September 30, 2016
State Senate Fails to Override Hassan's Veto of Concealed Carry Bill
“New Hampshire is continually rated one of the safest states in the nation and there is no overriding reason to make changes to our concealed carry law that has served us well for close to a century,” Watters said in a statement.
September 26, 2016
Renovated Career Technical Center praised by school officials, residents
Mayor Dana Hilliard said the center was a true reflection of Hilltopper spirit and an example of what could be done when the community comes together. He thanked State Sen. David Watters, D-Dover, and State Rep. Dale Sprauge, who is also a Somersworth City Councilor, for advocating for the school and moving in to the top of the list of schools that needed funding.
September 16, 2016
Hassan Issues Statement Supporting Dover's School Funding Victory
"I applaud the potential settlement to provide Dover with $1.4 million in adequacy funding for FY16, and I expect the Governor and legislative leaders to act quickly to provide the funds,” Watters said in the statement. “While it is disappointing that the funds for other communities affected by the unconstitutional adequacy cap will have to await legislation in January, I will work to expedite passage of that bill. This settlement will mean that finally the state will meet its constitutional obligations to fund an adequate legislation as established by the original Claremont suit."
September 11, 2016
Court Ruling Keeps Education Funding Fight Alive
“I applaud the decision of the Superior Court and urge Senate President Morse and Speaker Jasper to forgo appeal and provide the funding as quickly as possible,” Watters said. “It is far past time for the state to fulfill its constitutional duty to fund education adequacy fairly and fully.”
September 4, 2016
Editorial: We Support Statewide Black Heritage Trail
While there is some economic value in the tourism attracted by these efforts, the far greater value in honoring our neglected African-American heritage is that it gives us a far truer and more detailed understanding of who we are collectively as a people. Until recently, black American history has been undervalued by the majority white culture, even though black lives were interwoven with white lives in highly personal ways.
Now Valerie Cunningham and JerriAnne Boggis, of the Black Heritage Trail, Dover state Sen. David Watters and many others have formed a nonprofit that aims to spread the success of Portsmouth’s efforts to dozens of other communities across the state, which also have historic sites of great value and significance.
Wednesday, July 27
Report Warns of Threat to Shipyard from Rising Sea Levels
The report examines at the potential effects through the lens of coastal military installations, including the shipyard. The analysis called sea level rise an extraordinary challenge that should be planned for now.
"There's a nuclear-powered submarine that's in port now, and let your eye draw a line 6 feet above that and add some storm surge, and you'll see the difficulties that will be here maintaining this shipyard," state Sen. David Watters, D-District 4, said.
The report said that if sea levels continue to rise, the shipyard could be cut in half at high tide, with key operations flooded.
Tuesday, July 27
Ground Broken for new Dover High School
DOVER — State Sen. David Watters and a group of interested parties viewed the General Sullivan Bridge Tuesday with an eye toward its future.
The General Sullivan is a red-listed bridge as are approximately 11 others in Watters’ Senate District 4. Six are municipal properties and six are state. Red list refers to those that are considered structurally deficient. Dover, Barrington, Rollinsford and Somersworth are the communities.
Watters is touring these areas to gain knowledge of the problem.
In September 1934 the Little Bay Bridge was opened for traffic spanning Little Bay in Dover-Newington. It soon was named the General Sullivan Bridge after General John Sullivan. Sullivan was New Hampshire’s best known Revolutionary War hero as well as a delegate to the First Continental Congress.
For many years the bridge was the main method of transportation from Dover and areas to the north and south and vice versa. Since 1984, with the opening of the second Little Bay span, the General Sullivan has been closed to vehicular traffic and been used by pedestrians and cyclists. It is also a favorite spot for fishing.
Sen. Watters was joined Tuesday morning by Keith Cota, chief project manager for the New Hampshire Department of Transportation, and several members of the DOT staff.
Also present were Peter Schmidt, representative for District 19 Wards 1 and 2, and Isaac Epstein and Linn Opderbeck, candidates for District 13 Ward 1 and District Ward 3, respectively, as well as Cos Iacovozzi, chair of the Newington Board of Selectmen and several other interested parties.
Cota and staff took the group into Hilton Park and pointed out many deficiencies of the understructure of the rusted bridge, then all went above and viewed much of the same from on high.
Cota said a study on the bridge was done in 2010 at which time, he said, it was determined that it was “deteriorating pretty fast.”
While all were gathered at the middle point of the bridge, which is narrowed off by fencing, several cyclists passed by.
Discussion took place of the importance and necessity of the structure, as it is the only non-automotive method of crossing Little Bay. There is no provision for pedestrian or cyclist access on any other bridge in the area.
Cota and DOT staff have prepared a comprehensive report that will be shared at a public hearing in September. Some of the information shared, and discussed by those in attendance, were approximate figures for several actions that may be taken. Options include rehabilitation of portions of the bridge and a full replacement. Figures discussed were between $32 million to $36 million.
Watters said he was pleased with the presentation. “It is all about initiating conversations,” he said, adding the public feedback in September “will be critical.” The public hearing will be well publicized for all interested parties.
Watters, Schmidt and Epstein continued on to Barrington’s Mallego Road, which was the location of a red-listed Barrington bridge.
There are more than 2,000 state-owned bridges in New Hampshire, with more than 100 on the red list. There are more than 1,600 municipal bridges in the state, and more than 300 are red listed. New Hampshire ranks 11th among the states with the most red-listed bridges.
“High demand, low funds,” Cota said on the sense of immediacy.
“We need to find new areas of funding," Watters added.
Friday, July 22
Transportation Report: Building Bridges to Move NH Forward
Now that the legislative session is over and we have passed a new 10-Year Highway Plan, I want to give my constituents an update on my work transportation, and on the issues we will face in the next decade.
New Hampshire needs a 21st-Century multimodal transportation system, with car, truck, bus, train, bike, and pedestrian traffic integrated as a well-maintained, and well-policed transportation network. Senate District 4 attracts large employers like Rand Whitney, Liberty Mutual, and Velcro because we it has strong transportation links with the rest of our regional economy. Downtown Dover is flourishing because of its walkability, its access to highways, and its rail connections to Boston and Portland. This accessibility benefits commuters, families, and tourists
As a member of the Senate Transportation Committee, I worked on a wide range of bills connected to transportation and infrastructure, from the real-ID license, handicap parking, ignition interlock devices, electric vehicle charging stations, ATVs, after-market auto parts, and even waterskiing rules. But as always, the toughest bills dealt with emergent technologies, tax policy, and funding the Ten-Year Highway Plan.
One of the most significant new transportation trends is ridesharing services, such as Uber and Lyft. We replaced a patchwork of conflicting local ordinances to make it easier for Granite Staters to access ridesharing services, We are protecting consumers, by requiring drivers to undergo background checks and to maintain insurance coverage, and we are protecting drivers, by making sure that companies cannot classify them as independent contractors to exempt workers from NH labor laws.
New Hampshire’s road toll, or gas tax, is constitutionally dedicated to highways, bridges, and safety, and I fought against efforts to take gas tax funds away from municipal law enforcement. In 2014, I cosponsored the bill to modestly increase the gas tax when fuel prices started falling. We have already seen the results: in the last two years, we have increased road repaving, fixed more Red List bridges, and accelerated the expansion of I-93. Tolls on the turnpike system pay for major construction projects, such as the Little Bay Bridges, and will fund the remaining contracts for the bridges, open-road tolling, Exit 5, and the General Sullivan Bridge restoration.
However, increasing fuel standards and the introduction of electric and hybrid vehicles mean that road toll revenues will continue to decline. To properly maintain our infrastructure in the future, we need to consider new funding mechanisms, such as graded registration fees, a surcharge on electric vehicles, or miles-traveled fees.
In the Ten-Year Highway Plan, I fought for inclusion of funding to upgrade the Route 108 corridor from Dover to Rochester and to include funding for planning and engineering Exit 10 on the Spaulding Turnpike. Transportation options also must include public transit, which I why I supported state and federal funding for the COAST bus system and commuter and airport services. The legislature rejected accepting federal funds for planning rail service in the Boston to Concord corridor. Access to the DownEaster line has helped Dover, Durham, and Exeter anchor their downtown districts, and we should accept federal funds to plan similar benefits for the communities of the capital corridor.
The Ten-Year Plan will reduce the number of Red List bridges. There are currently 154 state and 333 municipal bridges on the list, including eight in District 4. In the coming weeks, I will be visiting these sites to monitor our efforts. I am a member of the Historic Bridge Working Group, which is working with the DOT and the Division of Historic Resources to create a database and management strategy for the 2,600 historic bridges in New Hampshire. This project will preserve our history, reduce maintenance costs, and benefit our multimodal transportation network.
The General Sullivan Bridge is a case in point. Instead of demolishing it, we are working to restore it and preserve this historic structure, while maintaining a bike and pedestrian link between Dover and Newington. The condition of the bridge has deteriorated significantly, so I am working with DOT officials to ensure that an appropriate plan is developed with a reasonable budget.
Members of both parties recognize that investments in infrastructure are investments in our economy and our communities. I have worked to build bridges, not just across rivers, but across the partisan divide. Next term, I hope to continue bipartisan efforts on the Senate Transportation Committee to keep New Hampshire moving forward and on the right track.
Wednesday, July 20
Beloved Police Horse, Monty, retires in Dover
Friday, July 19
Bill Dube breaks ground on new dealership
Tuesday, July 16
Patriots' Owner Attends Rand Whitney Opening
Wednesday, May 25
Preparing New Hampshire: The Coastal Risk and Hazards Commission
By Senator David Watters and Senator Nancy Stiles
When New Hampshire is challenged by major environmental issues, legislators, municipal officials, state agencies, and the private sector come together to achieve practical solutions. The Weeks Act of 1911 saved the White Mountain forests, our rivers and lakes are protected, and now we will prepare for storm surge, sea-level rise, and extreme precipitation.
