Howard’s philosophy of government: he’s against it

This was originally published in the Laconia Daily Sun on October 1, 2020

This spring, Covid was spreading its death grip all over, and it was a time of horror for the world. During some of the worst periods of the coronavirus pandemic, however, we were nevertheless treated to magical photos of nature left wild, or at least wilder. We saw animals roaming free in areas previously crowded with humans, marine mammals swimming in previously polluted and overfished waters, we saw the skies of L.A. without the thick veil of smog.

There were also very concrete improvements in air quality, in San Francisco (40 percent less air pollution than in 2019), LA, New York, and Seattle, with similar reductions in pollution.

There could be no more convincing proof of climate change than these photos and air measurements. Even a climate denier should be able to see the evidence before our eyes, showing climate change linked to human activity.

The bad news is that those changes were temporary, and as soon as human activity increases to previous levels (more vehicles, more planes, and more movement), those benefits begin to disappear. What we learned from this terrible experiment is that we humans are indeed in control of not only our own destiny, but that of our children and grandchildren. The earth is ours to save for them or to squander.

The voting record of my opponent, Rep. Raymond Howard, Jr., shows that we could not be much further apart on environmental issues. In Concord, he has voted consistently against measures designed to tackle climate change, to reduce carbon emissions, to protect water and air quality, and to increase solar power. His nay votes sum up his philosophy of government: he’s against it. I believe wise leaders need to address the dangerous effects of climate change, which are already reaching crisis levels. The younger generation is ready to tackle this problem; why aren’t we?

Mr. Howard has not only voted repeatedly against environmental measures, but he has even voted against a bill seeking to establish a climate action plan. That’s right, he voted nay on HB-1664, to study the issue of climate change, and plan for the future. He put his head in the sand and refused to look at the evidence. I would obviously have voted yes.

At the county level, Ray Howard has consistently voted to deny or reduce appropriations to the Belknap County Conservation District, an outside agency serving as our county environmental steward, implementing conservation measures and assisting land managers in maintaining natural resources in the county. The BCCD provides about $16 of benefits (through its outreach, its grants, its use of volunteers) for every $1 it receives from the county. Instead of encouraging locally based programs like BCCD, Mr. Howard once again says nay.

If elected, I will work towards saving and improving the environment in New Hampshire. For the health of all of us, for the beauty and economic benefit of our natural resources, and for all the generations to come.

Ruth on the Issues: Reproductive Rights

In 1973, in the landmark decision Roe v. Wade, the US Supreme Court ruled that there was a right to privacy under the due process clause of the 14th Amendment, and that this right extended to a woman seeking an abortion. That right was balanced against the state’s interest in regulating abortion, with the interest in regulation viewed as increasing throughout the pregnancy. In that case an in subsequent cases, a woman generally had a right to terminate a pregnancy until viability of the fetus. It should be noted that the only Democratic appointee on the US Supreme Court at the time of Roe v. Wade voted against it.

It is my view that a woman’s choice to use birth control, to have a child, to terminate a pregnancy before viability or to carry a fetus to term are decisions that she should be able to make without interference from the state.  In New Hampshire, where the state motto is “Live Free or Die”, a woman’s reproductive freedom should be protected.

In my view, every attempt to reach common ground should be made between those opposing abortion rights and those wanting to protect them.  In particular, the emphasis should be placed on sex education for both males and females, and access to birth control.  No one likes abortion, and we should all seek ways to make abortion unnecessary.

I would also like to see the term “pro-life” be used to support and nurture children after their birth, with emphasis on health, education, clean air and water, and safety from violence.  In my view, people opposed to abortion and those who want to keep it legal should join forces to promote truly pro-life measures, making our world a better place with good opportunities for all children.

Ruth on the Issues: 2nd Amendment and Guns

The US Supreme Court in the Heller decision ruled that individuals have a Second Amendment right to possess a firearm in the home for self-defense,  and struck down the District of Columbia ban on handgun possession.  The Court made it clear that the right has limits, and certain restrictions are constitutional.  For example, prohibitions against felons and the mentally ill possessing guns, laws imposing conditions and qualification on sales, laws barring guns in sensitive places like schools and government buildings, and prohibitions against “dangerous and unusual weapons”.  The Court even stated it would “consider … prohibitions on carrying concealed weapons.” As of 2016, only 9% of cases (state and federal) with Second Amendment challenges were successful.

