EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

October 5, 2012

NH gubernatorial hopefuls clash on right-to-work

HENNIKER, N.H. (AP) — New Hampshire’s two candidates for governor differed sharply over right-to-work among other issues yesterday during their fifth debate.

They also sparred over education funding, the management of Medicaid and Affordable Care Act funds, and the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative at the debate held at New England College.

Democrat Maggie Hassan says she opposes right-to-work legislation, which would limit unions’ ability to collect fees from nonunion workers. Republican Ovide Lamontagne says he favors right-to-work, saying it gives employees freedom of choice.

Embracing right-to-work, Lamontagne said, would make New Hampshire “a beacon” for employers. He said New Hampshire would be the first state north of Virginia and east of Indiana to pass right-to-work.

Hassan said she equates right-to-work with “a right to work for less and lower wages.”

“The only way a worker can be required to pay dues to a union is if the employer and employees negotiate that term,” she said.

Both candidates favor a casino in southern New Hampshire, but Lamontagne said he would support it only it if it’s located at Rockingham Park in Salem.

Hassan said that with Massachusetts planning three or four casinos, New Hampshire has to be competitive, even in the face of opposition from resort and restaurant owners who fear a casino would funnel off their business.

“I don’t want our gambling revenues and rooms and meals money to be spent in Massachusetts,” Hassan said.

Hassan continued to cast Lamontagne as being aligned with ultra-conservative bills passed in the state legislature and House Speaker Bill O’Brien, while Lamontagne continued his criticism of tax and fee hikes while Hassan — who was Senate Majority leader in 2009 — partnered with Gov. John Lynch to fashion a budget.

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