CONCORD — Gov. Maggie Hassan made it official Thursday morning, filing to run for her second term among supporters and several protesters outside the Secretary of State’s Office.
She was one of two gubernatorial candidates to file on the next to last day of the filing period.
When she filed, Hassan said she has worked to solve problems “in the New Hampshire way, bringing everyone together.”
She cited the bi-partisan support for the two-year budget, freezing state college tuition, doubling the research and development tax credit, providing health care to 50,000 poor adults and raising the gas tax to fix the state’s roads and bridges as hallmarks of her first term.
Hassan touted an improving New Hampshire economy and the lowest unemployment rate since 2008.
But she said more work needs to be done and vowed again to veto any sales or income tax that makes its way to her desk.
“New Hampshire is moving in the right direction because we have shown time and again that we can work across the aisle to solve problems,” Hassan said. “Unlike in Washington, we listened to the people of New Hampshire and brought together Independents, Republicans and Democrats, and made bi-partisan progress on our key priorities of expanding opportunity for middle class families, helping innovative businesses create jobs, and keeping our economy moving forward, without an income or sales tax.” Hassan also reiterated her support for casino gambling, saying it is better for New Hampshire to retain revenue that would otherwise go to out-of-state casinos and use that money for New Hampshire’s needs.
She also touted her administration’s work to settle long-standing litigation on the Medicaid Enhancement Tax, mental health system and women’s prison.
Hassan said health insurance for those eligible under Medicaid expansion should be available soon after the July 1 target for the program, but noted federal approval is needed before it can begin.
Hassan was greeted on her way to the Secretary of State’s Office by a man in a turkey suit. Republicans have criticized her for leading a trade mission to Turkey while freezing all out-of-state travel.
She said she favors growing the economy and the segment growing fastest is exports. Turkey is the state’s 12th largest trading partner, doing $79 million in business, she said, and the trip will help expand that activity.
Hassan, of Exeter, served three terms in the state Senate before running for governor in 2012.
Republican gubernatorial candidate Andrew Hemingway of Bristol also filed to run.
“The people of New Hampshire are ready for a change,” Hemingway said, “they are ready to defeat the status quo because it is not working.”
He said he represents a new direction for education, for the health care system and for the state to again be a leader in economic change for the country.
People are concerned about jobs, about paying for gas and mortgages and if their children receive a good education, Hemingway said.
His perspective is different from the other candidate in the Republican race, Walt Havenstein, he said. He said he is younger, which gives him a different perspective, and also runs a small business with a free market approach, while Havenstein has been involved with large corporations.
Hemingway said his campaign has no plans to file a complaint against Havenstein to challenge his eligibility to become governor. Havenstein who filed Wednesday, asked the Ballot Law Commission to rule on his residency, an issue raised by Democrats.
Hemingway touted his work on grassroots campaigns.
“I’ve been working and building a grassroots network,” he said, and also took heart from David Brat’s victory over U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor earlier this week.
“You have to have a compelling message and a connectivity with voters,” Hemingway said.
Hemingway took aim at Hassan’s trade mission to Turkey, saying the money could be better spent attracting Massachusetts or New York businesses to the state or going to Canada or Mexico.
“What’s the fascination with Turkey?” Hemingway asked. “It makes no sense on paper.”
Hemingway, 39, lives in Bristol and has worked on a number of campaigns in the Granite State.
He agreed to the state’s $650,000 voluntary campaign spending limit in both the primary and the general election.
Hassan did not agree to the limit.
Ian Freeman of Keene and Clecia Terrio of Manchester filed for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination as well on Thursday and Daniel J. Greene of Pittsfield filed for the Republican nomination.