As a State Representative, when I travel my district, I get to hear first-hand from the people of New Hampshire what’s on their mind. We get to discuss their hopes for the future, and their concerns for what could hold them back from achieving their slice of the American dream.
New Hampshire is a special state, with an amazingly rich history. After the American revolution, we were leaders. We were the first to create an independent government, and the first to ratify a state constitution. When we say “Live Free or Die,” you know that we mean it.
But despite our great history, our state has its share of problems to address in this 21st century economy. One of the concerns I hear about most is a concern about businesses and jobs leaving our state. Factories are closing up for good. Others are relocating elsewhere.
What’s a primary driver of this troubling trend? The high cost of energy.
Here in New England, we pay 53% more for our electricity than the national average. Stop and think about that for a moment. What kind of a difference would it make for your family’s budget if you could reduce your energy costs by half, bringing them down to where they are for most of the rest of the country.
The same holds true for employers. They’re looking at the high cost of the energy they need to power their businesses, and they’re looking for greener pastures where it’s more affordable to operate.
There are at least two other ways that high energy costs are hurting our state.
First, abnormally high energy costs weigh the most on low income Granite Staters. Far too many of my constituents see a large portion of their monthly budgets going to pay for the power than lights the lights, powers their appliances, and heats their home in winter. We have a duty to do all that we can to make this necessity of life more affordable to the people who can afford high energy costs the least.
Second, the high cost of living that’s driving jobs out of our state is also causing a brain drain. Recent college graduates are surveying their options, and they, too, are sensing that they have better prospects for gainful employment elsewhere than New Hampshire.
Having just graduated from college, I’ve seen this firsthand. College friends have packed up and left for good, because the job opportunities were better somewhere else. It’s hard to watch. Not just because you see good friends move away, but because, as a State Representative, I know that we can do better.
How do we begin to solve these problems? By making the political commitment necessary to modernize our state’s energy infrastructure.
An out-of-date and aging energy infrastructure has added $7.5 billion in unnecessary energy costs in New England in just the past three years. We have to do something about this, and we have to do something about it now.
If we modernize our energy infrastructure now, we can begin to bring affordable, safe, and reliable natural gas to our state. This will help to bring down energy costs for both employers and employees at home.
It’ll help make our state a more attractive place to live, work, and raise a family. Businesses that are here now won’t just stay, but we can begin to attract new businesses from other states, bringing new jobs for Granite Staters who are currently out of work.
College graduates will have a reason to stick around, as they’ll be able to find good-paying jobs close to home, rather than spreading out across the country.
Low-income families will breathe a little easier each time they pay their power bills, as they’ll see costs come down closer to the national average.
It’s time for us to get to work, and bring New Hampshire energy into the 21st century.