To the Editor:
Voters of Atkinson and Plaistow, my name is George Hamblen and I am seeking to be one of your state representatives in Concord. My family has lived in the Atkinson / Plaistow area since 1996, and my son is a Timberlane school system graduate. As an information technology executive, with extensive experience in financial services, I have built my success on being a collaborative problem solver who pulls different groups together to resolve tough situations. In business, one needs to address challenges by focusing on what matters most, while looking for opportunities to keep moving the company forward. Likewise, New Hampshire will be dealing with the aftermath of the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis over the next several years. This will require leaders with business skills and experiences, like mine, to get us to a better place at the other end of this moment.
New Hampshire’s core is education. In order to attract and grow business, New Hampshire must have a strong public school system. Currently, our education funding system pits rich communities against poor, and leads to some of the highest property taxes in America. It is unsustainable, and we will be forced to deal with this over the next few years. Add to this the highest in-state college tuition in the country, America's lowest minimum wage, and a lack of Paid Family and Medical leave, and we end up with an even bigger problem for the future of our economy. Millennials are leaving the state, and New Hampshire’s population is rapidly aging (we have the second-oldest median age in America). Combined, these issues are eroding our core, and threatening New Hampshire's long-term economic prosperity.
So where do we go? New Hampshire must reduce the burden of America's highest property taxes, by looking at how both "red" and "blue" states have done just that — including a change in our school funding model. We must protect Medicaid expansion and continue to expand opioid and drug addition funding and counseling. This also means joining the other New England states in the legalization of cannabis for adult recreational use.
I grew up the son of a postal worker and a school teacher. I understand the struggle to make ends meet in this day of skyrocketing costs in health insurance, housing, education, and property taxes. In the wake of the COVID crisis, many are quietly suffering, and we have a responsibility to help lift them up as we deal with the economic and health care consequences of this pandemic. With my private sector leadership experience, deep community roots, and a commitment to help make the promise of New Hampshire real for all, I humbly ask for your vote.