One question focused on whether the candidates supported expanded gambling in New Hampshire. All 10 said they support gaming.
Democratic District 34 candidate Harlan Cheney said he wanted more than one casino, “but if we can get one done, we’d go a long way in solving our revenue problems.”
Though he cautioned against the risks that casinos can bring, including increased crime, District 34 incumbent Jeffrey Oligny, a Republican, said building a casino in Salem “is an opportunity waiting to happen.”
“We would not be very prudent to stick our hands in the sand, call New Hampshire a great place to live, and not take advantage of this economic opportunity,” Oligny said.
Jean Sanders, Democratic candidate for House District 14, said the current facility at Rockingham Park “is a lot of wasted space.”
“I envision the casino, that being there, mushrooming the economy, people going over to The Mall at Rockingham, shopping at the restaurants,” Sanders said.
Debra DeSimone, a Republican incumbent in House District 14 and board chairwoman for Family Mediation and Juvenile Services, said gambling “keeps my charity alive.”
“If we have the intelligence to pass expanded gambling this year, not only will my charity not die, but 36 other charities won’t die,” she said.
Some of the candidates also brought up the plan when responding to a question on how they would help create jobs in New Hampshire.
Others said loosening regulations on small businesses would also help create jobs.
“What they need to do is look at the regulations,” said District 14 incumbent Norman Major, a Republican. “Is a company not growing because of regulations? And can the regulations relax, or do we need it to spur growth?”
Republican Chuck Morse, an incumbent in Senate District 22, said large projects such as widening Interstate 93 will help entice businesses to New Hampshire. A drop in taxes would also help, he said.