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State Senator District 21

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    Rebecca Perkins Kwoka

  • Sue Polidura

Biographical Information

What should our state do over the long term to ensure healthcare access for all, including treatment for addiction and mental illness?

In building a vibrant economy in our state, would you emphasize reforming tax policies, addressing income inequality, changing the minimum wage, or something else?

What do you see as the state government’s role in creating or incentivizing more housing?

What should state government do to ensure an equitable, quality public education for all children pre-K through grade 12?

What will you do to ensure that the priorities of New Hampshire citizens take precedence over the benefits to your party?

I believe that healthcare is a right, not a privilege, and that now more than ever we need to move away from our current system of employer-based healthcare. We need a single-payer healthcare system that retains the low administrative costs and high quality of care modeled by Medicare. I believe strongly in increasing access to addiction and mental health treatment, as well as streamlining our licensing system to ensure that we have enough professionals to respond to the needs of transitional or recovering patients. In addition, we can increase funding to offer better training for our professionals in these fields to be equipped to respond thoughtfully to every patient, and in particular, Black patients and LGBTQ+ patients.
Housing is the foundation for a more diverse and inclusive New Hampshire, building a vibrant state economy. Yet housing affordability is one of the biggest challenges facing New Hampshire. We are not seeing the level of housing construction we need to ensure that our Granite State future remains bright and diverse. Without the ability for municipalities to require affordable and workforce housing be built as part of new construction, we do not have all of the tools, as a state, that others do in providing housing for certain income groups. And without eviction protection, renters now can be evicted with only a 7-day notice, a reality that especially impacts small businesses. As a housing advocate, I would fight to change this in Concord.
As Portsmouth City Councilor, I led a two-year, community input-based zoning change process that achieved near-unanimous approval for zoning changes that are seeing their effects in increased housing construction now. I was then appointed to the statewide Housing Task Force, helping to craft two pieces of housing legislation, HB 1629 and HB 1632. As Senator, I would push for similar legislation that includes initiatives such as the Housing Champions Program, which allows municipalities to expand workforce housing through housing-friendly policies and incentives. I would lay the foundation for Housing Trusts, by putting aside land and resources for municipalities, further incentivizing construction of affordable and workforce housing.
Currently, the state only provides school districts about $3,500 per student, roughly one-third of the actual per-student cost. As a result, revenue from local taxes is left to fund the rest, widening the achievement gap in under-resourced areas. In order to remedy these disparities, I would work to amend the current formula used to calculate the money per student allocated to school districts, incorporating a more holistic view of educational expenses. This would ensure a higher, more uniform quality of education throughout our state. Improving public education funding will also address salary disparities throughout the state, ensuring that teachers receive adequate pay and under-resourced school districts can retain their educators.
I was drawn to public service to advocate for New Hampshire’s working families. I know intimately the struggle of making ends meet. By the time I turned 15, I was working 30+ hours per week while attending high school. We need better jobs so people can pay their bills and save for college, better schools for our children, cleaner air and drinking water, and true equality for all. I am a solution-focussed policy maker focused on creating change that will improve the lives of New Hampshire residents. I believe that governing is all about listening and collaborating to find ways to help the average Granite Stater get ahead. If that means crossing the aisle to expand healthcare coverage or protect small businesses, I will do so in a heartbeat.
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