We crafted Senate Bill 163 in 2013 to create the Coastal Risk and Hazards Commission with a clear mission: to recommend legislation, rules, and other actions to prepare for projected sea-level rise and other hazards and for the risks posed to municipalities and state assets. For three years, Commission members, including representatives from all 17 coastal and Great Bay communities, the legislature, state agencies, insurers, realtors, homebuilders, and regional planning and municipal associations, worked to produce sea-level rise projections and its draft report. These unanimously approved documents represent the best of bipartisan work to prepare for climate change while ensuring future economic development and enjoyment of the great environment of our coastal region.
The report recognizes the risks to the coastal economy, which accounts for over $19 billion of New Hampshire’s G.D.P., with 420,000 people living in the coastal zone, and private/public real estate and cultural and natural resources of extraordinary value. Needing guidance on what assets are at risk, the Commission produced a Science and Technical Advisory Report advising a “no regrets,” low-risk strategy for valuable assets based on moderate projections of a 1.3-2 foot sea-level rise by 2050 and 3.9-6 foot rise by 2100. The report is to be reviewed every 5 years to make sure we are accurate and on track.
The Commission addressed risks and vulnerabilities in four key areas: the economy, the built landscape, natural resources, and heritage. With reports and testimony from agencies, business, and the public, and using the maps and vulnerability assessments of the Tides to Storms 2015 report of the Rockingham Planning Commission, highly detailed analysis of threats to infrastructure, critical facilities, roadways, wetlands, and wildlife habitat are now available in the draft report, “Preparing New Hampshire for Projected Storm Surge, Sea-Level Rise, and Extreme Precipitation,” released for public comment on March 18, 2016.
The report includes guiding principles, such as: act early, respond incrementally, revise periodically, collaborate and coordinate, incorporate “risk tolerance” in design, and make “no regrets” decisions. The bulk of the report concerns goals, recommendations and actions, and it identifies parties playing a significant role moving forward. It calls for continuing scientific research, ongoing assessment of vulnerabilities, strategies for implementation, and needed legislation at the state level. There follow many specific recommendations that may, if implemented by municipal and state legislation, affect road and bridge construction, local planning, zoning, and building codes, natural environments, economic activity, and historic resources.
For example, regulatory standards based on existing conditions may need to take into account sea-level projections for the siting and design of new, reconstructed, and rehabilitated state-funded structures and facilities, municipal structures and facilities, and private structures. And we will need to develop plans for natural resources, such as groundwater, wetlands, ecosystem resilience, based on future climate conditions. And we will need to develop long-term plans for protecting, adapting, or reducing risk to cultural resources.
Our Senate districts include centers of business and recreation, such as Hampton Beach, the Seabrook-Hampton Harbor, Dover’s waterfront district, iconic historical sites in Dover, the Wentworth-Coolidge Mansion, and the Isles of Shoals. We are committed to sustaining the special environment that has drawn people to the Seacoast for centuries. This is why we ask the public to become engaged in facing the risks of sea-level rise by participating in the public hearings and making comments on the report. Public hearings will be held on Thursday, May 26, 7 p.m. at the Hugh Gregg Coastal Conservation Center, 89 Depot Road, Greenland, and on Wednesday, June 1, 7 p.m., at Sugden House at the Seacoast Science Center, 570 Ocean Blvd., Rye. The full report and a form for submitting comments is at: http://nhcrhc.stormsmart.org/draft-for-comment/
We are also committed to working across party lines and with state agencies to identify the best ways for the state to work with municipalities and the private sector. It is essential to provide state resources where necessary and possible within balanced budgets and a sensible Ten-Year Highway Plan. Incremental and prudent action now will benefit future taxpayers. Together, we can meet the challenge of coastal risk and hazards.
Thursday, November 6, 2014
'Frugal' Watters runs a clean(up) campaign
Thursday, November 6, 2014
Sen. David Watters
DOVER — As soon as the polls closed on Tuesday, state Sen. David Watters was out and about collecting his campaign signs.
“It is what I love to do,” Watters said Wednesday afternoon. “When the polls close, I get in the car and pick up signs.”
Watters said he doesn’t want his campaign materials to become litter. In addition, the signs are reusable.
“They are held in the barn. I am frugal,” Watters said. “I am going to use them next time because I am just getting started.”
The senator asks his supporters to keep his signs rather than throwing them away. In a Wednesday morning email, he said he would be picking the signs up shortly.
Watters, D-Dover, won his second term as a state senator Tuesday evening, beating Eddie Edwards, R-Dover, 10,118 votes to 8,070, according to the Secretary of State.
Watters served as a state representative for two terms before being elected to his first Senate term in 2012.
Watters believes he won Tuesday because his bipartisan, common-sense messages about jobs and the economy, education and health care struck a chord with voters.
He said, “When it comes down to it, they want a senator that gets stuff done.”
Watters said he was tired Wednesday, but has no qualms about engaging in a long and competitive election campaign against Edwards. He began campaigning in May and didn’t stop until Tuesday, when he visited all 13 polling locations within his district, which includes Barrington, Dover, Rollinsford and Somersworth.
He said he considers it a privilege to represent his district and be its face in the Legislature.
November 5, 2014
Watters likely Senate 4 winner with most of wards reporting
Wednesday, November 5, 2014
DOVER — David Watters was the likely winner in the race for State Senate District 4, according to preliminary voting results.
Watters, a Democrat, was ahead of Republican Eddie Edwards, 8,653 to 6,807, with a majority of wards in Dover, Barrington, Rollinsford and Somersworth reporting.
At press time, results from Ward 3 in Dover and Ward 5 in Somersworth were not available.
Watters and Edwards, both of Dover, worked hard through the election season to rally support for their campaigns.
Even up to the last minute, Watters and Edwards were working the polls. Watters spent the day traveling to Rollinsford, Somersworth, Barrington and all of the polls in Dover.
“We have been out and about,” Rachel McGovern, the campaign manager for Watters, said as the day started to wind down. “There has been a lot of great turnout across the board.”
McGovern said she saw enthusiasm not only for her candidate, but the entire Democratic ticket.
Watters, 63, had a number of endorsements from individuals and groups before Election Day. Mayors Karen Weston of Dover and Dana Hilliard of Somersworth both endorsed his candidacy.
When asked why Watters had so much support, McGovern said it was because people in the District have seen what he has been able to accomplish over the course of the past two years.
“And they know that he’ll be able to continue to do even more good work if he is re-elected,” McGovern said.
Before the polls closing at 7 p.m., Edwards was also encouraged Tuesday as he visited a number of voting locations in the district.
“I am feeling really good, I really am,” Edwards said. “There is a lot of excitement. People are giving me the thumbs up and winking when they see me. I am very encouraged.”
Edwards, 46, went to all of the polls in Dover, visited Somersworth and was heading to Barrington at approximately 4:30 p.m.
Edwards planned to head to downtown Dover, where Republicans had set up a Victory Office at 104 Washington St., after the polls closed. He said he had a number of friends to visit and a number of businesspeople to thank for the support he got during the campaign.
Both Watters and Edwards worked hard to differentiate themselves from each other during the campaign, even though they do agree on some issues which will probably come before lawmakers next year, such as the decriminalization of marijuana.
During a candidates forum in Somersworth on Oct. 25, Edwards said drugs and crime are an epidemic that affects every community. But with 25 years of law enforcement experience, Edwards believed he could address these issues in a realistic manner that does not leave a college student caught with a small amount of marijuana with a criminal record.
Edwards served as the chief of police in South Hampton and as the state’s director of liquor enforcement.
Watters is a professor at the University of New Hampshire, where he has worked since 1978.
Watters and Edwards also highlighted the economy, jobs, public safety and the environment during their campaigns.
October 27, 2014
Senator David Watters Announces Endorsement by New Hampshire Job Creation Alliance PAC
Dover, NH—Today, Senator David Watters’ campaign announced the New Hampshire Job Creation Alliance PAC had endorsed him in his reelection efforts for State Senate District 4.
“I’m proud to receive the endorsement of the New Hampshire Job Creation Alliance,” said Senator Watters. “They recognize my efforts to help businesses cut red tape and innovate to create jobs. The New Hampshire Job Creation Alliance knows that I am opposed to a sales or income tax, and that I will work to advance their mission to create a business friendly environment and bring more jobs to the Granite State.”
In their letter of endorsement, the New Hampshire Job Creation Alliance cited Senator Watters’ transparency on issues in the Live Free or Die Alliance questionnaire as a key reason for their support of his candidacy.
October 14, 2014
Senator David Watters Endorsed by Professional Firefighters of New Hampshire, Dover IAFF Local #1312, Dover Fire Officers IAFF Local #2909, and Somersworth IAFF Local #2320
Dover, NH—Today, Senator David Watters announced the endorsement of the Professional Firefighters of New Hampshire including Dover IAFF Local #1312, Dover Fire Officers IAFF Local #2909, and Somersworth IAFF Local #2320.
“I am honored to receive the endorsement from the Professional Firefighters of New Hampshire and the local affiliates,” said Senator David Watters. “Public safety is a top priority and fire fighters across State Senate District 4, and the state, work every day to protect our families. I will continue to be a strong advocate on behalf of the issues that are most important to the Professional Firefighters of New Hampshire in the State Senate.
“Senator Watters has always fought for fire fighters of Senate District 4, and we have no doubt that he will continue to do so when he is reelected. Senator Watters understands that strong public safety is imperative in making sure that our district is a great place to work, live, and raise a family. We are proud to endorse Senator Watters for reelection, and proud to have a Senator that works so hard for his district,” said Jenn Myers, President of Dover IAFF Local #1312.
