Meet the Candidates: Matt Mayberry, Republican Running For 1st CD | New Hampshire Public Radio

Meet the Candidates: Matt Mayberry, Republican Running For 1st CD

Aug 27, 2020

Matt Mayberry
Credit Josh Rogers/NHPR

The Exchange continues its series of primary candidate interviews with Matt Mayberry, Republican candidate for Congress in the 1st district. A former N.H. GOP vice chairman, Mayberry is a decorated Air Force veteran and has been active in politics, serving on the Dover City Council and, in 2018, on the N.H. Commission for Human Rights. We discuss his positions on the coronavirus pandemic, police reform, and other issues. We welcome  your questions: send them before the show to exchange@nhpr.org.

 Air date: Friday, Aug. 28, 9:20 -9:40

To hear this conversation, which was part of the Aug. 28 Weekly N.H. News Roundup, click here. The interview with Matt Mayberry begins about 25 minutes in. Scroll down for the transcript.

Transcript

 This transcript was machine-generated and contains errors.

Peter Biello:
Right now, we're speaking with candidates running in the September 8th primary, next, Matt Mayberry. He's a Republican candidate for Congress in the first district. A former New Hampshire GOP vice chairman, Matt Mayberry is a decorated Air Force veteran and has been active in politics, serving on the Denver City Council and in 2018 on the New Hampshire Commission for Human Rights. He was one of the Republicans hoping to challenge U.S. Congressman Chris Pappas in the general election in the fall. And Matt Mayberry joins us now by Zoom. Thank you very much for being here.

Matt Mayberry:
Good morning, Peter. How are you today?

Peter Biello:
Doing well, thank you very much. Glad to have this conversation with you. And I wanted to start with an issue that you are very familiar with, and that's the issue of the Second Amendment, because you organize gun shows and you've said you want to expand Second Amendment rights, including removing any barriers to owning a suppressor. Now, for those of us who aren't familiar with the suppressor. Can you explain what that is and why that is important to you?

Matt Mayberry:
Sure, part of it is for those who may not know, it's also called a silencer.

Peter Biello:
OK, that's a that's a term more people might be familiar with.

Matt Mayberry:
Yes. And so what this does is allows, you know, we have gun ranges, such as Major Waldron's here in Barrington, that's outside, that would just lower the noise dust bowl for the neighborhood and the neighbors. And I think it's part of it as an accessory to a firearm that is protected under the Constitution.

Peter Biello:
You've said that that you are a states rights guy. Should states be allowed to regulate guns the way they want to or should there be a federal policy?

Matt Mayberry:
There should be a federal policy because it does fall under the U.S. Constitution, but in keeping with my states rights policy, if a state passed legislation, that's up to the state. But I want to see it expanded.

Peter Biello:
And in what way would you want to see it expanded?

Matt Mayberry:
I'd like to see you be able to carry from Caribou, Maine, to Malibu, California. I think it's part of our rights. I think that if your state allows for a constitutional concealed carry, then the other 49 states should respect your laws. And I also want, as we talked about earlier, the accessibility to accessories, such as a suppressor. I also want to have a consistent baseline of Stand Your Ground legislation, because right now there are, I think, 17 different forms of stand your ground across our country. I think we need to have one standard level.

Peter Biello:
I want to ask you about racist policies in government and what, if anything, the government should do in your view. The national conversation about race, of course, is going on right now, especially given what's happened in Wisconsin. Is there a specific action you would take to combat systemic racial injustice, whether it's in housing policy or education or some other area of public concern?

Matt Mayberry:
Governor Chris Sununu appointed me to be chairman of the Board of Commissioners for the State of New Hampshire Commission Against Discrimination. So I've seen it. I don't think there's systemic racism, discrimination does happen. I'm also a realtor. So, you know, in the last segment, talk about red line laws. We're taught in our ethics classes about discrimination and fighting against red line, so I think it's a conversation we need to have. Peter, when we get into conversations and one on one discussions, that's a good thing, education is always good. When you get into looting and rioting and destroying people's property and infringing on other people's rights to quiet enjoyment, I think that's wrong. I like to see the temperature brought down a great deal and have us around the table talking about this, such as Governor Chris Sununu, bringing folks together, having a discussion and working towards it. We're not perfect. We need to get better every single day and we will.

