Candidates for N.H. House District 22

On Nov. 6, voters will go to the polls to choose a governor, representatives in Congress and for the Executive Council, the state Senate and the state House of Representatives.

There are six candidates for the three seats in New Hampshire House District 22, representing Amherst. We asked them the following questions:

1. Age?

2. How long have you lived in town?

3. Professional, political background and civic activities?

4. Why are you running for state representative?

5. What are the top issues facing the town and state?

6. Personal information including family or hobbies?

Scott Courtemanche – Republican

1. Age 40

2. I have lived in Amherst 9 1/2 years

3. Corporate finance professional, chairman of Amherst Republican Committee, member of Amherst Trustee of the Trust Funds board.

4. Too many great New Hampshire workers are traveling out of state for work. I see empty office buildings and store fronts that once thrived. I’d love to be a part of creating a more business-friendly environment in New Hampshire and bringing our workers back home.

With around $250 million of New Hampshire’s taxpayer money going to Massachusetts for state income taxes every year, we have a great opportunity to attract high-quality workers back closer to home and keep that money in our own wallets.

5. Property taxes are a heavy focal point for our residents. I’ve heard of, and seen, a lot of residents forced to move out of town, or even out of state, because they can no longer afford to live here. We need to make sure that our residents have the ability to call Amherst and New Hampshire their home for as long as they desire.

6. I am married to my wonderful wife for five years; we have three kids, with another on the way. I’m currently coaching my son’s U4 soccer team; hobbies include sports (playing and watching), fishing and playing guitar.

Peter Hansen – Republican incumbent

1. Age 75

2. 70 years in Amherst.

3. I have BS and MBA degrees and I’m a retired vice president of marketing and sales and spent four terms in the New Hampshire House. I advocated for alternative addiction relief – a process known as acudetox, where five acupuncture needles are implanted in your ear at specific locations to relieve the cravings or general feelings of addiction recovery. As chairman of the committee assigned to evaluate and recommend adequate practice policy to assure safety, my team was successful in ensuring the licensing did not interfere with bringing this procedure to the substance abuse community in an affordable accessible manner.

4. I want to keep New Hampshire New Hampshire. Here are two examples of how out-of-state interests are attacking our traditions and our future as well: New Hampshire law defines every lake over 10 acres as public property and access is to be available. Lake Sunapee our sixth largest lake has inadequate boat launch facilities and was targeted by Fish & Game to receive a modern adequate boat launch built on state land. Property owners around the lake, many from out of state and lake-front property owners (54 percent from out of state) have spent spent over one million dollars and nearly 30 years successfully defeating attempts to provide safe adequate boat launch facilities on the lake.

Another example affects everyone using electricity in New Hampshire. Out of state and national conservation organizations have been successful in lobbying for the preservation of existing laws which allow wood chip generating plants, already subsidized, to sell their power back to the major suppliers at the retail rate, not the wholesale rate, forcing the major suppliers to increase everyone’s electrical bills to subsidize an unprofitable business.

5. The top issues facing the town and state are infrastructure and tainted drinking water. Of course the traditional financing and managing the requirements of the two bodies are always near the top as well.

6. I am married to Patricia and have a son, Ryan and daughter Karyn.

Megan Murray – Democrat

1. Age 36

2. Four years in Amherst.

3. I serve on the Amherst Land Trust and am a member of the Amherst Democrats and a former public school educator.

4. I believe that public service is something that, when executed with people in mind first, creates stronger, healthier communities and industries. I will be a voice for families and all Amherst residents.

5. As a former teacher, I’d like to see our school lunch programs become stronger partners with local farms in our communities, utilizing as much fresh produce and food as we can to feed our young students while they learn. 

Without adequately funded programs and services, our town and state’s high-quality public education system is at risk. I will work diligently to make sure that students and staff have what they need to be the best that they can be. Supporting our other public services (fire and police) will always remain a focus and will have my full support.

I commit to supporting legislation that protects natural resources and also maintains sustainable fishing and farming industries so that we can continue to feed our state and support much needed local farms as well as protect our water sources. I will work to support New Hampshire becoming a leader in cutting-edge, environmental stewardship and business development.

2. I support legislation that champions our public schools so that they remain strong, balanced places for our youth to become prepared for tomorrow. Higher education needs to offer two options: industry/trade education and apprenticeships and college/university. Having well rounded, post-high school options available to students sets Amherst and New Hampshire up for a healthy, strong, balanced economy and communities!  

3. The state should appropriately fund mental health and addiction support care, along with accessible health care for everyone. I also believe that there is a moral and ethical responsibility for doctors, manufacturers and health care industries to help address the problem of opiate misuse and champions the reform efforts so far but wants to see more!

4. I will champion innovative solutions to budgetary spending, through policy that meets the most pressing demands of our times. Our town is not unique in the fact that we are struggling with downshifted costs being placed at the town level. This downshifting has forced our property taxes to heights that are unrealistically maintainable for middle class families and the aging population. I am also an advocate for strong public-school communities.

