The past election sent a very strong, clear message regarding the direction in which the people of New Hampshire wished their elected officials to take this great state. For the first time in over a decade, the Republicans are the majority party in the New Hampshire House, Senate, and Governor’s office. It seemed that the taxpayers would have a chance, once again to experience that New Hampshire advantage that they once coveted and have since lost.
The beginning of the legislative session started off strong. Constitutional Carry passed the House, the Senate, and was signed into law by the Governor. It was a great day for liberty and a great new beginning for our state. The Governor also signed education bills that provided more parental control (HB103), protected student privacy (HB275), and supported education for students who may have fallen slightly off course (HB216). Business restrictions began to be loosened (HB184). The republicans were staying true to their promises.
Then the right to work legislation passed the Senate. The Governor had promised to sign this bill into law when it got to his desk. However, the seams of the party began to show weakness and RTW was killed in the House. This was a huge loss for the party. RTW is a platform issue and should have been easily passed. Instead it was thoroughly killed for the remainder of the two year session by handful of republicans who joined forces with the other party.
Next came the budget. The budget had significant increases in spending. The republican platform states that , “We believe that low taxes are the result of low spending; that government has a moral obligation to the people to be as cost effective as possible, to always limit spending and growth of government, and to cut spending and cost of government at every possible turn.” The budgets proposed, thus far, have not adhered to that ideology. Although members of the party tried to find a compromise, the house budget failed.
The platform also states that, “We believe that every child is filled with potential and is unique in their own right; as such we believe there is no one-size-fits-all education solution; we support expanded education choices, including but not limited to: education tax credits, charter schools, and home schooling. We believe in local educational control, beginning with parents, teachers and principals.” However, last week the House Education Committee retained SB 193 (a school choice bill) because there were not enough committee votes to pass it. In the same day, in an unprecedented move, a republican state representative increased the price tag of a kindergarten funding bill from $9M to $14.5M and that passed committee. It makes one wonder if the message so clearly sent by the elections has been completely lost on some.
Voters choose their party affiliation, and cast a vote for their representatives based on their platform. The democrats are very clear as to what their platform is and they vote accordingly. That is what is expected by their constituents. Why then would republicans, elected to represent that platform, support legislation that is contrary to the will of their constituents? Why do we have political parties if the platform is to be regarded as a mere suggestion?
The Republican platform is routinely reviewed and voted on by delegates. There is opportunity to offer amendments if a person disagrees with certain positions. If a person is not inclined to agree with the platform, there are other parties with which they may choose to align. However, when a person chooses to run as representation of a particular party, that person is agreeing to uphold that party’s principles. That is their political identity.
The citizens of New Hampshire are becoming increasingly frustrated with the way things are unfolding in Concord. They expect those elected into the majority to vote accordingly. NH Republicans need to understand that their leadership, house, and senate need to be in line with the platform, and thereby, their constituents or they will lose all they have gained. That loss will surely be reflected in the 2018 elections.