Edwards to face Pappas on Nov. 6
This primary election, Eddie Edwards, former South Hampton police chief and a Navy veteran, won the Republican primary for New Hampshire’s First Congressional District. Edwards will face the Democratic nominee, Chris Pappas, at the polls on Nov. 6. If elected, he would be the first black representative in New Hampshire’s history.
However, he does not seem concerned with this fact.
“How does that in itself benefit you as a taxpayer or a family? It doesn’t, so, for me, I am not a special person simply because I am black,” Edwards said. “I don’t believe Chris Pappas is a special person simply because he is gay. I think what makes you special in this country is what you give back to your family, your community and your country. That’s what makes us special.”
Edwards said he is more interested in uniting Americans than identifying them by specific characteristics.
“The moment we start deciding who is special and who is gifted based upon race, sex, sexual orientation, ethnicity or economic social levels, we are further dividing our country,” Edwards said. “For me, individually, I want to make sure that we set examples for generations to come and that we start talking about what it means to be an American and how to unite people.”
Edward’s chances at winning the election are far from solid. According to FiveThirtyEight, a website which forecasts elections, Edwards has a one in nine chance of beating Pappas in the midterm.
Jake Maguire ’21, communications director for the Dartmouth College Democrats, said that his organization supports Pappas and thinks that the district is leaning Democrat.
Daniel Bring ’21, vice president of the College Republicans, is likewise not confident in Edwards’ chances.
“I think he would be a great representative for the people of New Hampshire, but the odds don’t seem to be in his favor,” Bring said.
Growing up, Edwards said, his home life was difficult. When he was young, he and his brother witnessed his father abuse his mother and deal drugs. Eventually, Edwards moved in with his grandmother, who cared for him for the rest of his childhood. Edwards’ brother is currently serving an 18 years to life sentence for murder. Despite having the same upbringing, Edwards and his brother followed very different paths.
“I understand the power and influence of a family, of a community,” Edwards explained. “That is why I’ve had a different experience in life than my older brother because I understood the power of a community.”
The importance of community is a recurring theme in Edwards’ politics. He decided to enter government after witnessing injustice while serving in the Navy and on the police force. Edwards said the government can be more transparent and should be in the hands of its citizens.
“That’s not really the case right now,” he said. “Government is really dictating to families, individuals and communities what is to be expected. We’ve flipped everything upside down.”
Specifically, Edwards said communities should play a larger role in combating the opioid epidemic. Prevention efforts should start at the local level because smaller operations have a better sense of what their communities need, he added.
“I am interested in making sure I fight for policies that allow for New Hampshire to retain most of its resources,” Edwards said. “We’re giving a lot more money to Washington than we’re receiving.”
He cited his personal experience on the police force as evidence that the community-based approach works. As an officer, Edwards conducted drug training in the Drug Recognition Expert program, which involved getting to know drug abusers and the issues surrounding drug abuse, such as the dangers of addiction and difficulty of finding a job after committing a felony.
“A lot of the challenges should be addressed by the folks who are doing the real work on the ground, not the politicians who are looking to have talking points to win elections,” Edwards said.
Edwards said he was also passionate about the overreach of the administrative agencies, adding that, from his professional experience, he has learned administrative offices grant “enormous power” to people who have never been elected.
“Our government is being controlled not by the three branches of government set up by the Constitution, but by the fourth branch of government, the administrative branch of government,” Edwards said. “I really believe you need someone who understands that operation to restore power.”
He continued by discussing the Administrative Procedure Act of 1946 and how he believes the act transferred power from the legislative branch to the executive branch. Under the current system, administrative offices interpret legislation passed by Congress and codify it into public policy. Edwards said that this system gives administrative agencies the power to “fill in the blanks” and make their own decisions. If elected, he said he plans to “claw back” the power given to agencies by writing legislation thoroughly enough that the law’s intention is unambiguous.
“At that point, you put the citizens and agencies on the same playing field where they can interpret the law and find the same meaning,” he explained.
Edwards added that other politicians are not proposing these changes because they are “not interested in being held accountable.” Instead, he said they enjoy being able to blame the agencies if a law is not well received by voters.
He added that a community approach could help reduce rising medical costs in New Hampshire.
“The Affordable Care Act is affordable depending on who you’re speaking to,” Edwards said. “Families are paying $25,000 to $30,000 a year for insurance. This is not really affordable.”
He elaborated that it is an issue that the state has never had a “true free market healthcare system” and that insurance companies contributed to writing the ACA.
“They wrote a healthcare package that guarantees them revenue,” Edwards explained. “This is why the cost is out of control.”
He proposed eliminating benefits for members of Congress so they understand the realities of the legislation they pass.
“They’re not motivated to fix this system because their families are doing quite well under the health care packages they receive,” Edwards said. “Once people are subject to the same laws and rules that they pass, their motivation changes.”
Edwards concluded with a message for Dartmouth students.
“I have great hope that the students at Dartmouth and students around this country can make a difference in our community,” Edwards said. “I hope you can focus on the true character of people and not just what political party they belong to.”