NH Utility Files for Nearly 10 Percent Rate Hike
CONCORD - Public Service Company of New Hampshire has filed for almost a 10 percent hike in electric rates for next year.
State regulators will hold a hearing on the request Dec. 4. In its filing, the utility estimates its energy service rate will rise 94 cents per kilowatt hour. The estimate includes 19 cents as its cost to comply with the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. Public Service estimates the increase would cost $4.70 more per month for residential customers using 500 kilowatt hours per month. The RGGI portion accounts for 95 cents.
Republican gubernatorial candidate Joe Kenney criticized the RGGI component Friday as an unnecessary burden on ratepayers. Kenney said he would repeal the law intended to curb carbon emissions that Gov. John Lynch signed.
Six Candidates Weigh in on War, Economy
MANCHESTER – The candidates for governor, the 1st District Congressional seat and U.S. Senate clashed yesterday over two Middle East wars, the larger war on terrorism, the financial crisis, soaring budget deficits, burgeoning taxes, rising unemployment and the high costs of health care, government services, energy and education. All agreed the combined challenges are daunting.
State Sen. Joe Kenney, R-Wakefield, promised a hiring freeze and an across-the-board 10 percent cut in appropriations to balance the budget if he is elected governor. The challenger blamed Democratic incumbent John Lynch for a record 17 percent budget hike, an unprecedented $80 million transportation bond and a projected $600 million deficit, counting an extra $100 million per year to pay for education.
"The next two years will require a governor who can just say no and not be beholden to special interests," Kenney said.
The Weirs Times
"Fighting Joe" Kenney For Governor
By Mike Moffett
That’s significant, because apparently "niceness" is a new requirement to be New Hampshire’s Chief Executive. By most accounts, current Democrat Governor John Lynch is very nice - and supposedly unbeatable.
But it’s well known that State Senator Kenney - Lynch’s Republican challenger - is also a nice guy. Just ask the constituents he’s served over his 14 years in the legislature. Or ask his colleagues. Or ask the neighbor whose life Joe saved on the side of a road. www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6iwWZ4fPfw
But Joe Kenney is also a STRONG person. His toughness and endurance have been demonstrated time and again. As a soccer player. As an outdoorsman. As a United States Marine officer who served during Operations Desert Storm AND Iraqi Freedom. As a principled advocate for policies and legislation that reflect the broad, traditional interests of N.H. families.
So nice-guy Joe Kenney is also tenacious. He can be a fighter, if need be.
In his first run for the N.H. legislature, Kenney lost a close primary election. But many district voters encouraged Joe to hang in there. So Kenney didn’t quit. And he went on to prevail as a write-in candidate in the general election.
Political observers were astounded.
Don’t underestimate "Fighting Joe" Kenney. Kenney’s many years in the N.H. legislature have given him the thorough knowledge of state government needed to challenge a nice guy incumbent who is presiding over our state’s disturbing and incremental transition into a northern version of Massachusetts.
N.H. has long-avoided the Bay State’s out-of-control spending and associated political pathologies. But Lynch and the Democrats are creating the conditions where broad-based sales or income tax- probably right after Lynch leaves office.
Earlier Republican governors like John Sununu, Judd Gregg, and Steve Merrill successfully stood up to the intense pressures of those special interests which benefit from expanded government and ever-more regulation. These governors
preserved the "N.H. Advantage" which allowed the Granite State to surpass its New England neighbors in so many categories. Lowest tax burden. Lowest unemployment. Highest economic growth. Best education scores.
Many Democrats snidely scoff at the "Live Free or Die" mentality which made N.H. a unique and special place. But let there be no doubt that "Fighting Joe"
Kenney takes our state motto seriously. Kenney’s campaign motto is "Keep N.H. New Hampshire!"
The Massachusetts model need not be emulated in the Granite State. There are reasons why Massachusetts has been losing population while N.H. has been the fastest growing state in the region. [Lynch’s] gubernatorial legacy could be a state with a transformed character from the one that he inherited – indistinguishable from its statist neighbors, with more taxes, more regulation, and the increased governmental corruption associated with burgeoning bureaucracies. That is, unless New Hampshire voters start to pay more attention and decide to send Concord a message. A malleable governor who is prone to being pushed around by liberal special interests is not what New Hampshire needs in 2008.
As New Hampshire approaches some historical crossroads, it needs more than a nice guy in the corner office of the State House. It needs a strong man as well. It needs a principled leader with an established record of service. It needs someone with character, compassion and vision. It needs someone with an appreciation of what made the Granite State special. It needs someone FROM New Hampshire who is FOR New Hampshire.
It desperately needs "Fighting Joe" Kenney. Live Free or Die!
For Kenney and Lynch, Governor's Race is About Spending
By TOM FAHEY
CONCORD – The governor's race this year is a David and Goliath tale, with a twist.
Goliath would be Gov. John Lynch, short in stature, but huge in important measures like name recognition, popularity and finances.
Standing in his way is David, Sen. Joseph Kenney, a tall and fit U.S. Marine Corps reserve officer who is very short on staff, money and, to date, poll numbers.
Kenney, 48, of Wakefield, is trying to block Lynch, a 55-year-old Democrat from Hopkinton, from winning a third term as governor. Kenney says the state's character is changing under Lynch, becoming more like Massachusetts.
Lynch, who campaigned four years ago saying he'd run a bipartisan government, says he's succeeded on that front.
He points to the passage of programs aimed at helping the economy, such as tax credits for research and development costs (R & D), and new jobs in the North Country, job training grants and the first steps toward getting small business an affordable health insurance plan.
Laws on sex offenders, environmental and energy issues are also there. Aside from gains in the Legislature, Lynch has developed a record of quick responses to a string of natural disasters.
The job is tough, and about to get tougher as a recession builds, but Lynch said he is excited about another term.
"I really do love being governor, and I love being given the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of people in New Hampshire," he said. "That's what I enjoy and what I want to do for another couple of years."
As a lawmaker, Kenney has voted for expanded use of the death penalty and a boat speed limit, and against the smoking ban bill and expanded gambling.
He said he would try to repeal the civil unions bill and the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, and revise the R&D tax credit to focus on fewer companies.
The credits now are spread too thinly to make a difference, he said.
In this campaign, Kenney has focused on budget issues. He argues that Lynch has driven the state to a dangerous financial point through overspending and a refusal to stand up to his party.
Kenney said the budget is at the heart of Lynch's failings.
"I started thinking about this right after the last election, in 2006," Kenney said. "But once the budget passed in 2007, with a 17.5 percent increase in spending "" $500 million more spending "" I said that's it, I'm definitely running."
At a press conference Friday, he and supporters said the state needs to bridge a $500 million gap if it is to have a balanced budget for the next two years.
Kenney proposes an across the board 10 percent cut in state budgets, and said he would order a 20 percent cut for the last five months of the fiscal year if he is elected.
"The governor has mishandled and mismanaged the budget, so now we've got to make some real tough decisions. Everything has to be on the table," Kenney said.
Lynch has ordered a series of cuts and is preparing to make more. He said across the board cuts would hurt the state and local communities.
"We have to be careful that we're not just cutting state money and then putting that burden on cities and town to fund related services," he said.
The state now sends about $550 million to communities, not counting school funding. Cuts in that aid will push up property taxes, he said.
Lynch said increases in the current budget are being blown out of proportion.
Outside of expenses that are considered locked-in costs, increases were within historical trends, he said.
A few hours after Kenney raised the budget issues for reporters, Lynch's budget experts told lawmakers the state could see a tax revenue shortfall of up to $250 million this year, about $100 million of which is covered in steps taken to date through executive orders.
Kenney said concern about spending drove his candidacy. He admitted in a recent debate he took on a big job, saying Lynch is "as popular as the Pope."
When he filed for office, Kenney signed a voluntary spending cap, which allowed him to accept large donations in the primary and general election, but limited his spending to $625,000 in each election.
