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Bob Odell
State Senator
District 8

August 1, 2010

Senator Odell is Chairman of  the Ways and Means Committee, and member of the Energy, Environment and Economic Development Committee;  Finance Committee; Citizens Trade Policy Commission; State Park System Advisory Council; and Comprehensive Cancer Plan Oversight Board.

Senate District 8 towns: Acworth, Alstead, Charlestown, Claremont, Gilsum, Goshen, Langdon, Lempster, Marlow, New London, Newbury, Newport, Roxbury, Stoddard, Sullivan, Sunapee, Sutton, Unity, Walpole, Washington and Westmoreland.

 

 

Governor Lynch was in Claremont last week and packed in several stops. That included a visit to modular home builder, Preferred Business Systems. It was a banner day for PBS as U. S. Senate candidate Kelly Ayotte had visited the plant earlier in the day.

I caught up with the Governor at Red River Computer in the redeveloped mill district. Currently, Red River occupies two floors above the Common Man Hotel and is looking to expand to an additional floor. Rick Bolduc explained some of the companyís future expansion plans based upon predicted sales grow.

Employees were invited to meet with the Governor and it was clear how young and energetic the staff is. The average age of employees at Red River is less than half my age. As I talked with a number of the workers, I learned that many of them live nearby Ö Claremont, Sunapee, Plainfield and so forth. Having 100 young people come to work in the downtown of any community is a positive economic force.

We also paid a quick visit to the Common Man restaurant where the report was that business was excellent. The Governor had a chance to go out on the patio and walk around the outside of the building looking over the Sugar River. He was clearly impressed given the state of the building when he visited in the early days of renovation.

There was also a stop to meet with Shelly Hudson at the Chamber of Commerce and to have city manager Guy Santagate join us as we visited city hall. Then, the Governor took a quick tour of the new dental clinic led by Kyle Messier. Again, he was very impressed with the clear need for dental services being met by the clinic. The Governorís visit finished with a walk up and back on Pleasant Street. That always means a stop at the Granite State College facility. I reminded the Governor that we think of him as being the father of that operation that now reaches about 500 students each year.

* * *

When Jerry Little began working for the New Hampshire Bankers Association in 1989, there were 115 banks in New Hampshire. Today that number is 32 and could soon be less thanks to the "Dodd-Frank bill" that will change the nationís financial service industry regulations.

Jerry is the long time president of the bankers association and he was in the area to address a local civic group. His task was not easy, given he had just a few minutes to try to explain key issues of the new legislation which is 2,300 pages in length. It is the most comprehensive financial regulatory reform legislation since the 1930ís.

 

 

In reviewing how we got to the new law, Jerry explained the importance of the housing industry in our economy and the financing of housing. The lowering of credit standards, having more and more mortgages being originated by entities other than traditional banks, and the collateralization of mortgages as financial instruments changed the way housing financing used to be done.

Now Congress, with the new legislation, is adding a regulatory burden to community banks which no one suggests caused the financial uncertainty that led to the recession. So, not only are mega banks on Wall Street going to face new regulatory regimes, so too will local community banks. Analysts have suggested a bank needs about $500 million of assets to be profitable if it is to meet current regulatory requirements. Today some say that it will take double that or one billion dollars of assets to be able to take on the old and the new regulatory requirements.

I wrote down "consolidation" as Jerry was explaining the potential impacts of the new law on community banks. Shortly, he suggested there would be "further bank consolidations in New Hampshire." The impact on local banks is clear. They may not be big enough to handle the costs of the 243 new rules and regulations in the Dodd-Frank legislation.

* * *

How many New England towns do not have a street named Elm? There are not many. The elms were the trees that lined tens of thousands of streets across the country until the Dutch elm disease destroyed nearly all native American elms between 1935-1965.

On Friday night, Washington joined 1,000 other communities which have planted more than 300,000 American Liberty Elms. The trees are disease resistant with less than one percent loss for newly planted trees. The name American Liberty Elm comes from the elm tree in Boston under which the "sons of Liberty" men like Paul Revere and John Hancock met to discuss and plan their resistance to the British and start down the road to American independence.

The dedication event was the first of three days of activities in Washington as it held a traditional Old Home Day, the first in that town in over a decade. The parade on Saturday brought many residents and visitors to center of that beautiful hill town.

Politicians could also march in the annual Unity Old Home Day parade. Kelly Ayotte, candidate for the United States Senate and John Stephen, candidate for Governor, both started their day with breakfast at the fire house. The crowd after the parade seemed bigger than past years and all were upbeat especially given the beautiful day. Old Home Days is a wonderful small town New Hampshire tradition for over 100 years that is worth keeping.

 

Bob Odell
State Senator
New Hampshire State House
107 North Main Street
Concord, NH 03301-4951

Telephone:  603-271-6733
Email:  rpojr@aol.com

 

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