The Chairperson introduced Jackie as a former State Representative at a time when Farmington was in her district. She served us well in the State House. Then, with Jackie's election to the Senate, her district did not include Farmington, and we lost her as our Senator. Nonetheless, she was an excellent State Senator.
Jackie Cilley addressed the group comfortably and candidly, and spoke about her candidacy for Governor. She told is the issues the state is facing, as she sees them, and what she might do about them as our Governor. The current legislature has done things on a very ideological basis. They attack a variety of issues, including women, public and private workers, education. New Hampshire has lost so much ground in just two years. In the short span of time that the current legislature has been in office, the overall economic rating of NH has dropped from 10th to 34th place. Business leaders say in order to come here and invest in NH, they want good quality education, a solid transportation infrastructure, and a clean environment. We lost 3800 jobs and those jobs are not being replaced. Workforce ranking dropped from 40th best to 44th best. Education rating dropped from 7th to 8th. Infrastructure rating dropped from 45th to 436th. Economic ranking dropped from 10th to 34th. We have lost the New Hampshire Advantage. Down-shifting from the state hurts our communities by raising the property taxes. Our tax structure is unfair. In the past, we were asked to do more with less, and that has already happened. Now, we have to do less with less.
Jackie spoke in favor accessible quality heathcare for all, supporting NH's participation in the expansion of medicaid as outlined in the Affordable Care Act.
The most important job we have is to put rational and reasonable people into our statehouse, because we have to turn out the people who are there now. Regardless of how we might feel about her as a candidate, the most important issue Jackie wanted us to be active about was replacing our current ideologues in the State House with rational and reasonable people. She encouraged us to select a favorite candidate from any office or area we chose, and work hard to help them win.
Jackie said she will not take any special interest pledges, and there are several of them that the Republicans are pushing around now. Taking pledges is not the way to govern effectively. Jackie pointed out that there are reasonable Republicans who are coming out now and saying that pledge taking is hurting the effectiveness of our elected officials. Many of the pledges out there are connected to the Koch Brothers or their special interest political PACs.
Jackie spoke in support of unions and union workers, in both the public and private sector. She pointed out that in all Right to Work (for less) states, the removal of collective bargaining rights didn't help the state prosper.
Jackie took a number of questions from those who were in attendance about a variety of issues.
Gambling: Jackie thinks it needs to depend on what the town and surrounding communities want, there has to be oversight, and there has to be separation from the ability to affect politics/elections.
Voter ID laws: They are unnecessary because we have not had a problem. We only have a single case of voter fraud that was substantiated. It is just a way to restrict voters. Voting is a fundamental right of a democracy. The bills in states have been sponsored by American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).
Medical Marijuana: the decision should be made by the doctor and patient. She has voted for it in the past.
Northern Pass: We need to grow our own energy here is NH. NH is a net exporter of energy, so this project doesn't have many benefits for NH. No for-profit company should ever have the right to take our land. We should not trade our skyscapes to anyone. Don't trade tourism jobs for other jobs.
Tax Structure: The criteria has to fit with traditions and customs, it has to reduce the property tax burden, and it has to be fair and equitable. Jackie is reviewing all possibilities and would develop the best model and propose that to the legislature. We have a lopsided structure here. The poor/middle class pay more and the wealthy pay less. The property tax burden in New Hampshire is hurting our people. Whatever we do, we have to act to reduce the burden on our property taxes.
Jackie has also visited us last fall, when the Strafford County Democrats held a joint meeting with us.
For more about Jackie and her campaign for Governor, visit her on the web at www.JackieCilley.com.