6. I am a wife and the mother of three school age children who grew up the daughter of a single mother brought to the United States by my grandmother and grandfather from Canada. I am the first person in my immediate family to graduate college. At the age of 15, I began working, sweeping trash at a Pennsylvania amusement park and have continuously worked to provide for myself and my family either by receiving education or having a job ever since.

Reed Panasiti – Republican incumbent

1. Age 60.

2. Lived in town 22 years.

3. Retired Naval officer – 23 years. Current state representative and Amherst selectman.

Member of Zoning Board of Adjustment and Recreation Commission and past member of Lions Club and Amherst Fourth of July Parade committee.

4. I have been a public servant all my adult life whether it be career or as a volunteer. Upon my retirement from military service we choose Amherst to settle and raise our family. I have served the community in many capacities from Souhegan assistant football coach to selectman. My business partner and I restored the Homestead Grocery and Deli, a local business on Boston Post Road. My wife is one of two elementary school nurses in Amherst. Public service is who we are and what we do.

In March, I began my third term as an Amherst selectman and I’m currently serving as a state representative. Amherst, and the state of New Hampshire, is a great place to live and raise a family. I don’t believe in complaining about something if you’re not willing to do something about it. I believe in the state motto “Live Free or Die” and appreciate everything this state has to offer and the quality of life it has afforded us. As a representative, I can continue the work that will ensure Amherst and New Hampshire remain a great place to live, work, raise a family or own a business.

As a representative I have worked hard and totally engrossed myself in the process and understand the time and energy required for this position. I have thoroughly enjoyed my last two years as a representative and would like to continue again representing the district in Concord. I currently serve on the State-Federal Relations, Veterans Affairs and the Commerce and Consumer Affairs committees.

5. My top issues are the opioid epidemic, economic development, high electricity rates, work force retention and education choice.

6. My hobbies are golf, riding my motorcycle, fitness class at the gym. I enjoy watching Boston Red Sox, Patriots, Penn State, and Navy football. I am married to Nancy and have three children, Jennifer, Bradley and Jessica.

Julie Radhakrishnan -Democrat

1. Age 68

2. I have lived in Amherst since 1997.

3. I have been a political activist for several organizations, including the Hillsborough County Democratic Committee, Amherst Democratic Committee, former town chair, local team leader for Obama’s campaign in 2008, political activist and community organizer and ACLU community advocate. Business manager for Tints Wear LLC, I lived outside of London, England for 13 years where I was involved in the local politics of my town.

I graduated from Middlesex Polytechnic, London, with a master in business administration with a concentration in human resource management, and Crawley College of Technology, degree in business administration.

4. I am an individual contributor wanting to see our country prosper. I am seeking to unite politicians on both sides of the aisle, the main reason why, I believe, progress has been impeded.

5. Medicaid expansion is needed as affordable care is vital. This directly impacts retirees (prescription drugs) and those suffering from substance abuse disorder (opioids).

Our environment – our water is polluted. We must have clean water and clean air to ensure a healthy survival of all species as well as clean energy.

Education – implementing coding classes and “block chain” course work so that our youth can be prepared for the future of business, science and technology. We must work with our state and municipalities for an equitable distribution of revenue and stop the downshifting of taxes.

Infrastructure – Investing in our infrastructure allows for job creation and has a multiplier effect which not only benefits our town, but neighboring towns – the fastest way to create jobs.

(6) I am married with two children and love entertaining and traveling.

Daniel Veilleux – Democrat

1. Age 49

2. My family and I moved to New Hampshire in August of 2008 and settled in Amherst in February of 2009.

3. I have a BA in political science and a master’s in Public Administration from the University of Maine.

During graduate school I served two years as an economic development specialist with the Maine Rural Development Council and the Eastern Maine Development Council, and held an internship in the finance office of the city of Bangor, Maine.

Most of my working career, however, has been spent in accounting and finance in both the public and private sectors. In the early part of my career, I worked for the US Senate in Washington, DC as an accountant in the Office of The Sergeant at Arms. I later worked as a mutual accountant, and then as an assistant controller with a large waste services company in Portland, Maine.

I have been a stay-at-home dad for the last 12 years. In addition to raising two amazing kids over that time, I have also managed to earn my private pilot’s certificate and helped a small group of hockey parents to create The Souhegan Valley Middle School Hockey program, a successful nonprofit ice hockey program for local middle school-aged hockey players.

4. Now that my kids are older, it’s time that I return to my passion of public service, where I can apply a broad base experience to help address some of the challenges facing the State of New Hampshire.

5. There are several pressing challenges facing New Hampshire, the foremost of which is that we are the second oldest state in the country. More people are slated to retire and leave the workforce than there are young people to take their place. If we do not adjust our policies to help attract and retain young people, we are likely to face serious social and economic consequences in the near future. To do this, we have to address the issue of adequate state funding for public education, stop efforts to shift tax dollars to private schools, improve the affordability of the state’s university system, invest in community colleges and technical schools, increase the availability of affordable housing, find ways to relieve the increasing strain on local property taxes, and fight the opioid crisis, which is claiming too many young lives in New Hampshire and around the country. We also need to address the state’s energy policy to balance the needs of New Hampshire businesses with environmental policies that protect the state’s natural resources, ensure clean air and safe drinking water, and address the issue of climate change.