But Kenney has struggled with finances. He said he finds it hard to ask anyone for a $500 donation when he knows it might be needed to pay a heating bill.
In a Sept. 25 poll, the University of New Hampshire Survey Center found that 75 percent of respondents didn't know enough about Kenney to vote for him.
In his latest campaign finance report, Kenney showed he had taken in $13,842 since early September, and spent only $1,437. Since he announced his bid, he has taken in about $115,000 in donations.
He has a staff of one, Rep. Casey Crane of Nashua, plus volunteers, and only last month opened a campaign office in donated space in Manchester.
"I wanted to run a real old-fashioned grassroots New Hampshire campaign. I want to take money out of politics, but instead I see more and more coming into politics," he said.
Foster’s Daily Democrat
Former Presidential Candidate Backs Kenney Bid for Governor
ROCHESTER— U.S. Congressman from California and former presidential candidate Duncan Hunter made a stop Wednesday at the George J. Maxfield Veterans of Foriegn Wars Post on Highland Street to endorse Joe Kenney's candidacy for governor.
Approximately a dozen people turned out to meet and hear Republican Kenney and Hunter, former chairman of the Armed Services Committee who is currently traveling around the country supporting Iraq War veterans running for public office
"Joe Kenney is going to be great governor, and he's going to do great things for us veterans," said Hunter, who stressed the importance of taking care of America's veterans and making sure they are receiving the benefits earned while defending the U.S. abroad.
Kenney, a veteran of both the Persian Gulf War and current Iraqi War, said one of the major issues he would hope to address as governor is the lack of a full-service Veteran's Affairs Hospital in the state.
"Accessibility to a full-service hospital is an important issue to our veterans because right now we have veterans being shipped down to Massachusetts in order to get the care they need," Kenney said. "We have over 130,000 veterans in New Hampshire, veterans that helped to make this state great, and we owe them the benefits they're entitled to."
According to Kenney, his keen understanding of both the military and the needs of the state's veterans are two of the things that separate him from his opponent, Gov. John Lynch. Kenney said he has always been a strong supporter of veteran's issues, serving on a committee for the state's veteran's cemetery in Boscawen and sponsoring both the Purple Heart Trail, which follows Route 4 and Interstate 95, and the Gold Star Mothers license plate.
"This governor in office has never passed any legislation to help our state's veterans," said Brian Matchett, a Vietnam veteran attending the event. "Joe Kenney will make sure our state's veterans are taken care of."
Hunter stressed that Kenney's experience, both in the U.S Marine Corps and as a veteran living in the state, make him more than qualified to understand issues important to veterans, young and old.
"We had the same problem with a (Veteran's Affairs) hospital being to far away in my district in California, but Joe's going to work on those things for you people here," he said.
According to Kenney, he can be much more responsive than Lynch to the needs of the veterans' community, and stressed the need to make sure New Hampshire is in step with other states in terms of the services provided to its veterans.
"The governor hasn't been hands on with what needs to happen with veteran's affairs hospital," he said. "I'm going to do something about that."
Foster’s Daily Democrat
Kenney expects a Win
Being governor of New Hampshire is 50 percent ceremonial, said Republican gubernatorial candidate Joseph D. Kenney who thinks that, when it comes to handling the numerous public appearances demanded by the position, both he and incumbent Democrat John Lynch are pretty well-matched.
But when it comes to the other 50 percent of the governor's job — leadership — Kenney, a three-term state senator from Wakefield, thinks he has a distinctive edge, even though he acknowledges that he is trailing Lynch in the polls by an almost three-to-one margin.
The sitting governor, Kinney said during an interview at The Citizen, is a nice guy who does not like to say "no," whereas Kenney, who has been a member of the U.S. Marine Corps since 1980 and rose from private to lieutenant colonel, has a lot of experience telling people not what they wanted, but what they needed to hear.
In that latter category, Kenney, who is a Marines special projects officer, said the state's current and future financial health is not good, with the state's revenue shortfalls standing at $50 million for the end of the current biennium and he projected that shortfall to be $500 million in the next.
Kenney, who serves on the Senate's Executive Departments and Administration and Health and Human Services committees, proposes an immediate, 10 percent, "across-the-board" reduction in state departmental budgets and an additional 20 percent reduction over the next two years to make up the deficits.
He faults Lynch for using "gimmicks" to cover up past budget problems and the Democratically controlled Legislature for going along with the governor.
In 2007, Kenney filed a spending-cap bill that he said the Democrats scuttled. He said the Democrats also killed another bill of his that would have made the Land and Community Heritage Investment Program self-funding.
While he personally supports LCHIP, Kenney said now is not the time to have taxpayers bankroll it.
Combining all of the above with overregulation of small businesses creates an atmosphere more akin to Massachusetts than the Live Free or Die state, said Kenney, whose campaign slogan is "Let's Keep New Hampshire, New Hampshire."
Ironically, both Kenney and Lynch were born in Massachusetts. Kenney was five when his family moved to New Hampshire; Lynch settled here after graduating from the University of New Hampshire, which is also Kenney's alma mater.
Kenney's New Hampshire is one of personal responsibility and of a limited government. He is pro-life and supported the now-repealed parental notification law. He would like to see a constitutional amendment to target school aid to cities and towns and would work as governor to actively recruit new businesses to locate in the Granite State.
Also a former four-term state representative, Kenney said he is open to the idea of expanding legalized gambling
In the short-term, Kenney said the state has to seek out any and all efficiencies in how it does its job. He wants to freeze the hiring of most consultants; to implement the stalled plan for a centralized purchasing system; to reduce the number of cars used by state employees; and to get rid of 50 percent of state-paid cell phones which, he noted, cost about $250 a month each. Kenney also would freeze non-essential projects.
Lynch has done or proposed few or none of those things, said Kenney.
"I don't think Gov. Lynch knows what's going on from top to bottom," he summed up, adding that Lynch has failed to adequately and effectively use the bully pulpit of his office.
"What good is political capital if at the end of the day you don't use it?" asked Kenney, adding that, if elected, one of the first things he would do is to cut the governor's staff by one-fifth to send "a shock signal that this guy's serious." Then, he'd do energy audits of all state buildings.
When the polls close on Nov. 4, Kenney expects to be governor and for Republicans to retake the state House of Representatives although he concedes that the Senate is a toss-up.
To those voters who think he doesn't stand a chance against Lynch, Kenney cited former Maine Gov. James Longley who faced an even more uphill climb than he does now in getting elected.
Longley, Kenney said, presented voters with a simple idea: "Think about it before you pull that lever."
GOP Gov Candidate Would Cut Budget
CONCORD — Republican gubernatorial candidate Joe Kenney is outlining seven steps he would take to reduce state spending in New Hampshire.
Kenney said Thursday he would require state agencies to cut their budgets 10 percent, extend a freeze on hiring and purchasing equipment, freeze contracting with consultants not involved in emergency services and reduce the state's vehicle fleet. He also would cut in half the number of state cell phones issued to employees and better manage changes that add costs to contracts.
Kenney said he would immediately implement a new computerized system to track state spending that has been in development for several years.
He said the measures are needed to avoid disastrous, future budget problems.
…As Election Day Nears
14-year Republican legislator Joseph Kenney, of Wakefield, a decorated Gulf War veteran was first elected as a write-in candidate by beating venerable Republican incumbent Gordon Wiggin in 1994.
"They said it couldn't be done, but I'm living proof that every vote makes a difference," Kenney said during an interview after appearing on WTPL-FM radio Thursday. "I just thought we could be better represented, lost in the primary by 25 votes, and then with the help of a lot of volunteers, caught him in the general."
Kenney's challenge this time is Mount Everest-like by comparison – with no money and even less name recognition, trying to upset a chief executive who has 66 percent of Republicans approving of the job he's doing.
Lynch beat Kenney in that University of New Hampshire Survey Center poll, 66 percent to 17 percent, with the other 17 percent undecided.
