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Donovan Fenton, Cheshire County House District 8

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Donovan Fenton

Age: 31.

City or town of residence: Keene.

How long have you lived in your House district? My whole life. I only left to attend school.

Family: I’m married. We have a 22- month-old son named Harrison. We have another son due in February.

Education: B.A. in Social Science from Towson University.

M.A. from George Washington University in Political Management.

National Automobile Dealers Association Academy.

Currently Enrolled in UNHs MBA program.

Occupation: Vice President Fenton Family Dealerships.

Organizations to which you belong/have belonged: Board Member of the Community Kitchen.

Public/government service: Two term New Hampshire State Representative. I currently sit on the House Transportation Committee as well as the New Hampshire Canadian trade council.

1. If you could pass one piece of legislation to help New Hampshire’s post-pandemic economic recovery, what would it be?

I am currently working on legislation to give employees a stipend for child care needs. Since the pandemic hit, many parents need to stay at home or hire babysitters to watch their children. My bill would let businesses receive tax rebates to offset paying their employees more so that they can work. This would expand the talent pool for businesses, as well as provide relief for working parents who are struggling with schedules and paying childcare.

2. New Hampshire’s school-funding formula is once again before the N.H. Supreme Court. Whose responsibility is it to fix this problem and how?

NH’s current system to fund schools is simply not working. Poor communities pay higher tax rates, but don’t get the resources they need to allow their students to succeed. Every child in this state deserves and is entitled to an equal opportunity to reach his or her full potential. I believe it is the state’s responsibility to find an equitable solution. At the end of its 2019 session, the General Court established the Commission to Study School funding. The Commission, with input from state agencies, state and national educational professionals, and local school administrators and their staffs, is working to produce a formula that works for the whole state.

3. Is there a role for the state in police reform? What specific reforms or changes, if any, should the Legislature make?

I do believe there is a role for the NH legislature to help reform our law enforcement system, which we have done this past session. The bill we passed would get rid of the use of chokeholds by police, ban private prisons and require officers to report misconduct. The bill provides municipalities with funding to psychologically screen candidates for law enforcement jobs as well. I am also in favor of requiring cameras for the state police, as well as funding for mental health professionals to partner with law enforcement.

4. How can we make it more feasible for people on fixed incomes to stay in New Hampshire — and in their homes?

People on fixed incomes do need help to stay in New Hampshire and in their homes. We need more subsidized, affordable housing, particularly in cities with high rents due to college students. We need a property tax relief program that balances a home owner’s needs with the municipality’s need for revenue, particularly in light of increasing real estate values. We also need to make them aware of programs, such as ServiceLink that can direct them to services such as fuel or food assistance, that can help them with expenses.