July 09, 2014SHELBURNE — Former Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown, who is seeking the Republican nomination on Primary Day, Sept. 9, so he can go head-to-head against incumbent Senator Jeanne Shaheen, a Democrat, on Election Day, Nov. 4, said he knows his campaign is going well.
"I have the endorsement of Mitt Romney, Gene Chandler, the Sununus, Chuck Morse, many county chairs, and hundreds of people," Brown explained in a 9 a.m. Saturday morning interview.
Brown campaign signs are already out on lawns, he pointed out. On his drive north on July 4, Brown said that he had been ahead of schedule because the parade in Laconia was cancelled, and he'd knocked on the doors of seven homes where his yard signs were on display. "I wanted to thank my supporters," Brown said. "Five people were home, and, although very surprised, they all recognized and welcomed me."
That morning at the T & C he'd had a small "meet-and-greet" breakfast meeting in the Shelburne Room and had a chance to talk with voters.
The top issues at that event and at the houses where he'd stopped on the Fourth and across the state, Brown explained, are energy, Obamacare, and veterans' issues.
"Everyone's paying more at the pump; oil and gas rates are going up; and we're all paying more money to drive and to heat our homes," he said. "We need the Keystone XL (crude oil pipeline) project; we need a balanced approach to energy; and we need to upgrade our natural gas pipeline system." This "a pivotal opportunity" to get more resources onto the grid, Brown said.
Nonetheless, he said he understands people's opposition to the Northern Pass electric transmission project that, as now proposed with its large above-ground towers, would harm the state's aesthetics and natural beauty, hurting tourism and people's livelihoods. If the project is to go forward, the lines must be dropped and buried, Brown said.
He recently met with President-COO Bill Quinlan of Public Service of New Hampshire (PSNH), whom he described as "a very nice man," and he believes that it's important that stakeholders have a chance to sit down at the same table and talk with one another in an effort to reach acceptable solutions.
Brown also said that it is "paramount" that the state's Site Evaluation Committee, designed to fast-track energy projects, includes citizen participation.
ObamaCare remains a disaster, the candidate said. Although he granted that a few, including Rep. Herb Richardson of Lancaster and his wife Rita, have been helped, he has heard "hundreds and hundreds" of personal stories of those who are "crushed" by the initiative, including young people who are subsidizing the old, as well as businesses. Premium costs are rising, he said.
Brown favors turning the issue back to the states. He pointed out that as a state legislator he had supported Massachusetts' plan, on which Obamacare is patterned, but does not believe that a federal solution with a one-size-fits-all approach is the right way to go. Just look, he said, at the serious problems that the Veterans Administration is experiencing in providing timely medical services across the nation.
When asked what he thinks could boost Coös' economy, Brown replied that welfare and other direct government benefits are only short-term solutions. "You know from reading my book ("Against All Odds: My Life of Hardship, Fast Breaks, and Second Chances") that my mother was sometimes on welfare," he reminded.
But, long term, Brown said, government needs to "get out of the way," while providing regulatory, tax and energy certainty and lowering corporate tax rates.
He ticked off a list of projects that are now or will likely soon make a difference in Coös: the now-in-operation Burgess BioPower plant in Berlin; the possibility of an Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) plant in Groveton; and the "Ride the Wilds: 1000+ miles of interconnected OHRV-ATV trails.
It is essential to create an environment in which jobs can be created here, rather than making overseas investment more attractive and hassle-free for businesses, Brown explained.
He said that he had voted for the federal Dodd-Frank financial regulatory reform bill but fears that rules that were meant only to apply to large banks and financial institutions are also being used to stifle community banks on which small local businesses depend.
Brown said he is also particularly concerned about veterans' issues. "New Hampshire has a very high concentration of veterans," he noted.
Brown retired on June 30 from 35 years in the National Guard.
The post-Primary unification of the state's Republican Party is another important issue, Brown said. "What's at stake is gaining a Republican majority in the U. S. Senate," he said.
Brown said that he hopes that the Republicans across the state will "be patriots and participate in the process" once the votes are tallied in the Sept. 9 Primary.
His campaign is already focused on defeating Shaheen whom he describes as an unquestioning "rubber stamp" for President Barack Obama and his failed policies.