I’m that guy. At least that’s how presidential campaigns refer to me when they come to New Hampshire to court our votes.
Over the past six months, 16 Republican candidates have launched presidential campaigns and found their way up to the Granite State. One by one they’ve invaded our diners, schmoozed at our lakefront properties, and walked in our parades. And who would blame them? When it comes to presidential politics New Hampshire is the place to be! Some candidates have been brave enough to take the time to host town halls and entertain questions – that’s how I became affectionately known as that guy.
Since May I have actively sought out Republican presidential candidates to get their perspective on the important issue of addressing America’s energy, economic, and environmental security.
New Hampshire stands at the forefront of the nation when it comes to protecting the environment while preserving our economy, because a number of our current and former leaders – including Kelly Ayotte and Judd Gregg – grasp the notion that the two are inextricably linked. Not only do we talk the talk, but we also walk the walk when it comes to adopting nonpartisan, commonsense policies that preserve the vitality of both our land and local economy.
Take Ayotte’s leadership as an example. Whether serving as our state’s attorney general, or now as our U.S. senator, Ayotte has always been willing to reach across the aisle to build consensus and accomplish commonsense energy reforms. Senator Ayotte was also one of only six Republicans to vote against an effort to weaken mercury emissions from power plants. And just last year, Senator Ayotte supported the Supreme Court’s decision that cleared the way for clean-air policies to protect New Hampshire and other downwind states from pollutants emitted by power plants in other states.
Some have said that climate change is an issue that only Democrats care about. But last time I checked Republicans also care about having clean air, clean water, and enjoying our natural heritage. That is why I want to know what my Republican candidates stand for, and I am not alone – let’s look at some numbers.
Earlier this year, Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions (CRES) commissioned a survey of Republican primary voters in New Hampshire on clean energy and the environment. The survey found that 53 percent of Republican primary voters support placing greater emphasis on diversifying our energy sources to include wind, solar, and hydropower. Further, 59 percent of millennial Republicans believe there should be a greater emphasis on renewables, and (and this should really resonate with our field of presidential candidates) 57 percent of primary voters favor the federal government taking steps to reduce emissions that cause global climate change.
Clearly, there’s no better place than New Hampshire for Republican presidential candidates to lay out their vision for preserving America’s national and economic security through a comprehensive and conservative energy plan.
Thus far I’ve had the unique opportunity to ask questions of 15 presidential candidates. From Donald Trump to Jeb Bush to George Pataki, most have espoused conservative positions that have impressed me. They often speak of promoting “local control” and a “balanced approach” that reduces emissions and enhances technological innovation, job creation and national security through an all of the above, clean energy approach that encompasses wind, solar, and nuclear power. As a free-market-loving New Hampshire Republican, that’s music to my ears.
No man is an island; none of us are alone. As a Marine and the father of three sons, I understand we have a duty and responsibility to pass on to future generations a natural and safe environment in even better shape than what we were blessed to inherit from our forefathers. That isn’t a New Hampshire value, it’s an American one.
Presidential candidates should take it from this guy: sound federal policies modeled after the success our leaders have achieved in New Hampshire will accomplish this task, and also ensure quality jobs and an economy that’s built to compete in the 21st Century.
Mike Castaldo is a resident of Dover, a former member of the Marine Corps Reserves, and former candidate for the New Hampshire State House of Representatives. For more information visit citizensfor.com.