Among the safety measures I support are: universal background checks and a ban on military-style automatic weapons and bump stocks. I am opposed to allowing the carrying of a concealed weapon without a permit, which is now legal in NH as a result of a recently passed law. Most police chiefs were opposed to eliminating the requirement for a permit to carry concealed.  The term “constitutional carry” is a misnomer, as the US Supreme Court has never rules that there is a Second Amendment right to carry concealed.  Every indication is that the Court would uphold a permit requirement, and I would vote for such a requirement.  I would also vote to prohibit people other than law enforcement from bringing guns into courthouses (which is currently the law) and into the state legislature.

Suzanne Allison of Barnstead endorses Ruth Larson

Click here to view the article in the Laconia Daily Sun

Ruth Larson has steady disposition & understands the issues

Oct 30, 2018 Updated Oct 31, 2018

To The Daily Sun,

Perhaps it is true that all politics is local. I watch what is going on in Washington and, though I try to educate myself on the issues and facts, it can feel overwhelming and I often feel powerless to make a difference. I know that I have a much better chance of actually knowing and talking to my state legislators — and I have. And while I have never missed an opportunity to vote in any election, whether national, state, or local (e.g. school and selectboard), the mid-terms occurring on November 6 seem especially important if there is ever to be a balance of power in our N.H. House and senate, a return to collaboration and compromise, and an effort to work for what is best for all N.H. citizens.

I have had the pleasure of getting to know Ruth Larson over the past 20 months or so and even before she announced her candidacy for representative in the floterial District 8 (Alton, Barnstead, and Gilmanton), I saw in her a clear eye, a steady disposition, a deep understanding of issues, an objective and fair outlook, and a good heart. She knows her neighbors and their concerns. She has worked to give a voice to those who otherwise may not have one. She is committed to her community. She will put “servant” back into the term “public servant,” which is what we used to expect our elected officials to be and yet most seem to have forgotten. Ruth Larson will serve us well. Vote on November 6.

Suzanne Allison

Barnstead

Fred Sallah of Alton endorses Ruth Larson

Click here to view the article in the Laconia Daily Sun

Larson has demonstrated that Howard in far from mainstream

Oct 30, 2018 Updated Oct 31, 2018

To The Daily Sun,

Ruth Larson has carefully and in a very civil manner addressed Ray Howard’s voting record, ranging from his strong opposition to use of taxpayer money for drug treatment to his opposition to a joint resolution opposing racism and hate crimes. On the many issues addressed, Mr. Howard voted “no” and Ruth would have joined a large bipartisan majority voting “yes.” In short, Ruth has illustrated that Mr. Howard is far from the mainstream of both parties in his representation of those of us in his district.

That which is really telling is that neither Mr. Howard nor any of the four letter-writers, who have sided with him, have explained or even attempted to explain his long string of “no” votes nor have they offered any criticism of an actual policy position taken by Ruth Larson. Instead, they resort to smear tactics and name-calling. Ms. Larson is the “Hanoi Jane of the Lakes Region” or she is bringing “slimy New Jersey-brand politics to our area” or she is trying to make Mr. Howard “look like an uncaring imbecile.” Two of the letter-writers refer to her as having been “an ACLU lawyer.” She was a lawyer in New Jersey before she retired and moved to New Hampshire in 2010 but she was never a lawyer for the ACLU in any matter. One of the best of the falsehoods is that her campaign is being financed by George Soros.

Part of the attack on Ruth’s campaign is an attempt to portray her as an outsider who has recently swooped in with the intent of attacking our values. Ms. Larson’s connections to this area go way back. Her grandfather bought an old farmhouse and land on what was then Places Pond (now Sunset Lake) in the early 1930s. Her family still owns the house and much of the original land. Ruth came to Alton regularly as a child and teenager and has owned the lot where she and her husband have lived since the mid-1980s. She is neither an outsider nor one prone to dirty politics. Disagreeing with an opponent’s actual voting record is not dirty politics. The best that Mr. Howard’s supporters have said about Mr. Howard is that he “represents conservative values.”

