June 26, 2014

Dear Friends,

I am campaigning for reelection, asking the voters of Dublin, Harrisville, Jaffrey and Roxbury (Cheshire District 9) to return me to the New Hampshire House of Representatives. I hope to have your support in this campaign.

Cheshire 9 is a two-seat district. In November 2012, Doug Ley and I were elected as Democrats to fill these two seats. Doug is campaigning with me for reelection. We will be unopposed in the Democratic primary on September 9th. In the general election on November 4th, we will be opposed by the one Republican candidate who has filed for the Republican nomination as a candidate in Cheshire 9 (and perhaps by a second candidate if someone pursues a write-in or independent candidacy).

Joining Doug and me in our campaign is Pat Martin of Rindge. Pat is seeking election in Cheshire District 14, a "floterial" district that includes Rindge and Fitzwilliam along with the four Cheshire 9 towns. This is the House seat currently held by Harry Young, who is retiring. Pat is unopposed in the Democratic primary. Two candidates have filed for the Republican District 14 nomination, so Pat will be opposed by the winner of the Republican primary election on September 9. As an active member of the Rindge community, a strong supporter of good programming for people with disabilities, and a long-time member of the Rindge Energy Commission, Pat will bring great strengths to her campaign. I will miss Harry. He, Doug and I are delighted that Pat is running.

The stakes are high in this election. An anti-government, aggressively partisan, blindly ideological faction led by former Speaker Bill O’Brien could re-take control of the New Hampshire House. That would be a disaster.

We have come a long way in our legislative work in these past two years. We began the rebuilding effort with passage of a bipartisan budget. The budget restored funding to higher education, to our hospitals, to community mental health services, to children in need of services, to local education aid for special needs students, and to state aid for projects like Jaffrey’s water and sewer upgrade. To the astonishment of many, we overcame party differences to enact legislation to extend health care access to tens of thousands of previously uninsured citizens. We are beginning to rebuild our roads and bridges. We have protected women’s health care choices. We have reinforced the state’s support for efficient energy use and renewable energy. We have tried to be constructive. We have listened and learned through seemingly endless House floor debates on contentious issues. Civility and common sense have (mostly) prevailed.

But we have much more to do. Leading my worry list is the state budget. On the one hand, I see many unmet funding needs, ranging from deficient or obsolete infrastructure, to children overcome by addiction, to students unable to afford higher education, to the need to honor settlements of two major law suits requiring substantial new funding for our community mental health system and our hospitals. On the other hand, I see a state fee and tax revenue system that is replete with inequities and that may be structurally insufficient to maintain funding even at current levels. We need to address this problem. It will be hard. I hope to be part of that conversation and to help work through to a responsible resolution.

This has turned out to be a full-time job for me – much busier than I had anticipated. As a House Ways & Means Committee member, I have gained a new appreciation for the complexity, diversity, strengths and weaknesses of the state’s existing tax and fee revenue system. As the Governor’s choice to chair a new Gaming Regulatory Oversight Authority, I helped to develop legislative proposals to reform existing gambling laws and to enable expansion into casino-based gambling (the reform legislation has been enacted; the casino expansion bill passed in the Senate but failed on a series of close votes in the House). And in my core capacity as a State Representative, I am glad that I was able to be present for every vote in every House and Committee session – trying to understand, contribute to the conversation, and make responsible choices on each of the bills that came to Ways & Means and on each of the hundreds of bills that reached the floor of the House during these last two years. Through all of this, I have enjoyed working with my local colleagues, Doug Ley and Harry Young, and have developed constructive working relationships with many new friends on both sides of the aisle at the State House.

Over the next four months, I will be working hard to achieve success in this campaign - for myself, for Doug, for Pat, and for the many other good candidates who will be on the ballot in November. Funds will be needed for campaign literature, for mailings, and for various other forms of publicity and outreach to the voters. Again, I ask for your support. A form and a return envelope are enclosed .

Many thanks,

       Dick Ames