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Steve Winter
State Representative
District 3

June 4, 2011
"Special Interests"

Steven Winter represents the towns of Newbury and Sutton, Merrimack District 3, in the NH House of Representatives.

Representative Winter is a member of the House Executive Department & Administration  Committee, The Special Committee on Public Employee Pension Reform and the Joint Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules (JLCAR).

"To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target." Ė Paraprosdokian statement

You may have read on these pages some comments from a fellow InterTown Record columnist stating his opinions regarding N.H. legislators and "special interests". I believe he needs a bit of background to make correct judgments.

"We in N.H. now have a state legislature full of special interest lawmakers who will take every opportunity to pass legislation to appease their supporters," he proclaims. Although I do pass legislation to satisfy my supporters, my supporters are my constituents and the individual citizens who contributed to my campaign. More than 95% of my campaign contributions were personal donations.

The one exception was the NH Liberty Alliance, which supports adherence to the constitution. On the basis of my answers to [the NH Liberty Alliance] survey, they sent me a small donation. They didnít buy my vote; they sent money because my views coincided with theirs.

"They will kill environmental regulations if this is in the interest of power companies," he continues. If that were true, why would the House overwhelmingly (190-119) pass a resolution prohibiting the taking of land for the benefit of private foreign concerns (as we did to thwart the Northern Pass project) and a bill to virtually the same effect?

"They will revoke our participation in planning for rail service if this will help the bus lines." I never heard anything about bus lines in that debate. The reason funding was cut from the New Hampshire Rail Transit Authority in HB 218, was that we did not want to accept federal money to study a rail transit project that we would have to subsidize for the next 50 years.

But what about the "special interests"? If you mean lobbyists, I can tell you that with 400 members of the House, there are just too many of us for the lobbyists to bother with. (This is just one more reason why I like the 400 member house. It is virtually impossible to corrupt 400 volunteer house members.) Obviously, lobbyists do testify on bills, just like the rest of the public. But they donít corner us in the halls to make their cases. They would rather spend their efforts in the N.H. Senate, the third smallest in the country with only 24 Senators.

Finally, what are special interests? According to Wikipedia, a Special Interest Group is a community with an interest in advancing a specific area of knowledge, learning, or technology, where members cooperate to effect or produce solutions within their particular field. We are all members of special interest groups. If you are in a union, a club, a profession, a veteranís group, or a contributor to a charity, you are a special interest and you probably have a lobbyist somewhere.

Lobbyists inform us of their clientsí desires and provide background, perspective and information. Knowledge concerning the issues is a good thing and a good legislator will seek a counter argument, if available, from the other side. Thatís a good thing too.



Steve Winter, Representative, Merrimack District 3
Newbury and Sutton, New Hampshire 

Telephone:  603-271- 3125 and 271-3319

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