Senator Stiles is Not What She Seems
After reading Rep. Fred Rice’s glowing support of Senator Nancy Stiles [here and after the jump -Skip], I felt it important to put forth a challenge to his endorsement. As a member of the 2013-2014 House of Representatives – Belknap District 8, I saw up close and personal, the disturbing voting record of REPUBLICAN Nancy Stiles. Here are a few of her REPUBLICAN votes:
Support of NH Gas Tax (23% increase)
Support Medicaid Expansion (against the Republican Platform)
Support the “Buffer Zone” law (which the Supreme Court recently voted as UNCONSTITUTIONAL)
Supports Common Core in NH Schools
Supports an anti-gun legislation
If you look at Senator Stiles voting record, you will find many of her votes grow government. There are those who believe Nancy Stiles is really more of a Democrat than a Republican. I tend to agree. The Republican taxpayers in Senate District 24 should consider Senator Stile’s deviation from the largest planks of the Republican Platform. If you want a Democrat, you can vote for a Democrat. But, Republicans should expect their public servants to vote with AT LEAST with the larger planks in the platform. Stiles does not. Her primary opponent, Steve Kenda, is a true conservative Republican who espouses low taxation and smaller government. You can check out Steve Kenda @ Kenda4senate.com.
As for Rep. Rice, who is a member of the HRA House Republican Alliance, he frankly should know better than to endorse Nancy Stiles. Politics can be a nasty business, I guess.
Hon. Jane Cormier
Candidate for Senate District 16
Jane Comier is a former State Rep from Alton and is seeking the NH GOP nomination for the NH State House District 16. She has had frequent guest posts here at GraniteGrok
Why I support the re-election of Sen. Stiles
State Sen. Nancy Stiles and I are both Republicans, but that doesn’t mean that we agree on every single subject, or on every bill that comes through the New Hampshire Legislature. For that matter, why should we?
Yes, she is what is referred to as a moderate, while I am considered to be more conservative. For the most part, however, the few areas in which we are not in full agreement deal with social rather than fiscal issues. When it comes to fiscal issues, such as reducing state spending, reducing business taxes and creating jobs, she’s solid as a rock, and will concede to no one on supporting the Republican party principles of less government, less spending and less taxes.
I have had the pleasure of co-sponsoring several bills with Stiles, and she has enthusiastically agreed to co-sponsor several of my bills. In a few cases, it was only through her skillful intervention and extensive interpersonal relationships, which she has built up over a 10-year period in both the House and the Senate, that some important pieces of legislation made it past strong opposition of some other legislators.
Most of all, Stiles is best known for the highest-rated constituent service of probably any elected official in Concord, except for the late 1st District Executive Counselor Ray Burton. She works tirelessly on behalf of her constituents to find solutions, contacts, procedures or legislation that will help someone solve a problem or accomplish a goal. I have never met another legislator with the capability to attend so many meetings, keep so many detailed subjects straight or keep herself available to anyone who wants to talk to her.
Because of all these qualifications, I found it rather surprising that the senator’s Republican challenger, Steve Kenda, stated in last week’s Seacoast Sunday (“Steve Kenda states case in bid to oust Sen. Stiles,” June 29) that he was going to “focus strictly on fiscal issues,” and that he doesn’t plan to affect “anything in the realm of social issues.” This is like going into battle by attacking only the enemy’s strongest point of defense, while ignoring any possibility of finding a weakness to capitalize on. That, to me, seems a bit naive and idealistic.
I’ve only met Steve Kenda briefly on a few occasions. He strikes me as a very likeable person, and I’m sure that he feels that his business background is sufficient to get him elected. I’m equally sure that his efforts to jump directly from chief executive officer to senator, and then to governor (which he has said he’s already considering), without the benefit of having first “learned the ropes” with a term or two in the House, as Stiles and so many others have done, are likely to meet with disappointing results.
There’s a world of difference between the direct and rapid way one can get things done as a chief executive officer, and the much slower and deliberate path that must be followed to build enough consensus to get a piece of forward-looking legislation passed in both houses. Perhaps New Hampshire’s greatest example of this was former governor Craig Benson. I liked and supported Benson, and led his successful campaign in the Hampton area. There can be no doubt that he was one of the most successful businessmen that New Hampshire has ever seen. He had great ideas for the state, but he ran into more stone walls than a crash-test dummy. As a result, many of his excellent plans were not adopted, and he was not re-elected.
It takes most new legislators in either house at least one term to really learn the process of researching, creating and passing bills, no matter how important they may seem to the sponsor. I learned, for example, that in some subject areas, the legislators from Coos County or in Keene couldn’t care less about issues that may be critically important on the Seacoast. Kenda has none of that experience, whereas Stiles knows every procedure in detail, knows the “hot buttons” and personalities of every senator (and most representatives) and is willing to spend endless hours in committee hearings, staff meetings and listening sessions in order to get a bill passed. She is highly respected in the Senate, and many Democrats will talk to her first, since they are not put off by any real or imagined ideological stand.
Although Kenda has stated several of his top goals and issues, which I would certainly agree with, it appears that he has not done all of his homework on those very issues. He supports Right-to-Work, and says he “wants to ‘fix’ the state’s pension system, reduce taxes on local businesses, and give local schools and parents more control over education.”
Where has he been for the past four years? These have all been high GOP priorities for the past four years. To cite just two examples, in 2011, Right-To-Work passed both houses, which had Republican supermajorities, but could not muster the two-thirds vote needed to override Gov. John Lynch’s veto. Stiles has led several efforts to reduce taxes on local business, which I have also supported, but was outnumbered by votes from the North Country, which doesn’t pay much in rooms and meals taxes, but likes the revenue from them that is apportioned to population. You can’t just put on a chief executive officer’s hat and say, “I want this done.” It requires negotiation, compromise and experience.
It should be remembered that Stiles won her Senate seat by defeating a sitting Democrat when heavily Democratic Portsmouth was still part of this district. After redistricting, she was solidly re-elected by a strong margin in an even more conservative district. Going after her seat now, when she has compiled a great record of successful service, would seem to require a lot more legislative and local political experience than Kenda has shown.
I will continue to support Stiles, and I believe that she will solidly defeat both her GOP challenger and her upcoming Democratic challenger, Chris Muns. I’d certainly much rather have her experience to work with, and try to change her mind on some social issues, than to start all over by having to educate a newcomer or butt heads with a Democrat.
Fred Rice is serving his second term as a state representative from Rockingham District 24 in Hampton.