Who am I?
I was born in Illinois, moved to Michigan when I was 5 years old and then to the Netherlands when I was 13 and England, two years later. I graduated from the American School in London (just around the corner from Abbey Road; yes THAT Abbey Road) and then Bowdoin College where I received by BA in economics.
I first came to the Seacoast in 1982 after receiving my MBA from Dartmouth College. I will have been married to Melanie for 25 years in April 2014. We have two children, Jennifer who is 23 and a graduate student at American University in Washington D.C. and Ben, who is an undergraduate student at Great Bay Community College in Newington. We have lived in Hampton permanently since July 1997.
After spending most of the last 30+ years working in the fields of finance and human resource services delivery (i.e. employee benefits, compensation, talent management and HR information systems) for companies such as Wheelabrator Technologies, MEDSTAT Systems, Raytheon, Fisher Scientific, Fidelity Investments and most recently Comverse, I decided to become involved in local politics in 2007. In 2008 I was elected Chairperson of the Hampton Town Democratic Committee, a position I held until early 2013.
After asking candidates to run of state representative in 2008, I felt that I had a responsibility to run myself in 2010. I did and although I came up short, I was determined to stay involved.
In the spring of 2012 I successfully ran for the Winnacunnet High School Board, which serves the communities of North Hampton, Hampton, Hampton Falls and Seabrook. I beat my nearest competitor by more than 1,000 votes. In March of 2013 I was elected Chairperson of the Board.
In November 2012, I ran for state representative again and this time I won more votes in my legislative district that any one of the other 9 candidates.
I asked to serve on the House Commerce and Consumer Affairs Committee because of my background and interest in health care reform and have served as clerk of the Committee since January 2013. I was appointed to serve on the Commission on Coastal Risks and Hazards and also have served as Chairperson of the State Retiree Health Plan Commission and a special joint legislative study committee established to investigate the operation of shared risk pools in the state.
Why am I running?
I am currently a State Representative from Hampton representing Rockingham County District 21. I'm proud of the progress we made in the House this year reversing many of the damaging cuts that the Bill O'Brien led legislature made in 2011 and 2012, but there is still so much that we need to do to provide everyone in our state with the opportunity to protect their family, achieve their full potential and move our state forward.
We need to put people ahead of politics and come up with practical, common sense solutions that are right for New Hampshire and are not driven by any outside ideological agenda.
We need to stop trying to disable and dismantle government and focus again on having good and effective government that serves the interests of all of us. And we need to replace the politics of posturing, delay and obstruction with New Hampshire's traditional "can-do" approach to getting things done.
The people of Greenland, New Castle, Rye, North Hampton, Hampton, Hampton Falls, Seabrook, South Hampton, Kensington, Newton and Stratham deserve a Senator who not only listens to them but hears them and will stand up and vote for the values that are important to all of us when it counts.
The recent vote by Senate Republicans - including the incumbent in District 24 Senator Nancy Stiles - to slam the Medicaid Expansion "door" shut in the face of 50,000 hard-working New Hampshire residents while depriving our state of a $2.5 billion investment in our economy and new jobs has convinced me more than ever that we need a Senate that is willing to work with Governor Hassan and the House rather than in opposition to them.
When I am elected to the State Senate from District 24, I expect my constituents to hold me accountable for the following:
Transparency, Engagement and Communications
When I ran for the New Hampshire House of Representatives in 2010 and went door-to-door to meet the voters in my district, I was struck by how little most of them knew about state government and the impact that the actions we take in Concord can have on their lives. That is at least partially due to the fact that too few legislators actually take the time to communicate with their constituents after they are elected.
Since my election in 2012, I have written a regular column for our local newspaper, have held regular monthly “office hours” in our local library so that anyone who is interested can meet with me and I have written and provided numerous email updates to the voters in my district.
When I am elected to the State Senate I will continue those programs as well as look for other ways to communicate with my constituents
Positive Sustainable Economic Development that Benefits All
New Hampshire is at a critical crossroads. We are an aging state and – unfortunately – too many of our people are leaving the state and not enough “new” people are coming into our state. This has already had an impact on state and local governments being able to provide the basic services that we all have a right to expect and will soon have an impact on our ability to continue to enjoy the quality of life that we have become accustomed to.
