Tilton and Daniels, both of Milford, vie for state senate seat

MILFORD – It’s rare to find an investment manager who’s a Democrat, says Roger Tilton, who happens to be an investment manager and a Democrat.

Tilton grew up in poverty in San Jose, and his mother had three children before she was 22. That should have doomed her and her children to a bleak future, but it didn’t, said Tilton, because California’s generous state-funded college system back then enabled her to get a degree and become a stockbroker.

Her son is now running for state senator in District 11 against Gary Daniels.

Not surprisingly, Tilton wants more state money spent on education and believes the state Legislature, because it tends to attract people who are older and richer than their constituents, are not in tune with younger people.

Tilton, who is 54, is also in favor of raising the minimum wage, legalizing marijuana, and he believes the country should not have bailed out Wall Street firms after the economic crash of 2008.

New Hampshire is losing gambling revenue to states like Connecticut and New York, he says, and “there is no reason this state shouldn’t have a first class gambling hall.”

Tilton is 54 and has two daughters, ages 12 and 23, and has been in a long-term relationship for 10 years. He and his Republican opponent, state Rep. Gary Daniels, both live in Milford.

Daniels was the highest vote-getter in a four-way primary race, while Tilton was unopposed in the Democratic primary.

The most important issues facing the state senate, says Daniels, are jobs and the economy, health care and education.

The state’s economy could benefit from an overhaul in the workers’ compensation system and the elimination of unnecessary regulations, both burdens on businesses, he said.

In 2017 the federal government will reduce the money it is sending to New Hampshire for health care, he said, and legislators should start to deal with that problem now. And he is no fan of the Affordable Care Act, which he said is not working the way people expected, he said.

“It’s difficult to throw one blanket down to cover everyone,” he said, and people should be able to cross state lines to buy insurance.

Some creative thinking could improve the quality of education in New Hampshire at a time when enrollments in Milford and most other school districts are going down, he believes.

Daniels, who is chairman of the Milford Board of Selectmen and served on the Milford School Board, has long been an advocate of distance learning. Fiber optics could hook schools together in virtual classrooms to teach low-enrollment classes like advanced calculus, he says.

New Hampshire should help link industries, including manufacturing and biotech, with high school students, he said, so more young people can learn there is a future in those fields.

Daniels, 60, served as a state representative from 1996 to 2000 and then again in 2006 to 2014.

He and his wife, Loreen, have six children between them, and he works as an independent insurance agent.

State Senate District 11 includes Amherst, Milford, Merrimack and Wilton, and the seat was recently vacated by former senate president Peter Bragdon, also of Milford.

Bragdon signed a contract last May to remain as the $185,000-a-year executive director with New Hampshire HealthTrust, which manages health care insurance plans for local and county governments.

Bragdon said he and the HealthTrust board had agreed that once the job became permanent, he had to end his political career.

Kathy Cleveland can be reached at 673-3100, ext. 304, or kcleveland@