I have known Ruth Larson for 15 years. I know of no one who is more sincere, honest, and hard-working. Her dedication to task is remarkable, and she is always in good humor. Politics sometimes fosters mean-spirited and deceitful attacks on a person’s character. Ruth would never respond in kind. Do your research and join me in voting for Ruth Larson as our representative in the 8th District (Alton, Barnstead, and Gilmanton).

Fred Sallah

Alton Bay

Steve Miller of Alton endorses Ruth Larson

Click here to view article in the Laconia Daily Sun

Ray Howard looks out only for impact on his property tax bill

October 29, 2018

To The Daily Sun,

Ray Howard is a myopic one-trick pony whose time has come to leave the state House of Representatives and give Ruth Larsen a chance to provide leadership and vision to her district.

Don’t get me wrong, I know Ray personally, I like Ray personally, and have welcomed him in my home. Yet in terms of representing me as a citizen of Alton and New Hampshire he leaves me wanting. He is myopic for not spending an additional penny no matter how much other people less fortunate than himself benefits. He either chooses not to, or lacks the ability to seriously analyze, investigate, and interpret a complicated economic or financial expenditure. His sole focus is not to have one penny added to his own property tax bill. On itself, that is a noble endeavor, but what ultimately suffers is investment in our future, education progress, infrastructure improvements, and plain old fresh ideas.Ray has had plenty of time to share what his future vision of Alton and his district should be. I challenge anyone including Mr. Howard to tell me what that is. He has voted against civil rights issues. He has voted against saving Gunstock. He has voted against improving infrastructure. He has voted against paying our teachers a living wage. He has voted against Alton Central School and Prospect High School. He has consistently voted against funding Alton’s school budgets. He has voted against funding our opioid crises and the list just goes on. It is time to elect a representative that will vote for us not against us, and not just for himself. If you choose to “not” vote for Ruth Larsen you are choosing zero economic growth, zero vision in our future, and zero progress. As they say, “foolish is voting the same way every time and expecting something different and better.”

Steve Miller

Alton

John Morganstern endorses Ruth Larson

Click here to view article in the Laconia Daily Sun

To The Daily Sun,

I am a Republican. But the purpose if this letter is to endorse a Democrat, Ruth Larson, for state representative.

Ms. Larson has been an active and valuable member of the Gunstock Commission, the entity created to run Gunstock as a business. She worked with me and the other commissioners to make Gunstock a first-class resort and recreation area for the county. It not only serves the citizens of the county but brings a lot of revenue into the county.

The commission took over operation of the financially failing resort with a mandate to run it as a business. At the time, it was a ski area supported by county funds. Since then the commission and the staff have made it into an active and vibrant resort with winter and summer activities without using any tax funds. The resort not only supports itself but annually has provided significant funds to the county. She has been a part of the effort to carry out the long-term business plan for Gunstock and to prevent it from becoming the political football that her opponent wants to turn it into. She has fought against the efforts of her opponent to curtail Gunstocks operations, endanger its survival and to sell or lease it. She has been a valuable contribution member of the commission.

In working with Ms Larson and getting to know her, I found her political views centered around what needs to be done and how it should be done rather than being centered on a political philosophy or party dogma. She is not one who spends money lightly and is critical of expenditures. She is NO “tax and spend liberal” but also not someone who will cut taxes for the sake of cutting taxes without due consideration of the consequences. She will be careful with our money and strive to keep taxes in check. She is smart and dedicated, not a long-term politician. She is not only intelligent but she is also smart and practical. She will serve the citizens of New Hampshire well at the state level but , equally if not more importantly, she will serve the county well in protecting and growing Gunstock and providing a smart and moderate voice in the work of the Belknap County Delegation.

John Morganstern

Gilford

Ronald P. Blais of Barnstead endorses Ruth Larson

View article in the Laconia Daily Sun

Letter: Vote Larson in Belknap District 8Monday, October 15, 2018

Legislative District 8 in Belknap County includes the towns of Alton, Barnstead and Gilmanton. How you vote on Nov. 6 will determine the future of all the residents of these towns. It is extremely important that you become an educated voter and make the right choice.

