AS A “baby boomer” growing up in the 1950s and ‘60s, I always thought that my generation would have “the right stuff” too, as my parents’ “greatest generation” was said to have. However, as I look at the current state of our state and of our country, I am disappointed with where we have arrived.
I tried to do what I thought was the right thing: fund my own way to college, start a business and hire people, raise a family and advocate for the small business people. Today, none of that seems to make a difference, other than in personal success. So what about our children, the millennials? How do their future prospects look? Answer: In simple terms, not very good.
We have a state that is stagnant in growth, with too few job opportunities and limited affordable housing. We have record levels of national debt and risks to our physical and economic well-being all over the globe, and all at a time when our personal liberties appear to be under attack.
So why not start turning to a millennial in the 2014 elections to lay the groundwork to fix some of the problems that we baby boomers created and aren’t willing to deal with?
New Hampshire was once known as a very business friendly state. I moved here in the 1970s, went back to school here in the ‘80s, and started a business here in the ‘90s. I would be hard pressed to convince anyone now to put everything they own at risk and start a business venture in New Hampshire.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Our future is not already etched in the granite we so love to call home. That is why, as a recognized “business leader,” I have put my full endorsement behind the only millennial in our governor’s race: Andrew Hemingway.
Hemingway has put several bold new ideas, like a business flat tax, on the table for legislators to consider. The business flat tax proposal is neither a Republican nor a Democratic soundbite, but rather a revenue-neutral economic expansion idea advanced by economists who make their living figuring out the complicated stuff like taxes and job creation. After all, governors can only sign legislation after both the House and Senate approve it, so nothing can or will happen until an idea is fully vetted and passed by both bodies.
Another proposal that made just too much sense to me not to be considered was his expanded charitable gaming proposal, which preserved the character of New Hampshire that most of us feel proud of; provided greater in-state recreational opportunities for all of us who might enjoy gambling; provided more revenue for cities, towns and the state; raised more money for our charities and adequately compensated the gaming operators.
So when does a seemingly win-win idea fail to be acted on? When our current “leaders” are aligned with special interest groups either for or against big-time casino gambling as we know it in other states. Special interests win, we all lose. Too much of today’s establishment politics are just like that, and we all know it.
After almost 25 years of being in business in New Hampshire, I can tell you when the same old, same old isn’t working very well for most people, and certainly not for small business people. That would be now. I’m voting for Andrew Hemingway in the Republican primary in September to change the status quo in New Hampshire. He has the energy, courage and entrepreneurial experience to push us forward as a state.
Harold Turner is a small business owner from Concord. He was on the board of the Business and Industry Association for 20 years and currently serves on the board of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.