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Jeanie Forrester, Mark Connolly file to run for governor

State House Bureau
June 09. 2016 10:19PM

Jeanie Forrester, left, and Mark Connolly 

CONCORD — Jeanie Forrester, a state senator from Meredith, said Thursday she is running for the Republican gubernatorial nomination because she wants to represent the “voices of the people who don’t get heard.”

Forrester, 58, pledged not to seek higher office if she is elected governor, criticizing current Gov. Maggie Hassan for spending too much time fundraising and running for U.S. Senate while the state is in disarray.

Forrester also criticized her fellow GOP gubernatorial candidate Chris Sununu for saying there had been no state or local leadership on the opioid crisis gripping New Hampshire. Manchester police and others also took Sununu to task for the comment.

“It speaks to his immaturity and lack of wisdom to say something like that,” said Forrester, who worked for his father former Gov. John H. Sununu, and noted it was indicative “of the political dynasty he comes from.”

Somebody should not get a job based on his or her last name, she said.

Forrester portrayed herself as an outsider, although she has served in the state Senate for six years, the last three as Senate Finance Committee chairman.

Support for presumptive Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump “speaks to the frustration people are feeling in this country and in this state,” Forrester said. “We have to stop being about politics as usual and the good ole boys.”

She said she has always said she would support the Republican nominee, and certainly prefers Trump to Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Forrester touted her work on the state plan to combat the opioid crisis and said under her administration “there would be zero tolerance for drug dealers in this state,” and she would emphasize prevention and education at all levels of public schools so rejecting drugs would be second nature to young people.

Former Bureau of Securities Regulations Director Mark Connolly, 60, of New Castle, filed for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination Wednesday, saying he wants to improve the state’s infrastructure, increase the commitment to fight the opioid epidemic, and make public education the best in the country.

He touted his experience in business and as a state department head saying he knows how to get things done and work with people on both sides of the aisle.

While the opioid crisis is the state’s most pressing immediate problem, Connolly said education is the most important issue in the long term.

He wants to fully fund kindergarten and state adequacy grants, bring back the school building aid program, lower the debt for college students and better align education with business needs.

“The first thing you do as governor is put the budget together,” Connolly said, “and I would focus on areas that have been underfunded the last few decades — education and transportation.”

He said he would support raising the gas tax to fix the state’s transportation infrastructure. Connolly also said he believes the state has done a good job beginning to address the opioid crisis.

“It’s not an issue we should politicize,” Connolly said. “We need to work together to respond in the best way possible.”

The filing period ends Friday.


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