008-14, state funding was cut a total of 33 percent and has not yet been restored.

Do you support pro-gun legislation, such as constitutional carry? Constituents in Merrimack 26 have been split on the constitutional carry issue with NRA members backing it and others believing this legislation is unnecessary legislation. The “Stand Your Ground” legislation was more clear cut with general support for maintaining that legislation.

Do you support reauthorizing Medicaid expansion? All of the folks I have spoken to support Medicaid expansion, especially as a way for those with drug problems to access services. I would support reauthorizing Medicaid expansion and establishing performance metrics to ensure we are getting value for our investment.

Do you support increasing the minimum wage? In talking with constituents, I believe most full-time businesses in N.H. do pay more than the federal minimum wage. It is time to bring back our own minimum wage in N.H. and not rely on the federal government to set our minimum. We also need to establish a training wage and a reasonable transition as we work towards N.H.’s minimum wage.

Do you support marijuana legalization or decriminalization? My constituents supported and I voted for legislation to make available marijuana for medical use and to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana so law enforcement could focus on the real problem – dealers. General legalization has not been supported by law enforcement or constituents of Merrimack District 26. The American Automobile Association (AAA) just released a policy statement against general legalization based upon an increase in marijuana related accidents in states which have legalized marijuana. Clearly, the discussion will continue on this issue.

What would you like voters to know about your philosophy, principles or priorities? My basic philosophy in politics is that elected officials are in the N.H. Legislature to serve their constituents and not their own self interests. My votes have always represented my constituents’ wishes, and I have worked with all willing representatives, regardless of their political parties, to create or pass legislation important to the people I have served. My priorities this term include addressing the needs of our aging population, cybersecurity, the drug crisis, our roads/bridges, education and economic development. As the former clerk of the N.H. House State and Federal Relations and Veterans Affairs Committee, I will say that when it comes to our veterans, there are no party lines. This is the way we should be on all issues as public servants.


Howard Pearl

Party: Republican

Age: 50

Town of Residence: Loudon

Occupation: Farmer

Incumbent? If so, how many terms: No

Do you support commuter rail funding?: I am not opposed to commuter rail, I am opposed to spending taxpayers money to subsidize the commuter rail. I feel we would be better served making investments into high-speed internet infrastructure which will allow business to more easily expand in N.H. 

Do you support providing more state money for higher education?: It's disturbing to me every time I read another article about the misuse of funds at UNH. I know first hand the value of higher education in the workforce. We need to see more fiscal accountability in our colleges and universities.

Do you support pro-gun legislation, such as constitutional carry?: Yes. I will support constitutional carry. I support all of the Constitution including the 2nd Amendment.

Do you support reauthorizing Medicaid expansion?: No, I do not support reauthorizing Medicaid expansion. The program has serious flaws. I shudder anytime I envision making our state government bigger. I support free market insurance exchanges that would easily allow N.H. citizens to have access to the lowest insurance rates available. We need to open up our markets and allow shopping across state lines just as we can for other insurance needs.

Do you support increasing the minimum wage?: I support our current minimum wage. I know that raising the minimum wage will cause job loss in many cases where the job value or employee's skills will not support a higher rate of pay. I support an employee’s right to earn merit-based pay and do not support any more state interference into business.

Do you support marijuana legalization or decriminalization?: I do not support the legalization of recreational marijuana. I will consider decriminalization. 

What would you like voters to know about your philosophy, principles or priorities?: I have chosen a life in agriculture. This lifestyle choice has taught me great problem-solving skills. I am a principled conservative who can make the tough decisions. I look forward to helping N.H. find the right balance of government and respect for personal freedoms. I believe in local control of our education and land use regulations allow N.H. citizens to have the seat at the table they deserve.