Happy Valentine's Weekend, Bedford!
I hope the warmth of your loved ones is keeping you cozy during this blast of Arctic cold...things start to warm up tomorrow, or so they say...
Do not doubt that the NH House is operating at full speed, despite the weather. This week the Governor gave his State of the State of the State Address. He highlighted many of the good things that came about last year (more money for education and mental health, among them), but did not address the 30+ bi-partisan bills that he vetoed. He highlighted the gains from a business tax standpoint, but did not address the fact that north of Concord, many communities are still facing a lack of workers and low wages, and are therefore struggling to feel included in the NH advantage. No doubt that we will all be rolling up our sleeves to see what we can do for our vulnerable and disadvantaged citizens. I agree with the Governor that we need to remain focused on combatting addiction, establishing a paid family leave program, reducing student debt and lowering the cost of prescription drugs. Stay tuned on whether or not we can get the job done without partisan bloodshed.
Speaking of bi-partisanship, a shout out to fellow representatives, John Graham and Dave Danielson! This past week we welcomed six groups of fourth graders from Peter Woodbury and Memorial for their State House tour. While it's always fun to answer questions like, "Why do you do this if you don't get paid (Full disclosure: we get paid $100 a year)?" or, "What happens if you're in the bathroom when they vote?", the most important topic we covered was how to discuss and disagree with respect. These little ones already know about the various political parties, but ours was a specific message: Sometimes we agree and sometimes we don't. But at the end of the day, we walk down the State House steps as friends, as we head for home. THAT is a simple, but powerful truth. Oh, and if you're wondering about what we DO agree about, it starts with, "What's your favorite part of the job?" Greeting fourth graders, of course! Two bills we passed this week were near and dear to me: HB 1549 re-establishes the position of School Counseling and Psychology Coordinator at the Department of Education to provide oversight and guidance statewide, and HB 1698 which appropriates $50,000 per year to develop Unified co-curricular clubs and activities for disabled youth, akin to what Special Olympic has begun with just sports. Get ready, Art and Music, here we come! I co-sponsored both bills and they passed with bipartisan support. Hopefully, the Senate and the Governor will move them to law without any hurdles. Before I sign off, I am including a picture taken with the child of a former student, further confirmation that I am, indeed, aging! I love the fact that Bedford kids often come back to raise their own. It is a joy to see them and an honor to serve. Best to all, sm