EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Election Connection

November 4, 2012

N.H. gubernatorial candidates in close race

Gubernatorial candidates Ovide Lamontagne and Maggie Hassan agree strong leadership and expanded gambling would help jump-start New Hampshire’s economy, they just don’t agree on much else.

Lamontagne, a Republican from Manchester, and Hassan, a Democrat from Exeter, seek to replace Gov. John Lynch in the election Tuesday. Lynch is stepping down after four terms.

Both candidates are running on platforms that place improved economic prosperity at the top of the priority list.

“I think the election is going to turn on economic issues,” said Lamontagne, 55, a lawyer and former chairman of the state Board of Education.

Both are promoting the creation of jobs, a balanced budget, incentives to help businesses and improving health care, among other issues. Yet they disagree on how tax dollars should be spent and government’s role.

Hassan said her opponent’s views are “radically different” than her own and harmful to the needs of New Hampshire’s middle class.

Lamontagne said opposing adoption of a sales or income tax will help grow the economy and reforming the state’s business tax structure and cutting regulations will help companies prosper. He also supports limiting government spending, which Lamontagne said sets him apart from his opponent.

“She is open to raising taxes,” he said. “That is not the recipe for success.”

It’s one reason why Hassan, a state senator for six years, was not re-elected in 2010, he said.

Hassan, a 54-year-old former state senator and lawyer, said she had a proven record of fiscal responsibility while serving in the Legislature.

“I’m the only candidate in this race who has balanced a budget,” she said. “We did it without an income or sales tax, which I would veto.”

Lamontagne has said Hassans’s vow to veto a broad-based tax is a false promise because she opposes a proposed constitutional amendment that would prohibit adoption of an income tax.

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