EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

April 1, 2013

Hassan reflects on challenges, priorities

Being N.H. governor is 'best job' there is

(Continued)

Sen. Chuck Morse, R-Salem, wants a casino and would use gaming revenue to help pay for the Interstate 93 widening. Morse opposes a gas tax increase.

Rep. David Campbell, D-Nashua, prefers a 12-cent gas tax increase the House passed last week to fund road and bridge improvements.

Hassan won’t choose sides among the two. She commends them both for shining a light on infrastructure needs.

“Certainly, funding I-93 is one of the critical things we need to do,” she said.

Ultimately, Hassan reasons, the House and Senate must find common ground.

“What I’m in support of is a consensus of how we’re going to fund this,” she said.

She said she is encouraging the House and Senate to find it.

“I don’t think the gas tax, as it passed the House, is at that consensus point,” she said.

Last session the Legislature drew criticism — and low opinion numbers in polls — for a lack of civility.

Hassan likes what she sees and hears at the Statehouse and beyond. Bipartisan votes are a good thing, in Hassan’s view.

“The people of New Hampshire want this to work,” she said.

Discussions have been courteous, she said.

“There’s a lot of constructive spirit.”

Still, there are controversies.

Hassan appears ready to sign the repeal of parts of the stand-your-ground law, which would require people to consider whether deadly force is necessary in their self-defense in public places.

The House passed a bill to do that, though the Senate vote is in doubt.

“Law enforcement recommends I sign it,” Hassan said. “I continue to believe it is dangerous for people to open fire in public places when they have other options available to them.”

She said she will look closely at a House-passed bill allowing use of medical marijuana.

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