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Gubernatorial candidate Jackie Cilley visits Littleton


June 20, 2012
LITTLETON — Jackie Cilley, running in the Democratic primary for governor, spoke in town on June 12. During a lunch meeting at Bailiwicks, Cilley addressed a variety of issues with 25 retired educators.

Born and raised in Berlin, Cilley is the daughter and granddaughter of mill workers. She has experience as a teacher, business owner, and member of the legislature. She served one term in the House and two in the Senate.

In a discussion prior to the lunch meeting, Cilley praised the community feel in Littleton. She noted that our "greatest success comes from that cooperation," making communities stronger and more united. Cilley added that Littleton's residents understand this sentiment.

Cilley believes that politicians should focus on practical solutions by working together. "I'm not an ideologue," she declared. "I'm a real grounded pragmatist."

A main area of interest for Cilley is improving the economy. "We have an economy to rebuild," she said. With business experience, Cilley said she appreciates the need for strong companies in New Hampshire. She cited statistics from Forbes magazine that New Hampshire is losing ground to neighboring states in the ease of starting up a business.

She believes that politicians must "listen to what business leaders are telling you." They have told her about the importance to an educated workforce and good schools. This is just one reason why Cilley said her focus as governor would be on protecting public education.

At the luncheon, Cilley spoke of how education changed her life. "Education took me out of poverty," she said. This leads to her strong belief in public schools, so that others can have equal opportunities.

She is concerned about what she called the legislature's "absolutely unprecedented" efforts to privatize the system. Cilley's run for governor was motivated by a desire to protect public education, she said.

Cilley also opposed the recent constitutional amendment that narrowly lost in the State House last week. "Education should not be an accident of geography," she said.

The crowd was interested in Cilley's ideas on taxation. She noted, "I'm a no-pledge candidate." Cilley has refused to sign a statement pledging to never introduce sales or income taxes in New Hampshire. She considers tax pledges as a form of pandering by politicians.

Cilley is concerned that "there's an over-reliance on the property tax." She suggested that "zealotry in forever banning an income tax" makes problems difficult to solve without raising property taxes.

On Northern Pass, Cilley said, "I will not trade tourism jobs for construction jobs." She opposes any effort to turn private land over the private entities.

When asked about the gambling industry, Cilley stressed the importance of local input. Communities could suffer negative effects from gambling, but the revenue generated mainly goes to the state. She stated her desire for strong safeguards against the industry's attempts "to buy legislative influence." Cilley noted, "Gambling is not a panacea to our problems."

To help keep New Hampshire competitive, Cilley sees the need for improvements to transportation and communications infrastructure. This would help companies move goods, attract more tourists, and make using the Internet easier. These investments are necessary "to re-establish a sound economy," according to Cilley.

She looks forward to interacting with more people during the primary campaign.

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