Feltes: Why I’m running for governor

My amazing wife Erin and I live on Hope Avenue in the South End with our two wonderful daughters, Iris and Josie, our two dogs, Franklin and Roosevelt, and, like a lot of working families, a whole bunch of student loan debt. Right out of law school I had the honor of working as a legal aid attorney with New Hampshire Legal Assistance for a decade prior to serving in the State Senate. I’ve been a State Senator since 2014, I now serve as the Majority Leader of the New Hampshire Senate, and I can tell you – without any hesitation – that the lone obstacle to meaningful, bipartisan progress for all our workers, all our families and all of our communities is the current governor, who since spring has been running for a third term in office.

I have a much different perspective than the current governor. My dad wasn’t Governor. My brother wasn’t a US Senator. I was never gifted a ski resort. My dad worked in a furniture factory for 45 years. The same unairconditioned furniture factory, doing roughly the same job, for 45 years straight. My mom worked various part-time jobs, including night shifts, while raising four kids. They instilled in me the values of hard work, honesty, and respect for everyone, regardless of where they come from. Those are the values I lived as a legal aid attorney in New Hampshire for almost a decade, standing up for senior citizens, for veterans, and for low-to-middle income working families. I represented families crushed by job loss, families facing foreclosure from big banks during the Great Recession, survivors of domestic violence seeking safety and security, and our veterans fighting for benefits they deserved, after fighting for all of us aboard. Fighting for folks facing long odds, who often times have never had anyone in their corner.

As I took on these fights for working families, I came to realize that all too often, it was the laws themselves that were broken. Too many of them were written behind closed doors for big corporations and the well-connected elite, not working people.

So, I ran for State Senate, and, we won. Since then we worked across the aisle to expand access to health care for our families, increase support for opioid and mental health treatment providers, protect people with pre-existing conditions, set some of the toughest drinking water standards in the nation, invest in our public schools with the greatest education funding in state history, finally fund full-day kindergarten like any other grade, advanced clean energy and community solar opportunities, and fought for campaign finance reform – so that everyday people, not wealthy donors, matter most.

But, we face some major challenges, right now. Costs are rising for working families. We have the highest health care costs in the nation, we have the third highest electric rates in the nation, prescription drugs costs are skyrocketing, families struggle to find the behavioral health treatment for their loved ones, family businesses are struggling to find workers and workers are struggling to find affordable housing,and property taxes are going up while taxes for big corporations are going down.

And, most of all, we have a Governor who simply doesn’t get what ordinary folks are going through – and his vetoes prove it. The average number of vetoes per year going back 50 years is 6.8 vetoes per year. He set the record with 57 vetoes this year. 42 of his record-setting 57 vetoes had some level of bipartisan support, with several having unanimous support. He has vetoed everything from the minimum wage, to paid family leave, to progress on clean energy jobs, to addiction and mental health treatment support for our families, to campaign finance reform, to job training and apprenticeship opportunities, to an entire state budget. But, it’s not just he won’t sign the bills, he has mocked citizens taking time away from their families to advocate for their families, calling them “paid volunteers”, he called the legislature “barbarians at the gate”, and he actually auctioned off to the highest bidder – at a partisan political fundraiser – a copy of his paid family leave veto. That’s just not the New Hampshire way.

It’s time for a change. If I have the honor and privilege of serving as Governor each and every day I will do what I’ve always done; fight for working families, fight for folks left out and left behind, and work with anyone on those fights, regardless of their political affiliation. I respectfully ask for your support. It’ll be a lot of hard work, but working together, I’m confident we can and we will move New Hampshire forward, for everyone.

Dan Feltes is a candidate for Governor in 2020, is currently serving his third term in the State Senate, and is the Senate’s Majority Leader.