City or town of residence: Acworth
How long have you lived in your House district? 7 years
Family: Happily married to my husband for 42 years. We have three grown children who are educated, employed and elsewhere.
Education: Bachelor’s degree in Economics, Magna Cum Laude; Minors in Business Administration and Computer Science from SUNY New Paltz (1978).
Occupation: Self Employed Handcrafted Soap Maker; NH State Representative.
Organizations to which you belong/have belonged: Board Member/Secretary of Acworth Community Project (The Village Store), Acworth Woman’s Club, Women’s Defense League of NH, NH Farm Bureau.
Public/government service: Acworth Budget Committee since March 2014, Vice Chair Sullivan County Delegation Executive Finance Committee, NH House Environment and Agriculture Committee, Sullivan County Nursing Home Resident Trust Fund Committee.
1. If you could pass one piece of legislation to help New Hampshire’s post-pandemic economic recovery, what would it be?
I would repeal the current triggers on the Business Enterprise Tax and Business Profits Tax because as of now these business taxes will rise if business revenues are down. Lowering the cost of doing business in NH is the key to getting our state’s economy back on its feet and off to a solid recovery. It is unconscionable to punish businesses with higher taxes if their revenues are down. Business owners would use BET and BPT tax cuts to hire more people, invest in their businesses and to grow. This is how we strengthen the economy and in turn provide more jobs with higher wages. Businesses also need to know that their costs are going to be stable so that they can better plan for their future operations. Helping our businesses helps the people that they employ, and helps them to KEEP them employed and earning a living. Schemes like instituting a State Minimum Wage only serves to cause an economic inflationary spiral and it also hurts businesses by forcing them to pay higher wages for unskilled labor, which may cause them to lower the number of hours their employees can work or worse, eliminate positions altogether.
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?
Within the last State budget we saw more money going to education funding in our state than ever before. Our State legislature increased education spending by $140 million; restored stabilization grant money, increased funding into the adequacy formula, and established full-day kindergarten. It is the legislature’s responsibility to determine what constitutes an “adequate” education and then how to meet that definition through properly funding adequacy formulas and targeted grants. This task should NOT be accomplished by direction of the NH courts or unelected judges. The State Legislature, via committees and commissions, has worked in the past to tackle this thorny issue. We had a bi-partisan committee examine and address these issues from 2016-2018, and after a two year effort their recommendations were discarded by the 2019-2020 legislature because of partisan politics and the push by some for a State Income Tax, Sales Tax and Capital Gains Tax. We don’t need more taxation, we need better definitions and funding distribution. The valuable work of that commission should be implemented. I have co-sponsored legislation, with prime Sponsor Rep. Steve Smith, for this upcoming session to make changes to the formulas to make them more equitable based on the work of that commission.
3. Is there a role for the state in police reform? What specific reforms or changes, if any, should the Legislature make?
Yes, there is a role for the State in Police Reform, and in fact the New Hampshire Commission on Law Enforcement Accountability, Community, and Transparency (LEACT) was formed by Governor Sununu on 06-16-20 to do just that. This commission brought together members of state agencies, law enforcement, the courts, mental health agencies, and many other stakeholders to address issues of law enforcement training, discipline, reporting, enhancing transparency, accountability, and community relations in law enforcement. Governor Sununu already issued an Executive Order implementing over 20 recommendations which included establishing a public integrity unit within our Department of Justice, mandating body cameras for our state police and overhauling our training standards and curriculum. Those recommendations represented the most transformative changes NH has ever made to our law enforcement system. Other results of this commission’s work will be used to create meaningful legislation for this upcoming legislative session that will improve areas of law enforcement, make sure citizen’s rights are upheld and prevent some of the tragedies we have seen in the news. I applaud their work and their ability to come together to solve problems for the benefit of NH citizens. Their work can be seen at https://www.governor.nh.gov/accountability
4. How can we make it more feasible for people on fixed incomes to stay in New Hampshire — and in their homes?
New Hampshire is a great place to live, work, play, vacation and retire. Our New Hampshire Advantage is one of the reasons people stay here, or come here, to retire. The fact that we don’t have a State Income Tax or Sales Tax is what helps people on a fixed income be able to make their retirement savings go further. Keeping the New Hampshire Advantage is important. What is also important is to work to make our State, County and Municipal Budgets efficient and affordable. That’s what helps people stay in their homes. We have seen the devastating effects of spiraling taxation and government growth in surrounding states. Throwing money at problems is not a solution. If you think about it, everyone’s household budget is fixed and we manage our budget according to what we can afford. Government should do the same. A strong economy, and a smaller, less expensive, less intrusive government that spends responsibly best serves everyone it represents. In that kind of economy charitable organizations also thrive and help those in need. Finally, any programs designed to assist those on a fixed income should be truly helpful, fair, and administered with the least red tape possible.