Sununu speaks at Souhegan Chamber celebration

MILFORD – Gov. Chris Sununu said facing re-election less than two years after taking office is a challenge, but he believes this serves New Hampshire residents as a check on governmental power.

Serving as the keynote speaker Wednesday during the Souhegan Valley Chamber of Commerce Annual Dinner and Awards Celebration at Hampshire Hills, Sununu said state government is doing so well that, “We have more money than we know what to do with in Concord.”

“New Hampshire government is always going to work pretty good,” he said, while emphasizing the Granite State’s lack of both income and sales taxes.

“I don’t know anybody in this room who isn’t looking for some workers,” Sununu added.

New Hampshire is widely known for its first-in-the-nation presidential primary, as candidates representing both the Democratic and Republican parties will begin making regular stops in the state by the end of the year. However, Sununu, a Republican, is not sure how much the national political climate will impact his chances of winning re-election this fall. His potential Democratic opponents include former state Senator Molly Kelly and former Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand.

“We’re as purple as purple comes,” he said in reference to the state being considered a “battleground” in which Democrats and Republicans compete on relatively equal footing.

Republicans are generally associated with red, while Democrats are usually connected with blue — hence New Hampshire’s purple status. Sununu said this is further captured by New Hampshire legislative and executive branches of government at the state level falling under Republican control, while all members of the U.S. House and Senate representing the state are Democrats.

Sununu said one of his main goals upon taking office last year was to get state leaders to think beyond the two-year term of a governor. He wanted them to think in terms of the “long-term” when it came to education, health care and infrastructure. He believes he believes progress has been made in these areas.

Sununu also believes New Hampshire’s relatively small geographic size allows for residents to have more control of their government. He contrasts this with what California Gov. Jerry Brown faces.

“Jerry Brown is a nice man. But he has no idea what’s going on in his own state,” Sununu said.

After Sununu’s address, chamber officials presented the following awards:

Business Leader of the Year: Paul Tripp, president of Classic Sign;

Business of the Year: LaBelle Winery;

Small Business of the Year: Horse ‘n Hound Physical Therapy;

Nonprofit of the Year: Boys and Girls Club of Souhegan Valley;

Sole Proprietor of the Year: Emily Aborn, owner of Tucked In Organics;

Volunteer of the Year: Family Dental Care of Milford; and

Leadership Scholarships: Mark Johnson of Milford High School and Kyle Archambault of Souhegan High School.