Rebuilding New Hampshire's Middle Class-Bob Perry

The following was a Foster's Daily Democrat opinion piece put forward by Bob Perry

Bob Perry: Paddle forward to rebuild New Hampshire's middle class

By Bob Perry
Friday, August 5, 2011

From my earliest recollections, I feared those young mothers in my neighborhood who I knew were going to hear of my transgressions via "the little birdie," — other mothers on neighborhood watch. They were grateful their husbands were safely back from the Second World War, and their aspirations were modest: replace that coal furnace with something modern; trade in the ice box for a refrigerator; upgrade the old Ford with a newer model; even buy a television set. Television programming was free, both channels, and Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite were two of the most trusted men in America, and equally trustworthy news anchors. It was a Norman Rockwell, blue-collar neighborhood in a peaceful, but all-too-brief era.

I did not abandon those blue-collar values when you elected me as your Democratic state representative in 2006 and 2008. My voting record and committee work reflect my support for equal treatment for all, increased health care coverage, promotion of green jobs, enhanced voting-machine security, workers' rights, support for public schools, campaign reform, fair taxation, and social and economic security for New Hampshire families. I developed a keen respect for the office I held and for those good folks in our government who work under challenging conditions with little complaint.

In 1961, when my Dad died, I was fortunate that Social Security and veterans' death benefits, provided by the federal government, spared my family's decent into poverty. Among many critical services available today, government provides retirement insurance (Social Security), VA benefits, health care for poor children, and Medicare for seniors. It's not free: we pay for that insurance with each paycheck, and the government adds its share. This system has worked for decades. We often take for granted essential government activities like consumer protection, food safety, clean air and water standards, transportation funding, sewage treatment, public education, and unemployment insurance. Following disasters, government provides relief or rescue, and the military protects us from attack. The government oversees and ensures our national security and global interests. The majority of citizens believe these governmental functions are key to prosperity in a complex, modern nation of 310 million.

In 2006, my opponent came to New Hampshire pledging her loyalty to the Free State Project, which believes government should do none of these things. When the Free State Project says "limited" government, they mean "no" government. Free Staters have pledged to reduce government to the "minimal functions of protecting life, liberty, and property, [to] establish residence in a small state and [to] take over the state government" so that they "can slash state and local budgets" and "eliminate substantial federal interference by refusing to take highway funds" ( This movement considers provisions of federal highway, bridge or other infrastructure funding to be "interference."

The contrast between candidates is clear. I am committed to our community where I have lived for the past 39 years. I pledge to continue my work on behalf of middle-class families, and I will oppose efforts to undermine the fabric of our social safety nets that protect our neighbors and make NH such a desirable place to live.

Since 1874, Democrats have been the majority party in New Hampshire a mere four years. We inherited the Great Wall Street Recession (beginning in 2008) and the resulting plunge in state revenues. Despite major challenges during our tenure, New Hampshire was well run and fared better than most other states, and had lower unemployment and a healthier economy. That does not diminish the suffering of the unemployed and others in need of help, of course — which is why the social safety nets that my opponent wishes to destroy are so essential.

Ultimately, we are all in the same boat, and our choice is to paddle forward with confidence, shoulder to shoulder, to rebuild the middle class, or to allow Free State headwinds to hurl us backwards into the 18th century.

I ask for your vote in the special election to be held on Tuesday, Aug. 9. Voting times are 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. in all towns and at the usual polling places, except for New Durham, where the new polling location is the Fire Station. For more information, please visit my website, I would be honored to serve the good citizens of our house district once again.

Thank you!