"John Lynch is in excellent position because he's well known and well liked by Republicans and Democrats," UNH Survey Center Director Andy Smith said. "It's going to be difficult for Kenney to upset Lynch. Around the state, we're seeing close races, but this is one that isn't going to be very close.''
Kenney, 48, catches himself marveling at Lynch's stratospheric support.
"You are about as popular as the pope,'' Kenney declared during their first debate on the campus of Saint Anselm College in Manchester on Wednesday.
Kenney went on to light into Lynch for his failure to get the Legislature to approve a constitutional amendment to take from rich towns and give poor towns more education aid.
For Kenney's part, Lynch is too nice a guy, someone who let liberal special interests overrun him and embrace a record 17.5 percent increase in state spending, raise more than 20 taxes and fees, and tolerate a too-intrusive state government.
"I think maybe we need someone in the Mel Thomson mode who's going to make the tough calls for the taxpayer and not be concerned about what the polls say tomorrow about him,'' Kenney said on Dick Patten's "Around Town'' Concord Community Cable TV program Thursday afternoon.
"It's called leadership; it's called the bully pulpit, and we've seen neither from this governor. You would see both from me.''
Despite Lynch's large lead, the Democrat is capable of striking back like he did at Kenney for casting the deciding Senate vote to kill Lynch's education aid bill that had already cleared the GOP-led House of Representatives.
"I remember it like it was yesterday,'' Lynch said. "Senator Kenney publicly said he was with us on a plan to get rid of the statewide property tax, and then he changed his mind at the last minute. That was stunning to me.''
Kenney said it was because Lynch's aid plan cost his district $300,000. Kenney tripped badly during the debate, however, claiming the alternative he embraced had no statewide property tax when in fact it did.
Larry Sabato of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia rates Lynch as perhaps the safest incumbent of the 11 races for governor across the U.S. this fall.
Democrats hold six of the 11 seats up for grabs.
"Ultimately, the road to the Statehouse is very much uphill for Kenney,'' Sabato said. "Lynch, on the other hand, will be able to coast, so long as he avoids any unanticipated bumps in his path to re-election.
Michael Barone, co-founder of the Almanac of American Politics, said Lynch's profile as a "safe Democrat'' makes him a tough adversary in a state that's trending away from a long history of GOP dominance.
"John Lynch has a nice smile, he's obviously got great people skills and there's nothing threatening about him,'' Barone said. "He's a good fit for a state that is fiscally conservative but socially moderate to downright liberal.''
Lynch has raised more than $1.5 million for his re-election, a list chock full of New England captains of industry who in past years any Republican candidate could have claimed as his own.
For more than six months, Lynch has had a full-time campaign staff of 10 and two consultants blanketing the state with 4-foot by 8-foot blue and white signs. Since June, he has had Madison Avenue-like ads on the air that former Bill Clinton wunderkind Maggie Grunwald has devised.
Kenney has raised less than 10 percent of Lynch's money pile and has only campaign manager Casey Crane, of Nashua, at his side 2-4/7. On Thursday, he hugged a Penacook teenager at Merrimack Valley High School who said she would volunteer.
"Great, you can help us sign Manchester,'' Kenney said of the state's largest city only 34 days before the election.
Kenney talks up his grassroots support, pulled together from visiting 150 towns in the nearly 18 months he has been meeting with voters to put this challenge together.
"I've always felt that grass roots are what wins elections," Kenney said. "We've got more support out there than may be apparent to people."
Even this likeable, handsome, upbeat candidate making this large leap up on the ballot admits frustration as he watches the millions flowing in to bankroll the TV attack ad wars of Sen. John E. Sununu and presidential nominee Sen. John McCain.
"You see all that money buys these thousands of ads that they are playing all the time in our state,'' Kenney said. "And what do they say? 'I hate you.' 'No, I hate you.' "
Lynch, Kenney Argue Money
In their first face-to-face meeting as candidates, Democratic Gov. John Lynch and Republican state Sen. Joe Kenney agreed on several points yesterday.
Both promised to oppose a statewide sales or income tax; both said they would not raise taxes on businesses; both said they were not inclined to support expanded gambling.
But Lynch and Kenney, speaking at a forum at St. Anselm College in Goffstown and sponsored by the New Hampshire Business and Industry Association, found plenty to disagree on, including health care reform, the size of the most recent state budget increase and the best way to attract new business to the state.
Kenney, of Wakefield, said he would make spending cuts a priority as governor, calling for across-the-board cuts of 5 to 10 percent. Asked for specific areas of state government he would trim, Kenney offered only the Land and Community Heritage Investment Program, which helps preserve open space and properties of historical significance.
The forum's moderator, Laura Knoy of New Hampshire Public Radio, told Kenney the program uses about $6 million in state money.
"That's not very much when you're talking about the state deficit we may be facing," Knoy said. State revenue numbers for September, released yesterday, were $46 million below estimates. The budget could be short $100 million by the summer.
"Well, you have to start somewhere," Kenney said.
Pushed for more examples of what he considered wasteful state spending, Kenney said he had been told the Department of Transportation was renting a broken lawnmower.
"That's wasted money," Kenney said.
The men also differed on the best strategies for attracting new business to the state. Lynch touted a research-and-development tax credit and tax incentives aimed at companies that move to Coos County.
Kenney dismissed the tax credit as a "drop in the bucket" and a Coos County tax incentive as a "token for that part of the state." He said he would establish a development authority for the North Country that would invest in infrastructure for the region.
On the topic of education, they differed sharply on the question of whether the state spent enough money on public higher education.
Neither man called for increased funding for state universities and community colleges. Lynch, who served as chairman of the board of trustees for the University System of New Hampshire before being elected governor in 2004, said the state spends an "appropriate" amount of money.
Kenney said he would trim spending for higher education, mostly by going after what he called excessive salaries for professors and administrators.
"You have a lot of high-priced people" at the University of New Hampshire, he said.
Lynch, Kenney Meet in Governor Contest
GOFFSTOWN – State gubernatorial candidates John Lynch and Joe Kenney aren't agreeing on much in their bid to capture the executive seat in November.
At a debate Wednesday in Goffstown, Lynch told a business audience he has acted responsibly in his four years as governor to keep taxes low and provide opportunities for businesses to grow.
Lynch pointed to a research and development tax credit and a special tax incentive for businesses that creates new jobs in Coos County as examples of his efforts.
Kenney, a Republican senator seeking to unseat the popular Democratic governor, stuck to his theme that Lynch has presided over a huge growth in spending by state government.
Kenney said he would cut spending by imposing an across-the-board cut of 5 percent to 10 percent. Kenney pointed to a land conservation program as an example of something he would cut.
Lynch, Kenney Spar on Business, Financial Issues
GOFFSTOWN – Gov. John Lynch and Republican challenger Joe Kenney aired their differences on spending, health care, and education funding at their first joint forum today.
Kenney said he was running to rein in state spending, calling for an across-the-board 5 percent cut in all agencies and departments. He warned that out-of-control spending was hurting New Hampshire’ ability to attract businesses.
“We don’t have a revenue problem in New Hampshire, we have a spending problem,” Kenney said. “And it’s become quite apparent that if we don’t get the spending under control, we’re going to kill the New Hampshire tax advantage.”
Lynch defended the state budget as “responsible,” saying it had increased by only 3 percent annually in the past two years, once nondiscretionary spending is factored out. “Certainly our low tax environment is very important and business people tell me all the time that that’s one of the reasons they locate here,” Lynch said.
The incumbent governor touted his achievements in creating tax credits for research and development and for businesses moving into Coos County, which he described as an “economically challenged” region of the state. Kenney dismissed those programs as “token” achievements which should be expanded.
Both candidates came out strongly against any statewide sales and income tax or increases in the business tax. Kenney said he would consider expansion of gambling operations as an alternative source of revenue for state education funding. Lynch also appeared open to gambling revenues but said he wanted to be sure there would not be an adverse effect on the quality of life in the state.
