Do Legislators Care About Health?

On March 17, I was at the State House when the House voted to lower the tax on cigarettes to provide more money for education. Legislators were concerned that people weren’t buying their cigarettes in NH and our revenues were down.

 Part of the money generated by lowering the tax will be used to teach children that smoking is harmful to health. Does anyone see anything wrong with this equation? The vote was 236 to 93. Less than 25% of the legislators voted for health.

 This same legislature will vote on the Northern Pass Project. Every town that has had a scoping meeting so far has, in unison and with record turnouts, petitioned to Stop the Northern Pass Project. Yea for the remnant of legislators who are listening to and petitioning with the citizens!

What I don’t understand is: with 400 legislators, why aren’t the rest of them doing their homework to learn what the Pass will mean for the voters they represent? Why do people in this state have to mobilize to convince the legislators that the Pass is bad news all around? Isn’t this process supposed to happen the other way around?

 Do people in NH have to vote in a whole new slate of legislators in 2012 that will actually represent voters, who will look out for health and safety issues, forest protection, loss of real estate, and tourist industry businesses and jobs? What suggestions have legislators come up with, such as burying the Pass, or other alternatives? How many will say, “No! Not on my watch?”

 What does the state motto, “Live Free or Die,” mean to legislators? Does it mean selling out to Hydro-Quebec? Who gets to live free? And who has to live under the wire?

 As a health care person, I have cared for brave little children struggling with leukemia and folks dealing with cancer and I OPPOSE any project that threatens to bring such possibilities to people in NH, and whose sole motivation for an above ground power line is to make bucks for a Canadian company and its lackeys.

 It’s time to take stock of how willing we each are to Keep Each Other Well.

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