Democratic gubernatorial candidate Molly Kelly sets policy priorities

by Wally Joe Cook | 11/5/18 3:00am

mk_blue1

Molly Kelly, who recently won the Democratic primary for governor and will face the Republican incumbent, Chris Sununu, at the polls on Nov. 6, has always had a focus on family.

“A governor needs to know who she is, what her values are and what’s most important to her,” she said. “I understand [the voters] and put the people first. I understand the challenges that working families face because I’ve lived that.”

One of 11 children, she said that she and her siblings learned to work together to help one another succeed. Kelly said she got involved in New Hampshire politics by working for different campaigns while raising her children.

“When I was young, I was a single mom with three small children and I went back to college to earn my degree at Keane State College,” she added. “I worked very hard there throughout my time at the college to receive my education and have opportunities for myself and opportunities for my children.”

After years of working on other campaigns, Kelly decided to run for state Senate herself. She was elected in 2006 and said she was honored to serve until 2016.

Kelly added that after 10 years of “standing up for working families,” “supporting women’s reproductive rights” and “fighting for clean renewable energy,” she became frustrated with the policies implemented by the Trump administration. She said that those policies have been reaching New Hampshire through the Sununu administration.

“People know that we’re going in the wrong direction,” Kelly said. “I decided that I couldn’t just sit on the sidelines,”

Kelly announced her candidacy in April. According to FiveThirtyEight, a website that forecasts elections, she has an 11.3 percent of winning the election.

Daniel Bring ’21, vice president of College Republicans, shares a similar view to the election forecast.

“I don’t think Kelly has much of a shot,” Bring said. “I think that Sununu is widely popular and it is unlikely that he will be defeated on Tuesday.”

Bring added that he supports Sununu because Kelly would “undo much of the good that Sununu has accomplished over his brief, but eventful term.”

Michael Parsons ’20, Dartmouth Democrats executive board member, disagrees.

“Unseating a one term incumbent governor is rare in New Hampshire, but not entirely unheard of,” he said. “I think she has a better chance than a lot of people are giving her.”

“She’s a really good candidate and a really good person.” Parsons added. “She’s going to stand up for the issues that we care about as a generation.”

For Kelly, the education and job training is the most important issue, which she said will be her “number one priority” as governor.

“There is a lack of an educated and prepared workforce in the state, and business employers are crying out for an educated and prepared workforce,” she said. “There are young people who are leaving our state because they do not see opportunities here in New Hampshire. As governor, I’m going to link those two together.”

Kelly added that she wants to create an “innovative, creative and sustainable economy in New Hampshire.”

Another important issue for Kelly is the opioid epidemic.

“The opioid epidemic is affecting all of our families in New Hampshire and, as governor, I would put together an emergency comprehensive plan,” she said. “We don’t need to talk about this anymore, we need to act on it.”

Kelly also said that, as governor she would “veto any school voucher program.”

“I want to make sure that everyone has an opportunity for success, not just a few,” Kelly explained. “[School voucher programs] remove funding from public education to private and religious schools, which weakens education.”

She added that she will have public schools offer breakfast to help the “44,000 children in New Hampshire who are food insecure.”

Kelly also said she would limit voting restrictions, adding that she did not support either SB3 or HB 1264 — two bills in the New Hampshire Senate and House of Representatives that could impact voter eligibility by modifying the definitions of “resident” and “residence” — and that she supports the injunction against SB3.

“I have spent a lifetime of breaking barriers down so that people can vote,” she said. “Voting is our voice, and we need to use it. The last thing we need is to put barriers up so that people can’t get to the polls or are confused at the polls.”

Kelly also addressed gun control, emphasizing a need to move toward “common sense gun safety.”

“I have four children and seven grandchildren, and I worry about my grandchildren every day in school,” Kelly said. “We have a moral obligation to keep our children safe. I would certainly support and move forward to pass universal background checks and keep guns out of the hands of our children and of domestic abusers.”

She discussed her opponent, Governor Sununu, and his stance on gun control.

“My opponent, the first bill that he signed into law was to allow anyone to carry a concealed weapon without a permit,” she said. “I would repeal that because that is just common-sense safety. We need to keep our children safe in our schools.”

Kelly also commented on Sununu’s campaign financing.

“I have not taken any money from any corporations in my campaign,” she said. “My opponent has — over 40 percent of his contributions come from corporations.”

She added that “his agenda is corporate special interests,” but that hers is “putting the people first.”

Kelly closed with a message to Dartmouth students.

“Vote for the issues that are most important to you. I think they are the same issues that are important to me,” she said. “You are our future. Vote for me. I’m going to work for you.”