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January 04. 2013 12:06AM

Hassan's speech praised on both sides of aisle


Gov. Maggie Hassan speaks after being sworn in as governor at the State House in Concord Thursday. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)

CONCORD - Gov. Maggie Hassan's inaugural speech drew praise from both sides of the aisle, particularly her realistic view of the state's financial situation.

She also urged a bipartisan approach to solving the state's problems, and that pleased most everyone.

U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte liked Hassan's approach, noting she was willing to work with both parties to make sure New Hampshire remains strong.

Peter Bragdon, R-Milford, said: "After listening to Gov. Hassan's speech, I am convinced the emphasis of this legislative session will be on finding solutions instead of fighting."

Bragdon noted he was a freshman senator with Hassan and said the Senate takes pride that one of its former colleagues was sworn in as governor.

Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley, R-Wolfeboro, called Hassan a friend and said friends work together to find common ground.

He noted the somber tone of her speech and said it reflects both the uncertainty with Washington, D.C., and state revenues over the next two years. "She recognized the reality we are dealing with," Bradley said.

Unlike the highly partisan atmosphere in Washington, Bradley said the tone in the State House will be different.

Senate Minority Leader Sylvia Larsen, D-Concord, praised Hassan's speech, saying it set the correct tone as the legislative year begins.

"I was proud to serve with Gov. Hassan in the state Senate, and I have no doubt she will be a leader who will focus on ensuring New Hampshire is a more innovative state by taking a bipartisan, common-sense and fiscally responsible approach to addressing our challenges," Larsen said.

House Minority Leader Gene Chandler, R-Bartlett, focused on Hassan's discussion of the state's finances.

"We stand ready to support a reasonable, balanced budget based on realistic revenue estimates and no smoke and mirror attempts to disguise the budget picture," Chandler said. "Our economy is still fragile, and in order for it to grow and create jobs, we must keep taxes low and reduce over-burdensome regulation."

Former state Democratic chair and current Democratic National Committeewoman Kathy Sullivan liked Hassan's focus on education and innovation to spur the state's economy. The state needs to do what it can so New Hampshire students can receive their higher education here and remain here once they graduate, she said.

"I look forward to the next two years," Sullivan said. "She emphasized reaching across the aisle instead of the Republican disaster we had the last two years."

Current state Democratic Party Chairman Raymond Buckley said Hassan's speech reflected her personality and her skills working with others.

"Maggie knows who she is," Buckley said, "and she is proud of the work she did in the Senate that was bipartisan."

Praise also came from the conservative group Cornerstone Research.

"I was delighted to hear Governor Hassan list in her inaugural address the values New Hampshire citizens hold dear," said Ashley Pratte, the group's executive director. "I look forward to working with Gov. Hassan and the Legislature in promoting the principles of freedom, family, fiscal responsibility and community."

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Garry Rayno may be reached at grayno@unionleader.com.


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