The surest and “best” way for us to protect the quality of life that we have here in New Hampshire is promote positive, sustainable economic development that puts people ahead of politics and benefits all of us.
Some of “investments in ourselves” that I will support include:
• Medicaid Expansion
• Infrastructure Improvements
• Workforce Housing.
• Affordable and Sustainable Energy
• Environmental Protection
Enhanced Public Safety
Ensuring public safety is the most important responsibility of any government – at the local, state or federal level.
In addition to continuing to support our first responders and providing them with the support and resources they need to do the job that we ask of them, I will also support programs to regulate the sale, distribution and use of firearms.
Although I am not a gun owner myself, I respect the second amendment and agree with the millions of gun owners throughout our state and country who recognize that putting in place reasonable measures requiring background checks, limits on who may own a firearm and what types of firearms can be purchased not only do not violate the constitution, but are consistent with the protecting the public’s safety.
I also recognize that we must be willing to fully fund our programs to identify and care for the mentally ill.
My DFA Values
The greatest “natural resource” that the State of New Hampshire has is our people. Our diversity, the background and skill set of our individual citizens and our traditional shared sense of common purpose and individual responsibility are the real “New Hampshire Advantage.”
Unfortunately in recent years we have forgotten that and made “cutting government spending” and “supporting business” more important priorities than ensuring that all of our fellow citizens have an equal opportunity to achieve their full potential. And in many cases this has been done because of political pressure exerted by special interests, some of which are not even located in our state and are more interested in a national agenda than what is right for the people of New Hampshire.
We need to once again put people over politics. We need to start by ensuring that we continue to provide equal rights and equal opportunity to everyone and do not discriminate on the basis of age, gender, ethnicity or race, sexual preference or disability. More specifically, we need to protect the rights that the citizens of New Hampshire have to marriage quality and the right to choose.
It means ensuring that everyone has the same opportunity to achieve their full potential because who amongst know who will invent the next “great thing” or identify a cure for cancer.
It means voting in favor of Medicaid Expansion because it is the right – and cost effective – thing to do.
It means continuing to invest in public education rather than cutting the cigarette tax because school is more important than “smokes”.
It means really supporting our first responders; not just giving them “lip service” about how important they are to our communities while at the same time trying to cut their retirement benefits.
Government does not have all of the answers; fall from it, but we need to stop talking about dismantling government and return to the idea that good and effective government is possible and can make a difference. Ronald Reagan was wrong: government is not the problem; the “problem” is people who run for government positions and then do everything they can to disable government.
My Campaign is People Powered!
I was Chairperson of the Hampton Town Democratic Committee for five years between 2008 and 2013. Early on in my tenure, I refocused our mission on “raising the level of awareness and dialogue within our community about critical local, state and national issues….and…educating and advising Hampton citizens, to encourage participation in community service activities.” I wanted us to become more than just a political committee, I wanted us to become an advocacy group focused on informing the public so that they could make more informed political decisions.
In the campaigns for state representative that I led in 2008 and in 2010 and 2012 (both times as a candidate), I focused on involving the most people possible through phone banks, canvassing, and public “visibility” events. We also invested in a local campaign office, which served not only as a meeting place, but a place where like-minded individuals could come, feel comfortable and “bond” with each other.
I intend to incorporate those elements into my campaign for the state senate. One of the reasons that I am getting started as early as I am is that I want to enlist as many people into my campaign as possible. The more people that I can speak to now, the better my chances of raising the money and creating the name recognition I will need throughout the district.
With respect to raising money, I would rather raise $100 from 5 different people than $500 from one person, because that means that 5 times more people now have a vested interest in my succeeding. And if some of those $100 “investors” in my campaign are more willing to make calls or hold signs for me than the 1 $500 investor then that is an additional very large benefit.
Another one of my goals is to identify a core group of committed individuals in each of the 11 towns that make up my district and have them function as my “eyes and ears” in those communities. I want to be able to establish a “connection” in each town and be seen as an extension of that community; not just someone from another town who has “dropped in” for the election.
I am reaching out to known influential groups and individuals throughout the state (labor unions, advocacy groups and previous donators) as well as other progressive organizations that recognize the importance of restoring Democrats to the majority in the New Hampshire State Senate.