Thursday, December 29, 2016

"It will also require the hard work of uncomfortable compromise, instead of the easy comfort of an uncompromising ideology. "

State Senator Dan Feltes (D)-Concord wrote an op-ed piece in today's Union Leader, where he referenced Ronald Reagan's Christmas State of Mind" speech 35 years ago.
I share his concerns that some in Concord from the Governor down,  were not listening to citizens during the recent campaign. He wrote that during the campaign:  "The issues I heard most were the opioid public health crisis, the affordability and availability of child care, early childhood and higher education, energy, health care, housing and assisted-living, our workforce development, our ability to attract and keep young working families in New Hampshire, and local property taxes going up and up."

Another View -- Dan Feltes: Finding a Christmas state of mind in 2017


Thirty-five years ago, in President Ronald Reagan’s “Christmas state of mind” message, he said, “For more than just a day, Christmas is a state of mind. It is found throughout the year whenever faith overcomes doubt, hope conquers despair, and love triumphs over hate. It is present when men of any creed bring love and understanding to the hearts of their fellow man.”

As we head into 2017, let us remember this important message from President Reagan, and let us do our best to bring love and understanding to one another.

Doing so requires a recognition that to move New Hampshire forward, we cannot afford to leave anyone behind. And, it requires the act of listening to one another, regardless of another’s background or where they live or their party affiliation. Since the election, I’ve listened to the public statements of my Republican brothers and sisters in control of our State House, including Governor-elect Chris Sununu. Some of their focus since the election has not reflected what Granite Staters talked about before the election. It has included a focus on controversial issues like curbing voting rights, curtailing collective bargaining power of workers for better wages and benefits through the Orwellian named Right-To- Work, and considering even more tax giveaways to business owners, corporations and the wealthy elite.

After many town halls, public events and discussions, and knocking on an untold number of doors of voters, I cannot recall any Granite Stater listing any of these issues as a priority for them, their family or their community. The issues I heard most were the opioid public health crisis, the affordability and availability of child care, early childhood and higher education, energy, health care, housing and assisted-living, our workforce development, our ability to attract and keep young working families in New Hampshire, and local property taxes going up and up. Voters talked about their perception that a wealthy and corporate elite play by a different set of rules and get everything they want, while middle class Granite Staters are left with less opportunities and more local property taxes.

Unfortunately, this perception matches reality. While we are the sixth most wealthy state with the seventh most favorable overall business tax climate, we have the fastest growing rate of both child poverty and income inequality in the nation. These are all tough and complicated issues. Fortunately, there are many good ideas on how to tackle them, from citizens, from stakeholders, and from Democrats and Republicans alike. 

It will, however, require us to refocus on these common challenges and opportunities. It will also require the hard work of uncomfortable compromise, instead of the easy comfort of an uncompromising ideology. But, most of all, it will require what President Reagan termed “a Christmas state of mind” — a love and an understanding of what everyone is going through, not just the well-connected few, but everyone. Let’s make 2017 a year of love and understanding, together.

Sen. Dan Feltes, D-Concord, represents District 15.

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