The forum was produced by the Business and Industry Association of New Hampshire in association with the New Hampshire Union Leader, New Hampshire Public Television and New Hampshire Public Radio. Lincoln Financial Group sponsored the event. NHPR's Laura Knoy moderated the forum. Denis Paiste of the Union Leader and Richard Ager of NHPTV were media panelists.
Foster's Daily Democrat
Kenney: N.H. Must Rein in Spending
DOVER — In his campaign for governor, Sen. Joe Kenney, R-Wakefield, has been laying out a message — "Keep New Hampshire, New Hampshire" — that lets him stress his local roots and paint his opponent as one whose politics resembles what's seen in Massachusetts.
Yet the message also carries a potential risk — alienating residents who are part of the demographic changes and regional migration patterns that Kenney said have been "changing the uniqueness of the state."
Take, for example, his encounter with someone at a festival in Manchester recently.
"A guy challenged me — he said, 'I'm from Massachusetts, why are you picking on me? What do you mean by that message — Keep New Hampshire, New Hampshire and not Massachusetts?'" Kenney said in an editorial board meeting with Foster's Daily Democrat on Thursday. "I said, 'Please don't take it as something that's personal.' I'm just saying it's the politics — it's the mindset — moving into this state."
For Kenney, it's a mindset that clashes with his upbringing in the tiny, near-mountain town of Wakefield, where he said he learned the value of personal responsibility, low taxes, local control, participatory government and making tough decisions. His parents, who married right after World War II, worked in the restaurant auction business and raised five children, including three brothers who served in the military. Kenney has served two tours in the Middle East during his 28-year career with Marine Corps.
A Massachusetts mindset has found its way to the Statehouse, Kenney said.
Gov. John Lynch "just can't say 'no' to special interests" like social groups and unions, Kenney said. "We've seen over the last two years a fiscal approach to state government of spending, borrowing and bonding. And we've seen almost half a billion dollars of additional spending. We've seen a 17.5 percent increase in the state budget, and we've seen 23 new fees and taxes."
Kenney acknowledged he's in an uphill fight against Lynch, who, in his second term, continues to enjoy high approval ratings.
But he said Lynch is a "nice guy" who loves the "ceremonial role" of being governor. And though Lynch is good with crisis management, he "doesn't want to work day-to-day as governor" and has done nothing to prevent the state from slipping toward a broad-based tax, Kenney said.
A new Granite State poll from the University of New Hampshire found Lynch enjoying a 75 percent job approval rating — including 65 percent approval from Republicans — and Kenney with a favorability rating of 10 percent and 75 percent of likely voters saying they don't know enough about him.
Kenney didn't hesitate Thursday to attack Lynch, who he described as out of touch and dreaming of being "governor for life."
"We are at a crossroads here in 2008," he said. "If we don't get our fiscal house in control, we are going to be backed into a broad-based tax. The governor let an education bill walk its way into law that arguably is going to cost" $120 million to $180 million in additional funding "without a funding source."
And it doesn't end there, Kenney said.
"The governor, at the last hour, bonded the deficit of $80 million. He did that in a special session in June and basically put that amount of money on the back end of a credit card," he said, adding $10 million of that came from calling back a loan from a surprised Pease Development Authority.
That, Kenney said, "is not a New Hampshire approach, and guys like me who served in the Legislature for 14 years are calling the governor out on it."
On the issues, Kenney continued to criticize the state's participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative because, he said, it will spike electric bills, especially for businesses.
"RGGI was supposed to provide energy-efficiency programs for New Hampshire through this auction allowance process with nine other states," he said. "In reality, we already have a system's benefits charge on our electric bill right now that provides $20 million for weatherization and for energy-efficiency programs. So why would we want to put a third tax on our energy bills right now to increase electric bill costs in the state of New Hampshire?"
Kenney called the repeal of the abortion-oriented parental notification bill an anti-family measure and said there needs to be a crackdown of "anti-taxpayer" evergreen clauses that guarantee public employees continue to get raises even if negotiations on new contracts are stalled.
Kenney also criticized Lynch for not accepting his campaign spending-limit challenge of $625,000 for the primary and general election.
Should he win the election, Kenney said he'd cut spending, boost job training and use the bully pulpit of the "commanding officer of this state" to pressure the state's congressional delegation to open a full-service Veterans Affairs hospital in Manchester.
He expressed support for privatizing the Cannon Mountain ski area, something Lynch opposes, and using the revenue to rejuvenate the state's park system, which he described as deteriorating.
He said he'd appoint department heads and commissioners that are in touch with the "privates," the workers on the ground who know best if there's government waste.
Kenney said he's not worried about the polls, confident the "foot soldiers" making up his grassroots campaign — his "mission," his "march" toward the corner office — will make the difference.
"I grew up where people knew people," he said. "And when you stop knowing people, and you expect multimedia to get a message out when you've never met the candidate and never had a chance to talk to them, I think we're headed down a road that's not New Hampshire."
Kenney Eyes Return to Conservative for NH
By KEVIN LANDRIGAN
HUDSON – Republican gubernatorial candidate Joseph Kenney, of Wakefield, claimed Tuesday that Gov. John Lynch is captive to liberal special interests that threaten to turn New Hampshire into another left-leaning New England state.
"New Hampshire's position, politically and socially, is not the state I grew up in," Kenney, a 14-year state legislator, said during an interview with The Telegraph editorial board.
Once Democrats took over the Legislature and Executive Council in 2006, Lynch had to repay political favors to environmentalists, union bosses and other special interests, Kenney claimed.
"Governor Lynch is a nice guy," Kenney added. "The issue is, he's a nice guy who can't say no to special interests."
A native of Melrose, Mass., Kenney has lived in Wakefield since age 6, when his parents moved to the Lakes Region town to start restaurant and auctioneering businesses." I started out as a pot washer," said Kenney, 48, who went on to chair his town's board of selectmen, win seven legislative terms and become a decorated Marine Corps lieutenant colonel serving during 1990-91 and 2005-06 in U.S. war operations in Iraq.
The tall, muscular Kenney admits clinging to a love for the self-reliant cohesion of a small town; as a teenager, he hitchhiked back home after basketball practice – a 45-mile round trip – while attending Spaulding High School.
"When I was chairman of the board, I'd speak to newcomers who just moved in and tell them, 'Look, your road is not going to be paved, there will be no street lights, no fire hydrant, no trash pickup and no sewer,' " Kenney recalled.
"Welcome to Wakefield, where we all look out for each other."
Kenney would compel state agency heads to cut spending "5 to 10 percent across the board" to fulfill his pledge to cap spending at the inflation rate.
"We are living in uncertain times, and we let spending get out of control," he said.
Lynch should have vetoed the two-year state budget that increased state spending 17.5 percent and should not have proposed $140 million in bonding transportation and school district construction expenses to make ends meet.
"When we bond and borrow, we are already starting out in the red, which is not the New Hampshire way," Kenney claimed.
During the 75-minute interview, Kenney offered no specific cuts but proposed privatizing Cannon Mountain, commercial advertising on state turnpikes and letting a private firm chase after uncollected criminal fines to raise more revenue.
Lynch, the two-term Democratic governor, is competent in dealing with a crisis like floods and tornadoes but is not a competent, hands-on manager, Kenney said.
"I don't think Governor Lynch is going to the privates to find out what is going on," Kenney claimed. "The governor is out of touch with the state agencies in New Hampshire. "Kenney also faulted Lynch for failing to get legislative support to amend the state constitution and target more, existing state aid to property-poor school districts.
"You have the haves and the have-nots," Kenney said. "I absolutely support the redistribution of wealth in this instance."
Kenney favors an amendment that would strip the Supreme Court of any authority over education aid laws and said Lynch should have brow-beaten Democratic legislative leaders to pass his amendment or call a constitutional convention to force the issue on the Nov. 4 ballot.
"I would have locked the doors in the Legislature," Kenney said.
"He didn't deliver either with Republicans or Democrats in charge."
