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0000017a-15d9-d736-a57f-17ff8f680000Coverage of the 2016 races in New Hampshire, from the White House to the State House.

Sununu Rails Against Red Tape, Picks Up Business Group's Endorsement

Casey McDermott, NHPR
Chris Sununu stopped by Maverick Integration, an automation technology company in Nashua, on Tuesday.

Just how bad, in Chris Sununu’s view, is the red tape facing New Hampshire businesses these days?

“We’ve become more like a regulatory police state, in many aspects,” Sununu said on a visit to Maverick Integration, an automation technology company in Nashua.

As he has for months on the campaign trail, Sununu again made a point of talking up his own challenging experiences as CEO of Waterville Valley Ski Resort over the last six years.

“We’ve never laid a single person off because of our high healthcare costs, but we constantly have to manage the time and effort we have to put in to make sure that we’re managing people, managing their hours,” Sununu said.

When it came to citing an example of how he’s been affected by burdensome regulations, Sununu largely singled out federal laws — like the Affordable Care Act — rather than state rules, as the source of his frustration. In some cases, Sununu acknowledged that he’s reduced employee hours to accommodate.

“I’ve had to sit in discussions with my employees and try to work with them: Where best can we fit your hours in? The time and effort that takes us to do that,” Sununu said. “Again, never laying a single person off, but having to constantly manage and juggle, sometimes hiring two people to do the job of one — it’s all to manage around this massive Washington bureaucracy that does nothing but hold our businesses back.”

Sununu has made his business experience at Waterville Valley a central part of his campaign. This week, he also touted an endorsement from the New Hampshire chapter of the National Federation of Independent Businesses.

Bruce Berke, the state director for the business group, cited Sununu’s familiarity with the state’s business climate as a factor in the endorsement.

“He knows these issues, he understands their impact, and he has lived these issues as a business owner,” Berke said Tuesday.

NFIB previously endorsed Sununu's bid for the executive council in 2014. The group typically supports Republicans but did endorse Democrat Chris Pappas in his executive council race against Republican Bob Burns that same year.

In this year's endorsement, Berke lauded Sununu’s positions on the minimum wage and taxes. Sununu has said he wants to keep New Hampshire’s minimum wage in line with the federal rate, and to keep lowering business taxes.

This is the latest endorsement to fall along traditional party lines in this year's gubernatorial race. On the other side, Democrat Colin Van Ostern has earned the backing of Planned Parenthood and a number of labor unions, which traditionally support candidates on the left.

This story has been updated to reflect that NFIB endorsed candidates of both parties in 2014.

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