U.S. could be described as a laughing stock on the Covid front

Originally published in the Laconia Daily Sun on September 13, 2020

The rabid letters regarding my candidacy for the N.H. House suggest that a red flag (or more appropriately, a blue flag) was waved in front of a raging bull, the bull consisting of a group of local naysayers. Most of the assertions in their letters merit no response, and the notion that President Trump has been the savior of people of color is not only bizarre, but downright laughable. 

The rhetoric coming from the far right these days is primarily a feeble attempt to distract the public from the tragic, incompetent response to the coronavirus. Even President Trump, in tweeting that Michelle Obama got her facts wrong in her DNC speech, noted that the actual deaths were 20,000 higher than she had indicated, and that was just in the space of a few days between the taping and the airing of her comments. The U.S. has embarrassed itself terribly on the world stage, with only 4 percent of the world’s population, but over 25 percent of Covid cases. There was a time when the U.S. led the scientific world, and the field of medicine; not so now. With close to 200,00 deaths to date, the U.S. could be described as a laughing stock if it were funny, rather than tragic.

So how does the GOP and its followers in this area try to make everyone forget about the disaster that has been Trump’s handling of Covid? They start talking about socialism, in terms attempting to scare Americans about the future. As Harry Truman said in 1952, “Socialism is a scare word they have hurled at every advance the people have made in the last 20 years… socialism is their name for almost anything that helps all the people”. Some things never change.

When persons graduating from high school or college in New Hampshire think about their next move, or when young couples and families think about whether to move to New Hampshire, are they thinking about socialism? Not likely. They are thinking first of all about jobs, jobs that pay more than the $7.25 an hour minimum wage. They are thinking about good public schools fully supported by more equitable means of financing than local property taxes. They are thinking about health care, and hoping that Obamacare gets strengthened or replaced by Medicare for all, not eliminated. They want women’s rights, and LGBTQ rights, and reproductive rights to be protected and enhanced. They want us to address the problems of climate change, and work to protect the environment. And they want our country to live up to the promise of liberty and justice for all.

We should not let the fearmongers among us distract us from sensible plans for the future, or forget the disastrous situation this administration has dragged us into during the pandemic. Let’s instead focus on what will make New Hampshire a place where young people want to remain, and young families want to move. Join me in looking forward rather than into the abyss.

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.

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

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

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: Wearing a mask is nod to the safety of store workers

Originally published in the Laconia Daily Sun on May 28, 2020

To The Daily Sun,

We all owe thanks to area businesses using protective measures against Covid-19. Hannaford’s, for example, not only has all of its employees wearing masks, but it also has one-way aisles and required six-foot distancing between customers. For shoppers, who are in a store for limited amounts of time, wearing a mask is no hardship. For the employees who must wear the mask all day long, the inconvenience and discomfort are much more significant.

The request that shoppers also wear masks is followed by some, but not all. Employees working full-day shifts must cross their fingers and hope that none of the customers they encounter are infected with the virus, particularly as summer approaches and more people arrive from out-of-state hot spot areas. In view of the large number of infected people who are asymptomatic, those who feel healthy cannot assume that they are not transmitting the virus.

Although a few area stores refuse entry to customers without masks, most only make the request, leaving it up to the individual customer to decide. Most store owners want to protect their workers, but they have to worry that requiring masks will bring on the wrath of those who feel it is their right to move about uncovered. The state decision not to have an executive order requiring masks leaves the stores having to make the hard decisions themselves, instead of simply telling customers that masks are required under the law. These stores are trying to run a business and maybe it is expecting too much to ask them to enforce a masks-only policy on their own.

So let us all, as members of this community, show the same concern for employee safety as the stores are showing for ours as customers, doing the right thing whether it is required by law or not. We are all in this together.

Ruth Larson

Alton