Peter Biello:
So on the question of systemic racism, I mean, there are many people who would disagree with you. And one of the things they would cite is the disproportionate contact that police have with black and brown people. Is is that and not, in your view, an element of systemic racism?

Matt Mayberry:
When we talk about law enforcement, I carry that challenge with me every single day. My best friend is a police officer. He wears a bulletproof vest to work, so you don't have to. He goes to work at 11:00 at night so you can stay home with your family and children. He is willing to die for us. I push back on this systemic racism, I think any time, I go back to my earlier point of education, we're bringing forward body cameras, dash cams, all the things. We need to continue to educate our law enforcement but we also need to continue to educate our community. We cannot go burning down buildings because we disagree with something that's happening in the news, we can't go looting and rioting. If you saw what happened last night when people trying to leave the White House from the president's speech, they were accosted. A woman that we know here in New Hampshire, her name is Danielle. She was...liquids thrown into her face. If they had been arrested and she's hoping that's water. Violence does not contribute to the conversation that we need to have moving forward.

Peter Biello:
I don't think anybody and I don't think anybody here is advocating for violence. But the question is about systemic racism. And the example I used was disproportionate contact, not just in New Hampshire, although that has been shown, but across the country, it doesn't seem like you believe that that is an element of systemic racism.

Matt Mayberry:
You seem to love the word systemic racism, that seems to be your favorite word this morning. I'm saying that there are incidents that happened that we need to have a conversation and get better as professions, as professionals and as citizens. And we need to keep talking and understand each other better as Commissioner of Human Rights for the state of New Hampshire, I did that for a year and a half.

Peter Biello:
Do you support the Black Lives Matter movement?

Matt Mayberry:
I support having conversations about ending discrimination. I support conversations and education to end any type of discrimination. You know, Governor Chris Sununu appointed a special attorney general for this appointment, a commissioner of human rights to the state of New Hampshire, we're taking an active lead to rid this state of any form of discrimination.

Peter Biello:
I want to ask you a little bit about the covid-19 pandemic, since that is also big in the news lately and affecting a lot of people's lives. In Congress, what do you what more do you think should be done to address it?

Matt Mayberry:
I think we need to open up our economy, I think in hindsight, when we offered the $600 bonus for unemployment. That actually caused people to stay home, Peter. They made more money staying home than they did working, and that has slowed small businesses from opening. That's hurt our economy. So I think, you know, the government should try to get the federal government to try to get out as much as we can, allow states the flexibility to work with the crisis and get our economy back up and going again.

Peter Biello:
With respect to the 600 dollar payments. Agreed. There are people out there who have said that they they make more on these these benefits than they than they would normally working. Is that not a sign that that wages are too low and that something should be done to increase the the amount people are paid?

Matt Mayberry:
Not even close. I think the PPP, when it was first introduced, it helped a lot of small businesses that needed it. It was an unfunded federal mandate when they said you must shut down your businesses. That was wrong and the government should help those small businesses. I have no problem with, when you fund an unfunded mandate, of saying we will give you options to earn an income, but this whole Bernie Sanders, Andrew Yang, we must have a minimum wage or a minimum...

Peter Biello:
Universal basic income.

Matt Mayberry:
Thank you. I think that's wrong.

Peter Biello:
So with respect to the pandemic, I mean, do you think that the that businesses should not have been forced to shut down at all?

Matt Mayberry:
I think businesses should have an opportunity, they should have had choice. When the federal government mandates that you must shut down, you're taking away people's options. We're adults, we're educated. We should continue to be educated and make educated decisions on how we want to conduct our business and the risk that we take going forward. I wear a mask, especially when it is a sign on the door saying, please wear a mask. We would appreciate it. Of course. Because it's their business, their options. I think it's up to you, Peter, to protect yourself and how you protect your family. And I disagree with the whole you're not wearing it for yourself, you're wearing it to protect me. I'm an adult, I can protect myself just fine.

