(Published in the Monadnock Ledger-Transcript on September 6, 2011)
On September 20, 2011, the voters of Hillsborough District 3 (Greenville, New Ipswich, Peterborough, Sharon) will be heading to the voting booth to elect a representative to the New Hampshire House.
Before you cast your vote, I would like you to consider what has made our State so uniquely special. Over and above our scenic beauty, we have our people. In the past, our legislature (the people’s house), whether controlled by Republicans or Democrats, has put people before politics. The majority party has recognized that the minority has an important role to play in shaping policy. Debate was expected and accepted. Often times the minority members of a committee had a better solution.
(letter to the editor submitted to the Monadnock Ledger-Transcript)
As one of the candidates for the State House Special election on September 20, 2011, I would like to respond to Bob DeMaura’s letter to the editor printed in the August 11, 2011 edition concerning whether it is appropriate for “ABLE” to sponsor a public forum regarding this special election for State Representative for District 3 (Greenville, New Ipswich, Peterborough and Sharon).
(originally published in the Monadnock Ledger-Transcript)
On Wednesday, March 30, I ventured to Concord to observe the debate on the much publicized NH House Finance Committee’s action to add an amendment to the State Budget that would make all state and municipals employees “at will” employees if their collective bargaining contract expired and no new contract was in place. As I approached the rear of the State House, a paper notice had been taped to the door stating that the entrance was restricted to “Legislators and Staff Only”. The only public access was at the front of the State House and was being protected by more than a half a dozen armed state police officers. In the Hall of Flags there stood more armed state police officers standing watch over a hundred or more uniformed firemen. As I made my way to the House Gallery to witness the debate, I passed others who lined the hallways who were holding placards angrily denouncing the actions of the Finance Committee to take away their collective bargaining rights.
(originally published as an Op-Ed in the Monadnock Ledger-Transcript)
One of the first orders of business for the Republican controlled (by a margin of 3-1) NH House was to vote to allow guns on the NH House floor, in the House gallery and in the Legislative Office Building. According to the Concord Monitor, David Bettencourt, the Republican Majority Leader said, “The right to carry and bear arms is a constitutional right, it’s an individual right, and we shall be allowed to protect ourselves on the House floor.” I never felt my life was in danger when I was there. Who are they going to shoot – each other?
To give you a sense of my own frame of mind regarding gambling, I would describe myself as divided between my interest in the potential that gambling offered as a major revenue source and my concern for its damaging social impacts. I was determined to find out as much as I could about the pros and cons of bringing gambling to New Hampshire. To that end, I have visited casinos in Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Las Vegas. Consider the following and then you decide if casinos make sense for New Hampshire.
(originally published in the Monadnock Ledger-Transcript in 2009, while Peter was serving on the House Finance Committee)
The Peterborough arts community together with the entire state arts community made their opposition to the Governor’s budget reductions to the Arts Council loud and clear to the NH House Finance committee. The Governor cut nearly half of the arts budget which will eliminate at least four positions and cut programs.
The State Arts Council budget was not alone. Deep cuts were made at Department of Corrections, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Environmental Services to name a few. Earlier in March the entire NH House Finance committee held hearings across the State (in Salem, Whitefield, Claremont and Concord) to receive testimony on the Governor’s budget. We heard testimony from hundreds of NH residents and not one person supported any of the cuts proposed by the Governor. That being said, the Governor is required to submit a balanced budget to the legislature and in these difficult times making budget cuts to any agency, department, or branch of government is extremely unpopular. To make matters worse, the revenues we count on such as the real estate transfer tax, the rooms and meals tax, and the interest and dividends tax have fallen off sharply.