October 10, 2014
Senator David Watters Endorsed by the New Hampshire Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers Political Action Committee
Dover, NH—Today, Senator David Watters announced the endorsement of the New Hampshire Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers Political Action Committee on his reelection campaign for State Senate District 4.
“As a State Senator, I have actively supported and introduced legislation to promote the well-being of citizens across the Granite State,” said Senator David Watters. “I’m proud to receive the endorsement of the New Hampshire Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers Political Action Committee. I will continue to work for our state’s most vulnerable citizens in Concord. Social workers are on the front lines everyday helping families, and we need to make sure that the state budget adequately supports this work.”
October 9, 2014
Senator David Watters Endorsed by New Hampshire Troopers Association
Dover, NH—Today, Senator David Watters announced the endorsement of the New Hampshire Troopers Association in his reelection campaign for State Senate District 4. The Troopers Association praised Senator Watters for his commitment to public safety.
“I am proud to receive the support of the New Hampshire Trooper’s Association,” said Senator David Watters. “The safety of New Hampshire’s citizens is always a priority, and the New Hampshire State Troopers provide extraordinary and dedicated service every day. I will continue to fight to increase the ranks of Troopers and to resist any attempt to cut the funding provided through the road toll. Troopers also deserve quality health care and the security of adequate retirement support.” Senator Watters added, “This endorsement demonstrates that support for public safety transcends partisan politics, and I will continue to work with my colleagues in both parties on these issues.”
October 8, 2014
The New Hampshire sits down with Senator David Watters
Dover, NH—Yesterday, The New Hampshire, the University of New Hampshire’s student-run newspaper, printed a profile of Senator David Watters, a professor at UNH.
You can read the full article online and below.
“TNH sits down with UNH professor, state senator David Watters”
By Tom Spencer, Staff Writer
David Watters is a New Hampshire state senator and one of the University of New Hampshire’s own professors. The 4th Congressional District nominee, Democrat candidate Watters, will face Republican candidate Eddie Edwards in the general election on Nov. 4.
Watters reflected on his first term and the performance of the state senate.
“I am proud of the fact that we worked the way a senate is supposed to work,” Watters said. “As Washington said, a senate is a dish that cools the tea in terms of judgment of legislation. We accomplished some practical bipartisan legislation this past term, which was a relief after seeing the dysfunction in Washington [D.C.].”
This legislation included passing a state budget, which restored some of the funding to UNH and funding for mental health services and job training. The legislature also obtained a $13.5 million renovation of the Dover High School Career and Technical Education Center.
“We passed [a New Hampshire] health protection plan, despite the unpopularity of ‘Obamacare,’” Watters said. “We went behind closed doors for a month and got it done.”
Watters’ goals and current work include expanding job education. This expansion would involve tax cuts for businesses that aid in job education at career and technical education centers.
Watters continues to teach courses in American literature at UNH. He has a strong interest in New England’s African American history. However, both Watters’ legislative and professorial obligations are time consuming.
“It is a lot of late nights and long weekends, but everyone understands that being [a New Hampshire] state senator is a $100 per year job,” Watters said. “[In the state senate] we have to balance state service with employment.”
In addition to being a state legislator and a college professor, Watters makes time to travel to Texas to see his son, Harper, dance in the Houston Ballet.
Harper Watters left high school in grade 11 to pursue a career in dance.
“I’m a proud father … [Harper] is really flourishing as an artist,” Watters said.
Harper Watters’ recent work includes “Paquita,” “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and contemporary work by choreographer Edwaard Liang. A production of “Romeo and Juliet” is upcoming.
The Watters family has a tradition of public service. While growing up in West Hartford, Connecticut, David Watters was inspired to a career in public service by his father, who was a doctor in the Veteran’s Administration for 50 years.
His mother worked with the Easter Seals in Hartford, Connecticut. Watters’ community service in New Hampshire began with tutoring at the Dover Adult Learning Center, serving on Democratic campaigns, serving a term on the Strafford County Democratic Committee and several terms in the Democratic State Committee.
Watters also finds time to make it to his cellar to do some wood working. One of Watters’ original pieces is in the collection of UNH’s museum. The piece is a 9/11 memorial made out of wood and mica. It is dedicated to the memory of Bob LeBlanc, geography professor and friend of Watters’.
His specialty is oval Shaker boxes, one of which is on exhibit with New Hampshire’s Shaker Village in Canterbury.
Watters knew members of the Shaker community when he was growing up. “[The Shakers] were amazing women who carried the spirit of the 1790s into present day,” Watters said.
“The Shaker idea of the sacred nature of work has been very influential to me in my professional and legislative life,” Watters said.
October 3, 2014
Senator David Watters Endorsed by NARAL Pro-Choice New Hampshire PAC
Dover, NH—Today, Senator David Watters received the endorsement of NARAL Pro-Choice New Hampshire Political Action Committee. The NARAL Pro-Choice NH PAC cited Senator Watters’ strong commitment to women’s rights.
“The endorsement from NARAL Pro-Choice New Hampshire PAC highlights my support for women’s rights and a woman’s right to choose,” said Senator David Watters. “A broad majority of New Hampshire voters support a women’s right to choose, and are nearly unanimous in the belief that government should stay out of personal decisions like the use of contraception. I will continue to represent that view in Concord as the District 4 State Senator.”
"Voters can count on Senator David Watters to continue his fierce advocacy on behalf of women & their families," said Laura Thibault, Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice NH. "He understands that private healthcare decisions are between a woman and her doctor. We know that Senator Watters will continue to represent our state's long history of trusting women when it comes to reproductive health care."
Senator Watters strongly opposes the Republican Party Platform’s support for personhood after conception, which would outlaw all abortion procedures and several forms of contraception.
October 3, 2014
Senator David Watters Statement on the
$20 Million Surplus for FY 2014
Dover, NH—Today, Senator David Watters released the following statement about the $20 Million Surplus for Fiscal Year 2014:
“Thanks to the leadership of Governor Hassan and the work of all State Senators, we were able to pass a unanimous, bi-partisan balanced budget in the State Senate,” said Senator David Watters. “By working together and across party lines, we passed the most bipartisan budget in over 10 years, and it came without a sales or income tax. While we focused on shared fiscal priorities, we’re able to move our economy forward while still ensuring fiscal responsibility. With this budget, we see what we can accomplish with a strong Governor and working across party lines for a common goal. I applaud Governor Hassan for acting quickly and effectively to require departments to control costs to ensure we ended the first year of the budget with a surplus. With wise management, we can meet the challenges to keep the budget balanced in FY 2015.”
September 24, 2014
Senator David Watters endorsed by AFT-NH
DOVER, NH—On Monday, Senator David Watters received the endorsement of AFT-NH.
“It’s an honor to be endorsed by AFT-NH,” said Senator David Watters. “I am dedicated to protecting our public K-12 education system and to ensuring every child in New Hampshire receives a quality education. As your education senator, I will work to support innovative teaching, local support for schools, and increased state aid for District 4 schools.”
September 24, 2014
Senator David Watters Endorsed by AFL-CIO
DOVER, NH—On Wednesday, September 17, the New Hampshire AFL-CIO released its list of endorsed candidates for the November election. Senator David Watters was listed as one of the 22 pro-labor candidates for State Senate.
“This endorsement highlights my continued commitment to quality jobs and a strong economy in New Hampshire,” said Senator David Watters. “I stand with New Hampshire’s working men and women. I will work for a better New Hampshire by supporting equal pay for equal work, investing in job training and public education, and respecting collective bargaining.”
September 19, 2014
Senator David Watters endorsed by Foster’s Daily Democrat
Dover, NH—In an editorial published on Thursday, highlighting his record of achievement, Foster’s Daily Democrat endorsed Senator David Watters in his reelection efforts.
“I am honored to be endorsed by Foster’s Daily Democrat,” said Senator David Watters. “I look forward to working on behalf of District 4 in the next term, and I will continue to reach out to every voter between now and Election Day.”
See below the full endorsement published in Thursday’s Foster’s Daily Democrat.
District 4: Watters the best choice
Foster’s Daily Democrat
September 18, 2014
In the race for the District 4 State Senate seat, which represents Dover, Barrington, Somersworth and Rollinsford, we are endorsing the re-election effort of David Watters.
Watters has fulfilled his campaign promises from 2012 when he was first elected to the seat.
He has remained fiscally conservative and promoted bipartisanship.
He signed off on — as did members of both parties — one of the most honest budgets to clear the New Hampshire Legislature in a long time. It was based on conservative revenue estimates which have proved to be within the margin of error. And there have been no significant smoke-and-mirror games like those played by earlier legislatures — Democrat and Republican — which have sought to hide deficit spending or overly ambitious revenue estimates.
This does not mean a lack of challenges will face Watters if he is re-elected. But it does mean, in our view, that Watters has earned another term.
During an editorial board meeting on Tuesday, Watters appeared eager and well prepared for what lies ahead should he be re-elected.
Watters offered a youthful enthusiasm which belies his age of 60-plus years, while possessing the wisdom to know veterans from the other side of the political aisle like Republican Senate budget guru Chuck Morse have a lot to offer.
But what really makes Watters stand out in this race — and in comparison to many of our past state legislators — is his list of accomplishments.
The Seacoast region has long suffered from a legislative delegation politically outmuscled by those from the state’s central corridor — Nashua and Manchester — which have reaped the financial benefit.
Watters, however, has been successful in starting to reversing that tide.
He helped secure additional education funding for Dover schools after it was discovered by local officials that the state funding formula was shortchanging the Garrison City.
Watters was able to help bring state funding to Dover’s Career Technical Center.
