Senate challenger will tackle ‘youth flight’
MILFORD – Democrat Roger Tilton is again challenging state Sen. Gary Daniels for his District 11 Senate seat, which covers Amherst, Merrimack, Milford and Wilton.
Daniels has been a Milford selectman for 13 years, and served on the Milford School Board for two terms and as School District moderator for six years.
Before joining the New Hampshire Senate, he served in the House of Representatives from 1990-2000, representing Milford, and again from 2006-12, representing Milford and Amherst.
He serves on the Senate Judiciary, Transportation and Capital Budget committees, and is the Senate Capital Budget Committee chairman.
Daniels has worked on the House Labor Committee, the state Workers’ Compensation Advisory Council, the Workfoce Opportunity Council, the Highway Layout Commission and the Hillsborough County Executive Committee, and on the national Commerce and Economic Development Task Force.
Daniels, a 50-year resident of Milford, graduated from Milford Area High School in 1972, and served in the Army and Army Reserve. He attended New Hampshire College and New Hampshire Technical Institute.
He works as an independent insurance agent and certified long-term-care specialist.
In response to a request to tell why he should be elected, Daniels emailed the following:
"As state senator, I have taken a personal interest in the towns I represent, talking and listening to residents and officials to thoroughly understand the issues facing each town.
"Experience serving in various levels of government enables me to approach the duties of a state senator with a thorough knowledge of these entities, creating opportunities to blend town, school, county and state government into a government that works effectively and efficiently for the people.
"I am a strong advocate of limited government, free enterprise and states’ rights, opposing excessive government growth and spending and the deterioration of individual and constitutional rights, while striving to ensure that government works for the people according to the intent of our founding fathers.
"As a husband, father and military veteran, I look forward to combining my vision of hope, opportunity and prosperity with the vision of my constituents, as together we face the challenges of the next two years.
"For me, ‘Live Free or Die’ is more than a state motto – it is a way of life. As state senator, I will serve District 11 towns with the same honesty, integrity and commitment I have exhibited throughout my years of public service.
"Working as a team, we can make a difference. I therefore respectfully ask District 11 voters to cast their vote to re-elect Gary Daniels for New Hampshire state Senate in District 11 on Nov. 8 so that together we can work to make New Hampshire a better place in which to live, work and raise a family."
Tilton, 56, lost the state Senate election to Daniels in 2014. He is an investment adviser with a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Washington. He lives in Milford and has two daughters, ages 25 and 14.
In an email, he said he is running for state Senate "to even the playing field and even out, or eliminate, the structural obstacles that discriminate against certain groups of New Hampshire citizens.
"And with our politics so poisoned and in the gutter – and worse – I thought I might be an agent of change, willing to work with both parties’ senators and representatives in Concord. (Don’t tell anyone, but Republican Statehouse candidate Charlie Burns and I actually like each other, talk to each other and have conducted business together. Bipartisanship can start in Milford).
"Together, and only together, will we solve the problems the structural obstacles create. One of those problems, ‘youth flight,’ threatens to slowly destroy our economy. Without jobs, new industry or access to higher education, our young adults will continue to move away seeking this 21st-century necessity: access. Access to jobs and education.
"The other problem our aging state must face is how we unconsciously discriminate against the young, the poor and the under-insured. I will fight for a law to set a living wage as a minimum wage; to offer tuition-free community college; to create a public transportation system; to make funding for Medicaid permanent; and to make fully funding Planned Parenthood permanent and not an annual political football.
"The median age in New Hampshire is 42, so half of us are older than 42, half younger. The half under 42 are at a huge voting disadvantage. Only 57 percent of those under 42 are eligible to vote (those over 18), and only about half of those voters actually vote. Fully 100 percent of those over 42 are eligible to vote and more than 70 percent of those voters vote. That means voters over 42 have two-and-a-half times more votes cast than those under 42. That’s a huge advantage.
"So, the two most important things we need to do are lower the median age and increase voter turnout for those under 42. How do we do that?
"First, vote out the incumbent in this Senate district. He is part of the problem, nearly three decades in office voting consistently against young people, those needing health care coverage and women (minimum wage: against; Medicaid expansion: against; funding Planned Parenthood: against; funding public transportation: against; funding community college: against).
"We need to create a family-friendly New Hampshire where families will want to move to, not from. The key to keeping young people and building a strong economy is access: access to college, access to jobs and access to a public transit system that will get those young people to school or work. Imagine if you could take a bus or light-rail train from Wilton, Milford, Amherst and Merrimack to Nashua, Nashua Community College or Manchester. Your future is suddenly much, much brighter. And so is our community’s.
"Imagine a state senator who will stand by women and girls, help those who need health care and guide our state into the 21st century with a plan to keep our youth local, with community college for all, and a transit system for all; a senator who has ideas to reduce the property-tax burden by unleashing the power of the emerging national cannabis industry.
Kathy Cleveland can be reached at 673-3100 or firstname.lastname@example.org.