Local state politicians prepare for November races

by Ben Nunnery | 8/5/08 2:02am

While many New Hampshire student voters can name the top five most played songs on Sen. Barack Obama's, D-Ill. iPod, and more still have viewed images of the prison cell Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., lived in for six years, they know little or nothing about other candidates who will be on their New Hampshire ballots in November.

Freshman United States Representative Paul Hodes '72, D-N.H., is running for re-election in New Hampshire's 2nd congressional district, facing one of a slew of Republicans fighting for their party's nomination. Jennifer Horn, former columnist for the Sunday edition of The Telegraph, and state Sen. Bob Clegg, R-Hudson, are the Republican frontrunners. Hodes defeated Republican incumbent Charles Bass '74 in 2006 by more than seven percentage points.

Hodes' agenda for the next two years includes passing significant energy legislation, reforming the nation's health care system and exercising fiscal discipline.

"I think we face tremendous challenges; clearly the economy is on everyone's mind," he said. "We must work to decrease the national deficit by shifting our spending priorities."

Horn said she would fight to reduce the souring cost of energy.

"There is no question, bringing down the cost of fuel has to be a priority," she said. "It's hurting every individual family and business in New Hampshire."

Horn cited her "ordinary citizen" status as qualification to fix a Washington system she calls "broken."

"I think that this race and this election is going to be about changing the way government works, making Congress work for the people," she said.

Horn criticized Hodes for voting for Congress to take a five-week vacation before discussing an energy solution. The decision for the Congressional recess could have been altered by one vote.

"It is a perfect example of how Hodes has failed the people over and over again," she said. "His one vote could have made a difference and kept Congress in session. He chose once again to vote with his party instead of for the people of New Hampshire."

Hodes said Republicans are trying to hoax the American people regarding energy policy, .

"Republicans are trying to say that drilling in ANWAR is going to fix our problems," he said. "I try not to be distracted, but deal in the reality."

Regarding the Congressional recess, Hodes said he is happy to be working from home and meeting with constituents.

The Dartmouth was unable to reach Clegg, the other Republican frontrunner, by press time.

According to a poll conducted last month by The Granite State Poll, Hodes leads Horn 43 percent to 23 percent. Hodes also leads Clegg 44 percent to 25 percent.

State Sen. Peter Burling, D-Cornish, announced in May 2008 that he will not be seeking reelection, leaving his seat in New Hampshire's 5th Senatorial District open. The 5th district includes towns such as Andover, Cornish, Enfield, Hanover and Lebanon. Republican state. Rep. James Danforth, R-Andover, will face Democrat state Rep. Matthew Houde '91, D-Plainfield, for Burling's seat.

Danforth said the most important issue for Hanover voters was the coordination of the town's transportation.

"The Route 4 bridge is out and they are adding 8 lanes under Interstate 89 at exit 20," he said. "No one has been in to talk to them except me. I asked them, 'How much traffic are you going to bump down to downtown Hanover?'"

Danforth has also voiced his opposition to implementing a state-wide sales tax or income tax, citing the state's failure to handle surpluses.

"This year, our budget had an increase in revenue, but our spending has still exceeded the revenue," he said.

Houde expressed his desire to expand health care coverage and to shield New Hampshire from the sluggish economy.

"I think New Hampshire is not immune from the economic downturn nationally," he said. "We need to take care of those who are vulnerable and create opportunities for others."

Houde, former president of the College's Phi Delta Alpha fraternity, said he is in touch with college students, especially at Dartmouth.

"I think Dartmouth students should support me, because I'm a Dartmouth alum," he said. "I'm 39 and represent those who have democratic ideals and priorities. I bring a different prospective to the legislature."

Students registered to vote in New Hampshire can cast their ballots on Sept. 15 for the New Hampshire primary and on Nov. 4 for the general election.

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