Doug Scamman: Welcome back to New Hampshire, Gov. Kasich

  • Ohio Gov. John Kasich speaks during the Ohio State of the State address in the Fritsche Theater at Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio, on March 6. AP

For the Monitor
Tuesday, April 03, 2018

This week, we welcome Ohio Gov. John Kasich back to New Hampshire. In doing so, we are welcoming a friend, a compatriot, the chief executive of a state in many ways similar to ours. Both New Hampshire and Ohio are tackling the scourge of opioids, working within tight budgets, embracing the challenge of workforce development and job training, and stepping into a bright future led by clean energy and responsible energy development. Gov. Kasich knows how to listen, learn and lead.

Faced with a growing opioid epidemic, Gov. Kasich rolled up his sleeves and got to work. Both Dayton, Ohio, and Manchester, N.H., were 2017 pilot cities in the DEA’s 360 Strategy, which responds to the heroin and prescription opioid pill crisis.

The 360 Strategy takes an innovative three-pronged approach to combating heroin/opioid use through coordinated law enforcement actions against heroin traffickers, enforcement actions against DEA registrants operating outside the law, and community outreach through local partnerships to help communities to take back affected neighborhoods and prevent the same problems from cropping up again. Similar to our Recovery Friendly Workplace Initiative here in New Hampshire, which encourages workplaces to provide support for people recovering from substance use disorder, Gov. Kasich launched a new workforce development program in a county of 500,000 residents to help those in recovery find sustainable employment.

In New Hampshire there is bipartisan support for expanding Medicaid so that 50,000 citizens can remain insured. Gov. Kasich is fighting to expand Medicaid in Ohio.

Unleashing the power of technology seems to drive Gov. Kasich, and it’s a passion shared by citizens and industries across New Hampshire. In Ohio, the two-term governor is taking data analytics to the next level by harnessing the power of data in forging solutions for problems including infant mortality, poverty, the opioid crisis and school dropout rates.

Ohio is leading the country in reducing carbon pollution from power plants and the framework that has been developed extends to reducing methane pollution from natural gas well sites in the state. Smart policies like these have ripple effects that form the basis for economic expansion in new sectors that support clean energy and energy development. Gov. Kasich’s responsible energy approach has helped spur new technology innovations by companies such as Nashua’s own FLIR Systems, a global leader in thermal imaging infrared cameras.

Further, Gov. Kasich recently refused to accept a total rollback of Ohio’s renewable energy standards, an approach that reflects New Hampshire’s growing commitment to renewable energy as part of a balanced energy economy. Finally, Gov. Kasich’s refusal to hew to continual attacks at the federal level on everything from health care to energy development and climate change position him as the kind of independent-thinking leader that people in New Hampshire value.

As chairman of the House Budget Committee in the 1990s, he brought his fiscal priorities to bear on behalf of the nation, and worked with both parties and a Democratic president to bring about a balanced federal budget; this is what we need Washington to be like. It is this can-do approach and well-honed sensibility to the lives of the American people that make Gov. John Kasich someone whom we need to follow and engage. He has the right ideas and the commitment and drive to follow through on them.

Daniel Webster, born in Franklin, a Portsmouth lawyer, and who represented New Hampshire in the U.S House of Representatives, once said, “A country cannot subsist well without liberty, nor liberty without virtue.” John Kasich manifests a high moral standard in his speeches, expects high standards in return, and demonstrates the same in his policies.

If Webster was alive today I believe he would be among the first to welcome John Kasich back to New Hampshire.

(Doug Scamman of Stratham is a former speaker of the New Hampshire House of Representatives.)