Education, Economy Top N.H. Senate District 2 Race

  • Rep. Bob Giuda, R-Warren, is a candidate for the District 2 state senate seat. (Courtesy photograph)

  • Democrat Charlie Chandler, of Warren, N.H., is a candidate for the District 2 state senate seat. (Courtesy photograph)

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 10/7/2016 12:39:28 AM
Modified: 10/7/2016 11:54:36 AM

Haverhill — Both candidates vying for the open Senate District 2 seat representing several Grafton County towns say education and building on the local economy are major challenges facing the Granite State.

But the men, who are both Warren residents, have markedly different proposals for solving those issues.

Democrat Charlie Chandler, 70, supports a higher minimum wage and wants more funding for public schools. His opponent, Republican Bob Giuda, would rather see the state reduce regulation and taxes he says hurt business.

Giuda, 64, also wants more workforce training made available to prepare people for employment locally.

Giuda will soon retire from his career as a commercial airline pilot, opening up time to serve in the Legislature. A Naval Academy graduate, he previously served as a Marine Corps fighter pilot and three-term state representative.

Locally, Giuda also sits on the Warren School Board and holds the position of town moderator. It’s local communities like his that Giuda says are the focus of his campaign.

Chandler, a retired lawyer, has a long history in municipal and state government. He is a former state representative, New Hampshire Ballot Law Commissioner, election monitor, served on the Governor’s Commission for Disability and was appointed by the state to investigate the Financial Resources Mortgage Inc. and CL&M Inc. scandal.

Chandler has also served on local boards and committees in the Tilton-Northfield area, as well as being elected as a selectboard member in Warren and school district moderator.

District 2 stretches from the Lakes Region to the Upper Valley, including the towns of Haverhill, Piermont, Orford, Dorchester, Grafton and Orange. The seat has been held since 2011 by Meredith Republican Jeanie Forrester, who ran for governor in the GOP primary this year.

While some communities in the district, like Center Harbor and Meredith, seem to be doing well commercially, Giuda said, others have been losing jobs and a population needed for business to thrive. Employers have left the region over the past few years, he said, and the ones remaining are worried about finding skilled workers.

To ease those worries, Giuda proposes expanding workforce training to better prepare people for the jobs that remain.

“We’re losing that cadre of talent and then those who remain...(businesses) say that the workforce that remains is not qualified in several ways,” he said.

Overregulation and recording requirements are also hurting local businesses, he said, and should be rolled back.

Chandler said the state’s opioid epidemic has become an important issue for him as he hears from voters across the district.

Chandler said he’s a supporter of distributing naxolone, a drug that reverses the effects of opioids, to fire departments and citizens to help combat overdoses. He also would like the state to focus on treating those suffering from addiction, while also punishing dealers.

The crisis is personal for Chandler, who had a son suffering from substance misuse and is now clean.

“It’s people who really fall prey to this who can be damaged and we should help them,” he said.

Expanding the number of people on health insurance in the state also helps provide care for those seeking help with addiction, he said, and is part of the reason he supports the state’s Medicaid expansion.

“It is the absolutely right and moral thing to do,” Chandler said of the expansion, adding that it also saves money by reducing emergency room visits.

Giuda is more leery of Medicaid expansion, and recommended renegotiating how the state receives aid from the federal government.

“The problem is 50,000 people without any health care,” he said, adding that those without expanded coverage will go to the hospital uninsured and raise coverage costs for others.

While he wants people to stay covered, he would rather see aid delivered to the state in the form of a block grant, so New Hampshire has more control over how aid is delivered.

He’s not sure whether he would vote to continue the expansion, however, and said it would depend on what is in a possible bill.

Planned Parenthood funding is also a concern of Giuda, who said he’s against the state’s contract with the nonprofit. He said there are other clinics that would be equally equipped to continue providing health care in more rural parts of the state.

“I would not send funds to any agency that funds abortion,” he said. “I would rather send funds to agencies that deal with women’s health in an overall sense.”

Chandler, on the other hand, is in favor of continuing Planned Parenthood funding, and was endorsed by the Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund PAC on Thursday. The group provides important health services to women, he said, and deserves the state’s support.

Speaking on a recent court ruling on school funding, Giuda said the current state system is a “mess.” The court ruled last month that schools with rapidly expanding populations shouldn’t be capped on state aid.

“Under the existing law, we can’t fix the problem,” Giuda said, adding that he would support a constitutional amendment that reworks the state’s funding formula and provides for schools most in need with proper funding.

“If the Legislature has the ability to clearly define adequacy in terms of financial numbers, for lack of a better term, I think we could do that a whole lot better,” he said.

Chandler said funding public education is at the core of his campaign. He said better funding is needed at all levels of education in New Hampshire, especially at the local level.

If elected, Chandler said, he would support the state making greater contributions toward local education to help relieve the burden of property owners in some of the communities hardest hit by a growing need for services.

“I think we’re really at a crossroads here,” he said. With the recent court ruling and need for more school building projects, he said the Legislature will soon have to face adequately funding education.

In a year where gun control has at times become national news, Giuda said he doesn’t think there’s any need for more regulations. To the contrary, he supports a recent bill vetoed by Gov. Maggie Hassan that would do away with permits to carry a concealed weapon.

“Statistically we don’t have a problem,” he said. “Is one life too many? Yes. (But) our system seems to work here in New Hampshire.”

Gun control also isn’t high on Chandler’s priorities, but he would like to see a law prohibiting those on terror watch lists or the no-fly list from gaining access to firearms.

Chandler’s family has lived in New Hampshire since the 1700s — his father was a state representative, and his brother Gene Chandler is a former Republican speaker of the New Hampshire House — and Chandler said he understands those who use guns in the state, but also said those changes in gun regulations could help stem future violence.

Voting for state Senate will take place at the same time as the federal election on Nov. 8.

Tim Camerato can be reached at or 603-727-3223.

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