This was an eventful week in New Hampshire. I was able to attend a number of quite interesting functions and ended the week by attending the New Hampshire State GOP annual meeting as both a delegate and with media credentials. We elected Jennifer Horn as our new state chairman and JP Marzullo as our vice chairman.
(Personal Lead Story of the Week)
The Sarah Long Bridge and the Memorial Bridge in Portsmouth were both out of service at the same time and people are just realizing the impact of each of those on commerce. They had been taken for granted for a long time and being out of service is causing a tremendous impact on local business.
The Sarah Long Bridge has suffered from lack of maintenance for some time and it failed to return to its proper position during operations on Wednesday due to a combination of extreme cold temperatures and high winds. Crews had battled high wind and sub zero wind chills to make emergency repairs and by Saturday, the bridge could be raised to allow shipping traffic to pass but it would not be lowered for road traffic until at least late Sunday.
The Memorial Bridge has been out of service for a year and rebuilding the new Memorial Bridge is on schedule to be completed in July 2013 but its being out of service had placed increased importance on the Sarah Long Bridge until it failed and both were out of service. With both closed, he only way to cross the Piscataqua River is either take the Interstate 95 bridge or take a 27 mile detour through Dover. Businesses in both Portsmouth, NH, and Kittery, ME, have been reporting impacts on their businesses.
But, my wife Carol and I had dinner at The Library restaurant on State Street in Portsmouth last night and its business was brisk despite the bridge problem. We did however find it relatively easy to find on-street parking along State Street.
(NH GOP Annual Meeting)
A few weeks prior to the meeting in Bedford yesterday, I had spoken with both Jennifer Horn and Andrew Hemingway and told both I was aware of the controversy and making a decision on which to vote for was difficult. I finally made my decision to cast my vote for Jennifer during a phone call on Saturday evening two weeks ago and let Andrew know that the next day. I was impressed by Andrew’s response, being something like “sorry to hear that but keep thinking about it and thank you for at least considering it”. That was truly in a spirit of cooperation and if anything impresses me, it is a person’s knee-jerk reaction to something they really don’t want to hear. Andrew is young and he will be a force in coming years.
Still thinking about the GOP meeting, JP Marzullo is probably the person who has impressed me more than anyone else. He retired from private business three years ago and if anyone meets the description “dynamite personality”, he is that one. He and his bow tie are easily recognizable in any crowd and I truly think he has the knowledge and charisma to do good things for our local GOP.
(Senior Consumer Protection)
Earlier this past week, I attended a seminar in Portsmouth that was sponsored and brought together by Senator Jeanne Shaheen. The seminar was aimed at consumer protection for seniors, but it could just as well have been attended by the public at large. That meeting was the fourth in a series in the state with the same presenters, who included Derek Rill of the Federal Trade Commission, James Boffetti, assistant N.H. attorney general and chief of the consumer protection bureau, and Mike Genron of the U.S. Postal Service Postal Inspection Office.
The most outstanding consumer tip for seniors that impressed me was: Seniors who have Medicare almost always carry their Medicare card with them, in their purse or wallet. Why? That card has their social security number and name printed on it in bold print and that is all identity thieves need to wreck a senior’s credit. Advice from the panel was to put that card in a very safe place and keep it there. Seniors almost all know their social security number and that is all that is needed any time Medicare information is entered at a doctor’s office or drug store or hospital. It is likely that senior purse-snatching or pick-pocketing is aimed more at their Medicare card than credit cards or money.
(My Rambling on Politics of the Week)
I am a Republican. I am and always have been a fiscal conservative but social moderate. I believe strongly in some things but don’t really have a strong opinion one way or another on some social issues. That comes from a combination my upbringing, my religion (which is nobody’s business except mine by the way), and my world-view that comes from over 40 years of working in more than 30 countries and every state in our union.
Yesterday at the state GOP meeting, I mingled with delegates who had opinions that ranged from almost exactly the same as mine to “extremely far to the right of mine”. I couldn’t find a whole bunch that ranged far to the left of mine though.
What impressed me was that all of us who went to the effort to get elected at the local and county and then the state level and put in the long term effort to actually work and perform our elected duties were “brothers and sisters” who actually respected each others opinions. We were able to talk and debate and maybe reach no conclusion but we were able to shake hands and walk away with dignity and respect for each other.
Last night on reading some of the online comments to articles covering the GOP elections, it struck me really hard that without fail all of the negatives were people who are in the fringe of both sides with no skin in the game. They were not at the meeting. I have seen none of them at any level of anything working inside either major party, neither Democrat nor Republican. They seem to be simply disgruntled lonely people who have little else to do other than sit at home and post comments of spite and venom from either the far left or far right… they all sound exactly the same to me, just different nouns and adjectives.
My point: if they are so passionate, then why not get involved and help things happen? Simply talking with negatives has never accomplished much of anything anywhere. Maybe it’s just me, but I just don’t understand the point of so much complaining without being willing to do something about it. But then, I hate reality shows on TV also, so maybe it is just me.