Republican Negron discusses policy goals

by Wally Joe Cook | 10/18/18 2:50am

“You know what, Dad? You complain a lot, and if you don’t get involved, you really don’t have a right to complain.” That’s what Steve Negron’s daughter told him in 2016 before he made the decision to run for a position in the New Hampshire House of Representatives. Negron recently won the Republican primary for the state’s Second Congressional District and will face the Democratic incumbent, Annie Kuster, at the polls on Nov. 6.

A few years ago, Negron said he never imagined he would be in this position.

After hosting a campaign event with his wife for Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina in 2016, Negron was approached by state representatives in attendance. They asked him to run for an opening in his district for the New Hampshire House of Representatives, but Negron did not say yes at first.

“My daughter was about to go into her senior year in high school, and I was the unofficial videographer for the volleyball team,” Negron said. “I told them, ‘As long as it doesn’t impact my daughter, then I would consider it.”

He said he went home to talk to his daughter about the decision.

With his daughter’s support, Negron was elected to the state House of Representatives, where he sat on the election law committee. During his time in the House, he said that he was inspired by the passion of New Hampshire citizens.

“I used to see people who would come to committee hearings,” he said. “They would drive two or two and a half hours and they fundamentally believed that they had a voice. Whatever the issue was that they wanted to be heard on, they thought they could affect change.”

As a member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives committee on election law, Negron heard and supports House Bill 1264, which has since been signed into law by Governor Chris Sununu. The law makes it more difficult for out-of-state college students to vote in New Hampshire elections.

“Every college student here that comes from another state always has the opportunity to vote with an absentee ballot,” he said. “My daughter is now a sophomore in college in Texas and she requested an absentee ballot because she knows her home is here in New Hampshire.”

Negron said that he welcomes students who want to move to New Hampshire, but that they then must comply with all of New Hampshire’s rules going forward.

“Either you are a New Hampshire resident for everything or you’re not,” he said.

Negron said that he turned a critical eye toward the federal government and realized that New Hampshire citizens in the Second Congressional district were not being heard. He said he decided to run for Congress to give those citizens a voice.

As a candidate for the Republican nomination, Negron faced a tight race. He barely edged out his opponents, securing only 26.1 percent of the vote. Other candidates Lynne Blankenbeker and Stewart Levenson earned 22.9 percent and 25.2 percent, respectively.

Negron said that uniting the party behind him after the close primary race has been a “lukewarm” process.

He noted that of the three major candidates he defeated in the primary, two now support him and the third does not.

“That was a hiccup and a bump in the road,” Negron said of the third candidate, whom he chose not to name.

He said that he has been meeting with voters who supported the third candidate to bring the party together.

“We’re not going to be successful unless we galvanize the party and bring everyone together,” Negron said. “I think we’re in a good position right now.”

College Republicans vice president Daniel Bring ’21 said that while he supported Levinson in the primaries, he now backs Negron.

However, Bring said he is not confident in Negron’s chances on Nov. 6.

“I don’t think this district has the Republican community to mobilize behind Negron,” Bring said.

Dartmouth Democrats executive board member Michael Parsons ’20 said he shared Bring’s sentiments about Negron’s chances at the polls.

“I really don’t think he’s got a shot,” Parsons said. “We really believe that [Negron] is a non-starter of a candidate.”

Parsons said that Negron does not represent New Hampshire well because of his opposition to Medicaid expansion, abortion and climate change, adding that Negron is a proponent of conversion therapy.

Negron has experience bringing the party together after a contentious primary, as he now supports President Donald Trump after organizing events for Fiorina in 2016.

“I think the things [Trump] has done for this country have been spot on,” Negron said. “I think he’s just trying to protect this country. He’s trying to make sure everything is fair.”

Negron cited Trump’s interactions with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and his demands that all nations provide the agreed upon military funding as an example of his effectiveness. He also mentioned the president’s decision to back out of the Iran nuclear agreement and the current “economic boom” as evidence of his strong leadership. He also discussed Trump’s executive order that “minimized the impact” of the child separation issue as an example of the president doing the right thing.

Negron said that “to this point” he has not disagreed with a single one of Trump’s policies.

“I think the things he has done have been historic,” he said. “For me, as a military guy, bringing North Korea to the table with South Korea was great, but what was more important to me was that we were able to repatriate remains from the Korean War back to this country.”

Negron served in the Air Force and comes from a family committed to military service. Negron’s father, wife and sister are veterans and his son is currently serving with the Air Force Special Operations Command.

He said that his military service has carried over into his professional life as a business owner. His company, Integron, which is based in Nashua, focuses on engineering and acquisition support for the Department of Defense.

“I was an [intercontinental ballistic missile] guy, so in the height of the Cold War I was one of those guys 90 feet under the ground and I was responsible, along with my crew members, for ten nuclear weapons,” Negron said.

Negron said that, in addition to his military background, his Hispanic heritage and his grandfather’s legal immigration from Mexico influences his perspective on political issues.

“When you go and represent in Washington, you need to bring the fabric of a community ideal with you,” he added. “I think right now I’m really the prototypical person that should be in Congress, just a regular guy that lived his life giving back to his community.”

One issue that Negron said is plaguing New Hampshire communities is the opioid epidemic.

“The number one issue here is the opioid issue that we have right here in this state,” he said. “There is this unrest out there about what is happening.”

Negron said he will bring what he has learned from opioid discussions in New Hampshire to Washington, adding that he believes federal support could help New Hampshire tackle the issue if there was still a local focus.

“You can’t legislate for a state from Washington,” he explained. “You have to come back here.”

Negron encouraged Dartmouth students to vote in the upcoming election.