Louise Andrus’ View From Concord, April 2022

By Louise Andrus

In just a few weeks we can plant our main gardens. Very exciting until then to be working outside.

In the April Beacon, Mary Ann Broshek wrote an opinion regarding the need for voters to pay attention to what is happening with bills, etc. in the state, and I totally agree with her. The voters in New Hampshire need to pay attention and become more involved with the bills that are going through the Legislature. We need and want your input and involvement. This is your state!

On another note in Mary Ann Broshek’s article, my name was mentioned in regards to the New Hampshire Liberty Alliance which reviews bills and then gives a rating of either “pro- or anti-liberty” to each legislative member depending on their vote. My rating was 100%, and I am proud of it. 

I am a freedom lovin’ and liberty lovin’ individual. My candidacy in 2020 for House member was based on me being a New Hampshire native and conservative; pro-life, pro-Second Amendment, pro-gun, pro-school choice, pro-limited government, pro-small business, and support law enforcement. 

These are the reasons the voters in Andover, Danbury, and Salisbury elected me to the House seat. I have not changed my position on who I am and will never change what I stand for. I firmly believe in our state and “Live Free or Die.”

Ken Wells had an opinion article in the Beacon regarding a lack of knowledge about teachers leads to misinformation. In the article, Mr. Wells stated that he taught in residential high schools for 37 years, but he forgot to add to the article that his tenure was in private schools like St. Mark’s in Southborough, Massachusetts and Tilton School in Tilton, New Hampshire. 

In my opinion, there is no way a suitable comparison can be made between what resources and environment are available to teachers in a private school and what is available to teachers in public schools. In other words, in my opinion there is no way he could know what occurs in public schools.

Parents are not against public schools, and I stand with the parents that they are the decision makers for their child and not the school. 

Parents are against some of the content that may be taught in our public schools. What do I mean: Previously in AE/MS there was a book, Honor Girl, which was taken out of the school. 

In some schools there is a dispute and debate regarding a company called AMAZE, and the content of its videos that might be tapped as a teacher resource. I have learned that this is part of a comprehensive sex education program in many schools. 

I watched two of the videos – “Porn is Not Sex Ed” and “What are Pronouns?” The content of both videos is in my opinion questionable, and I hope our schools are not using these materials. Parents need to be aware of what curriculum is in use for their child.

Busy in Concord

We have been very busy with House sessions and committee meetings. One bill in particular I spoke against in a House session was amendment 2022-1173h to HB 1661. The bill was “Relative to regional career technical education agreements and relative to an appropriation for constructing a legislative parking garage.” The amendment, which was the legislative parking lot, was not germane to the education bill. My speech was:

“I am not against a legislative parking garage appropriation next year, but I am against amendment 2022-1173h appropriating $35 million this year. 

“As for the proposal for a new parking garage, for me there are many unanswered questions. 1. The current suggested location at 33 Capitol Street – Are there viable alternatives? 2. Do we really want to vote to destroy the building at 33 Capitol Street, which now is the location for the Department of Justice? 

“This building was built back in the 1950s for New Hampshire Savings Bank, and in the 1970s the State purchased the property, as the FDIC wanted to sell the property. Is $35 million a feasible amount for demolishing the Storrs Street Garage, finding a new location, and moving the Department of Justice, then demolishing the building at 33 Capitol Street and building a new parking garage? 

“I understand a project usually goes through the House Public Works and Highways Committee, but we did not go through this process. In 2018, Quantum Construction Consultants, Inc., was hired to inspect the Storrs Street garage and provide a report. Repairs were estimated at $1.9 million, and there was a Capital Budget request for the Storrs Street garage. 

“We have spent much money on repairs. What is the projected lifespan of the Storrs Street garage? One month or one year, two months or two years? I deal in details and have requested details of the $35 million to be spent.

“I know eventually a new garage will have to be built, but I believe the time is not here and is not now. We are in double-digit inflation. Many citizens in New Hampshire are trying to figure out how to pay their gas bills for their vehicle to get back and forth to work; how to pay the food bill with the rising costs; how to pay for their electricity and heating bills. I hope inflation is going to lessen, but I don’t believe it. 

“If we are going to have a $35 million surplus, then why don’t we make plans to give some of it back to the citizens of New Hampshire and utilize the remainder of the surplus to possibly pay down some of New Hampshire’s debts? 

“I represent the citizens of New Hampshire, and I am voting “No” on this amendment and ask you to vote “No.” Let’s help our citizens. Next year, the Legislature can work on viable areas and costs for a new parking garage.”

Sixty-five of us House members voted “Nay,” and 271 voted “Yea” on the amendment 2022-0356h to demolish the building at 33 Capitol Street and Storrs Street garage; to move the Department of Justice to another location, and to build a new Legislative parking lot. HB 1661 with Amendment passed by voice vote.

On Tuesday, March 29, I asked for the detailed breakdown of how the $35 million was going to be spent. As of Wednesday, April 13, still no report, and I was advised the original report was being updated. I keep asking myself, does no one care how our money is being spent?