LONDONDERRY — For gubernatorial hopeful Walt Havenstein, visiting Londonderry meant getting a sneak preview of an area expected to be the site of rampant economic development in the coming years.
The Alton Republican and former BAE Systems CEO said that what he lacks in political experience he more than makes up for in good business sense.
“I’m not a politician at heart. My principles are really the same as they were in 1999 when I was working for BAE,” Havenstein said. “And it’s frustrating to see that we haven’t grown as much as we could be.”
Arriving at Londonderry Town Hall early Thursday, the retired Marine Corps colonel was greeted by Town Council Chairman Tom Dolan, a former BAE colleague. Dolan told Havenstein that the Pettengill Road development “would be a prime spot for manufacturing.”
“Well, we need to do something to drive that,” Havenstein said. “Maybe we can find a way to get those cars heading down I93 towards Massachusetts to turn right around.”
Havenstein disagrees with increasing the gas tax to expand the state’s infrastructure.
Proponents of Senate Bill 367 say it would raise an estimated $32 million toward the Interstate 93 expansion project. The state Senate approved the bill, which would raise state gas taxes by about 4.2 cents per gallon, and it’s up for a House vote.
“There’s no doubt about it, we have some strong infrastructure needs,” Havenstein said. “But as for a gas tax, I’m not convinced we’re spending the revenue we currently have in a correct manner.”
Havenstein stopped by Central Fire Station to say hello to Fire Chief Darren O’Brien.
“Londonderry is a pretty unique part of the state,” he noted. “There’s a definite energy here.”
He also visited the Londonderry Freezer Warehouse, a business that’s grown since its 1998 opening. Company owner Ed Dougherty said he welcomed the candidate’s visit.
“He’s a very nice and personable guy,” Dougherty said. “I admire his service to his country and to the business community, and it was interesting to hear his views.”