March 18, 2010

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NH Sen. David Boutin
Gatsas’ seat stays in Republican hands

Republican state Sen. David Boutin defeated state Rep. Jeff Goley last month to take over the Senate seat formerly held by Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas. Boutin, who was a state representative before the election, represents District 16, comprising Bow, Candia, Dunbarton, Hooksett and Wards 1, 2 and 12 in Manchester. Boutin is serving on the Capital Budget Committee, the Transportation and Interstate Cooperation Committee and the Wildlife, Fish and Game and Agriculture Committee.

Q:How have the first few weeks been?
It’s been very exciting. I’m getting settled into my office, spending time reaching out and thanking the many, many people who have helped me out, and, of course, getting caught up with the Senate bills.

What do you think you bring to the Senate that is unique?
I think first of all my five years of experience in the House. I bring a real deep…caring about people in my district about what their concerns are. After campaigning for several months, what I learned was, people are very fearful of the extended recession that we’ve been in. They’ve been concerned about the spending at the state level. They’ve told the government over and over again that they’ve cut their spending, why isn’t the state concerned about their taxes, their ability to pay their bills? ...

[You’ve seen the results from elections here and nationally;] do you see things swinging back to Republicans in New Hampshire?
I think it’s swinging back to the government needing to get its financial house in order, reducing its spending, getting the government off the backs of small businesses so they can grow and create jobs. That really should be the top priority for ... everybody in government, to get our economy moving again.

So less about party labels and more about financial concerns and jobs?
That’s right. We should all have that concern. Unfortunately, we’re not seeing that happening either in Washington or here. In Washington the focus for months has been on health care. But people are more concerned about jobs. Here in New Hampshire, we’ve been fighting the fight. I applaud the governor for now changing his position and being opposed to [the LLC tax]. We are moving in a direction, what I believe is a good direction now. We need to continue to create incentives for small businesses to grow….

What would you say are your initial priorities, legislative or otherwise?
Not all my priorities are legislative priorities. Number one, with regard to Manchester, there’s a problem with Goldfish Pond and Dorrs Pond. I met with [city officials] and I will be meeting with Mayor Gatsas — there’s some serious flooding. We need to work on that. Another example, there is a dangerous traffic situation in the town of Hooksett. I was able to get the [Department of Transportation] to install another light at Benton and Hooksett roads. ... People in communities, it’s not always legislative stuff, it’s about getting things done…. For legislative items, I wanted to repeal the LLC tax, repeal the camping tax, which is the most ridiculous tax…. We’re heading in the direction to do that. Also, cutting spending. I applaud the governor for doing this, though it should have been done last June.... I applaud the governor for proposing budget cuts of $140 million. We have a lot more work ahead of us, because to many people it’s clear the economy is not getting better any time soon. [Boutin is working on a bill that would increase the size of the Hooksett police commission, and a bill that would allow communities to notify residents when sex offenders move into neighborhoods.]

How did you first get into politics?
I’ve been working on campaigns for a dozen years or so at all different levels, presidential, gubernatorial, local races and so forth. I had a unique opportunity back in 1995, because of my work situation as an individual contractor, I had the time and flexibility so I ran for state [representative]. ... It was the logical next step to take in terms of public service. It’s been a tremendously rewarding experience and I look forward to continuing it. [Boutin plans to seek reelection.]

When you talk to residents locally, what are their biggest concerns?
That’s a timely question. Yesterday, the time-honored tradition Town Meeting Day started at 7 a.m. I was out and around the whole district, Bow, Dunbarton, Candia and Hooksett. The same issues that I talked about and heard about during the campaign, I essentially heard the same issues. ... local officials know how difficult it is in these economic times to pay additional property taxes. I think ... most budgets are going to be level-funded. …We’re not seeing many property tax increases. ...

[He’s taking a local approach to decorating his own office.]
When I got to my Senate office ... the walls were all bare. ...this is really not my office, nor is this seat my seat. It belongs to the people of District 16. So I’m talking to local historical societies and ... we’re putting together pictures and some prints…decorating with pictures and prints [from communities in the district]. So when someone comes to visit me, they’ll see the pictures, “Oh, I know that historic barn on Brown Road in Candia.” We’re getting ... bookstands to display history books from communities. … I want this to be an office that represents the towns and cities in the district. … I think it’s a really nice atmosphere to create in an office. — Jeff Mucciarone