His efforts helped to come up with the added funds needed to complete the work in progress in the area of the Little Bay Bridges — a critical funneling point between the coast and much of District 4.
Watters has also recorded successes beyond bringing some of our tax dollars back to the Seacoast.
Just last month, Gov. Maggie Hassan signed into law Senate Bill 348, sponsored by Watters. The bill is aimed at preventing sexual abuse and giving our schoolchildren the knowledge they need to realize when something is wrong.
It is also to Watters’ credit that his name can be found on bill after bill aimed at improving the state’s business climate and creating jobs.
Watters’ understands that a healthy business climate breeds much. It helps grow the state’s economy and contributes to our quality of life. It brings in tax dollars so the state can better address many pressing needs like education funding and social services for those in need.
A thriving business community is also key to creating the jobs needed to keep our young people and their talents from fleeing the state after graduating from our colleges and universities.
For all these reasons and more, we urge voters in Dover, Barrington, Somersworth and Rollinsford to re-elect David Watters on Nov. 4.
On the web:
September 4, 2014
ICYMI: Senator David Watters Highlights Education Plan in Op-Ed
Dover, NH – In an Op-Ed published online Wednesday in Foster’s Daily Democrat, highlighting his plan for a 21st century education system, Senator Watters stressed the importance of finding innovative ways to build on New Hampshire’s commitment to educating young Granite Staters for a global economy while keeping taxpayer costs down.
“This plan builds on my record of delivering on education. It continues my work fighting for our fair share when it comes to funding for District 4 schools, successfully advocating for a new Career and Technical Education Center at Dover High and working with Governor Hassan to keep college costs down by freezing tuition at New Hampshire colleges.” said Senator David Watters.
A Plan for a 21st Century Education
Foster’s Daily Democrat
September 3, 2014
With the start of the school year, I am reminded of New Hampshire’s constitutional commitment to cherish public education. The founders knew education was both essential to freedom and the foundation of a prosperous democracy. But as a parent, I recall the joy of our son’s first day at kindergarten when our hopes and dreams were entrusted to teachers. I remember my own first day, sent at age 4 because my Mom was crippled with polio. There I was cherished by being taught to read. As an educator for 41 years, I have a passionate commitment to educational success so all our children can realize their dreams, but I know that there are great challenges facing our schools.
In releasing a comprehensive plan for pre-school to university education, “Innovation, Commitment, and Cost: A Plan for a 21st-Century Education,” I provide a roadmap for community conversation and legislative action (www.davidwattersforsenate.org/education). Innovation can positively transform educational practices, structures, and administration. A commitment to the core value of public schooling is forged in partnership by taxpayers, families with schoolchildren, and educators. With innovation and commitment, we can invest in our children while keeping costs down.
This plan builds on my record of improving education without increasing taxes. As your “education senator,” I fought to secure increased school funding for District 4 schools, secured $13.5 million for Dover’s Career and Technical Education Center, and established commissions to examine innovative private/public partnerships for CTE education and to explore best practices in child sexual abuse prevention education. I worked to save families thousands of dollars and reduce student debt by reversing the destructive cuts to higher education in return for a freeze in tuition. Bipartisan civility replaced partisan conflict and attacks on teachers, so we could agree on core educational values: shared knowledge, critical thinking, free inquiry, civility, and equal opportunity.
The debates over education are not new. In the 1830s, Horace Mann created the common school movement to ensure all children, especially immigrants, learned the core American values and the skills needed to succeed. The Morrill Act responded to the Civil War with the promise of educational opportunity for all at land grant colleges. Our schools now commit to kindergarten, students with diverse abilities, STEM fields, and Career and Technical Education. There is new debate over quality early childhood education.
Our commitment to public schools starts with a recognition of the professional quality of our teachers. We expect excellence, a challenging and innovative curriculum every day for every student, and demonstrable outcomes. This means local control to implement state standards on commonsense content, competency-based pedagogy and experiential education, online innovation, and appropriate testing, not teaching to a test. Innovation is a hallmark of creative classroom teachers, so I support enhanced technology, online education, and professional development. Let’s put politics aside to give flexibility to teachers, parents, and school boards to improve education and teaching quality.
The State must pay its legal share. Adequacy funds are capped, meaning Dover, Barrington and Rollinsford receive less than they should per student. I will again lead the fight to make sure our communities receive their fair share.
Innovation includes the District 4 Charter Schools, which provide choice for parents through specialization in arts, sciences, and other fields, without undermining funding for public schools. We can also bring Charter School strengths into “school within a school” proposals.
Through Career and Technical Education centers, District 4 can be a regional innovation center to ride the rising economic tide in IT, healthcare, advanced manufacturing, automotive work, and building trades. My SB 335 Commission will foster business partnerships with expanded and renovated CTEs in Dover and Somersworth.
In higher education, to control costs we must innovate. Freezing tuition is an important commitment, but we must also expand Running Start, STEAM Ahead, dual degrees programs, and online education to cut costs. In the capital budget, a new UNH science building is a priority. There are innovative ways to address student debt, through teacher contracts and employer incentives.
Meeting recently with Somersworth middle school students in a leadership program, I was struck by their desire to serve. This ethnically diverse group of students represents the families, languages, and cultures of District 4. Working with existing resources to keep taxes low, setting a priority on innovation to reduce costs, and envisioning education as a core community value, we can help their American dreams come true.
State Sen. David Watters
August 29, 2014
Senator Watters’ Bill for New Career and Technical Education Center Signed By Governor Hassan
Praises Governor Hassan for commitment to strengthening public education
Dover, NH – Today, Senator David Watters’ bill to provide a $13.5 million grant for a new career and technical education center at Dover High School was one of two key education bills signed by Governor Maggie Hassan. The second bill establishes a commission to study how CTEs can foster public-private partnerships. Senator Watters praised Governor Hassan’s leadership and said the bills underscore the innovative approach the state needs to take to strengthen New Hampshire’s education system.
“The Career and Technical Education Center at Dover High is exactly the type of commitment to education New Hampshire needs,” said Senator David Watters. “As 41-year educator, I have seen first-hand how education can build strong, vibrant communities that drive economic growth and job creation throughout the Granite State. The CTE at Dover High will foster key partnerships between the private and public sector that will help young people develop the skills they need to compete in a 21st century economy.”
Senator Watters went on to highlight the strong team of leaders that helped bring the project forward.
“This project’s success is a testament to the teamwork of many talented public servants in their commitment to find innovative ways to strengthen education. We could not have gotten this done without Governor Hassan’s leadership as well as the hard work of Dover Mayor Karen Weston, the City Council, and the School Board,” continued Senator Watters.
August 26, 2014
Senator David Watters Releases Comprehensive Education Plan
Emphasizes innovation and commitment to 21st century education while controlling costs.
Dover, NH – Today, Democratic Senator David Watters unveiled his comprehensive education plan for pre-school to higher education, “Innovation, Commitment and Cost: A Plan for a 21st Century Education.” In it, Senator Watters highlighted his priorities for strengthening New Hampshire’s education system to better prepare young people for a competitive, global economy while controlling taxpayer costs.
“As an educator of 41 years, I’m committed to bringing people together to find innovative ways to strengthen our commitment to education so we can maintain the New Hampshire advantage of quality of life, economic security and low taxes,” said Senator David Watters. “I’ve released this comprehensive plan as a blueprint for that commitment. I emphasize quality early childhood and K-12 education, forging public-private partnerships to create institutions that train students for jobs in high-tech manufacturing, which is driving growth in the region, and a higher education system that prepares young men and women for careers without leaving them buried under a mountain of debt.
Senator Watters promised to build on several of his past victories on education policy in his plan, such as successfully securing increased school funding for District 4 by working across party lines to change the adequacy formula. Sen. Watters also pointed to the $13.5 million grant he was able to secure for a new Career and Technical Education Center at Dover High, which is set to be signed into law by Governor Maggie Hassan this Friday. Senator Watters is advocating for a similar project in Somersworth.
“I’m proud of the work we’ve done on education, but to keep New Hampshire moving forward we need to look for innovative ways to strengthen our commitment to prepare Granite State children for a 21st century economy so they and their families can continue to enjoy the New Hampshire advantage,” said Senator Watters.
The entire plan is available to read online at www.davidwattersforsenate.org/education
August 24, 2014
Senator David Watters Issues Statement on Memorial Service for James Foley
Rochester, NH – Today, Senator David Watters attended the Holy Mass for Healing, Hope and Peace in memory of James Foley, and issued the following statement on Mr. Foley’s tragic death.
“Attending the Holy Mass for healing, hope, and for peace in memory of James Foley, I pray that God's spirit will comfort his family, friends, and our community. James Foley is a martyr for American freedom and freedom of the press. New Hampshire's elected officials stand together in grief for his loss. I will keep James and his family in my prayers.”
The Mass was held at 2 p.m. Sunday at Our Lady of the Holy Rosary in Rochester. Senator Watters attended as part of the New Hampshire Senate Delegation.
August 20, 2014
Senator Watters Shows Over $80,000 in Latest Filing Report
Well on track to more than double his 2012 fundraising totals
Dover, NH – Wednesday, District 4 Senator David Watters announced another impressive reelection campaign fundraising haul of $80,190, an increase of nearly $25,000 since his June 18 report. Combined with Senator Watters’ $58,041 on hand, a recent spate of endorsements from top local elected officials demonstrate the depth and strength of his support as the election season begins.
