State Senate District 12: Luther vs. Gilmour
CONCORD - The race for the District 12 state Senate seat is a rematch between Hollis residents Republican incumbent Sen. Jim Luther of Hollis and former Democratic Sen. Margaret "Peggy" Gilmour.
The two candidates faced off in the 2010 election, with Luther defeating Gilmour by about 1,000 votes.
"Jobs and the economy, that's it," Luther said, noting he is one of only eight lawmakers who received a 100-percent ranking from the Business and Industry Association. "I'll continue to bring business-friendly bills forward to expand business and grow jobs, lessen regulation and do everything I can to lighten the tax burden."
Gilmour agrees but says there is more to the story than jobs and the economy.
"The key issue again has to be the focus on what to do to open our state to business and to continue to look at the regulatory climate," she said. "The last two years we have had a group that ran on jobs and the economy and then spent an inordinate amount of time and energy on an ideological agenda that doesn't suit me and many others who live in New Hampshire."
She said the lawmakers spent too much time on issues like abortion and women's contraceptives, gun rights, gay marriage and Planned Parenthood and not on the economic issues that matter.
She asked: "Why did my opponent sponsor an extreme abortion bill that would severely interfere with the practice of medicine, give information that is not scientifically based, and fine and charge a physician with a felony?"
Luther said when Democrats ran the legislature, they did a terrible job of fiscal management, leaving the current legislature to deal with a $900 million deficit. He said he intends to continue work on pension reform "to lighten the load at the local level."
He said he would continue to press for right-to-work legislation that would end the practice of charging non-union members for the cost of negotiating and managing collective-bargaining agreements.
"You hear all the noise from the other side, but there is clear evidence in my district that it will bring jobs," Luther said. One gentleman owns a business in Nashua employing several hundred people, he said, and the man told him if there is any attempt to unionize his employees, he would "sell in a heartbeat."
Gilmour believes the next legislature will have to look at health care and its costs.
"We're going to have to look at how we manage access and the cost of health care and the opportunity to expand access," she said.
She also questioned why the last legislature significantly reduced state aid to education, particularly higher education.
"Why are we not investing in the public education system at all levels?" Gilmour asked. "Why not invest in something so important to keeping young people in New Hampshire when we know one of the key issues we face going forward is our aging population?"
Gilmour, 70, served one term in the Senate and owns CompassWise Consulting. She is the former president and CEO of Home Health and Hospice Care, Nashua. She was born in North Adams, Mass., and has lived in New Hampshire for 40 years. She is a Boston University graduate.
Luther, 57, was born in Denver and grew up in Villanova, Pa. He graduated from Syracuse University, moved to New England soon after he graduated, and has lived in Hollis since 1988. Luther is a self-employed investment and money manager who also serves as a part-time pastor at the Grace Fellowship Church of Nashua.