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State Representative District 7 SULLIVAN

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  • Judy Aron

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    Claudia Istel

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 kinds of policies, if any, will you pursue to promote social and racial justice in our state?

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Promoting healthy lifestyles and offering free or low-cost preventive care (check-ups, cancer screenings, dental cleanings, eye exams, reproductive health, birth control) help keep people healthy and catch health problems early, when they might be easier and less expensive to treat. Remove the stigma associated with mental illness and addiction and making help readily available would improve outcomes, ease the stress to family caregivers, and, in some cases related to addiction, reduce crime. The state needs to continue providing expanded Medicaid benefits, increase the reimbursement for caregivers of the disabled, and have a psychiatric unit that is not in the state prison, and health insurance associated with the person, not employment.
While our state is rated a great place to live and had, pre-Covid-19, a robust economy, many struggle to make ends meet, working at essential jobs, without a living wage or benefits. Re-establishing and raising the minimum is a priority. By January 2021, while New Hampshire maintains the federal minimum wage of $7.25/hr, its neighbor states will pay at least $4.50/hr. more! The state’s dependence on property taxes leads to inequities between communities and the high taxes are borne by the property owners, and indirectly the renters, adding to the high cost of housing, and too often forcing elders to sell their homes. In recent years, businesses have seen tax relief, while property owners see their taxes going up. We can do better.
Some communities prefer not to build affordable housing which would attract families. More children would increase education cost, causing local property taxes to increase. NH is a greying state; we need young people to keep our state and economy vibrant. Local control is very important to Granite Staters, but the need for affordable housing is critical in our state. Education about the current housing situation and the benefits to the well-being of residents and communities to solve the housing problem might change minds. State housing trust funds, legislation that supports cities and towns establishing affordable housing and revitalizing neighborhoods might be part of the solution.
NH needs to commit to its constitutional responsibility to provide an adequate education to all children and be realistic about the cost. Currently the cost of an adequate education is $3709/student, up to about $7500/student for special education and low income. Yet most school districts pay upward of $13,000/student, mostly raised from property taxes paid by frugal tax payers – much more than the state allowance. Heavy reliance on property taxes, based on the town’s property value, causes an increasing disparity between property “rich” and “poor” towns, affecting education and the overall economic well-being. For the state to meet its obligation, spending priorities need to change, first, and possibly the tax structure of the state.
All people deserve to be respected and treated justly, regardless of their class, gender, race, citizenship status, sexual orientation. There is increasing understanding that poverty, social and racial justice, climate crisis and the environment, health and well-being are intertwined. For people to develop their full potential, they need quality education, good physical and mental health, stable housing, a living wage, a clean and sustainable environment, and a society where they are respected, treated justly, and their participation is valued. An increased minimum wage, paid family leave, gun violence prevention, renewal energy, community economic development, voting rights, affordable housing and quality public education will all help.