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.

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

Captain Pete Mulcahy (U.S. Navy Ret.) endorses Ruth Larson

Click here to view article in Laconia Daily Sun (August 31, 2018)

Ruth Larson will represent 3 towns with fairness and reason (August 31, 2018)

The Daily Sun,

Although I recently moved from N.H. to a warmer southern climate, I remain keenly interested in Belknap County and its political issues and follow them closely. As a registered Republican and a military man, I would urge you to cast your vote for Ruth Larson for the N.H. House of Representatives. She is a Democrat running against Ray Howard in the “floterial” district made up of Gilmanton, Alton, and Barnstead.

My main reasons for endorsing Ruth Larson are her personal integrity and her commitment to the taxpayers of Belknap County. I strongly believe on voting principal over party. Although she and I differ on many subjects I am confident that she would bring fairness and reason to the position.

My other reason for supporting Ruth Larson is the voting record of Representative Ray Howard. Although I have seen Rep. Howard at many county delegation meetings, I do not know him personally and have no animosity towards him. His voting record, especially at the county level, is what I take issue with. His consistent refusal to support the best of what Belknap County has to offer was a big disappointment to me when I lived in the district. I was one of his most vocal critics. He was one of the refuseniks regarding our new corrections center, being in favor of its lower cost but then against the programs that were fundamental to its success. He has repeatedly voted to eliminate or cut funding for many of the outside agencies, such as Community Action Program, Genesis, Belknap County Conservation, the elderly and others, even though these non-profits provide extremely vital and needed services especially for those suffering from addiction. When the state voted to create a bi-partisan task force to study the opioid problem at no cost to the taxpayer, it passed 290 to 46. And you guessed it, Rep. Howard voted against it. New Hampshire has one of the worst opioid problems in the country and if the likes of Rep. Howard continue to turn a blind eye to the situation you might all be rushing to join me in South Carolina.

Just recently Mr. Howard voted against backing much needed short-term funding in the form of a revenue anticipation note to help the Gunstock Ski Resort through its off season months. This note costs the taxpayer NOTHING but since the county owns the property, it requires the delegation to guarantee the repayment of the note. This is the first year that the delegation has refused to back the note and it should be noted that in all of its years of operation Gunstock has never failed to repay its revenue anticipation notes. Of the six representatives who voted no to the RAN in June, four realized how wrong that was and voted Yes on August 29. Rep. Howard and Rep. Silber were the lone remaining holdouts, and the RAN passed 14 to 2. And Rep. Silber is moving to Florida, not seeking re-election.

By voting no on the revenue anticipation note, Representative Howard has demonstrated his total ignorance of how a seasonal enterprise works

The voters of District 8 deserve better. Put your party sentiments aside and cast your vote for someone who cares. Vote Ruth Larson for state representative. I guarantee that you won’t regret your decision.

Peter Mulcahy

Captain U.S. Navy (Ret.)

Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Letter to the Editor: Why has Rep. Aldrich refused to recognize harassment policy?

Click here to view  article in the Laconia Daily Sun

December 8, 2017

To The Daily Sun,

In January of 2016 the N.H. Legislature sent out a nine page anti-harassment policy (official title: Policy Against Sexual and Other Harassment and Discrimination) that had been approved by the Joint Committee on Legislative Facilities. A copy of the policy was sent to all members of the N.H. House of Representatives with a request to each member to sign a form acknowledging having received and read the policy. Repeated requests were made of members who had not turned in the forms, but in November of 2017, following one news story after another about sexual harassment, more members of the House turned in the signed forms.

As of Dec. 4, 2017, one member of the Belknap County Delegation had still not acknowledged receipt of the form. This representative is Glen Aldrich, an early member of the Free State Project. (The Free State Project organized in 2001 to entice people to move to New Hampshire to take over and dismantle government). It should be noted here that even Michael Sylvia, another Free Stater in the Belknap delegation, has seen fit to sign the policy in question.

Why does this matter? Signing the form, after all, does not signal agreement with the anti-harassment policy. It does not make the individual representative promise not to sexually harass anyone, or not to discriminate. All it does is acknowledge having received and read the policy. But even that toothless and minuscule request is setting the bar too high for some members of the House, including apparently Mr. Aldrich.

Our Belknap County Delegation has previously brought our county national shame and embarrassment concerning the former member Robert Fisher, who published endless anti-woman and pro-rape screeds under his online forum Red Pill. When that came to light, Gov. Sununu, then House Speaker Shawn Jasper, and state Republican Party Chair Jeanie Forrester all called on him to resign. Our county representatives, on the other hand, with one shining exception, turned a blind eye and made excuses for Fisher. Chairman Vadney: “He’s a thoughtful guy.” Rep. Abear: Fisher “hasn’t broken any laws or violated any ethics laws.” Rep. Spanos would not move to try to get Fisher to resign; and one of the only two women in the delegation, Rep. Fraser, said she had no idea what was going on and dismissed the call for Fisher to resign. Rep. Huot, then the sole Democrat in the delegation, was also the sole profile in courage, stating that Fisher’s views “are misogynistic and he should resign.” (For all of these quotes, see Laconia Daily Sun article of May 2, 2017, by Roger Amsden).

It would give me great pleasure to find out that my information is out of date and Mr. Aldrich has finally seen fit to sign the form. There is no need for Belknap County to again be a laughing-stock, even within the state.

Ruth Larson

Alton