December 23, 2013GORHAM — Christopher Boothby of Meredith, accompanied by his wife Maren who is also his business partner, campaigned on Thursday and Friday in Coös County for the Republican nomination to run for the now-vacant Executive Council seat.
Raised in Peterborough, Boothby is a graduate of UMaine at Orono and earned a Master's in Public Administration at UNH. It was then in 1989 that he served as one of the late Executive Councilor Ray Burton's interns, which, he notes, gave him an "up close and personal" familiarity with how he served constituents and "showed up" all over the North Country to make a difference in the lives of those who live in rural America.
"I believe in grass-roots economic development," Boothby explained over a cup of coffee at McDonald's. "I served on the Belknap County Economic Development Council. I helped grow the therapeutic health business that my wife started, serving special needs students, aged 3 to 21, primarily in schools. We now employ 48 part- and full-time employees. We've collaborated — she is the president of Boothby Therapy Service and I the vice president — to grow a 15-year 'overnight' success!
"Those who live in a community know its strengths and how to put the pieces together to grow the economy," Boothby said. "Economic development is not easy; it's not like turning on a light switch — it's multi-faceted and realizing local possibilities is affected by state roads, bridges, and other infrastructure projects."
Boothby is quite clear, however, that he does not support the 1,200-megawatt Northern Pass Transmission system, as now proposed with high towers and nearly all overhead lines.
When asked where he sees himself on the Republican Party spectrum which has the Tea Party on the far right, Boothby replied, "We have to, of course, be very, very careful how we spend public monies to be sure we get value for our tax dollars, but I certainly do not only say 'no.' There are good investments we need to make; we can't just say 'no.' If elected as the District I Executive Councilor, I would know my local communities well enough understand what is appropriate and what is not."
The rest of the state should share in investments in North Country projects, he explained, such as ATV and snowmobile trails and in the state's Parks that help support the growing travel and tourism industry and draw people to New Hampshire.
The Executive Councilor who sits at the right-hand side of the Governor at meetings in the Executive Council Chamber in the State House must be able to represent the entire District, and understand the importance of the various North Country attractions and the tremendous value of its scenic beauty, Boothby pointed out.
"I'm an economic development advocate, and I understand the importance of small businesses in New Hampshire and especially in District I," he said. "If elected, District I voters and residents can expect me to be ready and able to do the job by being prepared, educated and present. No one can fill Ray Burton's shoes the way he did, however.
"I'm an optimist," he continued. "I think New Hampshire's best days are in front of us and not behind us. Naturally the state is a partner in providing resources for our economy, but local communities want to be able to drive their own bus. It is local citizens who are — and must be — determined to make their own lives better.
Boothby concluded, "When I was growing up, my parents were not particularly political, but what I did learn from Mom and Dad was the importance of public service.
The Republican primary for the nomination will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 21; three men are running for the chance to run against Democrat Mike Cryans of Hanover.
The special election to fill the vacant Executive Council seat will be held on Tuesday, March 11, the traditional town meeting day.