Peter Biello:
I think I think the way the argument is played out with respect to that is that, you know, you can wear a mask and still have a chance of transmitting a disease. It's not just protecting yourself. It is protecting others. I think the science has borne that out.

Matt Mayberry:
And there we sit.

Peter Biello:
The deficit and the national debt have risen not just because of covid-19 relief spending, but because of tax cuts the GOP pushed through early in the president's term. That is, you know, the deficit and the debt is a concern among some. Is that something that you were concerned about? And if so, were the tax cuts appropriate?

Matt Mayberry:
The deficit is a huge concern of mine. Peter, I think what happened was when we saw the tax cuts that led to our booming economy prior to covid. We had the lowest unemployment we had, you know, our economy is cranking right along.

Peter Biello:
But unemployment was already low before those tax cuts. It's hard to say that one caused the other.

Matt Mayberry:
And it continued it. It allowed our businesses to grow and to prosper and for the middle income to rise and stabilize. And that's a good thing.

Peter Biello:
So you support the tax cuts.

Matt Mayberry:
I would make permanent, Peter, I would make them permanent, because that caused our economy to bloom, blossom and grow. That sunshine that was created on there got our economy going and covid shut it down and we're going to get our economy back up and going.

Peter Biello:
So if spending levels continue, even with those cuts that you want to make permanent, then the debt and the deficit are going to increase unless they're there are cuts that happen. Do you have any specific areas where you think cuts should be made?

Matt Mayberry:
I do, absolutely. I think the federal Department of Education should be eliminated. I think it should be a padlock on the door and let states keep their money, going back to being a states rights guy, I think John Sununu, Chris Sununu, Frank EdelBlut, our legislature, can educate our children a whole lot better than a bureaucrat can in Washington. That will be millions upon millions of dollars saved and sent back to the states to help educate our children. I believe in school choice. I think that the money should follow the child, not the child have to go chase the money down.

Peter Biello:
Is that enough to to level out the budget and or, because it seems like just my quick search here, is that its annual budget of 68 billion dollars, or at least it was a couple of years ago.

Matt Mayberry:
Well, a billion here, a billion there eventually get to some real money. So it's a good start, Peter.

Peter Biello:
This is not the first pandemic the world has seen and there may be another one someday. How in Congress do you think you could help to better prepare the country for the next one?

Matt Mayberry:
I think we've learned a lot of lessons from this. We need to bring our supply chain back to the United States. We need to manufacture our own PPP, but also our own pharmaceuticals right here in America. We saw that firsthand. We also look at how states and individuals respond to covid. Peter, when this came forward. I found 200 gallons of hand sanitizer that I delivered to first responders, specifically police departments, all around the state. I helped find 2000 face masks that I delivered to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Department. I delivered over 200 meals to Strafford County Meals on Wheels program, because it's about neighbor checking on neighbor. I also helped find Chrome books for low income children so they can continue their education. It's how we as individuals...I believe in personal responsibility and individual liberty nd it's people like myself who step forward and help our communities. But on a larger scale, nationally, we need to bring our manufacturing of pharmaceuticals back here to American shores.

Peter Biello:
We have this question from Jerry in Dover, he wanted to follow up on the conversation we had earlier about the Second Amendment, and he says, Jerry says, using the candidate's logic of respecting the carry and conceal laws from one state in a state that does not allow it, would that mean that New Hampshire would have to respect laws such as the Massachusetts law to tax earnings in New Hampshire? I think Jerry's referring to the Massachusetts attempt to tax workers who live in New Hampshire and who used to commute to Massachusetts but haven't been commuting to Massachusetts because of the pandemic. What do you what do you say to Jerry's comment? Matt Mayberry.

Matt Mayberry:
Big leap from the Second Amendment to personal income tax.

Peter Biello:
Well, the idea of respecting, you know, one state's laws in a state that does not allow such a thing.