“Elected officials, educators, women, and hard-working Granite Staters — Independents, Republicans and Democrats—are supporting my reelection campaign because they know I’m going to keep bringing people together to strengthen middle class families and to keep New Hampshire’s economy growing,” said Senator David Watters
Senator Watters’ report shows broad grassroots support with contributions from every town and city in his district, and 79% of this filing coming from donations of $100 or less. “My filing makes it clear that I’m running a people-powered campaign that will have the resources to take our message to every voter. I am truly grateful for the support of citizens who want me to represent them in Concord, and I’m ready to fight for them every day as we build momentum for victory on November 4.”
August 18, 2014
ICYMI: Senator David Watters Announces Support of Dover Mayor and City Councilors, Somersworth Mayor and Full City Council
Dover, NH – In an Op-Ed published Friday in Foster’s Daily Democrat, highlighting the importance of working with local leaders to find common-sense solutions for New Hampshire, Senator David Watters announced his support from Dover Mayor Karen Weston, Deputy Mayor Robert Carrier, six Dover City Councilors, Somersworth Mayor Dana Hilliard, and all nine Somersworth City Councilors.
“This outpouring of support from Dover and Somersworth elected officials is a direct result of our work together to drive economic growth and job creation for Granite State families, and strengthen our education system all through a balanced budget with no sales or income tax. I’m grateful for the endorsements and am looking forward to another term of fighting for District 4 families,” said Senator David Watters.
The entire letter is below. Read online.
Endorsements, teamwork, leadership
Foster’s Daily Democrat
August 15, 2014
New Hampshire citizens demand bipartisan teamwork on common-sense strategies to expand opportunities for Granite State families and to keep our economy moving forward. I was elected Senator to restore civility in Concord. Our success can be judged on how well leaders bring people together — Independents, Republicans and Democrats — to build a stronger future for the Granite State. That’s why I’m proud to announce the support of Somersworth Mayor Dana Hilliard, the entire Somersworth City Council, Dover Mayor Karen Weston, and six Dover City Councilors.
Dover and Somersworth mayors and city councilors are endorsing my reelection because we have worked together to strengthen the economy, promote job growth, dramatically increase support for education, and protect our communities, all through a balanced budget with no sales or income tax. It’s not about politics or party, it’s about teamwork. Through inclusive leadership and attentiveness to the community, we can continue to expand opportunity for Dover and Somersworth families and tackle our state’s biggest challenges. I’m grateful for the support from these talented public servants, and we are determined to continue fighting for the priorities of hard-working families in District 4.
Mayor Karen Weston was an essential partner in the fight for $13.5 million in funding for the new
Career and Technical Education Center at Dover High, and the fight to increase state funding for Dover’s public schools. Together, we have prioritized education by investing in the skills Dover students need to compete in a 21st century economy while saving Dover taxpayers over $2 million. Dedicated efforts with Deputy Mayor Carrier, the City Council, and the business community resulted in legislation that I introduced which doubled and made permanent the R&D tax credit to encourage innovation and extended the Economic Revitalization Zone Tax Credit program. This means businesses can create good jobs that support strong, stable families. Teamwork with Dover and the coalition communities on my SB 110 has potentially saved Dover millions in unneeded expenditures by fighting for reasonable wastewater treatment standards.
Effective leadership and teamwork in Dover means benefiting from skilled and experienced officials like Councilor and State Representative Dorothea Hooper. Rep. Hooper and I served in the House during the Bill O’Brien attack on working families, education, and women, so we knew we needed to work in a bipartisan way with fellow legislators. The success in additional school funding for Dover Schools is proof that civility produces results by working for all Granite Staters. In addition to the endorsements of Weston, Carrier, and Hooper, I am also humbled to have the endorsement of Councilors McManus, O’Connor, Garrison, Thibodeaux, and Gagnon.
Successful teamwork in Somersworth has produced the endorsement of Mayor Dana Hilliard and the entire City Council. In this community, Senate leadership requires delivering for Somersworth families and businesses through work to modernize the transportation system and work to revitalize the downtown area by encouraging investment from high tech firms. These bipartisan endorsements show that when we rise above partisan politics, we can get things done to strengthen families and grow the economy in Somersworth. Working with Mayor Hilliard and the city manager, I sponsored important building code legislation that will make the city safer. Working with school officials, we have brought business leaders together to gain support for Somersworth’s Career and Technical Education Center renovation.
To continue attracting new businesses and driving economic growth in Somersworth, we need to cut red tape and address our transportation needs. Working closely with Councilor Soldati, meeting frequently with members of the Chamber of Commerce, and by visiting local manufacturers and downtown businesses, I learned that transportation is key to Somersworth’s future job and housing growth. On the City Council and in the legislature, Dale Sprague has been an important partner and leader on transportation. We fought for state funding for the Route 108 upgrade and for a study of Exit 10 on the Spaulding Turnpike in the Ten-Year Highway Plan. We will continue to work together on plans for commuter rail. The team endorsing my reelection so we can continue this work also includes Councilors Pepin, Hebert, McCallion, Messier, Witham, Tapscott, and Collins.
Teamwork and leadership will create a bright future for Dover and Somersworth, and I pledge to work next term with civility and bipartisanship to drive economic growth, good jobs and quality education while preserving the low-tax New Hampshire advantage.
August 12, 2014
Senator Watters Hails Signing of Public Safety Legislation for Families & Children
Credits Governor Hassan for championing policies that makes families safer
Dover, NH – Today, Senator David Watters hailed the signing of Joshua’s Law and SB 348, legislation creating the Sex Abuse Prevention Commission, as key laws that will make New Hampshire families safer. Joshua’s law establishes domestic violence as a separate crime, making it easier to identify and prosecute domestic violence offenders.
“These key pieces of legislation will make New Hampshire families safer and stronger. I cosponsored Joshua’s law because it will help law enforcement crack down on domestic violence offenders and make it easier to provide support to victims with treatment and care,” said Senator David Watters. “I’m grateful that through Governor Hassan and Senator Soucy’s leadership, we were able to pass this legislation with broad bipartisan support.
“I introduced SB 348 to increase protections for young Granite Staters through education and awareness,” continued Senator Watters. “I want to thank child protection advocates, survivors, and educators for their hard work in passing this legislation. Jessica Paradis' leadership is an inspiring example for moving the cause of child sexual abuse prevention education forward. I look forward to hearing from the Commission about how we can make our children safer through education.
Senator Watters joined Governor Maggie Hassan, Senator Donna Soucy, and advocates at today’s bill signing at the New Hampshire State House.
August 2, 2014
Senator David Watters Scores Bipartisan, Unanimous Endorsements from Somersworth Mayor and City Council
Promises to continue working to advance the quality of life in Somersworth
Dover, NH – Today, Democratic Senator David Watters received the endorsement of Somersworth Mayor Dana Hilliard and the entire City Council. The officials praised Senator Watters’ record of delivering for Somersworth families and businesses through his work modernizing the transportation system and helping revitalize the downtown area by encouraging investment from high tech firms.
“These bipartisan endorsements show that when we rise above partisan politics we can get things done to strengthen families and grow the economy in Somersworth,” said Senator David Watters, “That way we can protect the New Hampshire advantage of a strong quality of life, low taxes and economic opportunity. I’m truly grateful and humbled by the outpouring of support in Somersworth.”
“Senator Watters has delivered for Somersworth time and time again,” said Mayor Dana Hilliard. “He sponsored important building code legislation that will make our city safer and has fought tooth and nail for the Career and Technical Center. I’m endorsing Senator Watters because it gives me peace of mind to know we have an enthusiastic partner in Concord.”
“Senator Watters has been the best Senator we have ever had on Somersworth issues. He is proactive and genuinely willing to hear our concerns and work with us – not just with the city government but with the business community as well,” said Jennifer Soldati, Ward 2 City Councilor and Executive Director of the Greater Somersworth Chamber of Commerce.
“Having worked with Senator Watters in the House, I knew he’d make a great Senator and I’m proud to support him again. Senator Watters understands that a modern and efficient transportation system is key to driving economic growth and job creation.” said Somersworth City Councilor at Large, Dale Sprauge and former State Rep. “He fought for the Route 108 upgrade and come through with state funding to study exit 10 on the Spaulding Turnpike.”
The following Somersworth elected officials endorsed Senator Watters’ re-election campaign:
- Dana S. Hilliard, Mayor
- Martin Pepin, Councilor, Ward 1
- Jennifer G. Soldati, Councilor, Ward 2
- Marcel N. Hebert, Councilor, Ward 3
- Jonathan McCallion, Councilor, Ward 4
- Denis Messier, Councilor, Ward 5
- David A. Witham, Councilor, At Large
- Dale R. Sprague, Councilor, At Large
- Brian Tapscott, Councilor, At Large
- Sean M. Collins, Councilor, At Large
Tuesday, July 29, 2014
City's $465g sidewalk grant project back on track
SOMERSWORTH — A half-million dollar sidewalk and streetscape project considered an integral part of the overall downtown rehab that appeared in jeopardy over the last few weeks is back on track.
City officials received approval late last week from the N.H. Department of Transportation to open bidding for the project, which is being paid for mostly from a federal Transportation Enhancement grant.
Dave Sharples, city planning director, said he expects the project would go to bid within a few weeks. Based on that timetable, he said the work should be done during this construction season.
“I expect substantial completion of the project this year. That’s our expectation at this point and I don’t see anything at this point that will change that,” he said Monday.
The city received a federal Transportation Enhancement grant worth about $465,000 to rebuild sidewalks on portions of Main, Market and High streets, and pay for downtown landscaping and lighting enhancements.
The work was intended to begin this fall and end by the end of November, around the same time the $5 million downtown utility and paving work is finished. But last month, state transportation officials warned funding uncertainty with the Federal Highway Trust Fund could delay the local project and about two dozen others across New Hampshire.
Delaying money for the city’s sidewalk project meant some unfinished sidewalks might have stayed that way until spring.
