Thursday, October 27, 2016

Q&A with the Granite State News

The following are my responses to questions posed to all four candidates for our District 04 House seats as appears in today's Granite State News. 

PAUL PUNTURIERI

Why are you running for state representative?


I am running to bring common sense and reasonable, responsible leadership back to the N.H. House and overcome the extremist elements that spend much more energy on meeting the goals of their partisan ideology then focusing on the very real needs of the citizens of New Hampshire. People are tired of the negativity and anger they have seen in Concord and by our Delegation majority. I will be a positive leader that will seek to bring people together and find common ground.

What qualifications or experience would you bring to this position?

Number one is a commitment to serve the people who I was elected to represent. I have proven as a selectman that I lead with an open mind and no preconceived agenda. I have been in elected office in Moultonborough for five years, first as a member of the planning board and now as a member of the Board of Selectmen. Both are very challenging and rewarding positions and both have taught me a great deal about how local governments functions and what the needs of the citizens of our community are. I have also been very active in local politics for the past decade and sat on many committees as a citizen volunteer. I work hard, do my homework and always make informed decisions.

What do you consider to be the three major issues facing New Hampshire?
The opioid epidemic has to be the top priority. We need to create a stable, growing, qualified workforce to keep businesses here in New Hampshire and entice new ones to locate here. Our aging demographic has huge implications and as a state, we have done little to nothing about addressing those implications.

What would you to address these issues if you are elected?

To combat the opioid crisis, we need a sound bipartisan actionable plan put into place, with clear meaningful goals and objectives. Beefing up interdiction of street drugs, prevention, treatment and rehabilitation all need to be part of the plan, but we can't stop there. We need to work along the entire continuum to include how controlled prescription drugs are being abused and illegally accessed, to post rehab care for things like follow up counseling, education and job placement to reduce recidivism. We also cannot go it alone. The federal government and our New England neighbors all need to be working together. It can't be just words with no action.

New Hampshire has a very low level of unemployment, currently at 2.9 percent, but we don't have a work force to fill many of those jobs. Businesses are going to where the workforce pool is larger and better qualified. Our younger workforce age residents have been leaving for years and not nearly as many are moving to N.H. from elsewhere. We need to create the right environment for a 21st century workforce to prosper.

That would mean finding ways to reduce the cost of college education, reduce student debt, address the fact that lack of affordable child care hold many women and men back from getting the education they need to prosper and we need to make our education offerings relevant to the business's needs. If we do these things in a well thought out and well planned manner, we can entice more businesses to come to NH and create new well-paying jobs and continue to grow our economy.

New Hampshire is the third oldest state in the Union. We are even older in the Lakes Region. I see very little action to address what that may mean for our state and especially our Lakes Region where we are even older than the state average. Transportation, access to health care, housing, long term care are some of the many areas that we should be proactive about and planning for before it becomes a crisis.

What are the three major issues facing Carroll County?

What I hear most from constituents is the disposition of the county farm, the county budget and the desire for many to see a cohesive delegation and board of commissioners. I would have to agree that I see those three things as the top three major issues facing the county.

What would you do as a county delegation member to address them?

I await the outcome of the Commissioners' farm subcommittee as well as the election of two new commissioners and their recommendations. As a member of the delegation, I will work closely with the county administrator and finance director to fully understand the financial implications of whatever the farm subcommittee recommends. I will meet with Will DeWitt to gain firsthand knowledge of what is needed and how the farm operation can be improved.

I do know that I will not proceed in the manner as the majority of the delegation has done the past four years, which is to be divisive and unwilling to develop a solid working relationship with the county. We need to come to a conclusion on this farm issue and move forward.

The three towns in my district pay a combined 34 percent of the county tax levy. It is always on constituents' minds, especially in Moultonborough where we pay 23 percent. With all the negativity that was everywhere during the budget shortfall and the subsequent supplemental budget, many, even in the delegation, believe that things are still in a state of flux.

In my discussion with the county a few weeks back, it was clear to me that all the recommendations of the N.H. Department of Revenue Administration and the auditors have been implemented and the county in financial terms, is operating smoothly. Proper financial controls are in place and we employ excellent people to monitor things professionally. I will seek opportunities to reduce unnecessary spending without negatively impacting county services and seek areas where we can consolidate services and save money.

I will also be looking for opportunities to increase revenue. Both will decrease our tax burden.

As I mentioned above, the ongoing feud between the delegation majority and commissioners and now the county staff is a barrier to success. It has got to stop. It is divisive and counterproductive. I am a collaborator and uniter, not a divider. I will seek to find common ground and try to bring people together. I will not let partisan politics interfere with my commitment to the citizens of Carroll County.

I will do my best, although I cannot guarantee that everyone will be willing to cooperate and move the county forward. I am hopeful that leading by example with a solid work ethic, mutual respect and professionalism, I will be successful.

Do you support the original forensic audit proposal or the commissioner's compromise?

I do not support the forensic audit. I have thoroughly reviewed the county audits and the N.H. DRA report as well as the commissioners' compromise and actually sat down with the county staff, something most members of the delegation refuse to do. It is a sound plan. For $20,000 versus upward of $140,000 for a forensic audit, we will get the answers we need and the taxpayers will save a lot of money. The plan consists of a trigger, that if any evidence of wrong doing was uncovered, it would trigger the recommendation for a forensic audit. It is logical and sound and should be allowed to move forward and end the witch hunt.

Pleased provide any further information about yourself that you would like to share with potential voters.

I want to clearly state that I will not support any broad-based sales or income tax.

It is an honor to volunteer to serve ones community. It is also a sacred trust. When I hear and read other candidates who say the major problems facing Carroll County are things like reducing the size of government and reduce spending, I see candidates that do not understand that the job they are seeking is to represent citizens directly, not a political ideology. It is wonderful of course to reduce spending and reduce taxes, and we have done that here in Moultonborough during my tenure as a selectman, but when you base every decision on those issues, you are not truly meeting the needs of your constituents.

N.H. House Representatives serve a two-year term and to really, truly, represent your fellow citizens, real people with real problems, you need to understand the day to day issues that impact their daily lives. That will be my focus if elected.

I respectfully ask for your vote on Nov. 8th.

Thank you.

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