Matt Mayberry:
But when you're the resident of New Hampshire, and you spend most of your time working in New Hampshire, I agree with Governor Chris Sununu that you should not be withheld in income tax. You're here in New Hampshire, living here, working here. So you should not be paying that Massachusetts income tax. I support our governor.

Peter Biello:
I think the spirit of Jerry's question is why have state laws at all If, you know, you can have a state law but someone else can from another state can come into your state and break it with impunity? Is that fair? I think that's Jerry's question or the spirit of it, at least.

Matt Mayberry:
I just think that if you live in New Hampshire, you should not be a Massachusetts income tax if you're working in New Hampshire.

Peter Biello:
Let's let's ask about immigration, because you've said that you you you disagree with the family separation policy, saying it was bad for the parents and the children. What specific policy changes in immigration would you like to see?

Matt Mayberry:
Absolutely. First of all, I would outlaw or ban sanctuary cities. We have 368 sanctuary cities. And if I had my way, they would get zero federal funding. We shouldn't pay you to break the law.

Peter Biello:
Oh, as far as I understand, though, they're not breaking the law. They're just not holding a, someone without documentation who has not committed a serious crime, and the federal courts have affirmed that that's the right thing to do. It's unconstitutional to detain someone like that for longer.

Matt Mayberry:
When you're breaking the law and a municipality is assisting and harboring that criminal because you are breaking the law no matter which way you look at it. Peter.

Peter Biello:
Well, it's not a crime. It's a civil violation. And they can't hold them for civil violations. It's a civil violation to not have paperwork. It's not a crime.

Matt Mayberry:
It's still breaking the law.

Peter Biello:
So you would outlaw sanctuary cities and deny them funding, is there any other changes to immigration policy that you would like to make?

Matt Mayberry:
I would I would actually take... President Trump's done a good job of building the wall 15 feet high. I would continue it 15 feet below ground so you can't tunnel in. I like Congressman Will Hurd's thought of that we have open desert, you have sensors and use drone technology to patrol those borders. We need and we must strengthen our borders.

Peter Biello:
For the sake of immigration.

Matt Mayberry:
Correct. Illegal immigration,

Peter Biello:
Illegal immigration.

Matt Mayberry:
I do favor the expansion, stabilization of the H1, H-1B, H2-A, H-2B visas because that helps New Hampshire with our economy. We derive five billion dollars for our economy comes from tourism. We need to have foreign guest workers come and help our restaurants, our hotels, our tourist attractions. That is part of our economy. Exporting from New Hampshire is a 5.8 billion dollar industry. I want to see that extend over six billion dollars. But we often need people with specific technical and scientific expertise to come into New Hampshire, help our companies grow, help our exports grow and keep our economy growing. So I do believe in legal immigration. I do believe in guest worker visa programs. I've seen it work. I've heard from small businesses and it works for them.

Peter Biello:
What about refugees, as we spoke about with Steve Negron earlier, the Trump administration has reduced the number of refugees allowed to find safe harbor in the United States. Should that be reversed? Should more refugees be allowed to come to the United States in search of safety for themselves and their families?

Matt Mayberry:
Each law and regulation should continuously be reviewed. I believe in God, I believe in the power of prayer. I think when people come to the border and they're escaping religious persecution, that should be looked at. It should be fast tracked. And decide pretty quickly whether it's a genuine refugee situation which they're escaping for their lives or from religious persecution, or they're just trying to get into the country faster through legal immigration. But I do think refugees should be looked at. I think any policy should be reviewed if it's effective. Great. If not, how do you tweak it to make it more effective for those who are served and being served by it?

Peter Biello:
Let's go to the phones and talk to Jen and Kim. Jen, thank you very much for calling. What's your question?

