Granite Staters are heading to the polls Sept. 8 for New Hampshire's state primary election. There's also still time to drop off an absentee ballot with your local town or city clerk if you need.
Today, we're talking with the Republican candidates running to represent New Hampshire in the U.S. Senate. Here's retired Army Brig. Gen. Don Bolduc, from Stratham.
(This transcript was lightly edited for space and the web.)
Rick Ganley: I want to ask, what are your plans for strengthening the economy, given that, you know, we're in a recession with a pandemic?
Don Bolduc: Yes. So the first thing we need to do is open up our state, open up our country so our small businesses can get back to work. The next thing we need to do is really get Congress back in, working together, doing their job so that we can get the right targeted and temporary relief for our businesses that need help. This, in my mind, does not include bailouts and does not include an omnibus type package with a bunch of pork in it. It's going to be targeted and specific. You know, in New Hampshire alone, we're devastated by over 400 businesses going out of business. If we continue with these controls, with these mandates, it's going to go up probably another 30 percent. And we just have to get people back to work. We can't incentivize people to stay home. And, you know, if we just continue to do those things that we were doing before the pandemic, our economy will bounce back in a great V shape and will move out and get back, get back the economic viability that we had before the economic crisis.
Rick Ganley: What are some of the specifics that you'd like to see in an aid package?
Don Bolduc: Well, specifically, I would like to see those businesses targeted in the entertainment as well as the food service business. Those around here in New Hampshire that have been hurt really bad. In particular, I go around the state, the seacoast and up north and everywhere in between, I've been in all 10 counties talking to small business folks, and they're just not getting the relief in a timely manner. They're not getting enough enough money to to get themselves through this difficult time to be able to pay their... pay their employees employees and keep their businesses running. That's one key factor. The other thing is we got to get rid of the bureaucracy that's preventing things in the regulations that are attached to it, so people can get it fast, quick, timely and not inside a system that creates a bunch of delays.
Rick Ganley: The pandemic has highlighted inequities within the New Hampshire and the U.S. workforce in general. How do you plan to address economic inequity?
Don Bolduc: We just need to give people opportunity. We need to get the federal government out of the way of our communities, out of the way of our states and deregulate as much as we can. I think most of the economic success that we had prior to the pandemic was doing just that, allowing entrepreneurship to foster because of less regulation, small businesses being able to get the loans they need and the support they need because of deregulation. And the more the federal government controls, the more they are in our life, the less determined, the less initiative we're going to see. And that's the big thing. You know, my big thing, having been in government for over 33 years, I know that the best solutions are bottom-up solutions, not top-down solutions. And that's what I will look to empower people and empower communities so that they can become stronger.
Rick Ganley: But can you have opportunity without some regulation? Can you have equally distributed opportunities without some regulation?
Don Bolduc: Well, yes, of course, the federal government needs to make sure that people have fair and equal opportunity. And I think we have enough regulation there. I think what we've seen over the last, you know, decade or more is more regulations being placed, more control being placed outside of that which the government is supposed to create opportunities. The federal government isn't in the business of creating jobs. It's supposed to be in the business of creating opportunities. And that's what we need to look for. And when we see something that isn't fair isn't right, then we need to stand up and say something about it and problem, solve it and fix it.
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Rick Ganley: Do you see a need for reform and how law enforcement agencies in the U.S. operate?
Don Bolduc: Having been a former law enforcement officer myself, I know that 99.9 percent of the law enforcement officers out there are doing a great job for our communities, they're serving honorably. I think that we need to ensure leadership is doing their job and holding those law enforcement officers accountable when they do something wrong. You know, if it's a mistake retraining, if it's illegal, they're held accountable to the to the fullest standards of the law. I don't think anyone disagrees with that painting everybody with the same brush, shotgun-blast approach to solving problems, you know, don't work. And I think it's completely unfair to do that. So we hold leadership responsible. And here in New Hampshire, we have Police Standards and Training and the Police Standards and Training should be on top of, you know, the most progressive and latest policing techniques that empower police to do their job and keep our communities safe.
Rick Ganley: Well, many of our listeners want to know how candidates running for office plan to attain some degree of civility in political discourse. How would you work with those in Congress who hold different beliefs?
Don Bolduc: Well, you know, the first thing to do is walk around, shake hands, meet people.
I think we're you know, we can all find common ground in our rights and values and what matters to us here in America as defined in in in our Declaration of Independence, that we can stand firm, that our Constitution has set up an excellent government. And although people aren't perfect, if we follow this system, we will end up doing the right thing for everybody. So we got to find that common ground and that common ground is our rights, our values, our beliefs and promoting. We're here representing others, working for others, and we need to make sure that we solve problems for the collective good.
Rick Ganley: Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, Don Bolduc. Thanks so much for the time.
Don Bolduc: Thank you very much. God bless you. God bless your listeners. And thank you for the opportunity to be on NHPR.