Kenney, a fiscal and social conservative, claimed a track record of bipartisanship in championing laws to allow N.H. nurses to get co-licensure in any state, to give midwives comparable insurance coverage to OB/GYNs and to streamline an organ donor registry.
"In all instances, I was working with the other side of the aisle to get results," Kenney said.
The three-term state senator said he'd ask lawmakers meeting in special session today to repeal the timber tax for clearing and selling wood fallen from a natural disaster. Kenney said an Ossipee businesswoman who was charged a $900 timber tax following June's tornado moved him to pursue this change.
Lynch seeks to increase weatherization grants by $1.2 million, taking money raised from a 10-state auction of credits that industrial polluters must purchase to meet greenhouse gas emission targets.
Kenney opposes the proposal and would repeal the so-called RGGI initiative that Lynch signed to make N.H. the last state from the Northeast to join the cooperative.
"Why would you want to put on what I consider the third tax on an electric bill right now in this economy?" Kenney asked rhetorically.
Lynch has raised more money than Kenney, who remains nonetheless convinced that he can compete Nov. 4.
"We are going to do extremely well in this election," he said.
"We are going to surprise a lot of people."
KENNEY ON THE ISSUES Here are views of Republican gubernatorial candidate Joseph Kenney on key issues.
TAXES: He would veto a sales or income tax and criticizes Gov. John Lynch for raising more than two dozen fees during his four years in office and also opposed the “trigger’’ to raise the state’s cigarette tax next month.
STATE BUDGET: Signed the pledge of the New Hampshire Advantage Coalition to keep spending growth within the rate of inflation that last year was under 3 percent.
EDUCATION FUNDING: Opposed the state law for 2010 and 2011 that raises state aid to public schools by nearly $100 million annually without an accompanying revenue stream. He would aggressively pursue an amendment to the state Constitution to remove the Supreme Court from control over education aid lawsuits. Favors targeted aid to property poorest towns.
ENERGY: Opposes regional initiative to reduce greenhouse gases, calling it “a third tax’’ on the monthly electric bills for consumers that will stifle business growth. Would work with senior centers and non-profits to create one-stop locations for consumers looking for help affording energy to heat their homes.
ENVIRONMENT: He would suspend for another building season new restrictions under the Shoreland Protection Act whose aims at curbing waterfront development are good, he says, but implementation is complex and expensive for developers. He was one of only three Senate Republicans to support setting a speed limit on Lake Winnipesauke.
HEALTH CARE: Supports Healthy Kids program and would continue letting families above federal poverty guidelines to qualify their children for coverage. Would create a “bare bones’’ catastrophic health care option for owners of small businesses. He supports expanding health-care savings accounts and purchasing alliances for companies and trade groups to pool their coverage.
ABORTION: Opposes legal abortions except in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother.
COMMUTER RAIL: Supports restoring commuter rail service from Boston through Nashua to Manchester.
Kenney Swings on the Pendulum of Politics
By SARAH LIEBOWITZ
In 14 years as a state lawmaker, Joe Kenney has signed his name on a range of bills, swinging from the conservative - such as a proposal to restore the parental notification law - to the bipartisan.
"I do have my core beliefs," said Kenney, a Republican state senator who is running for governor. People "know where Joe Kenney stands on these issues, but he's not so narrow-minded that he's not going to work across the aisle," he said.
Kenney served four terms in the House before winning election to the Senate in 2002. As a lawmaker, he defies easy categorization.
There are bills that display his skepticism of all things out-of-state. In the most recent legislative session, Kenney co-sponsored bills to investigate the evasion of New Hampshire taxes by Massachusetts businesses and to restrict access for out-of-state government tax collection agencies to New Hampshire business records. Also on the list of Kenney-sponsored, New Hampshire-centric bills was a proposal to require schools to devote equal amounts of time to the teaching of New Hampshire and United States history.
And there are bills that align Kenney with some segments of his party.
This year, Kenney proposed an unsuccessful bill that would bar New Hampshire from serving as a "sanctuary for illegal aliens" and another bill, which was sent to interim study, lengthening the list of crimes that can be prosecuted as capital murder. There was the resolution, also unsuccessful, urging Congress to "prevent the implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement superhighway system."
But Kenney has also sponsored numerous bills that had bipartisan support or aren't traditionally Republican.
Altogether, Kenney signed his name to 100 proposed bills, resolutions and constitutional amendments this year. Of those, 33 became law. Kenney and his campaign manager, Republican Rep. Casey Crane of Nashua, were the sole sponsors of seven of those 100 bills.
Health care, veterans and animal protection
Kenney has emerged as one of the most prominent advocates of animal protection legislation. This year, he sponsored a bill - which Gov. John Lynch signed into law - that allows the state to confiscate animals used in illegal fights and to ban someone convicted of running animal fights from owning or controlling certain animals. Kenney described the law as "the toughest animal fighting bill in the country" and attributed his interest in the issue to his rural childhood.
On one of the more controversial issues of this two-year legislative session, a bill establishing speed limits for boats on Lake Winnipesaukee, Kenney was one of just two Senate Republicans to side with the majority of Senate Democrats in supporting the proposal. The bill passed the Senate by four votes.
Kenney, of Wakefield, cast his vote as a form of constituent service. "I represent literally thousands of landowners that were asking me to support this boat speed bill," he said. "I would have preferred more of a compromise."
And on issues related to health care, Kenney has been prolific.
He is most proud, he says, of a law that allows New Hampshire nurses to practice in other states within a compact made up of about two dozen states, without having to obtain new licenses in each state. In addition, nurses from other states within the compact can practice in New Hampshire if they have a multi-state license.
New Hampshire has a nursing shortage," said Kenney, who sponsored the bill that became law in 2005. "I think we're actually filling a need with that legislation."
This year, Kenney supported a bill that later became law to have insurers pay for services provided by midwives both at home and at licensed health care facilities. He sponsored several health care bills that failed, including a proposal to create a commission to study paying for vaccines for children who lack private health insurance and a bill mandating insurance coverage for mercury-free fillings, vaccines and injections for pregnant women, women who might become pregnant and children under age 12.
Kenney has sponsored several bills regarding organ donations over the years, including proposals - which failed - to require hospitals to report on their standards for organ donations and transplants and barring hospitals from requiring insurance coverage for organ donations and transplants. In 2006, he sponsored a bill establishing an organ- and tissue-donor registry, which became law. The registry, Kenney said, "really streamlined registration."
Sen. Kathleen Sgambati, a Tilton Democrat who is considered one of the Legislature's foremost experts on health care, described Kenney as "pleasant to work with," though they often disagreed on issues. "He often had good ideas and obviously cared a lot about some issues, but the approaches weren't always the most effective way to deal with the problem," Sgambati said.
Kenney, a Marine, began his career by focusing on veterans issues. But over time, he said, "I found myself gravitating toward health care."
Still, Kenney continues to support and sponsor legislation related to veterans. This year, he sponsored successful proposals to increase the maximum scholarship amount available from the National Guard scholarship fund and to require the state Veterans Council to issue a state veterans handbook biennially. In 2004, Kenney sponsored a Senate resolution to create a Purple Heart Trail in New Hampshire.
"Lower spending and the veterans issues he's always been in the forefront on," said Senate Republican Leader Ted Gatsas of Manchester.
Sen. Peter Burling, a Cornish Democrat, was chairman of the Executive Departments and Administration Committee, on which Kenney served. "He is a pleasant, decent man," Burling said. "I don't agree with him about much of the substance, and we disagree about much of the ways in which government ought to work."
'Let's keep New Hampshire New Hampshire'
Kenney's record also includes bills that are clearly rooted in his constituency.
This year he proposed a bill that would exempt the town of Wakefield from the setback requirements of the Shoreland Protection Act. The bill failed. Last year, Kenney sponsored a successful bill to pave the way for the construction of a dam on a lake in Wakefield. In the 2004 session, he proposed a bill - which failed - to eliminate the ban on Jet Skis on Pine River Pond in Wakefield.
And then there are those bills that aren't related to health care or veterans but that make Kenney proud.
