By Aileen Dugan

Our guest speaker today was Ovide Lamontagne, Republican candidate for Governor. We welcomed several guests who were no doubt visiting to hear him speak, including past Rotarian, Attorney Tim Coughlin. The 2 minute spot about Rotary featured a question about the fastest growing organization within Rotary, which is Interact! Our own Interact Club is at Portsmouth High School and Andy gave us an update on what they are doing. They are collecting canned goods for the Salvation Army, and also Trick or Treating for canned goods. They cook dinner there once a month as a service to the community.

Welcome back to fine master Neal Ouellett! Dave Underhill encouraged club members to attend the District Meeting next Saturday, October 27th, to make sure our voice is heard and our input given on how foundation money is spent in the future. Christmas Tree sign-ups continue!! On the wall were sign-ups sheets that looked almost full, which I’m sure will be a welcome sight for Marie Brownell and the rest of the committee. Make sure to sign up for 3 shifts!! Len Seagren was happy to announce that Friends Forever will welcome 40 kids to the US next Saturday. Three groups of 10 students will go to Maine, New Hampshire and northern Massachusetts, with a first ever group of 10 going to New Orleans! Congratulations to Len and Friends Forever. What an amazing experience that will be! Since there will be no Club program during our regular meeting for Rotarians to meet the Irish kids, which we were all disappointed to hear, Len invited us all to attend a Soiree to meet them on Monday, October 29th at the Martingale Wharf from 5 to 7 pm. Priscilla MacInnis is soliciting volunteers for the Rotary Club Thanksgiving Dinner on November 22nd. There are opportunities to volunteer before Thanksgiving, most of the day on Thanksgiving and the following day as well so don’t miss out on this wonderful Community wide event. This year, we have established a "Turkey Hot Line" being manned and womanned by Rotary volunteers. You can give this number out to those looking to volunteer, or to have a meal delivered or attend the sit down feast at the Greek Church’s Jarvis Center. Turkey Hot Line is 380-1758. Our email address is Aileen Dugan is Team Leader for Rotarians serving dinner at the Salvation Army on Thursday, October 25th at 5pm. If you would like to volunteer at 4pm to help set up and serve the already prepared food and clean up afterwards, shoot her an email at This is a great experience.

Stella Scamman introduced Ovide Lamontagne , a 4th generation NH resident who is running for governor against Maggie Hassan. It was clear that Attorney Lamontagne is very comfortable speaking in front of large groups, perhaps even Portsmouth Rotarians in particular, as he seemed very relaxed as he addressed our Club. He pulled a coin out of his pocket, which had the 4 Way Test inscribed on one side of it, and explained how it had been given to him by a Manchester supporter when he was running for the senate. He had pledged to keep it in his pocket, and now Catholic guilt had resulted in him keeping it in his pocket ever since then.

Ovide’s vision for New Hampshire can be found online at Ovide’s Oath, which includes his 10 point pledge if he is elected governor. He said his focus as governor would be on economic issues. He pointed to the NH Food Bank, which was founded by Catholic Charities, as an example of how the private sector does a good job in meeting the needs of our state’s neediest citizens, as opposed to looking to State government. He has taken the "No Tax Pledge" and said he will veto a broad based sales tax and an income tax. He feels we should be able to live within our limits. He questioned the wisdom of a maintenance budget, which he says we have done for the past two years, basing the new budget on the status quo of the prior year. He feels it is time to go back to the drawing board and "start from scratch".

He would require that any new legislation proposed be accompanied by an economic impact analysis which says what it will cost individuals and businesses to comply with the new regulations. That would allow for a better evaluation of whether or not the benefits justified the cost. He does not support the cost of bringing the Great Bay estuary into line with required levels of environmental pollutants. He has proposed tax credits for job creators for the first 5 years after a new job is created, and he would propose lowering the Business Profits Tax from 8.5% to 8%. As for health care, he served as legal counsel to the Catholic Medical Center and feels that insurance should not be linked to your employer but should be more portable. More should be done to encourage free market competition in the market by removing laws that NH has in place that discourage companies from wanting to write health insurance here and limit competition. He would design his own plan for our state to meet the objectives of Obamacare, which is all lives insured, rather than utilizing Medicaid to deliver care.

He would like to see the Clairmont decision reversed by a constitutional amendment on education and see funding for education decentralized. He feels our state’s energy policy has been sorely lacking and would call for reversing the Cap and Tax approach we currently utilize which taxes utilities in order to provide start up grants and business loans to alternative energy providers.

He feels that the current legislature did what they had to do to balance the budget in cutting funding to the University of New Hampshire by 50%, although it is not a decision that he personally would have made. He said they were faced with a structural deficit, while also pointing out that certain new taxes, such as a new tax on LLC’s, that would have offset this deficit, were repealed by the legislature. While he stated higher education should be more affordable and more available, he did not outline a specific program for raising the funds to do this.

Lastly, he would create a new position of business advocate. He would appoint that person to be a problem solver for businesses, helping them when they needed help navigating the state’s regulations and getting things done. In the end, he stated, it’s about jobs and the companies who create them.

Did the bonus get won???  You'll have to come next week to find out...