Are you disgusted with the way N.H. pays for school funding, throwing the burden on property owners and landlords, who then pass the tax to their tenants? Where does your candidate stand on issues such as support for medical insurance for all; restrictions on the use of automatic weapons and “bump stocks”; legalization of cannabis; renewable energy; the Greenhouse Gas Initiative; and term limits for all?

My friend Ruth Larson is challenging Raymond Howard Jr. for the Belknap District 8 seat in the N.H. House of Representatives. Ruth has a degree from Antioch and a juris doctor from Rutgers University School of Law. She is a caring person who believes that government exists for the benefit of the people and not big business. She is an accomplished researcher and will make sure that she is fully knowledgeable before voting on any proposed legislation. She listens to all points of view and makes her decisions based on facts, not party loyalty. She is a free and independent thinker.

I urge you to check the website, Citizens Count, for information about Ruth and the incumbent: www.lfda.org/ruth-larson and www.lfda.org/raymond-howard-jr.

Check them both out. You will see that Ruth Larson is the choice for Belknap District 8.

RONALD P. BLAIS

Center Barnstead

Mary Bee Longabaugh of Alton Bay endorses Ruth Larson

Click here to view the article in the Laconia Daily Sun

I know Larson will join me in supporting LBGTQ rights – October 5, 2018

To The Daily Sun,

Although I have never been a “political junkie” (how my husband Bob termed himself), I have always been a strong supporter of human rights for all, regardless of race, religion, national origin, gender, or other identifying factors. It has long been my view that it is what’s in a person’s heart that matters, rather than where they came from or who their parents were. My beliefs are what lead me to support Ruth Larson for the N.H. House of Representatives in District 8 (Alton, Gilmanton, and Barnstead).

The area of LGBTQ rights is very important to me and has been an evolving one. It has been and still is an experience for me, with me being the student and two of my three grandchildren being the teachers. I have watched them being brave enough to be honest as to their identity. One of the grandkids is a transgender male, and it has been a long journey for this young man. Luckily my grandkids have very supportive families on all sides. I know Ruth Larson supports my cause.

I have known Ruth Larson a long time and feel confident that if she is elected to the N.H. House, she will support LBGTQ rights and will work for acceptance of everyone facing these issues. But it is not solely on this particular issue that I endorse her candidacy. In my view Ruth is someone who will work hard for the betterment of all, fully supporting public education and the agencies, such as Community Action Program/Meals on Wheels, Planned Parenthood/prenatal care, and Belknap County Conservation District.

For many reasons, I urge the voters of this district to elect Ruth Larson on November 6.

Mary Bee Longabaugh

Alton Bay

Jane Westlake of Barnstead endorses Ruth Larson

Click here to view article in the Laconia Daily Sun

Ruth Larson in tough, not easily swayed from task at hand (September 20, 2018)

To The Daily Sun,

For the past few years, I have had the pleasure of getting to know Ruth Larson. She is running for state representative in District 8, which represents Alton, Barnstead and Gilmanton.

Ruth is exceptional in many ways. She is intelligent and motivated and is an inspiration to me and others. Although always considerate and willing to listen, she is also tough. She has an excellent work ethic and is not easily swayed from the task at hand. These are the qualities that Ruth will bring to the office of state representative.

Ruth has served as a commissioner for Gunstock for several years and has become knowledgeable about matters at both the local and county levels. Her priorities are issues that affect all of us, regardless of political affiliation. Affordable health care, helping seniors, strengthening public schools and easing the tax burden on our towns are just some of the topics she will focus on. She wants to reach across the aisle to find non-partisan solutions to the challenges facing our state.

Recently, Ruth has been introducing herself to voters in our three towns. She would love to talk to you. Reach out to her if you would like to discuss a particular subject. Visit her Facebook page to read more about her.

As a former attorney, Ruth spent many years defending individuals. As your representative, she will work tirelessly on your behalf. She is determined and hardworking and will not give up easily.

On November 6, vote for the person who will always show up at the Statehouse, fully prepared and ready to work for you. Vote for the person who will be fair and reasonable in her decisions. Vote for the person with integrity, good judgment and compassion. Vote for Ruth Larson!

Jane Westlake

Barnstead