Last year, he pushed for a change in the law regarding bingo games conducted by senior citizens organizations. The bill, which passed, increased the maximum total value of prizes and tokens awarded for such games from $150 to $500 and changed the minimum age requirement for participation in the games from 60 to 55. The bill, Kenney said, is "one of my most popular."
Kenney's interest in the issue of senior citizen bingo was prompted by a conversation with Kellie Chase, who runs senior programs at the Farmington Parks and Recreation Department. "We were way over" the old prize limit, Chase explained. "We were playing 25-cent games, but there were so many people." At the time, Kenney was running for the Senate, and Chase asked for his help.
"He was a big help for us," she said.
As for legislative disappointments, Kenney pointed to a death penalty bill that he proposed. The bill, which failed to pass this year, would have made those who killed multiple people in the same act subject to the death penalty.
Kenney summed up his campaign theme this way: "Let's keep New Hampshire New Hampshire, not Massachusetts." He said he wants to rein in spending, and he takes issue with what he deems "some of the social fabric changes" that have taken place in the state.
"I have a sense that people are very worried about basic necessity items like food, shelter and heat, and many people around the state feel like they can't afford all that," he said.
Asked how his campaign theme is reflected in his legislative record, Kenney pointed to the highway trust fund. Money from the gas tax goes to the highway fund, which helps pay for highway projects. Several other agencies, however, also get highway dollars, including the Department of Safety and the Department of Justice. Many lawmakers say the money should be limited to highway projects.
"I think the monies that go into the highway trust fund should go directly to the roads," Kenney said. "And I think that's keeping New Hampshire New Hampshire."
GOP gubernatorial candidate challenges Lynch
By TOM FAHEY
CONCORD - Republican gubernatorial candidate Sen. Joseph Kenney signed a pledge to cap state spending yesterday, and challenged Gov. John Lynch to do the same.
Kenney disavowed any connection with the group sponsoring the pledge, New Hampshire Advantage Coalition.
Democrats have accused the group of violating state election laws requiring financial disclosure reports. NHAC is running petition drives to cap state and municipal spending at the rate of inflation and population growth. The group switched from being a political action committee to being a non-profit issues advocacy group less than six months after its formation.
NHAC's stated purpose is "preserving the New Hampshire way of life." NHAC chairman Michael Biundo said the group is abiding by state law, and that during its brief time as a PAC, "we did not reach the reporting threshold on receipts or expenditures." Attorney General Kelly Ayotte's office is reviewing the Democrats' complaint.
Kenney, R-Wakefield, said after signing the pledge, "I have no affiliation or connection with the group, but I support what they're doing." Kenney told reporters, "I'm sure they are abiding by the rules and regulations of the state of New Hampshire."
Kenney said Lynch, the Democrat he wants to unseat, should sign the spending cap pledge. He said Lynch has presided over steep increases in state spending that will force him to abandon his promise to block a state sales or income tax.
"How do you ensure that we have no income tax unless you limit the spending that is backing us into one?" Kenney asked.
Lynch spokesman Colin Manning said, "The governor has said he will veto a sales or income tax many, many times. Managing the state budget takes leadership and the governor continues to provide that leadership." He said Lynch has produced a balanced budget in each of the four years he has been in office, cutting agency requests and vacant positions "all the while addressing long neglected needs."
Kenney criticized Lynch's handling of a new computer system that will combine all bookkeeping and financial planning functions, management of the state's fleet of cars and trucks, and the use of consultants to state government.
Rep. Daniel Eaton, D-Stoddard, majority floor leader, said Lynch pushed the accounting system toward completion when development became bogged down. Two committees are looking at fleet management issues now, he said.
"Joe needs to get onto the information line and find out what's going on," he said.
Foster's Daily Democrat
July 30, 2008
PORTSMOUTH - State Sen. Joe Kenney announced Tuesday his five point action plan in making sure the Granite State is prepared for the potential energy crisis come winter.
The announcement came as part of a series of meetings he is having with businesses across the state focused on energy and economic development issues.
With only a few months left until the state gubernatorial election, Kenney got a chance to tour Pike Industries asphalt plant in Portsmouth, using that stage as a venue to reveal his energy platform.
The three-term senator from Wakefield announced that if elected, he intends on repealing the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, also known as ReGGIe, calling it the "wrong time" for that particular idea to be brought forth.
"I'd table that for a while," he said.
Kenney also expressed the need to create a regionalized "one-stop energy shop" for consumers that would essentially create a pooled resource of energy providers in order to reduce costs statewide.
His third point was to institute a capital budget plan for energy efficiency that would emphasize more focus on conservation rather than consumption.
A fourth point, that he deemed essential to making sure residents make it through the winter months, was to create an energy emergency fund fueled by businesses and non-profits.
"It will address how we're going to get through the winter months," said Kenney.
Kenney said the fund will emphasize the role of first responders and community leaders in recognizing residents most in need of help during these difficult times.
"People aren't just concerned, they're scared." he said.
His fifth point, which was announced later in the day, was to create an e nergy efficient pilot program for municipalities that would cut the initial costs of installing new energy efficient equipment. Kenney said that the savings experienced over the first several years of operation would eventually pay off the installation costs and would essentially be a "win-win" situation.
"At the end of the day, everybody's doing it," said Kenney.
Kenney is the only Republican in the race to face Governor John Lynch in November.
7/21 Claremont Eagle Times
GOP hopeful slams Lynch
By BEN BULKELEY, Staff Writer
CLAREMONT -- State Sen. Joe Kenney, R-Wakefield, made a trip to the Upper Valley on Thursday, touting his record as a fiscal conservative, leader and veteran. Kenney, the Republican candidate for Governor, will face incumbent John Lynch this November.
Kenney said he will focus on transportation, health care, and veterans' issues as he moves forward with his campaign. He also sees the need for a fiscal conservative in Concord.
"What we've done for over a year is circulate around New Hampshire, talking about how we see New Hampshire changing. Our campaign theme is 'Let's keep New Hampshire, New Hampshire.' We're one broad based-tax away from turning into Massachusetts."
Kenney has spent 14 years in the state legislature. He was chairman of the Transportation Committee from 2002-2004, chairman of Executive, Department and Administration Committee from 2002-2004, as well as being on the Health and Human Services Committee for six years.
He also served 28 years for the active reserve Marine Corps, where he was sent on two trips to the Middle East. If elected, he wants to cut government spending.
"Governor Lynch, nice guy that he is, has overspent in state government by almost a half billion dollars. He just can't seem to say no, and he's spending us out of our homes."
"The governor is pushing this thing called the Regional House Gas Initiative, which is going to increase energy costs here in New Hampshire," Kenney said. "It's a special interest piece of legislation, brought up by the University of New Hampshire's Environmental studies. We think it will cause serious damage to businesses around the state of New Hampshire, as well as residential home owners."
"We think that bill should be repealed. The cost of energy is astronomical, not just in New Hampshire, but all around the country. We need a fiscal conservative in the corner office who's going to look out for the best interests of New Hampshire, and prioritize the state government."
Kenney would also like to see sections of New Hampshire government privatized, which he believes would bring in more revenue. He referenced the lack of privatization in corrections, namely the collection of retributions owed to the state.
"We could privatize the collection company to come in and collect up to millions of dollars in revenue for the state of New Hampshire," said Kenney.
Kenney also sees a chance for more statewide revenue if private companies were allowed to advertise on state highways. Kenney would also like to see Cannon Mountain privatized, much the way Sunapee was in 1998, in order to fund state parks.
Kenney has mapped out what he would do if elected.
"We have five points in our platform. Number one is we want to create government efficiency, and stop the spending in the state government. Number two is that we want to have a strong energy policy. Number three is we want a job creation policy," said Kenney. "Number four is full support of a VA medical hospital in Manchester. Number five is we want to maintain the New Hampshire tax advantage."
"From an economic development standpoint we also have five priorities. We want to make sure we market the state of New Hampshire as a business friendly state by putting actual airport announcements encouraging people to come to New Hampshire to do business."
