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Jul 13, 2016 11:43 PM

Sununu unveils economic plan; tells NH1 no erosion of support over Planned Parenthood vote

NH1 News Political Director

MANCHESTER – Chris Sununu says “we need to get government out of the way of business and we need to create incentive programs to really drive an economic work force.”

The three-term Executive Councilor and Republican gubernatorial candidate made the comment as he unveiled his “blueprint for economic growth in New Hampshire.”

And in an interview with NH1 News minutes after announcing his plan at Central Paper Products in Manchester, Sununu touted that he hasn’t “lost a single major endorsement” in the two weeks following his high profile vote to restore state funding for Planned Parenthood.

Sununu introduced his economic plan after touring Central Paper Products, a nearly 70 year old family owned wholesaler that’s one of the largest suppliers of paper products in the Granite State. The company’s owners are supporting Sununu’s bid for the Corner Office.

Sununu’s plan promotes “creating a business friendly climate.” As part of that push, Sununu advocates for a “Right to Work” law in New Hampshire.

Sununu told NH1 News that the passage of such a law “here in New Hampshire will really tell the rest of the country we are open for business. That is what we are all about here in New Hampshire. We have to get that mindset, rein still that vigor, if you will, as being the heart of new England business development. We used to be, we just haven’t been. After nearly 20 years of Democratic leadership in the state that has not prioritized economic development in the state, we have to get back to it. Our business taxes are too high, our regulations are too burdensome.”

Sununu, who touted his business experience as chief executive officer of the Waterville Valley Resort, vowed that “I will visit one hundred companies in my first one hundred days.”

The candidate also called for repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, which is better known as Obamacare. Asked what he would replace it with in the Granite State, Sununu said “we need health care that's affordable. it's that simple.”

“Health care is a major cost to the businesses in this state and we need to get it under control,” he added.

Sununu’s plan also calls for keeping “NH graduates in NH,” growing community colleges, incentivizing technical schools, and reducing energy rates. And it prioritizes improving infrastructure, from the states roads and bridges to expanded fiber connectivity.

Asked how he would pay for such high dollar projects, Sununu said “when you’re able to drive more business into the state, that’s how you actually increase the revenues, by lowering businesses taxes and telling everyone we’re open for business and driving business into the state, the state revenues actually increase. It’s a method that’s tried and true in about 30 other states with Republican governors.”

State Democrats quickly criticized Sununu’s proposals. An email statement from the New Hampshire Democratic Party described his plan as “consisting of little more than red meat for the Republican base. All the far-right talking points were there- repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, right to work, slash taxes for special interests and big corporations, repeal environmental protections.

“Chris Sununu would be terrible for New Hampshire’s economy, plain and simple,” NHDP Chair Ray Buckley said in a statement. “Sununu unfailingly promotes far-right policies that benefit only his wealthy backers and leave New Hampshire families behind.”

Sununu on Planned Parenthood vote: 'I'm still here'

Two weeks ago Sununu joined the two Democrats on the Executive Council in voting to restore state funding for Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, a move that was opposed by many conservatives.

Asked by NH1 News how his supporters have reacted, Sununu joked “I’m still here,” before seriously adding that “we haven’t lost a single major endorsement over that vote because while people are very passionate about it, I don’t try to tell people I’m right and they’re wrong. We have different opinions on it.”

With Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan running for the U.S. Senate against incumbent Republican Kelly Ayotte, the race for the Corner Office is the most wide open in more than a decade. Sununu is facing off against Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas, state Sen. Jeanie Forrester, and state Rep. Frank Edelblut for the GOP gubernatorial nomination.

Fellow Executive Councilor Colin Van Ostern, Mark Connolly, who served nearly a decade as the state’s chief financial watchdog, and former Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand, are the major candidates battling for the Democratic nomination.

Executive Councilor and Republican gubernatorial candidate Chris Sununu tours Central Paper Products in Manchester before unveiling his economic plan, on July 13, 2016

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