The trust fund, paid for by federal gas taxes is due to run out of money by the end of August. The U.S. Senate is expected to vote this week on an $11 billion temporary fix for the Highway Trust Fund that already passed the U.S. House, according to the website Politico.
Bill Boynton, a spokesman for the N.H. DOT, confirmed the city has approval to seek bids for the project. It wasn’t clear Monday if other N.H. projects affected by the budget uncertainty also will move forward this year.
State Sen. David Watters, D-Dover, who worked with city leaders and state transportation officials to find ways around the funding impasse, called the bid announcement “great news.”
“A number of projects might have been delayed, but this was different,” he said Monday. “The implications of this, because of the way the streets and sidewalks had an integrated design, means we couldn’t wait.”
Sharples said the project construction cost is estimated at about $375,000. Design and engineering work has cost about $100,000.
The final project cost will depend on the bids submitted by prospective contractors.
Senator David Watters Praises Signing of Paycheck Fairness Act and Governor Maggie Hassan
Dover, NH – Today, Senator David Watters released the following statement following Governor Maggie Hassan’s signing of the Paycheck Fairness Act, which will help end gender discrimination in pay by strengthening worker protections for women.
“I was proud to cosponsor this bill which strengthens our commitment to the principal that women should receive equal pay for an equal day’s work. The Paycheck Fairness Act is an essential tool for providing economic security for hardworking Granite Staters, and reflects our shared New Hampshire values of fairness and equality of opportunity," said Senator Watters. "I’m grateful that through Governor Hassan’s leadership, both parties were able come up with common-sense, bipartisan legislation that will strengthen Granite State families and expand opportunities for women.”
ICYMI: Seacoast NAACP President Fred Ross Backs Senator Watters’ Re-election Campaign
Dover, NH – Today, Senator David Watters received the backing of a prominent community leader, NAACP Seacoast President Fred Ross, in a Letter to the Editor in Foster’s Daily Democrat.
“Having dedicated my career both in the legislature and in the classroom to advancing civil rights, I’m truly honored to have Fred Ross’ support. I’m looking forward to many more years of working together to recognize equality and justice for all,” said Senator David Watters.
See below the full endorsement published in Foster’s Daily Democrat earlier today:
Support for Watters
Foster’s Daily Democrat
July 17, 2014
To the editor: I am writing to offer my endorsement of Senator David Watters for his decades of dedication to equality and justice for people of all races. I support candidates who don’t just talk the talk but walk the walk of equal opportunity and opposition to discrimination. Senator Watters is a Silver Life member of the NAACP and the Seacoast NAACP chapter, and he has worked closely with me, chapter president, on voting rights and other civil rights issues.
I’ve known Senator Watters for over 20 years and have seen how he embraces the changing communities of District 4 to ensure that all citizens can participate fully in our democracy. He draws on the experiences of his own biracial family, but he also has a deep understanding of racial history in NH. As a UNH professor, teaching African American literature and history, the founder of the Black New England Conference, and a Board member of the Portsmouth Black
Heritage Trail, he has increased awareness of the hidden history of diversity in New Hampshire.
As a Senator and Rep., David Watters has demonstrated his leadership through legislation. He cosponsored the bill to retroactively emancipate Portsmouth slaves who petitioned for freedom in 1779, and he fought against attempts to restrict voting rights. He stood with the NAACP to support death penalty repeal. He fought for marriage equality, and met with local police to promote sensible policies on immigration status. It is an honor for me to support such a person as David Watters.
Purnell “Fred” Ross Dover
Senator David Watters Hosts Canvas Kick-Off
Grassroots supports and activists already knock on the doors of over 500 voters
Saturday, July 12, 2014
Dover, NH – Today, Senator David Watters joined grassroots supporters and Democratic activists
to kick off his voter contact program. Together, Senator Watters and his supporters have already
knocked on the doors of over 500 voters in District 4 to discuss his re-election campaign and his
plan to keep working to improve the quality of life in Barrington, Dover, Rollinsford and
“We are launching an aggressive grassroots campaign that speaks to voters about how we can
keep New Hampshire moving forward by continuing to strengthen middle class families and
preserve the New Hampshire advantage," said Senator David Watters. "We’re hitting the
pavement earlier than ever before to match the excitement and momentum we’ve been seeing on
the ground in the district.
Senator Watters was also joined by State Rep Peter Bixby (D - Strafford 17) and State Rep
candidate Sherri Basso (D - Strafford 17). “The best way to represent the district is to talk to
voters directly. That’s exactly what we’ve done today and will continue to do throughout this
campaign," said State Rep. Bixby.
“On the doors and in the streets, voters are responding to my record of delivering common sense
solutions that strengthen middle class families. I’m humbled by the overwhelming support I’ve
received from communities across District 4, and am looking forward to continuing to speak to
folks about how we can keep growing the economy, supporting young people and expanding
opportunity for hardworking Granite Staters" continued Senator Watters.
Friday, July 4, 2014
Putting New Hampshire Families First
By State Sen. David H. Watters
Putting New Hampshire families first must be the core value of legislative work. Middle-class families want good jobs, safe communities, affordable health care, and an excellent education for their children. By providing for essential needs in education, mental health, and job training in a balanced budget with no new taxes, and by sponsoring legislation, I worked across party lines to improve the lives of families in District 4.
The budget is the most important expression of family values, and that is why I worked to restore the extreme cuts to education and mental health funding made by the last legislature. The budget set New Hampshire on a path to stronger economic recovery by keeping taxes low, providing job training, and cutting red tape for businesses. The unemployment rate has dropped to 4% in District 4. Economic growth depends on treating women in the workplace equally, so I cosponsored the Paycheck Fairness Act. Working women and other family members would particularly benefit from an increase in the minimum wage so working full time wouldn’t leave someone in poverty. This remains a top priority.
Economic security for families is inseparable from affordable health insurance and expanded coverage. The bipartisan Healthcare Protection Act means more than 50,000 low-income New Hampshire citizens will have health insurance at no cost to the New Hampshire taxpayer. Families won’t have to choose between medicine and groceries or resort to the emergency room instead of a primary care doctor.
As a parent and teacher, I know the hopes and dreams of children rely on education. The New Hampshire advantage of a thriving economy, strong communities, and quality of life starts with the partnership between families and schools. The state must live up to its legal commitment to fund an adequate education, but it must also do more to help with school building aid to reduce local taxes. In the next term, we need to look at ways to foster more affordable day care for children of working mothers and fathers and to explore new programs in early childhood education as the most effective ways to enhance later educational progress.
Putting families first means protecting families. This requires the fine work of police, firefighters, and other first responders, and a community partnership on drug and alcohol abuse issues. Since New Hampshire ranks in the top five for drug and alcohol use by youth aged 12 to 20, and 30% of middle school students report using marijuana in the past 30 days, it is clear that we need additional resources and new policies. This is why I sponsored legislation to strengthen the Governor’s Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention, Intervention, and Treatment, and worked to include several million dollars in Federal matching funds for treatment in the NH Health Protection Plan. I cosponsored bills to create the controlled drug prescription health and safety program and to study how to regulate and control synthetic drugs in New Hampshire. District police chiefs and the Rx Task Force have told me about the rise in opioid and heroin use, so I will explore new legislation for enforcement, treatment, and court diversion programs.
Protecting families means a full range of community services, particularly for children, in times of mental health crisis. The budget restored support for the Children in Need of Services Program. Police officers and judges know that children need services, not trials and incarceration. The recent mental health lawsuit settlement adds crisis care beds and community-based treatment. I will make effective mental health care a priority for my work next term.
We must also protect children and families from sexual and domestic violence, and this is why I sponsored SB 348 establishing a commission on child sexual abuse prevention education. Following the tragic shooting last year, I cosponsored “Joshua’s Law,” establishing domestic violence as a discreet crime, and I cosponsored a new law on human trafficking for prostitution.
As I know from personal experience, families are challenged to find nursing home care and end of life treatment. Personal dignity, independence, and protection of interests are the values informing my cosponsoring of the senior citizens bill of rights and a bill to establish a palliative care center.
From the beginning of life to its end, family relationships weave communities, schools, work, and government together. I pledge as a senator to provide leadership that brings the family values of District 4 to Concord.
Friday, July 4, 2014
Watters seeks funding fix for sidewalk grant
By Casey Conley
SOMERSWORTH — State Sen. David Watters is working with city and state officials to make sure a vital component of the roughly $8 million downtown project moves forward this year despite uncertainty about a federal grant.
Watters, a Dover Democrat whose district includes Somersworth, stressed the importance of the project during discussions this week with Gov. Maggie Hassan and N.H. Department of Transportation leaders. He also discussed ways the job can still be done this construction season.
“We can’t burden downtown businesses with new sidewalks and other improvements any longer than is necessary,” Watters said in a statement. “Dysfunction in Washington won’t prevent us from finding a New Hampshire solution.”
Somersworth received a federal Transportation Enhancement grant worth nearly $480,000 to replace downtown sidewalks in the High-Market-Main Street corridor, many of which are currently torn up as part of the ongoing utility upgrades. The grant also would pay for decorative lighting and landscaping improvements.
Those streetscape upgrades were scheduled to be done this fall. The infrastructure project also is scheduled to be finished this fall.
However, the federal Highway Trust Fund is projected to run out of money within the next two months, potentially threatening future rounds of funding to the states unless Congress acts to shore up the fund. Transportation Enhancement grants are paid for by this trust fund.
Given that uncertainty, N.H. DOT has set aside its entire $150 million federal highway allocation for multiyear projects that have already begun. This decisions ensures these projects can continue next year even if Congress fails to fix issues with the Highway Trust Fund.