Caller:
Hi, I'm getting very disconcerted here. I'm wondering...I'm hearing all the advocacy for the individual parts of things, individual states rights, individual, a lot of things, and you know what happens when the individual of one thing outweighs the others, whether education or health care. I'm a person with cancer and and a whole bunch of things. I'm a minority religion. And you're talking about religion right now. And, you know, there are so many religions, so many different health care options. My understanding is part of what makes America great is that the sum of our parts are greater as a whole. Is that something that as a states right and advocate for all these individual parts, you know, you tend to put one cart ahead of others. If you take, you know, states rights or individual rights, then you drown out the other parts. That's part of why we're having so much trouble with diversity, is that, does this not weigh in with this states right thing. What happens with health care and religion if if we don't have more of a "sum of the parts" take on it and we don't come out of it as a more unified whole.

Peter Biello:
So, Jen, your question about unity as well as states rights. I'll put it to Matt Mayberry.

Matt Mayberry:
Thank you for the question. We had our 90 day experiment with socialism. We were told when to go outside, what to wear when we go outside, when you shall shop, when you shall work, when you shall educate your children, all dictated by the government, by the government. And I think we had a very systemic pushback on that. I do believe in personal responsibility. I do believe in individual liberty. And as you mentioned, your own comments, Jen, that there are choices and there are options that you as an individual have. It's not the government telling you this is where you shall get your health care. This is where you shall work. This is not the universal paycheck. This is exactly how much you shall make. No, this is America. This is land of the free and home of the brave. You as an individual have those options, you have those choices, you make it every single day. I want to expand that. I want to grow our economy. I want those small businesses to thrive. I want your children have choices in education so they can get the very best start in life. I am so excited for what's coming forward. We are a great country. America does hard things well. Here in New Hampshire we're made of granite. We're resilient. We're going to come back better, stronger, more educated. We have challenges in our society every single day that we need to get better. We're not perfect. And I think when we work together, we will do that.

Peter Biello:
I wanted to follow up on something you just said there. Broadly speaking, does the government have a role in managing a public health crisis?

Matt Mayberry:
Of course, is to help make sure that we get the PPE, that we get our pharmaceuticals back here, that we incentivize companies, if President Trump didn't mandate that certain companies swap over their manufacturing to ventilators, where would it be right now? There is a role. There's also a role of disseminating uniform information to everyone, but there is a role for the federal government.

Peter Biello:
I'll ask you a question about bipartisanship. You may have heard this question before, but what policy issues, if any, do you think you would find common ground with with Democrats and be willing to push with them, perhaps against members of your own party?

Matt Mayberry:
Peter, two come right up to mind. I live in Dover, and so I'm very concerned about the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and those 7300 jobs right there. Chellie Pingree, who's in Maine, should she be re-elected is a Democrat, I'd work with her to protect those jobs at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. I'm also very concerned about our very small fishing fleet here in New Hampshire. I think we're now down to seven or eight boats. I've been here for 35 years working with the people of New Hampshire. My opponent in the primary moved here in January and three weeks after he moved here, filed for office. I'm the New Hampshire guy, I'm not the carpetbagger, I will fight for that fishing industry, I'll fight alongside any Democrat, any Republican, I want to protect those jobs. I didn't move here from Washington as part of my resume. I moved here because I found veterans losing their access to mental health care. That's what got me engaged. There's $134 million dollars of unpaid medical bills on the VA. And Congressman Pappas is chairman of the Oversight and Investigations Committee of the VA. He failed us, Peter. That's why I'm running. We need someone who can do a better job. We actually need someone who will actually fight for New Hampshire and not just talk about it. This, you know, we're drowning in red tape and the Democrats are just shoving more on top of us every single day. And that's wrong.

Peter Biello:
Republican Matt Mayberry running for the 1st Congressional District as a Republican in the primary on September 8th. Thank you very much for speaking with me. Really appreciate it.

Peter, thank you for the opportunity today and please go to Mayberry for Congress dot com to learn more.

We've got a little more of the program to to bring to you after a quick break. Still to come, how one very average New Hampshire strip mall is riding out the pandemic.

Reminder, too, that you can hear all of the conversations that we've had with primary candidates in this series at  NHPR.org. This is the Weekly New Hampshire News Roundup on The Exchange.