Watters for State Senate

District 4: Barrington, Dover, Rollinsford, Somersworth
19 Maple St.
Dover, NH 03820

Rep. David Watters Declares Candidacy for State Senate

        I am declaring my candidacy for the Democratic nomination for the state senate in District 4: Barrington, Dover, Rollinsford, and Somersworth. The campaign will be for the values of the voters of the district: work, community, and equality. An experienced legislator deeply involved in public service, I look forward to the opportunity to serve the people of the district and to fight for our shared values.

        This will be first and foremost a campaign based in values. The value of work, including equal opportunity, entrepreneurial independence, and a living wage, has made New Hampshire strong. We value communities that educate our children, provide public safety and services, and care for the elderly. We all know that Barrington, Dover, Rollinsford, and Somersworth are great places to live because people and local government have worked together, not apart. Equality is the granite foundation of who we are in America, even as we struggle to realize the words of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution in our own times. 

        The current legislature in Concord lost its way in divisive attacks on educators, women’s health, unions, the environment, and marriage equality. This campaign is about improving the economy and restoring respect and civility. As an educator and a union member, I will be a voice for the hardworking citizens who educate our children, keep our streets safe, and provide the services a community wants from government. I will defend the right to collective bargaining. Public education is essential to our economy and our civic life. The state must not abandon its responsibility of shared funding for our schools and for higher education.

        New Hampshire can’t afford wild swings in state funding and programs fueled by radical agendas. Thoughtful planning and careful investments in our future must guide legislation, revenues, and expenditures. Yankee frugality is a family trait that I have brought to my votes in the legislature and to my work on budgets for the organizations I have served. In this time of limited resources, we must spend the people’s money carefully and keep taxes low. As revenues improve, we must restore needed funding to educate our children and provide services to the elderly and others in need.

        Public schools are the heart of our communities, and parents and state and local governments share responsibility to support education. I will oppose any constitutional amendment that erodes this responsibility. The best way to support schools is to strengthen partnerships between schools and families. We must cherish our teachers, ensure excellence through teacher education, and provide the resources for continuing education and training. People move to and stay in this district because they want great schools for their children and for their neighbors’ children.

        The economy can’t grow unless we prepare the next generation for employment by funding the University of New Hampshire and the Community Colleges. The fifty percent cut to the University System of New Hampshire means middleclass family face high tuition and graduates are left with debt averaging $30,000. Professional and technical training at our community colleges will be the engine of economic growth, particularly in manufacturing, technology, and health care. Education also lifts people’s horizons, fosters free inquiry, deepens understandings of what it means to be human, and promotes citizenship.

        This campaign will fight against downshifting costs to the local taxpayers. Cuts to local aid, school adequacy funding, Medicare and Medicaid support levels for the Riverside Rest Home, children in need of services funds, and retirement funding push local property taxes higher. The state must do its fair share, but I will work hard to support efforts at the County and State levels to find new and efficient ways to provide services, such as regionalization.

        As the economy improves, the state also must help fund infrastructure projects and school construction. The state is struggling to fund the completion of the Little Bay Bridges. Open road tolls at Dover Point, the Spaulding Turnpike Exit 6 reconfiguration, and local bridge replacement are all on hold. I will fight in Concord to make sure that this district gets its fair share of state funding so our economy won’t be strangled by crumbling roads and bridges.

        Local and state governments should strengthen the essential partnership with unions, for unionized workers form the backbone of community service for our children, our elders, and our public safety. As we emerge from the recession, increased construction activity is another opportunity for partnership with trade unions, representing men and women whose skills are unmatched. The commitment to healthcare and pensions for workers is a hallmark of what unions have accomplished in our economy. I am grateful for the unanimous endorsement of the Professional Firefighters of New Hampshire, and I will work to earn the support of working people across the district.

        There are many tools government can use to encourage job growth, including job training and pro-business policies to promote investment and hiring, and low taxes. Businesses in the district should receive an increase in the investment tax credit, higher thresholds and indexing for inflation in the Business Enterprise Tax, and decreased and streamlined regulation. The whole structure of business taxes need to be reexamined.

        My campaign is also inspired by the belief that we the people can transcend political differences by working together in community, charitable and faith organizations. I’ve served on many boards, including the New Hampshire Historical Society, the New Hampshire Humanities Council, The Robert Frost Farm, and the Portsmouth Black Heritage Trail. People in this district care deeply about New Hampshire values, about our cultural and natural environment, and about the good life families enjoy in our towns and cities. Supporting education, the arts, our museums and libraries, and historic preservation has been my life work. Historic preservation and economic growth go hand in hand, and no place in the state demonstrates this better than this district. I will continue my legislative efforts to offer economic incentives for historic properties, adopt energy efficiency standards, and encourage communities to conserve land.

        We face many challenges to promote economic development while preserving our recreational and natural resources. My work as New Hampshire’s legislative commissioner on the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission and as a member of the House Fish and Game and Marine Resources Committee has involved finding practical solutions for resource management that protect jobs. I have steadfastly defended access to our lands and waters for hunting, fishing, and recreation.

        Our communities and the state face profound challenges in adapting to climate change, such as increased storm water runoff and rising sea levels, which will tax our infrastructure, economic development, and environment. I will lead efforts to gather together city and town planners, scientists and engineers, environmental stewards, the business community, and state officials from the Department of Transportation to craft legislation to enable our seacoast communities to plan wisely for the future.

        In a time of much debate over religious and social values, I have been a tireless advocate for equal opportunity, marriage equality, and women’s choice. Through civility, respect, and understanding for all faiths and personal values, we can find common ground even on the most contentious issues. My legislative record demonstrates bipartisan work to pass bills, and I look forward to the opportunities the senate offers to work across party lines for our common good.

        As an educator, my life has been devoted to thoughtful inquiry and the careful consideration of evidence when making hard decisions. It is important to listen carefully to all ideas, to respect and encourage students to discover their thoughts and feelings in the context of the great traditions and voices of the past. Free speech and freedom from government intrusion and political ideology is what my union, the American Association of University Professors has fought for over the past 100 years. My work is rooted in understanding the literature, history, and culture of New Hampshire and New England, and it culminated publishing The Encyclopedia of New England.

        This is not only a career, but also a life commitment and a passion. This commitment to community has led me to public service. I appreciate the support of UNH in the flexibility of my schedule while serving as a state representative, but given the potential demands of senate service in New Hampshire’s citizen legislature, if elected, there will be a reduction in time as needed. I also appreciate the support of my family, my wife, who is also a university professor, our son, who dances with Houston Ballet, and many, many friends and colleagues.

        Having won election twice as a state representative, worked on campaigns in New Hampshire for 30 years, and served a term as Strafford County Democratic Chair, I know what it takes to run an aggressive and successful campaign. Therefore, the campaign will have professional staff, deep financial resources, and direct mail and social media outreach, but the campaign will be grounded in personal contacts. I will walk the district in a neighbor-to- neighbor campaign to listen to and persuade voters one at a time. For more information about me and the campaign issues, please visit www.wattersforsenate.org, email watterssenate@gmail.com, or call 969-9224. I welcome advice on the issues and help in building a grassroots campaign.

        Despite the hard times we have been through for the past few years, an incredibly positive spirit, a commitment to hard work, and a love of country characterize the people of Barrington, Dover, Rollinsford, and Somersworth. I have a deep faith in our democracy, and I look forward to discussing with the people of District 4 the ideas and hopes for a better New Hampshire that will be the heart of this campaign for state senate. Please join me in this campaign for New Hampshire’s values.