But it also means money that could have gone to roughly two dozen N.H projects slated to begin this year — including the Somersworth sidewalks and streetscape upgrades — could be delayed into fall. By that time, city officials say it’s too late to start the Somersworth streetscape project, potentially leaving sidewalks unfinished until spring.
There are at least three ways the Somersworth project could get done this year, regardless of the federal funding situation, according to Watters and N.H. DOT officials.
One method involves rededicating surplus money from other N.H. construction projects that come in under budget or have a surplus when the work is done, although there likely will be stiff competition for those dollars.
The state also could try to claim federal Highway Redistribution Funds from other projects that could be distributed within the Granite State, Watters said. Finally, Somersworth has the option of paying for the project with cash reserves or through borrowing. The city could then seek reimbursement from the grant as long as the project and bidding process met federal guidelines.
Watters also spoke with N.H. DOT Commissioner Chris Clement and other officials this week to stress the importance of the Somersworth project, he said.
The Highway Trust Fund is funded through federal gas taxes, although recently its been running a deficit. Democrats and Republicans have disagreed thus far about how to resolve the deficit and replenish the account.
Carol Murray, Somersworth’s interim public works director, said she’s spoken with Watters and is glad to have his support.
“Certainly, he didn’t approach it as, ‘the sky is falling.’ He’s approaching it as, ‘I have some thoughts how we can make this work,’” she said this week.
City officials raised the prospect recently of paying for the streetscape work now and seeking grant reimbursement later. Until recently, it wasn’t clear if that was an option. Murray expects there would be new discussions after the July 4 holiday weekend.
Meantime, city officials are working to finalize the streetscape project design and submit it to N.H. DOT officials for approval. Once that’s done, the city will be ready to move on the project if funding becomes available.
“The city appreciates any and all help we can get,” Murray said, adding that Watters’ efforts helped make sure the project doesn’t get lost in the shuffle.
Thursday, July 3, 2014
Civil rights, then and now Speakers: Country has come a long way, and still has further to go
By DYLAN MORRILL
PORTSMOUTH — More than two dozen people gathered at Market Square on Wednesday for the Portsmouth Black Heritage Trail’s “Buttons, Banners, and Blow Horns” rally.
The rally, which took place from 3 to 5 p.m., commemorated the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Acts while also raising awareness to current civil rights issues.
The Portsmouth based Leftist Marching Band started off the rally by playing a few songs, one of which was a rendition of “America the Beautiful” sung along to by many of the participants.
JerriAnne Boggis, Portsmouth Black Heritage Trail director, opened up the program portion of the rally by thanking those in attendance and introducing area resident Nancy Brown, who read a poem.
Next, NAACP N.H. State Director Purnell “Fred” Ross Jr. said a few words. “We can eliminate the bigotry and racism that still exist here,” Ross told those gathered.
State Sen. David Watters spoke next.
“Sometimes I think it is good to be old because you get to remember,” said Watters. “I think back to the summer of 1963.”
Watters said he remembers when the struggle for civil rights seemed endless. “And then,” said Watters, “Lyndon Johnson decided finally it was time to act.”
Watters said that the burden will always be on the current generation to keep the torch of liberty burning.
When talking about the “unalienable rights” promised in the Declaration of Independence, Watters said: “That declaration is not with us until every generation fulfills it.”
Activist Addy Simwerayi agreed. “We have to keep fighting and we have to make sure that our youth learn this history,” he said.
After a recent UNH grad spoke to the ralliers about the dangers of weight-based discrimination, 93-year-old Macy Morse gave the final speech.
Boggis called Morse “a very active activist.”
“I will keep struggling to do whatever needs to be done that comes my way,” said Morse, closing the rally by saying she will “keep on walking.”
Thursday, June 19, 2014
Senator Watters Raises Over $55,000 in Initial Filing Report
Surpasses 2012 Benchmarks by more than $10,000
Dover, NH – Wednesday, District 4 Senator David Watters announced an impressive fundraising
haul of $55,250 for the first financial report of the election, surpassing benchmarks set in his
winning 2012 campaign. With $43,211 on hand, Watters can begin to communicate with voters
across the entire district about his bipartisan solutions that will protect the New Hampshire
advantage of low taxes, quality of life, and equal opportunity.
“The support that my campaign has received from folks across the Granite State is both
energizing and humbling,” said Senator David Watters. “It’s clear that we’re well on our way to
building a strong organization that is well equipped to speak to voters about how we can continue
working together to find common sense solutions that keep New Hampshire moving forward and
strengthen our middle class families."
Senator Watters’ report shows broad grassroots support with contributions from every town in his
district and almost 65% of his filing coming from donations of $100 or less. “Grassroots support
was key to my success in 2012 and will be our path to victory in 2014. My supporters from all
across the district are ready to push back against shadowy, outside money from multi-million
dollar super PACs,” continued Senator Watters.
Thursday, June 12, 2014
Watters to file for second term
OVER — Sen. David Watters will officially file for re-election Wednesday as a candidate for State Senate in District 4.
Joined by fellow Senate colleagues, Watters will file for his candidacy with the Secretary of State. Watters said he wants to continue his work to grow the state’s economy and strengthen hard-working Granite State families, according to a press release from his campaign. District 4 includes the towns of Barrington, Dover, Rollinsford and Somersworth.
“It has been a privilege to serve the citizens of District 4 by working hard for jobs, economic development, education, and health care,” Watters said. “In 2012, I promised to work across the aisle to find the best solutions to the problems facing our state, and I promise to maintain that same bipartisanship so that we can keep New Hampshire moving forward.”
After serving two terms in the House, Watters was elected to the Senate in 2012 by a strong majority of voters across the district. He has served on the Transportation Committee and the Executive Departments and Administration Committee, as well as on several other committees and commissions. Having sponsored and cosponsored dozens of successful bills, Watters said he is recognized for his bipartisan leadership on many issues. Watters believes the progress of the past two years must be continued.
“I pledged to restore civility to Concord and put aside partisan divisiveness by promoting common-sense legislation to support working families. I will continue to fight for the priorities that matter to Granite State families like creating jobs and promoting economic development founded on an education that prepares students for 21st-Century jobs. We must protect the New Hampshire advantage of low taxes, quality of life, and equal opportunity. We can’t return to extremist views on women’s health, economic policy, or education,” Watters said.
According to the press release, Watters listed what he considered to be his most notable legislative accomplishments:
■ Secured increased school adequacy funding for Dover, Barrington, and Rollinsford, and $13.5 million for Dover’s Career and Technical Education Center.
■ Sponsored legislation to promote economic development, to support businesses, to encourage housing development and cut red tape, to create a commission on child sexual abuse prevention education, and other bills to protect families.
■ Established Coastal Risks and Hazards Commission, demonstrating leadership in confronting the challenges of adaptation to global warming, and his efforts on nitrogen and wastewater treatment have aided plans to clean up the Great Bay without burdening local tax payers in Dover and other communities with tens of millions of dollars in unnecessary construction costs.
Friday, June 6, 2014
State will pay 75% for Career Tech Center
By Andrea Bulfinch
DOVER — Funding for the renovation of the Career Technical Center was passed by the House Wednesday at a 75/25 percent cost.
Sen. David Watters explained this meant the state is willing to match 75 percent of the cost.
“We really needed to have that level of state support for Dover,” he said, further explaining the commitment made the difference of about $2.8 million dollars that would not have been received otherwise “had we not gotten the match from the state level.”
Dover will be eligible for $10.25 million upon the signing of the bill and the remaining $3.25 million will be available pending additional legislative action in the next biennium.
“I’ve been working on this for several months now to try to secure this funding for Dover,” Watters said.
Mayor Karen Weston explained that one of the first steps toward putting these funds to use is determining whether a renovation is needed or reconstruction and updating costs for the project accordingly.
“As far as impact on the taxpayer, this is really good news,” she said.
She also noted these funds are allocated specifically for the CTC, making them separate from any funding needed to renovate the main portion of the high school.
“This city cannot thank Sen. Watters enough,” she said.
Watters noted great cooperation from city officials, the School Board and officials in Concord as what helped to accomplish the goal.
“It really required extraordinary work by my Senate colleagues in both parties,” he said.
School districts in Whitefield and Plymouth rejected funding from the state and Watters made it his mission to move Dover up on the list to receive it instead.
“We needed to have a resolution to City Council saying it would accept the funding,” he said. “Without that they would not be able to move forward. Other communities did not agree to the funding levels.”
Language in this bill confirms that Dover will retain its position at the top of this priority list, which Watters said will be crucial in receiving the remainder of the funding, or the $3.25 million.
In an email to city officials and councilors, Mayor Karen Weston announced the news Wednesday afternoon.
Watters also said this will help local employers gain a well-prepared workforce in the future.
“We have so many manufacturers in the area who are crying out for well-trained workers. And we’ll have a really modern facility,” he said.
Watters also noted he remains committed to providing a quality education in the Garrison City.
“It’s all about the kids,” he said.
While Gov. Maggie Hassan must still sign the bill, Watters said he expects that to happen sometime soon. He said he’d like to have her visit the CTC and high school for some sort of formal ceremony when that happens.
“This is a great day for Dover,” he said.
Environmental leadership, planning, and taxpayer protection
By State Sen. David Watters
Saturday, May 17, 2014
The spring season and the celebration of Earth Day remind us of the renewal that nature promises. In the spirit of hope, I believe we must plan wisely to face the challenges confronting coastal New Hampshire, including climate change, Great Bay water quality, and sustainable fisheries. Reports from state, national, and international agencies confirm what we all know — the climate is changing. Rising sea levels, increasingly severe storms, warmer winters and hotter summers are here to stay. The economic risks are great.
