Lamontagne was asked how he is different from O’Brien and Hassan was asked how she would differ from Lynch as governor. While he commended the legislature for its “real math” approach to the budget, Lamontagne said his budget priorities would be different but didn’t specify how. Hassan said she has some policy differences with Lynch but didn’t say what they are.
Both candidates said they would take a cautious approach to the Northern Pass proposal — keeping an open mind while guarding the North Country’s natural beauty.
Common questions and threads have run through the five debates and by now, it’s no secret that Lamontagne wants the federal government to block grant funds for Medicaid and President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul so New Hampshire can fashion its own plan and programs. Hassan fiercely opposes that approach, saying she doesn’t want state lawmakers — and particularly O’Brien’s supporters — fashioning health benefits packages.
In the face of Lamontagne’s repeated attacks on her record of tax and fee increases, Hassan twice promised to veto any legislation to impose a sales or income tax.
Lamontagne said he would repeal the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative — known as RGGI — calling it an “artificial burden” on utility companies that ultimately drives up charges to ratepayers. Hassan defended it, saying it has created 400 jobs and serves as an incentive for new kinds of energy development.
Hassan and Lamontagne have scheduled a total of 12 debates before the Nov. 6 election. One political pundit quipped during Thursday’s debate that for that 12th debate, they should switch roles to test how well they’ve memorized each other’s answers.
Lamontagne and Hassan are vying to fill the seat opened up by Lynch’s retirement after four terms.