LEBANON – Energy costs, education and public health are among the top issues identified by New Hampshire Senate candidates in District 5, where Democratic Senator Sue Prentice, D-Lebanon, will face Republican challenger John McIntyre, a neuroradiologist from Hanover, in the near future. New Hampshire general election.

Prentice, a paramedic and former mayor of Lebanon, is seeking a second term in the Senate. Elected in 2020, Prentice promotes her expertise in health care and government, both at the state and local levels, in providing her with extensive knowledge of the legislative process and “how state legislation affects local communities and the pressures on local property taxpayers.”

“Perhaps most importantly, my years working as a paramedic dealing with medical emergencies have made me adept at problem-solving,” Prentice told Valley News. “I move quickly to identify problems, identify a solution, and work with everyone to get the job done.”

McIntyre, a physician and business owner who provides radiology services to Dartmouth Health, is running for his first state election. He has never held public office.

MacIntyre credits his background in medicine for shaping his qualities as a “pragmatic” person, an “excellent listener (who can) make contact with everyone” and a “tireless work ethic”.

“I think we have more in common than we don’t,” McIntyre said. Valley News. “I bring a logical, respectful, emotional, and sound perspective to the pressing issues that affect our lives.”

Senate District 5, re-divided earlier this year using Census data for 2020, represents 15 municipalities: Canaan, Corniche, Dorchester, Enfield, Grantham, Groton, Hanover, Lebanon, Lyme, New London, Orford, Plainfield, Plymouth, Springfield and Wentworth.

While both candidates share similar concerns about issues such as health care and cost burdens for local taxpayers, they often differ widely in terms of policy.

On the issue of energy costs, Prentiss advocates expanding the state’s renewable energy portfolio, including by expanding opportunities for net-meter solar projects.

“Our electricity grid as a whole can benefit from the influx of low-cost solar energy into the grid, (which) will translate into opportunities to sell low-cost energy,” she said.

Prentice also expressed support for directing state energy regulators to adopt more flexible purchasing power policies, including the ability to choose from a greater variety of sources.

MacIntyre, while responding to some renewables, said he would not support renewable energy mandates that could “cause additional harm to price payers.”

“Solar is not very efficient in the Northeast in general for base load, and our neighbors have come to the same conclusion,” McIntyre said. “(Wind power) is only effective on the ridgelines of New Hampshire and is unpalatable to our citizens.”

McIntyre said the state needs to consider long-term alternatives to replace the “old” transmission system, given New Hampshire’s current reliance on imported central fuels such as coal and natural gas.

“We need to consider importing power from Hydro Quebec, a clean renewable hydropower source, increasing importing cheaper natural gas as a bridge to more renewable resources and exploring a second Seabrook nuclear reactor or a small-scale nuclear reactor (plant) of the future,” McIntyre said.

On education, Prentice criticized Education Freedom Accounts, the state school voucher program that gives state money — about $4,800 per student — to eligible low- and middle-income families to fund the costs of a nonpublic school education, such as a private school or home education option.

“Without resolving the long-standing problem of school funding, for all New Hampshire children, we are not in a position to transfer public funding to private and religious schools,” Prentice said.

Prentice noted the struggle in New Hampshire over public school funding at the state level. More than 70% of New Hampshire’s funding for public education, roughly $2.3 billion annually, is collected from local property taxes, hurting property-poor communities to fund their schools, according to advocates of a more equitable approach to financing New Hampshire’s public education.

Transferring money to school vouchers, Prentice said, “adds to the stress of school systems that are left behind when state dollars flow from local school systems rather than into them.” “Given the costs to local taxpayers now, that’s not the direction to move in.”

McIntyre said he supports the Education Freedom accounts, noting that families make different educational choices for their children and that the school voucher system allows families with low incomes to have more educational options.

McIntyre also said he supports temporary grants for public schools whose state funding has been reduced to fund voucher students.

On reproductive rights, Prentice expressed concern about the New Hampshire Abortion Act of 2022, which prohibits abortions after 24 weeks of pregnancy unless the patient’s life or health is in danger or a fatal fetal malformation occurs.

“The 24-week ban was not necessary,” Prentice said. “According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, less than 1% of miscarriages occur after 21 weeks and occur when the family learns (new) information about the pregnancy, such as a fatal fetal malformation.”

Prentice believes pregnancy decisions are a very complex and personal matter, and not a place for state or federal lawmakers to step in.

Prentice also worries that in the coming period the Republican-led legislature will attempt to further restrict access to abortion, now that the US Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade and reinstated states’ autonomy to decide their own abortion laws.

McIntyre has not offered his opinion on New Hampshire’s abortion law. But he vowed that he would “vote against any changes to the current law.”

“Education, prevention of unwanted pregnancies and technological advances in birth control will and will continue to be extremely beneficial[in reducing the number of miscarriages],” MacIntyre added.

Patrick Adrian can be reached at 603-7273216 or at [email protected]

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