Don't Ignore the Governor's Race

by Sarah Ayres | 11/1/04 6:00am

Republicans often argue that Dartmouth students should not be allowed to vote in New Hampshire because they have little knowledge about local issues and are not really New Hampshire residents. They're half right.

Dartmouth students are New Hampshire residents just as much as newly-transplanted factory workers or migrant techies from Massachusetts. And they often have just as little knowledge about state politics. So as a New Hampshire resident and a Dartmouth student, I thought I'd offer one piece of advice for Dartmouth students voting at the polls tomorrow.

Vote for John Lynch for governor.

For the last two years, New Hampshire has been ruled by King, er, Gov. Craig Benson, who ran for governor largely because he was bored with being rich and wanted to be powerful and famous as well. Before he was governor he ran Cabletron, a company that no longer exists. While CEO, Benson was sued for sexual discrimination (he fired a woman because she was, well, a woman) and lost the case. As the company crumbled around him, he walked away with half a billion dollars. Then he ran for governor.

Many people accuse Craig Benson of not accomplishing anything as governor. That's not true. Indeed, in just two short years, Benson has managed to significantly tarnish the reputation of the governor's office; humiliate and intimidate state employees, teachers, state troopers, police officers, corrections officers and state environmental workers; and pass the stupidest health care law in the history of the state.

Two of his aides have been forced to resign for bilking the state. He appointed his personal Cabletron assistant to the position of homeland security liaison, even though she had no qualifications. He used taxpayer dollars to buy himself a new luxury SUV with a rear-seat entertainment package. He used taxpayer dollars to hire a personal image consultant. He gave his personal staff large bonuses with taxpayer dollars just before they became his campaign staff.

His health care bill, SB 110, allows insurance companies to discriminate against sick and older workers and has driven up health care costs for small businesses.

His plan for caring for the elderly was secret until it was leaked by a reporter and involves dumping the elderly from nursing home care. On education, he came to office faced with a Supreme Court ruling that paying for education for poor children is the state's constitutional responsibility. His response? Pass a constitutional amendment that says the state does not have to pay for the education of poor children.

And Craig Benson has bulldozed the environment. Literally. He illegally bulldozed wetlands and sand dunes outside his own beachfront mansion on the Atlantic Ocean, twice. And then lied about it. And then vindictively transferred the state worker who had him fined.

Most of all, Benson's ruling, er, governing style, leaves something to be desired. Basically he believes that people are motivated by intimidation, and that he can get his way by running over and through people. And he believes that his way is right. As the old joke goes, the difference between Craig Benson and God is that God doesn't think He's Craig Benson.

John Lynch is running for governor because he can no longer sit back and watch the destruction Benson is wreaking on the state. Lynch's campaign motto is "you can keep your eye on the bottom line and still look out for people," and he's lived it.

Lynch took over a struggling company, turned it around, and then gave the factory workers stock, retirement plans and huge bonuses. He helped save a hospital in Manchester when its corporate owners wanted to close it. He has an education plan that makes sense. He wants to repeal SB 110. He will protect the environment.

But most of all, he will lead the state with integrity and he will motivate people by respecting them and encouraging them to take part in state government. His will be a government of many.

Craig Benson rules a government of Craig Benson.

Like so many of you, I will be voting for John Kerry on Tuesday. But I urge you not to just check Kerry's name and then walk away. John Lynch needs your vote, too. And I'm from New Hampshire, so I know what I'm talking about.