On Friday, April 27, the KSC Republicans welcomed New Hampshire Republican Gubernatorial candidate Ovide Lamontagne to the Mountain View Room of the student center for an “opportunity to hear his vision for the state of N.H. and ask him questions,” according to the KSC Republicans webpage.
The KSC Republicans also welcomed Kevin Smith, another Republican Gubernatorial candidate, earlier this year. The events are part of an initiative by the KSC Republicans to give students the opportunity to meet and hear Republican candidates running for governor before they cast their ballots this fall.
Lamontagne, who was born and raised in Manchester, N.H., is seen as the current front runner to receive the Republican nomination to take over the governor’s seat which will be left vacant by the current governor, John Lynch.
Upon declaring he will not run for re-election, Governor Lynch opened the field up—or at least made the grass a bit greener—to the pack of possible GOP candidates who feel that their chances of winning the governor’s seat increase when they do not have to run against an incumbent.
Lamontagne is leading this pack. In a January, 2012 survey of 1,771 likely voters done by Public Policy Polling, Lamontagne was favored by 36 percent of those surveyed. Whereas his top two competitors, Ted Gatsas—who has since declared he will not run—and Kevin Smith received 13 percent and 11 percent respectively. 40 percent of those surveyed were undecided.
Lamontagne has been a business attorney since 1986 and has served for the government in various roles during his career, such as legal counsel to the N.H. State Senate in 1991 and the Chairman of the State Board of Education from 1993-1996. He is also a former high school social studies teacher and was named “Conservative of the Year” by Americans for Prosperity – New Hampshire in 2011.
The event in the Mountain View Room began with Lamontagne giving a brief speech on his background and his policy positions followed by a question and answer session.
Lamontagne started out by firmly announcing that if he were elected, New Hampshire would quickly join the lawsuit against The Affordable Care Act (Obama Care) which now has the backing of 26 states.
According to Lamontagne, individual states should be able to choose what type of health care system they want and the federal government should get their hands out of the state’s business.
Lamontagne said he does not support the controversial individual mandate which Governor Romney, the likely Republican Presidential nominee, famously implemented in his Massachusetts Health Care Insurance Reform Law, (Romney Care).
Lamontagne also highlighted his belief that New Hampshire needs to work harder to attract entrepreneurs, “We should be a refugee state for entrepreneurs,” Lamontagne said.
To achieve this, according to Lamontagne, one of the things New Hampshire needs to do is make the process for a person to create their own business or LLC a lot easier, “It should be really easy to form a business or an LLC; you just call one number… it should be easier to renew your licenses.”
Lamontagne also said that New Hampshire needs to get better at connecting college students to jobs in New Hampshire. Kevin Smith, who is currently Lamontagne’s biggest competitor in the Republican Gubernatorial Primary, also highlighted the belief that an increase in communication between businesses and colleges would be beneficial during his meeting with the KSC republicans earlier this year. To bridge this gap, Lamontagne believes that colleges and businesses need solid tangible programs to connect graduating young professionals to the jobs that suit them best. “The CEO of BAE can come talk to the President of Keene State, but what will that really do?”
In other words, colleges and businesses need increased communication, but that increase in communication needs to be manifested in real tangible programs that will generate results. During the question and answer session, when Lamontagne was asked about the hypothetical situation of more budget cuts to USNH funding, he said, “I think we cut more than we probably should have.”
However, he did not take the idea of more budget cuts completely off the table; essentially stating that situations change and that he cannot predict the implications of New Hampshire’s economic future.
More cuts to the USNH, and consequently KSC’s, budget may be necessary, Lamontagne said, but they would not be ideal. Before the question and answer session, in the middle of his speech, Lamontagne appealed to practically every voter by refreshingly speaking of a desire for bipartisanship, “If I’m elected Governor, I’m gonna leave my Republican title at the State House door,” Lamontagne said.
New Hampshire needs a governor who can bridge the gap between Republicans and Democrats and who isn’t afraid to compromise to get government working again, Lamontagne said.
This is a promise that will serve on one side—the positive side—of an unfortunate juxtaposition in the fall; the other side being the historic amount of money which will be spent on attack ads by Governor Romney and President Obama.
The event in the Mountain View Room lasted about an hour and was attended by members of the KSC Republicans and a few students who found the time on a busy late semester Friday to come out.
The Republican Gubernatorial primary will take place on September 11 and the general election will take place on November 6.
Dylan Morrill can be contacted at