"Number two, we want to set up a business coordinator in the governors office. Number three is we want to privatize Cannon Mountain. Number four is we want to work with the technical colleges to institute the business centers," said Kenney. "Number five would be a rapid-response team, at any time a plant is closing down we want to make sure that there's a house member and a senator on that rapid response team, so they understand that business, and how it affects the local region."
Kenney is also uneasy about the direction he sees New Hampshire going, saying the current leadership has left the state "rudderless," and on the verge of excessive spending that would require an income tax to balance the budget.
"The governor let the educational law walk in to law. Never signed it, never vetoed it, and it's going to cost the state anywhere from $140 to $180 million, depending on who you ask. Any governor that doesn't sign or veto a law of that magnitude is not showing leadership."
"I want to propose a constitutional amendment to resolve the educational funding question once and for all, and to make sure that it's on the ballot for the people of New Hampshire to vote on it."
Kenney also wants to reinstall the Parental Notification Law for teenage abortions, which was repealled in 2005.
"I think parents in the state of New Hampshire should know what their 13-year-old daughter is doing,and if they are confronted with a pregnancy crisis, that they be notified," said Kenney. "And the governor took that away from parents."
"The governor is not taking a leadership role in state government, he's not taking positions," said Kenney. "If he came to a fork in the road, he'd want to take both ways, and that's not leadership."
Ben Bulkeley can be reached at (603) 543-3100 Ext. 105 or by e-mail at [email protected]
Republican gubernatorial candidate Joe Kenney, of Wakefield, visited with employees at Cirtronics in Milford on Thursday.
Nashua Telegraph: Friday, July 11, 2008
Vote '08: GovernorGOP gubernatorial hopeful listens, offers ideas
By staff writer
MILFORD – Republican gubernatorial candidate Joe Kenney earned some laughs from employees of Cirtronics when he said people in the Lakes Region are escaping home-heating prices by moving to Florida to live with relatives they hate.
UNION LEADER June 12, 2008
Kenney's run for governor is now official
By TOM FAHEY
Wednesday, Jun. 11, 2008
Concord – State Sen. Joseph Kenney filed as a candidate for governor today, signing a pledge to observe a voluntary $1.2 million total spending limit and challenging Gov. John Lynch to do the same.
“I want to make this about people, not about money,” Kenney said. “By taking the spending limit cap on my campaign I am also illustrating what I would do as governor. I will implement real spending limits in our state budget as well.”
He attacked Lynch for lack of fiscal discipline, referring to him as a multi-millionaire several times. He said he has hurt the state with increases in taxes and fees, and for signing a two-year budget that increased spending by $500 million. He also criticized introduction last week of a $90 million borrowing bill that Democrats passed without any public hearing.
“We need to get the reins and a hold on the New Hampshire budget,” Kenney said. “We need to keep New Hampshire, New Hampshire,” he added, echoing the campaign signs about 50 supporters held as he spoke to reporters.
Kenney, 47, a Wakefield Republican, faces a big challenge in taking on Lynch, a two-term Democrat with approval ratings of more than 70 percent.
“Someone has got to take on John Lynch and I can’t think of any other better person than a U.S. Marine who grew up in this state,” he said. “I learned long ago that no one is unbeatable.”
Kenney, a legislator for 14 years including the last six in the Senate, is a U.S. Marine Corps Reserve lieutenant colonel who has been called up twice since the war in Iraq began. He is a 1984 graduate of the University of New Hampshire.
He pledged to veto any sales or income tax, and has signed a pledge to keep state spending within the rate of regional inflation.
He said he will cut spending and improve government efficiency, reduce energy costs by blocking the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, boost job growth and business recruitment, and push for a full-service hospital for veterans.
By agreeing to the voluntary spending cap, Kenney will be able to accept donations of up to $5,000 to his campaign. He is limited to spending $625,000 each in the primary and general elections. State law limits donations to $1,000 for those who do not agree to the cap. Those who exceed the limits are subject to a fine.
Kenney said his campaign will emphasize grassroots organization, but the lack of access to unlimited spending won’t hurt
“There will be Joe Kenney for governor ads on TV, in fact they start next week,” he said.
Kenney said he would audit every state agency at the outset of his administration, and require each commissioner to file a mission statement to focus his department’s work.
Lynch plans to file for re-election tomorrow at 9 a.m.
Nashua Telegraph June 12, 2008
State senator will challenge Lynch
By KEVIN LANDRIGAN Staff Writer
CONCORD – Republican state Sen. Joseph Kenney entered the race for governor Wednesday, promising to abide by a voluntary spending limit of $1.2 million for the 2008 campaign and calling on two-term Democratic Gov. John Lynch to do the same.
Monday, May 19
Kenney seeks to preserve NH way of life as governor
BERLIN — Republican gubernatorial candidate Joe Kenney is looking to keep New Hampshire, New Hampshire and stop it from becoming Massachusetts.
Kenney said he wants to preserve the New Hampshire way of life and prevent outside political infl uences from changing the
“We need to reestablish our New Hampshire identity because we’re slowly losing it,” said Kenney.
Kenney has served as a state Senator from Wakefield for three terms, and also spent four terms in the New Hampshire House of Representatives. He has served in the Marine Corps for 28 years, working his way up to Lieutenant Colonel, and serving two tours in Iraq.
Kenney has lived in Wakefield his whole life.
“We don’t want to become northern Massachusetts,” said Kenney. The current Democratic leadership, both in the legislature and governor’s office, is getting their signals from Massachusetts and shaping policy and spending with in the stat, said Kenney. He added this will result in the people losing their state.
He said Lynch is not a strong enough leader to tell his party they are spending too much.
As governor, Kenney said he would look for places within the government to cut spending and improve efficiency. He added this could simply be done by cutting unnecessary vehicles out of the state’s fleet or cutting the number of state issued cell phones.
Kenney said that Concord has lost touch with the North Country and he would rebuild that relationship.“If the governor comes up here, it’s a photo op,” said Kenney. “I want to have a presence up here.” He said the North Country needs a governor who is familiar with what’s happening in the area. He added there’s almost no industrial base left in the region and the state’s government needs to make a tremendous investment in the area.
The authority would work to ensure the roads, local airports and industrial areas are ready for new companies to come into the area. He added the infrastructure needs to be in place to create opportunities for these new industries. Though, Kenney said Lynch’s initiative for a Coos County Tax Credit, which has been passed through both legislative houses, would help the area but will not have a huge impact.
“We need a new governor. We need a new legislature,” said Kenney. “We need to get New Hampshire back on track.”
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Kenney picks up Johnson's endorsement
By ERIN PLUMMER
Sen. Joe Kenney has received a major endorsement from a fellow lawmaker in his bid for governor.
Keene Sentinel May 7, 2008
David P. Greisman
With an apparently clear path to New Hampshire's general election, gubernatorial candidate Joseph D. Kenney is taking aim at the one man blocking his way to the corner office in Concord - Gov. John H. Lynch.
"Quite frankly, I don't believe that he's providing strong leadership for the state," Kenney, a Republican from Wakefield serving his third state Senate term, said Tuesday in a meeting with Sentinel editors.
"Nice guy. We call him Jimmy Carter. He's the guy that was a weak leader everybody liked in the '70s."
Kenney is a former state representative and longtime Marine who now works as a special projects officer for them.
Clothed in a dark suit and a blue tie with an American flag pattern, and with a flag pin affixed to his lapel, he explained why he believes he is a better captain for the Granite State.
"We can see the course of the state shifting," Kenney said.
"The spending in Concord has increased dramatically. The prioritization in state government is no longer there. We basically see a state that's drifting away and really becoming, truly, northern Massachusetts.
"We want to get New Hampshire back on track," he said. "We want to keep New Hampshire New Hampshire."
Kenney's strategy, which faces current projections of a $250 million state budget deficit next year, involves lowering costs while finding fresh ways of raising money.
