North Country Issues
Covid-19 has demonstrated that my health affects you and your health affects me…we have all been wearing masks since March to protect our neighbors. NH residents need good insurance…it can be insurance through an employer, Medicaid, insurance from the Affordable Care Act or Medicare, we all need the security of being able to go to a doctor when we need one. A serious illness or accident shouldn’t bankrupt you and a pre-existing condition shouldn’t be a reason not to be insured. We all need access to good health care especially reproductive health care. When the state shut down for Covid-19 too many people lost their job and their insurance right in the middle of a pandemic. We can do better.
The North Country economy was starting to recover, and towns were looking for new enterprises and businesses and then Covid-19 shut us down. We can move forward and through this crisis by electing leaders who are dedicated to expanding opportunities for everyone, regardless of zip code. We are going to need leadership who people can trust and rely on as we navigate an unprecedented public health crisis and the worst economic recession since the Great Recession. Our rural communities need good-paying jobs, and access to technology. While COVID-19 is more scarce in our rural communities, our communities have been hit just as hard by the economic ramifications.
NH schools are dependent on property taxes to fund their schools. That’s fine if you live in a property rich school district but not so fine when you live in a property poor district. Many of our school districts in the North Country are property poor and this means the citizens of those towns pay higher taxes for fewer services. Currently there is a lawsuit on school funding wending its way through the courts. There is also a Commission looking at educational funding. They will have recommendations in December, and it will be up to the House and Senate to implement those recommendations.
Access- landline, cell & broadband
We have a unique opportunity. Covid -19 is more scarce in our area and now that people know they can work from home, real estate is prime. That will only last until we can guarantee that everyone has access to broadband, cell service and reliable landlines. Staying at home, trying to work from home, and also provide Internet service for remote learning and tele-health has demonstrated how far we need to go to remedy this issue.
It’s time we take a good look at the financial and social inequity in our country and state. The rate of pay for a CEO has skyrocketed while NH sticks with the federal base rate of $7.25/hour established in 1990. We now call many of our workers – essential. We’re going to call you an essential worker and then pay you $7.25 – something is wrong with that picture. Even working for 40 hours a week, no one can support a family on $7.25/hour. This places stress on our social systems. Most states fill in the gap with food stamps, section 8 housing, and generally with what was once called welfare. Without a living wage our social services budget is larger than it needs to be, essentially, we’re subsidizing corporations. Is that where you want your money to go? Let’s take a close look at this and provide for a fair and living wage for all our residents.