For State Representative
Issues & Political Concerns
My name is Russ Muirhead. I live in Hanover with my wife, Toni Barry, who is an assistant county prosecutor here in Grafton County, and our two children, who attend the Hanover schools. I grew up in Manchester NH, where my parents live still. I teach in the Government
Department at Dartmouth.
I am running because—and I wish this were an exaggeration—I think democracy is in danger. I’ve taught students about the danger, I’ve written about it, and I’m running so I can help try to do something about it.
Democracy means a lot of things. But at the most basic level, it means conceding or turning over power when office holders or candidates lose elections. That’s what John Adams did when Thomas Jefferson won in 1800. It’s what George Herbert Walker Bush did in 1992 when Bill Clinton did.
I always took this for granted. But with a president who teaches his supporters that elections are “rigged!” and with a Governor who said on the Howie Carr radio show that the Democrats bused Massachusetts residents into NH in 2016 to fraudulently vote, we can’t take election integrity for granted any more.
Unsubstantiated charges of voter fraud --of the sort Donald Trump spread in 2016 and 2018--undermine public confidence in the electoral process.
Counter-messaging and fact-checking are not enough. We have to fight this attack on democracy by doing active things to buttress confidence in the electoral process.
Like getting parties out of the business of drawing electoral districts. That’s what the House tried to do in the last session. Governor Sununu vetoed it. The fight is not over.
We need to make the ballot more accessible to everyone by making early voting an option. They do it in lots of places--even Texas. We can do it here.
Money & Politics
We can get money out of politics, by overturning Citizens United. It’s a long and hard process, but we can do it, and it starts in the state legislatures. That’s what the House tried to do in House Bill 504, in the last session. Again, Sununu vetoed it.
We need to eliminate the opportunity to get around campaign finance limits through creating fake LLC’s. The legislature tried to do that last term too. And Sunnunu vetoed that.
Democracy depends on fair elections. But even more, it depends on an educated citizenry.
As an educator, there’s nothing closer to my heart than this. I believe every student in the state should have access to an excellent education, even children who reside in school districts without a lot of taxable property, like Claremont or where I’m from, Manchester NH. Students belong in good schools. Guns don’t. In the last session, the legislature tried to pass a bill that would bar anyone except police officers from bringing guns into our schools. The Association of Police Chiefs supported it. The School Board Association supported it. Teachers
and parents supported it. But the governor didn’t. We can change that.
I’ll work to ensure that all New Hampshire residents have access to health care. For instance, people without health insurance need access to dentists. In the last session, HB250 gave people on Medicaid access to dentists and Governor Sunnunu vetoed it. We need to push for that and we need to win—because you shouldn’t have to be rich to keep your teeth.
We can pass a Medical and Family Leave Act. The legislature did it last time (vetoed!). It’s been done in other places and we can do it here.
New Hampshire’s minimum wage is $7.25. Next door in Vermont, it’s $10.78. It’s $11.00 in Maine. It’s $12.00 in Massachusetts. This is a scandal. And it doesn’t have to be this way. We need a legislature and a governor who will help working people at the bottom of the wage scale.
Justice for All
The quest for racial justice has taken renewed urgency in the summer of 2020, and modes of discrimination that have been hiding in plain sight are, for many, finally coming into view. I will do what can to advance this quest, as a neighbor, a citizen, and, if I am elected, as a legislator.
Solar-powered electricity is not as far from replacing fossil fuels--even to heat homes, even in our climate--as one might think. But making the transition requires making the incentives to install solar panels work for everyday citizens. I will support the kind of net-metering arrangements that we need to solarize New Hampshire.
No Ordinary Time
We have a lot of work to do—on Medical and Family Leave, on minimum wage, on health care and substance abuse treatment.
I hope to work . And we need to elect Democrats to the Executive Council, the State Senate and the State House of Representatives. This is not an election like every other: I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that democracy depends on it.