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Another View: Lamontagne’s values are not consistent with New Hampshire’s

October 01. 2012 8:02PM

Ovide Lamontagne likes to describe himself as someone who will leave his political affiliation at the State House door. In one of his tv ads, he describes himself as a fourth-generation New Hampshire native, saying, 'I am New Hampshire.'

I may be only a third-generation native, but I know this: Ovide is not the New Hampshire of most Granite Staters. Nor will he leave his party affiliation at the door. Look at his record.

Let's start with the idea he will not be partisan. Ovide is the most partisan Republican gubernatorial nominee in years. I know from personal experience.

When I was the New Hampshire Democratic Party chair, we were involved in a law suit against the state Republicans for jamming our phone lines. Ovide was the attorney who defended the state GOP. His disdain for Democrats was palpable. He continually referred to the 'New Hampshire Democrat Party' in hearings and in pleadings. Finally, when our attorney objected, the judge told Ovide to knock it off.

I'm not saying Ovide is a bad guy; he isn't. However, he is from that wing of the Republican Party that can't even bring itself to use the actual name of the opposition party. A fellow who can't bring himself to say 'Democratic Party' without being told to does not have the capacity to leave his party affiliation at the door.

Look at how he talks about Gov. John Lynch. Gov. Lynch really has governed in a nonpartisan manner, appointing both Democrats and Republicans to be judges and department heads, and even endorsing at least one Republican for electoral office over a Democrat. Ovide says he will be a radically different governor from John Lynch. I believe he means it; and I believe he will be a radically partisan governor.

Ovide is not New Hampshire, as his positions not only put him outside the mainstream of our state, but also place him in the most extreme elements of the new Republican Party. This wing of the Republican Party believes the government established by our forefathers is, well, dangerous. In a recent debate he said, 'Every tax, every fee, every time government takes money from you, they are taking away some freedom and liberty from us.'

No, Ovide, actually those taxes, which in New Hampshire are among the lowest in the country, pay for children to go to be educated. An educated population is critical to a free society and an economically viable society. Those taxes pay for the military, police and first responders who keep our country, our state, and our people safe and secure. Those taxes also pay for the infrastructure which provides the air, rail and highway routes that are necessary for our commerce to prosper. Paying for the common good is not taking away liberty or freedom. It is paying the bill for the liberty, freedom, equality and opportunity we all share in our state and our country.

But Ovide does not agree. His ideological positions are far outside the mainstream that he thinks school districts should be able to abolish kindergartens. He wants to put Bill O'Brien and the Legislature in charge of Medicare in New Hampshire, subjecting seniors to the whims of the budget cycle every two years. He would force women who have been the victims of the ugliest of crimes to bear the children of their attackers. He would repeal marriage equality.

On some of these issues, Ovide's response is that 'social issues' aren't important, that this election should be about the economy. That is what Ovide's wing of the Republican Party told us in 2010. The next thing we knew we were arguing over birth control and whether Barack Obama was born in Kenya, Egypt or Hawaii.

Ovide's economic positions aren't terrific, either. In a debate he said he wants a new economic plan to be done before proceeding further with our 10 year highway plan - a plan already based on studying and prioritizing the state's infrastructure needs. When it was pointed out that a new study would delay the 93 widening project, he backtracked, but it showed that he did not have enough familiarity with the process. On commuter rail, he wants to study extending it to Nashua, ignoring the major positive impact it would have on the rest of the state if extended. The only expanded legalized gambling proposal he would consider is Rockingham Park, rather than an open, competitive bid process that would provide a better return for the state.

This is the same Ovide Lamontagne who was too extreme for New Hampshire in 1996, when he lost the governor's race to Jeanne Shaheen. This is the same Ovide Lamontagne who recently called himself the Tea Party favorite. He is not New Hampshire.

Kathy Sullivan is a Manchester attorney and member of the Democratic National Committee. She was chairman of the New Hampshire Democratic Party from 1999-2007.

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