Pappas Talks Jobs With Carpenters As Edwards Takes Up Opioid Policy On Seacoast

Oct 5, 2018

Congressional candidate Chris Pappas (D) talks to Dan LeClerc, a carpenters' union organizer in Manchester.
Credit Sarah Gibson for NHPR

The candidates for New Hampshire's First Congressional seat campaigned in opposite sides of the district Thursday night.

In Manchester, Democrat Chris Pappas talked about economic opportunity. And in Dover, Republican Eddie Edwards discussed solutions to treating substance misuse and addiction.

Pappas made his campaign stop at a carpenter training facility to discuss his proposals for improving opportunity for middle class workers.

If elected, he vowed to work to reduce higher education costs, support paid family leave, enhance workforce training programs, and increase the federal minimum wage to $12 per hour.

"We’ve got to make sure that we reward hard work here in New Hampshire and across the country," he said. "In our own state, workers are losing out on good work and businesses are working out on qualified employees because our pay scale hasn’t kept pace with cost of living increases."

At the event, Pappas received an official endorsement from the New England Regional Council of Carpenters. Members of that union, which has two locals in New Hampshire, have supporteed Pappas in his previous political races.

Meanwhile, Edwards heard from advocates on the front lines of New Hampshire’s opioid crisis at a roundtable talk in a Dover recovery center.

Congressional candidate Eddie Edwards speaks with drug treatment advocates inside a Dover recovery center.
Credit Annie Ropeik / NHPR

The Republican candidate mostly listened for nearly two hours. He took notes and asked detailed questions about local syringe exchanges, access to detox centers, and the role of insurance in the opioid crisis.

Doug Griffin of the Addiction Policy Forum lost his daughter to an overdose in 2014. He says barriers to government funding can mean relying on a patchwork of grassroots services – and that doesn’t always succeed.

“It hits you like a hammer, when you’ve been working to save somebody’s life and it’s so clearly obvious what they need and you can’t get it,” Griffin says.

Edwards says that needs to change.

“We have barriers in place that are driving up costs,” Edwards says. “Everything we’re discussing tonight drives up costs in Medicaid. Everything.”

He says he wants government to, in his words, get out of the way – so community groups work together more freely on a stronger safety net.

Edwards and Pappas will face off in about a month for the U.S. House seat currently occupied by Demoncratic Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, who is retiring.