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The Dartmouth
May 27, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Letter to the Editor: Dartmouth Alumni Should Not Be Excluded From Local Politics

Ben Katz ’26 questions a recent opinion piece discouraging Dartmouth alumni from running for New Hampshire’s 2nd Congressional District.

Re: Amidon: It’s Time for Dartmouth to Pass the Torch on New Hampshire’s Second District

When I voted for Democratic Rep. Annie Kuster ’78 and Republican Gov. Chris Sununu, an alumnus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in 2022, I was not selecting them for their SAT scores. Nor was I supporting them for their elite university degrees. I voted for them because I believed they would best represent my interests.

Likewise, when my Lebanon High School teachers, Charlestown summer baseball teammates and Colebrook camp counselors go to the polls, they will vote for the candidates who best represent their interests.

Dartmouth alumni should not limit themselves from running for seats in New Hampshire’s 2nd Congressional District. It is true that Dartmouth and other elite institutions produce educated — and often wealthy — alumni. It is also true, however, that they produce some of the most capable and effective leaders in the country. From Brown University graduate and Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan, Harvard University alumnus and Democratic Rep. Chris Pappas and Kuster at the national level to Lebanon city council member and Grafton County treasurer Karen Liot Hill ’00 at the local level, Ivy Leaguers have demonstrated that they are capable of representing Granite Staters to the fullest degree.

These New Hampshire politicians did not waltz in and steal positions of power from locals. They were chosen by their thoughtful and capable constituents. There may be a disparity between the pay stubs of Dartmouth graduates and the average New Hampshire resident. So what? Even Amidon notes that the 2nd District’s past Ivy League representatives “were all great leaders.” Perhaps it was not their connections, but their effectiveness as leaders that got them elected.

Granite Staters are capable of selecting candidates to represent their interests. Calling for the exclusion of Dartmouth alumni from political participation is condescending and unnecessary.

Dartmouth is not a proverbial “City on a Hill.” Lebanon, Charlestown and Colebrook are not bastions of rural idiocy.

Let’s not treat either as such.

Ben Katz ’26 is a senior editor at the Dartmouth Law Journal. Letters to the Editor represent the views of their author(s), which are not necessarily those of The Dartmouth.