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Gubernatorial candidate Kimball says solutions lie in the private sector

August 12, 2010
LANCASTER — A sixty-three-year-old business-man from southern New Hampshire, gubernatorial candidate Jack Kimball does not consider himself a politician. Rather, it is his background as a businessman that he feels make him the ideal person for the job, where he says he would increase the role of the private sector and make the government a less prominent force in the day-to-day life of New Hampshire residents.

"There isn't one person running in this primary that has any business experience in the private sector at all," said Mr. Kimball on a visit to the North Country last Thursday. "John Stephen has about a year as a consultant, but most of his consulting has occurred in the public sector with state governments. He's worked in state government his whole life, all 20 years. My whole life has been the opposite: I've been in the private sector and I've been creating jobs in the state of New Hampshire for 32 of those years. No other candidate — none — have done anything like that."

Mr. Kimball, a Massachusetts native, has lived in New Hampshire for the past 40 years. Following his time in the Navy, he moved to southern New Hampshire where he eventually started his own business, Great Bay Facility Maintenance Service in Portsmouth. Mr. Kimball never had political ambitions, but when the reader sign he updated with political commentary during the Obama-McCain election drew the attention of local and national media, it wasn't long before he was pulled into the political arena. He was featured on the news program Fox & Friends, formed his own group, the Granite State Patriots, and became a part of the up-and-coming Tea Party Movement, even co-hosting a Tea Party rally in Manchester.

"Coming right out of that movement, I can say firsthand that what [the Tea Party] is a cross-section of America all coming together," said Mr. Kimball of the movement that epitomizes his frustration with fiscal irresponsibility of the government. "Right now, it's about fiscal issues, the economy, out-of-control spending."

Mr. Kimball identifies himself as a Reagan conservative and is in a four-way race —against Frank Emiro Sr., John Stephen and Karen Testerman — in the upcoming republican primary to win the party nomination as a candidate for governor.

"I believe in small government, reduced spending, tax cuts, and family values. I'm a real family guy," said Mr. Kimball who lives with his wife, Donna Marie and stepdaughter, Leah. He works closely with his daughter, Tammy, who will run the business with her husband if Mr. Kimball is successful in his bid for office.

Mr. Kimball had not visited northern New Hampshire before he began his campaign, but he has been to the region half a dozen times since.

"It's God's country up here," said Mr. Kimball of his impressions of the North Country. "It's been a trip, I mean I have to be honest, traveling the state has been a good thing, not a bad thing. There's so much to see. It may be a small state, but it's very beautiful. That's why I moved here."

Mr. Kimball wants to make New Hampshire a desirable place to move to, a quality he feels the state has lost in the past couple years.

"I mean this state, really and truly, used to be such an attractive state for people to move there," said Mr. Kimball. "We've dropped way, way down in the ranking as a state as one of the more desirable places to live, and I think we can get that back. And if we do, other stuff happens with that. Businesses start to thrive."

"What we got to do is two things: we got to reduce spending and constrict the size of the state government, but at the same time, we've got to create an environment that's attractive for small business because that's what produces 86, 88 percent of the jobs in the state of New Hampshire," said Mr. Kimball. The influx of small businesses will broaden the tax base, said Mr. Kimball, which will increase revenue and the number of homes sold. Mr. Kimball proposes repealing the Business Enterprise Tax, which is based on payroll and not profit, and restructuring it so that the higher a business' profit, the lower their rate, giving businesses more money to spend on expanding their business including the hiring of more employees.

One way in which Mr. Kimball believes the North Country could directly benefit from his transition into a private sector with more control is the privatization of ATV trails.

"The state would get revenue for doing nothing, but we would turn it over and probably even have it bid out to a private sector company that could really expand and make those things thrive and get folks to come up here in large numbers," he said.

Mr. Kimball also suggests offering some of the land and buildings that have been seized by the town to businesses to companies for a promise that they will hire, for example, 50 people, and stay for, for example, 10 years.

"In my view, it's creative, it's a win-win, it gets it off of the state and the city non-tax-producing roles and out of their control and into the hand of the private sector where they are paying property taxes," he explained.

As for education, Mr. Kimball believes that our federally-mandated system is a failure. As with other areas of his politics, he believes in less federal control and more local control, in this case in a voucher system where the money follows the students.

"If they're not happy with the education their kids are getting in the town they're in, we can send them to a private school and we'll help them do it," said Mr. Kimball who is also a proponent of home schooling.

"I think that New Hampshire should be energy independent by now. We've missed an opportunity and we should grab it," said Mr. Kimball who describes himself as an "all-of-the-above" kind of guy when it comes to energy. Though he believes in the environmentally cleaner wind, biomass, and geothermal energies, he also believes that our country should continue drilling for oil and using nuclear power. For him, becoming energy independent as both a country and state is a top priority.

"We have way too many people providing oil to us that don't like us at all, and sooner or later something bad is going to happen," said Mr. Kimball.

Another issue that Mr. Kimball weighed in on was the hotly-debated strict immigrant law that Arizona Governor Jan Brewer passed in April. The law made it illegal not to carry proof of legal immigration status, and requires local police to ask about person's immigration status if there is reasonable suspicion that they are in the country illegally. Some of the bill was later repealed by a district judge, a ruling Governor Brewer has since appealed.

"I've read the law many times, and I like it, and it's something I would activate here," said Mr. Kimball. "Yes, we don't have the same border-crossing issues that we have in Arizona or New Mexico or any of those border states, but we do have a border and the other thing I will tell you first-hand is that I compete, with my business, with companies who use only illegals, and they're here, they're being used, and I can't compete with the dollar-and-sense value of their labor. I have to be better quality oriented. But there are a lot of American citizens here, and New Hampshire citizens that should have those jobs, and they don't."

As do the rest of his positions, Mr. Kimball falls on the side of private control over public control when it comes to healthcare. He is not, therefore, a fan of Obama's healthcare bill.

"There's no redeeming value in this bill that they crammed through," said Mr. Kimball of the legislature. "You don't destroy the best health care system in the world in order to resolve 10 million to 12 million chronically uninsured people. You solve that piece, but you leave the rest of the system alone." Mr. Kimball believes that healthcare is a privilege, not a right, and the way to get people adequate healthcare is to get people back to work.

As the November 2 gubernatorial primary looms ever closer, Mr. Kimball remains confident that his background as a businessman and his strong ties to the Tea Party movement will keep him in the race. He identifies the Tea Partiers as a group of people perhaps not agreed on all issues — such as abortion, the environment, or the second amendment — but united in their plea for fiscal responsibility above all else.

"We'll worry about the other stuff later," said Mr. Kimball of the movement's main cause. "We've got to take our country back first."

Martin Lord Osman
Varney Smith
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