The Giunta family of Sanbornton hosted Congressman Frank Guinta for an informal dinner and talk session with local residents when he toured Sanbornton and Tilton last week. The two towns, along with Campton, are awaiting word from the U.S. Department of Justice on whether or not they will be moved into New Hampshire’s First Congressional District, which Guinta currently represents. (Donna Rhodes) (click for larger version)
May 09, 2012SANBORNTON — In light of proposed adjustments to the congressional district boundaries in New Hampshire, U.S. Rep. Frank Guinta visited Tilton and Sanbornton last week to both familiarize himself with new communities which could soon fall within his district, and to give residents an opportunity to meet and speak with the man who could soon be representing them in Congress, as well.
"The Department of Justice still has to review (the district changes), but that should be completed soon, and I expect I'll be on the ballot in these towns in November," Guinta said.
The Congressman kicked off last Tuesday's visits with a trip to Campton, also slated to be moved into Guinta's current district, then drove to the New Hampshire Veterans Home in Tilton. There, he met with Commandant Barry Conway and other administrators before touring the facility and meeting some of the residents. Guinta was impressed by all he heard, and by the veterans who live there.
"Some of these people have done two or three tours of duty. I don't know how many people appreciate that," he said.
Throughout his stops in the three towns, Guinta carried with him the message that he strives to be a representative who is "thoughtful, respectful and puts New Hampshire in a positive light."
At a private meet and greet in Sanbornton later that evening, he told those in attendance that he and his staff pride themselves on responding to the questions and concerns of their constituents.
"If you write to me, you will get a response within three days, if not sooner," Guinta said. "Not a form letter, but a personal response."
He said he wants people to know where he stands on issues facing the federal government, and would like to hear from those who agree with him as much as from those who do not.
"I want to know how New Hampshire feels, how New Hampshire votes," Guinta told the gathering.
The current state of the economy has him concerned, but Guinta said if someone is looking for a Congressman in favor of raising taxes to stabilize the economy, he is not the guy. He said he believes people should work hard, go to school, and perhaps take some risks to succeed through a business of their own. With 48-49 percent of adults out of work and not paying taxes in the nation today, he said he is troubled that they may instead be looking to the government for support. The recent economic collapse in Greece, a country also burdened with high numbers of those reliant on government assistance, bothers him, he said.
"I don't believe we can achieve economic success if we look more and more like Greece," Guinta said.
Sanbornton resident Don Bormes asked Guinta his thoughts on inflation, which Bormes said seems to be rising more and more, while salaries and pensions do not.
Guinta said the value of a dollar is now at a 40-year low, and agreed that it is greatly effecting New Hampshire, where the average family income is $55,000 per year.
"That's a problem. Where does it come from when the pay is not commensurate with the cost of living?" Guinta said.
That is one of many issues he has been working on, and he said he hoped the upcoming elections would help bring a turn for the better for citizens struggling to make ends meet.
His biggest challenges in Washington, D.C., he said, are the many regulations being voted through, many of which make life for the average citizen even more difficult. New labor laws, he said, forbid children living on farms from working with common equipment used every day in their family's agricultural business, while still other legislative proposals presented to Congress have even tried to regulate their exposure to dust.
"This is the frustration. You can't make this stuff up," Guinta said. "We should be focusing on kickstarting the economy, not policies like this."
Guinta said his job in Washington has not always been easy, but he does it because he cares.
"We will get through this. We will not let our nation falter. We've just got to elect people who will stand up and do the right thing," he said.
Besides access through phone calls and mail, Guinta promised residents that he would be an active part of the new communities he may be representing next fall. He said he returns to New Hampshire every weekend, and would make himself available whenever necessary. While it is physically impossible for him to meet with all of the 700,000 people in the district, he said it is important to be accessible to them when they call or write to his office about their concerns.
"I take pride when I am recognized on the floor as the 'Gentleman from New Hampshire.' That means something to me. You have the opportunity to affect how my vote goes," he said.
The informal dinner and talk session for more than two dozen people was held at the home of Sanbornton resident Pierina Giunta, and hosted by Giunta and her family.