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0000017a-15d9-d736-a57f-17ff8d410000Race: U.S. SenateParty: RepublicanPolitical Experience: 1994-1998 – New Hampshire SenatePersonal: Married, one child; lives in HanoverEducation: Dartmouth CollegeCampaign WebsiteIssuesFormer chairman of the Granite State Coalition Against Expanded Gambling, Rubens says his top priority is restoring economic growth and good-paying jobs. He supports a “simpler, flatter” tax code to keep companies from outsourcing jobs and fewer regulations on American businesses.“We need to fix our regulatory structure. We are now the seventeenth most economically free country in the world, we've slipped from third in just thirteen years. We've got to dial back these regulations. I'm proposing that every ten years, all these regulations be sunset. They go back to Congress, Congress looks at them... are they compliant with statute, are they constitutional, are they doing what they are supposed to be doing….”Rubens supports repealing the Affordable Care Act and replacing it with ideas that “harness market forces” and increase consumer choice. That includes the interstate sale of insurance, allowing “young invincibles” to purchase a low-cost catastrophic policy and expanding health savings accounts.“I'm not in favor of mandating people to buy a product or service, and that includes health insurance. So we need to restructure the insurance marketplace so that people are incentivized to buy insurance. How do you do that? You let the free market - you let insurers and hospital and health providers, whether they be insurers or not or networks of hospitals and care providers - provide products and services that people want to buy.”Rubens is highly critical of U.S. foreign policy in Iraq and Syria, which he calls “crazy, haphazard” and has not made America safer. He believes the American military needs a long-term strategy to strengthen its intelligence-gathering and cyber-warfare capabilities.“So if there are cases when ISIS and other organizations are threatening American national security, we can use surgical mechanisms to eliminate these specific threats when on-the-ground and other means of intelligence discloses such threats, where ever they may originate from in the world.”

Rubens: "Harm Reduction" Best Way to Combat Drug Crisis

Paige Sutherland/NHPR
Jim Rubens talks drug policy in Manchester while campaigning for the U.S. Senate.

New Hampshire’s drug crisis is a common topic on the campaign trail this year. But U.S. Senate candidate Jim Rubens is touting a slightly different approach.

Rubens advocates for so-called "harm reduction" policies, things like drug assisted treatment, needle exchange programs, and the decriminalization of marijuana.

Campaigning in Manchester Monday, Rubens, a Republican, told reporters that Congress needs to end what he called the “war on drugs.”

“The failure of the prohibition, incarceration approach has been transparently visible," Rubens said. "It’s a stunning, remarkably grotesque deadly failure of policy and we have been aware of this for well over a decade."

During the press conference, Rubens showed a video of him recently talking to a group of female inmates at the Cheshire County Jail, who told him that being locked up only made their drug addiction worse.

Last year more than 420 people died from a drug overdose in New Hampshire, more than double the number from five years earlier.

Rubens also said if states were to legalize and tax marijuana, the money could be spent on drug treatment and prevention. Last week the New Hampshire Senate rejected a proposal to decriminalize half an ounce of marijuana. 

After serving two terms in the state Senate, Rubens was board president of a drug counseling center in Lebanon. Rubens is now running for incumbent Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte’s seat.

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