The recently released New England Climate Adaptation Project Climate Change Risk Assessment for Dover shows that frequent extreme storms and 1 to 3 feet of sea level rise in downtown Dover and along Dover Point will threaten infrastructure, homes, and commercial development. New Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM) will affect many properties. It is time for leadership so we can plan carefully now to protect taxpayers from future costs by making wise adaptations now. My work as your “saltwater” senator in Concord is dedicated to leadership on these environmental challenges and opportunities.
My major initiative to protect taxpayers and the environment has been the establishment of the Coastal Risks and Hazards Commission, composed of representatives from municipalities, insurance underwriters, businesses, area and state agencies, and the legislature. It will provide guidance on anticipated sea level rise, coastal flooding, storm water, and related hazards. It will make recommendations for legislation, regulations, and other actions to protect New Hampshire from these hazards by planning now for adaptations that will mean enormous financial savings in the future. The Commission has made great progress over the past nine months. For example, at its April meeting in Dover, the Commission discussed the Dover Risk Assessment, the draft FEMA flood maps, and presentations on how insurance underwriters and the homebuilding industry are responding to climate change. In June and July, the Commission will release its scientific panel report on projected sea level rise and establish working groups to develop municipal and state agency responses. We must take charge of our future so we can sustain our economic base and our quality of life through prudent climate adaptation.
Great Bay water quality is essential to our quality of life and our economic development, so communities in District 4 are committed to wastewater treatment to reduce nitrogen loads. However, when the Department of Environmental Services and the Environmental Protection Agency used a 2009 nutrient criteria study as the basis for potential licensing that would cost Dover upward of $40 million in additional funds for an unrealistic level of treatment, I knew it was time to fight for common sense and good science. I led the effort in Concord by filing Senate Bill 110 which prompted a peer review of the report. The review released on February 13 fully vindicated the Dover position, and the Supreme Court has just ruled in the city’s favor. I have worked with DES Commissioner Burack and local officials to ensure that we can now move forward with new monitoring of water quality to develop a realistic plan that will save local taxpayers tens of millions of dollars and help preserve the Great Bay. Teamwork, good science, a commitment to the environment, and effective leadership in Concord demonstrate how environmentalism and taxpayer protection can work together.
Fisheries have been an essential part of the Great Bay and coastal economies for centuries, but we are in difficult times due to climate change and reduced fish stocks. As New Hampshire’s legislative commissioner on the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, I have worked to bring together commercial and recreational fishers and resource managers to develop sustainable catch levels. The water temperature in the Gulf of Maine has risen several degrees in the past few years which contributes to the collapse of northern shrimp and the decline of other species. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recently predicted dramatic declines in fish populations in the Gulf of Maine over the next few decades. I have taken the lead in introducing legislation to protect New Hampshire fishermen now and to sustain fisheries in the future.
Environmental leadership in the Great Bay estuary requires expertise in many areas and a strong commitment to economic development and taxpayer protection. I have committed myself during three terms in the legislature to becoming your “saltwater” senator because future generations depend on forceful action today.
Expert: Passenger rail an economic development tool
By Casey Conley
Thursday, May 15, 2014
SOMERSWORTH — Attracting passenger rail service is a proven way to spur economic growth and downtown revitalization, according to rail consultant Tony Donovan.
And while upfront costs are high, Donovan told the city’s Rail Service Advisory Committee that proximity to active rail lines and several medium-sized cities are key advantages in the effort.
The critical first step, he said, is to commit to the project despite myriad challenges and hurdles that must be overcome.
“If the answer is ‘no’ because it’s too hard, it’s never going to get done,” said Donovan, of Maine Rail Transit Coalition. “If you want to do it, you have to go for it.”
Mayor Dana Hilliard created the rail committee two months ago to weigh the feasibility of bringing passenger rail service back to Somersworth. Passenger trains stopped serving the region in 1953, according to the Summersworth Historical Society.
The new committee has met several times but is still getting started.
Chairman Dale Sprague has expressed interest in a commuter service linking downtown Somersworth with Dover, Durham, Newmarket and Exeter. Rochester and points north also could be included in any future system.
The city’s proximity to active railroads is one reason passenger rail is considered possible, Donovan said.
Trains running between an Ossipee gravel pit and Boston already pass through Somersworth twice a day. Meanwhile, the city is located less than three miles from the Pan Am Main Line railroad linking Portland and Boston.
Developing a new commuter railroad won’t be easy. Rehabbing the existing railroads cost about $1 million a mile, and small-scale commuter rail engines and cars cost up to $4.5 million each, consultant Paul Weiss told the committee Tuesday.
That said, the federal grant program recently announced a $600 million grant program for transportation projects. Future rounds of grant funding, along with private investment, could provide cash to launch the commuter rail effort.
There also are other challenges, including negotiating with private railroad owners such as Pan Am Railways for access to its busy tracks, Donovan said.
If successful, the payoff could be significant.
The town of Brunswick, Maine, has experienced higher downtown property values, $35 million in private investment and new businesses downtown since the Amtrak Downeaster began serving the community, Donovan said.
Ridership on the line running from Portland to Brunswick with stops in Freeport has exceeded projections since launching more than a year ago, he said.
State Sen. David Watters, D-Dover, was among about 15 people who attended the presentation Tuesday afternoon at Somersworth City Hall. He’s convinced passenger rail is viable in the region and pledged to support the effort in Concord.
“I think we can do it,” he said.
Maine Rail Transit Coalition is consulting for several communities across the region interested in developing passenger rail service. For now, the city has not committed any funding to the rail expansion effort.
Committee member Lara Willard said the committee is still trying to determine whether to pursue passenger rail. If the answer is yes, she said studies and other detailed planning would be required.
“We’re still in the process now of assessing if we want to move forward,” she said. “So far, all signs point to yes.”
Bill extension aims to help Dover's economic development
By Andrea Bulfinch
Tuesday, May 13, 2014
DOVER — The state legislature recently passed a bill extension that provides support for a program that since 2009 has created jobs and increased the tax base by promoting economic development in 38 New Hampshire communities, including Dover.
Supported by Dover’s Sen. David Watters, Senate Bill 327 extends the availability of up to $825,000 a year in economic revitalization tax zone credits to businesses looking to join the community.
“It’s a great way of leveraging private development in an area that the city is trying to develop,” Watters said. Under the program, businesses investing in an area designated by a municipality as an economic revitalization zone can receive a tax credit applied against state business taxes.
There are several eligible zones in Dover. These include the Central Business District and Cocheco Mill renovations; an industrial park; Locust Street, Mast Road and Sixth Street.
“These districts have played an important role in Dover’s economic development and the expansion of the tax base,” Watters said.
Economic Development Director, Dan Barufaldi, said he’s pleased Watters was able to get a five-year extension.
“They’ve been a really big help, particularly to smaller businesses,” he said.
While he declined to name the companies, Barufaldi said there are currently many businesses taking advantage of the program within those five economic revitalization zones.
“It really gets them up and running and kind of bridges them during a tight cash period while they’re trying to grow because growing takes capital,” Barufaldi said.
A new provision of the bill allows companies to carry over unclaimed tax credits from one year to the next for the duration of the five-year period, Watters said. So if a project doesn’t move along in the year tax credits were initially provided, those credits will not be lost.
“It provides continuity,” he said.
City Manager Mike Joyal said this bill promotes projects which benefit the entire community.
“It not only helps the businesses with expanding jobs, but creates opportunity for new businesses to relocate to the community and locate into these zones and be able to use these tax credits,” he said. “We’re pleased to see the extension.”
“This legislative action means communities can plan for future economic revitalization tax zone credits under this effective and successful program,” Watters said. “I sponsored this legislation to promote job development and entrepreneurial partnerships between businesses and municipalities. I thank the bipartisan supporters of this bill.”
Senate Bill 327 is one of several bills Watters said he has sponsored this session to support economic development by businesses and housing developers. He also co-sponsored a bill to double the business investment tax credit.
Watters bill on sex abuse prevention goes to governor: Designed to make schoolchildren statewide more aware of inappropriate touching
By Kimberley Haas
Saturday, May 3, 2014
DOVER — A Senate bill establishing a commission to study sexual abuse prevention education in New Hampshire schools is on its way to Gov. Maggie Hassan’s desk after it passed the House of Representatives this week.
SB 348 is sponsored by state Sen. David Watters, D-Dover. Watters started working on the bill after having a number of discussions with local people interested in talking about sexual abuse prevention. He learned that some school districts in New Hampshire have educational programs about sexual abuse, while others do not.
According to supporters, the bill is aimed at making children more aware of when they are being touched inappropriately by others. The hope is that by giving elementary and secondary school children the knowledge they need to realize when something is wrong, they will report sexual abuse to the appropriate authorities and receive treatment. As it is written, the bill would not mandate that schools start teaching about sexual abuse.
Jessica Paradis of Somersworth, a mother of five sons and a member of the Somersworth School Board, is hopeful that schools will start using curricula recommended by the commission starting in the 2015-16 school year.
Paradis testified on behalf of the bill last month. The former vice president of the Sexual Assault Support Services (SASS) board of directors is herself a survivor of childhood sexual abuse.
“If this kind if programming had been around when I was a kid, it could have prevented my abuse from happening for years. I would have known that this wasn’t supposed to be happening to me, and that there are adults, in school and out of school that would have helped to get me out of a scary, confusing situation,” Paradis said Friday.
Paradis said SASS currently serves Rockingham and Strafford County school systems, teaching approximately 10,000 students a year about personal body safety, Internet safety and healthy relationships, but there are a total of 40,000 students in the two counties.
Paradis said there are 12 other states that provide this type of education to students. She said the bill has support from police, rape crisis centers, child advocacy groups, the Department of Health and Human Services and those in education. Paradis has been told that if SB 348 passes the House of Representatives, it would have the support of Gov. Maggie Hassan.