First and foremost, thanks so much for your support.
I spent the long weekend before the primary writing answers to the questions of attorneys from the Public Utilities’ Commission, Eversource and Unitil on the statewide, online energy data platform were trying to build to enhance energy efficiency and planning efforts for the state of New Hampshire. I know Hollis’ Energy Committee is very interested in being able to pull together solar data to prove the town’s return on investment for the Board of Selectman. Today, there is no easy way to get that energy data in one place. It’s hard to explain to people that the work of serving as a state representative has little resemblance to what people are told to believe. But if you’re sufficiently committed, it’s a full-time job, that pays $100 per year!
In the 2 years since I was elected, I have immersed myself in building credibility among my colleagues, learning how to effectively sponsor and pass legislation, learning energy statutes and policy aims, and how to select which projects are the best use of my time. I learned how to focus in my career as a project manager and in Concord, I’ve learned you have to pick a lane.
On my committee, Science, Technology & Energy, I sponsored or co-sponsored several efforts to promote local, sustainable energy, reinstate energy-efficiency funding (our cheapest watt is the ‘nega-watt’ – the one we don’t use!), raising the net metering cap and saving the multi-million dollar biomass industry. Each of these efforts, as well as 2 bills on cleaning up transportation emissions, were vetoed by the governor. Though his veto statements each offered some vague and unsubstantiated reason, the evidence at public hearings clearly showed these policies were good for New Hampshire. It’s easy to keep delaying progress, our broken politics is testament to that; but after a while, the losers become the economy and our environment. Both of these used to be bipartisan priorities.
I’ve started joking: Governor Sununu is why we can’t have nice things!
Many House bills fell by the wayside as the pandemic took hold. One was a Study Commission to set science-based targets for NH emissions for 2030, 2040 and 2050. Senators Tom Sherman, MD (D), David Watters (D) and Jeb Bradly (R) collaborated to spearhead moving this commission forward and I was asked to join. In a recent Zoom session, the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services reviewed where we’re at with the state’s 2012 climate plan; the bottom line is that without policy changes (especially in the transportation sector) our trajectory will flatline by 2021. This is particularly maddening because we had perfectly suitable bills to help us stay on track and the governor’s veto-pen killed two-years’ worth of sound energy advances in favor of the ever-present fossil fuel lobby.
This was also the case when we missed the opportunity to join the regional Transportation Climate Initiative (TCI); our Governor is the only regional executive who passed on participating in the effort to lower transportation emissions. New Hampshires’ emissions’ performance looks good in a recent review that saw a 37% drop in state emissions in the last 15 years. However, the details of this information show that besides replacing dirtier coal and oil with cleaner burning gas (a swap that is analogous to replacing your cigarettes with a low-tar alternative), New Hampshire has also reaped the benefits of our neighboring states’ significant investments in renewable energy expansion and emissions reduction policy.
How long can we ride on our neighbor’s coattails without truly addressing New Hampshire’s energy economy and emissions future?
Please check out the testimonials page where some of my constituents and colleagues have commented on how they view me as a Representative. If have any questions or concerns, feel free to write to firstname.lastname@example.org
I hope you and your family are safe and well as we face this strange time together!
Keep Good Going!