"Cuts can be made in state government," Kenney said. "The spending priorities would be on the necessities. For instance, I would go to (the Department of Transportation) and say, 'Listen, the trucks and cars that you all drive around, you're not going to have them. When it comes to cell phone usage, you're going to be very limited.'
"We have to cut back on expenses within our departments," he said. "I would go into the bowels of each agency and say there have to be cuts. You're going to need to use your resources wisely."
And residents who feel overburdened by government spending are responding in their approaches to local projects, Kenney said.
"I saw a fire station in Milton - basically, the building was condemned. You have to build a public-safety building or else you can't use the one that you currently have. And they voted it down by eight votes," he said. "You go to Dover, there is a tax cap. It's here. It's everywhere. There is a revolt."
Along with cutting spending, Kenney said he would expand the state's sources of revenue, such as selling advertisements on the state's turnpike system that he said could raise upwards of $2 million, and leasing out Cannon Mountain in Franconia.
"The more and more we get into state government and see things we can identify as bringing revenue, we can do that," Kenney said. "What I would like to do is create a commission that would look at innovative approaches to bring revenue into the state. I think we do a poor job of marketing the state of New Hampshire. We could do a far better job."
Kenney also wants the state Supreme Court not to have a say on how funds are directed to schools.
The court has told the state government to pay the full cost of an adequate education to all communities.
"Let's not have judicial activism where they're dictating policy in the New Hampshire Legislature when it comes to education funding," he said. "I've always supported a constitutional amendment. I've always supported the idea of targeting aid into the poor communities that need it."
Money will also be an important facet of Kenney's run at the governor's office. He currently faces no competition for the GOP nomination. His funding strategy for the campaign is grass-roots.
"I'd rather have 5,000 people give me $50 contributions than have 50 people give me $5,000," he said. "Because that means they're bought and sold on my campaign."
Nevertheless, Kenney said he's not at a competitive disadvantage.
"I'm not running from an unknown, single-district House seat. I'm running as a state senator," Kenney said. "In that part of the state, two counties (Carroll and Strafford) know me very well. It is my launching pad. I am a University of New Hampshire grad. I've worked in the state. I served in the military, in Manchester for six years as a reservist.
"I connect to the store owner," he said. "I connect to the guy who fixes our cars. It's all about interacting at that level and saying, 'I want to represent you.' "
Kenney is scheduled to appear Saturday, May 24, from noon to 2 p.m. at the Keene Senior Center, 70 Court St.
David P. Greisman can be reached at 352-1234, extension 1439, or [email protected]
March 17, 2008
I recently attended a State of the State address hosted by the Manchester Chamber of Commerce and listened to what could only be called a complete whitewash of our current situation. The Governor’s State of the State is not based in reality. I often feel listening to John Lynch that there are two New Hampshires the one I grew up in and have tried to help preserve during my 14 years in the legislature verses the one that is turning into Massachusetts with Governor Lynch asleep at the wheel. His speeches contain no clear plan to better market the New Hampshire advantage or suggestions of any innovative approaches to bring in revenue. For instance, the privatization of Cannon Mountain which co uld bring in m uch needed revenue to the park system. We need a vision for our state that includes planning, decisive leadership, innovation and clear priorities. What I heard was political double talk and excuses.
He previewed the latest political line on the budget, the 17.5% budget increase has become only a “3 % increase” The governor has found an escape hatch, the word “non discretionary”, costs like the retirement account. He claimed the increase is only really 3% if you ignore “costs that we were obligated to fund”. He called it a “reasonable percentage increase”. Nice trick. I’ll bet every public official in this state wishes the public would look at only one part of the budget. Any board of selectman member knows when you are talking about a budget increase you must consider the whole budget going up or down.” Planning means taking into account the monies you have already obligated. Suddenly, Lynch’s bloated budget that included spending to the tune of 12 million dollars for LCHIP is going up only because of “non discretionary” costs. Ever notice the buck never stops at Lynch’s desk. It was the economy or the l egislature or maybe his dog ate it.
The Governor talked about problems with transportation but offered no innovative ways to create revenue. I brought forward a bill to sell advertising at tolls booths and on the backs of receipts that would have brought in 500,000 +. Innovation was shot down by the Democratically controlled Senate as were two other bills to provide a self funding mechanism for LCHIP; one through a voluntary check box for contributions and another by producing an LCHIP plate. If we took some of the 12 million dollars that the Governor gave to LCHIP and gave it to the towns for infrastructure needs many, like Bedford, may not have to consider doing state projects themselves. That money could have also gone to red line bridges or to help eliminate the Developmentally Disabled waiting list. This is just one choice the Governor had complete control over i n his budget.
Strong leadership means facing reality. Will we maintain our fiscally responsible attitude, concern for personal responsibility and protection of parental rights? Or lose our unique qualities become like the rest of New England. We need to be honest about the real state of the state. Registry fees are up, residential phone rates will increase, moose permits, wild turkey fees, tobacco tax, motorcycle registration fee increases and this is just the beginning. It is time to stand up and keep New Hampshire, New Hampshire. The truth is, at the rate we are going we are only one broad based tax away from becoming Massachusetts. ...and that is the rest of the story on the state of our state.
Senator Joe Kenney (R-Wakefield)
Union Leader Tuesday, Jun. 19, 2007
Sen. Joe Kenney: On school funding, we need better from the governor
THE EDUCATION funding debate has become an issue driven by desperation instead of leadership. The fear of political failure is driving a mentality of "solution at any cost" but that cost is to the taxpayer.
First, his own party shut down Gov. John Lynch in the House. Then his lack of leadership brought in no more than 11 Democrat senators. Now he's trying to blame Republicans instead of facing up to how this fell apart. This is pure political spin. The governor should stop blaming Republicans for his failure to lead members of his own majority party. Let's set the record straight so we can move forward with a different approach. Here is what went wrong.
The governor avoided taking a position during his first term when a Republican Legislature could have passed it. He was silent while others pushed for taking up the issue up during the House special session last summer. When he finally got on board, instead of crafting an amendment together with Republican and Democrat leaders, Lynch's approach was that of a one man (I have 80 percent popularity) band fatally flawing his first version with an arbitrary number of "50 percent", which leaders of either party could have told him would not fly.
The governor has changed when it comes to the other side of the aisle. Last term, Senate Republicans were frequently asked to come in and discuss key areas of difference. Yet on this, clearly the most important issue facing the state, I never received one phone call from John Lynch to discuss his amendments, the language entailed or to ask me to consider voting for them.
Three, a bipartisan solution requires respect.
Being a leader, means taking the other party's concerns seriously. The governor could have rekindled an opportunity to look at the issue raised in CACR 20 regarding the Republicans' long-standing defense of "local control". Instead, he resorted to name calling, saying Republicans were partisans who "took their ball and went home."
Where do we go next? First, drop the name-calling and respect others' opinions. The Republicans who voted against this do not care more about "politics" and less about the "best interest of children" as stated by the governor's news release. This type of inflammatory rhetoric shows how much the governor has changed and will get us nowhere.
Second, we examine the sticking point of "local control" and beef up the language to guarantee localities a voice in their own schools. The governor has an opportunity to build a bridge over troubled waters. Even if he finds the one vote he needs tomorrow, I am publicly asking him to stop cherry picking and talk to all 10 Senate Republicans, taking note of our concerns in a respectful manner.
I hope he will schedule that meeting. My door is open and my phone available. True leadership includes those with whom you disagree.
Sen. Joe Kenney is a Republican from Wakefield.
39-year wait for Purple Heart ends
By ROGER AMSDEN
Monday, August 6, 2007
Granite State residents who have earned the Purple Heart for their service in Iraq and Afghanistan were honored in a special ceremony at the New Hampshire Veterans Cemetery in Boscawen yesterday afternoon.
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Kenney Forms Task Force to Evaluate Care Provided to Our Nation's Veterans
Republican Sen. Joe Kenney talks politics and war at Rivier College
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B-I-N-G-O for Kenney