Last week, I, like a number of other small business owners in Nashua, attended the Greater Nashua Chamber of Commerce’s candidate forum where U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster and her opponent, state Rep. Marilinda Garcia, were gracious enough to let us in on their thoughts for the 2nd Congressional District.
Though intrigued by the discussion in its entirety, I was there to hear about one topic in particular – commuter rail. As part of a new, young company in Nashua, I believe that having an easy, simple and clean way for highly skilled workers to commute to jobs in southern New Hampshire is a must. Currently, we are the only area with a population of 500,000 people or more without direct access to commuter rail in the U.S.
I left the forum flabbergasted, however. I was surprised to hear that Marilinda Garcia refused (despite prodding from Chamber President Christopher Williams) to take a stance on the issue. For me, this isn’t an issue where, “I’ll get back to you on this” is acceptable. As a young person myself who is excited about seeing progress in southern New Hampshire, I expect my leaders to be at least as passionate.
I decided to dig a little deeper since the idea of commuter rail isn’t a new one around these parts. What I found is that she knows quite a bit about commuter rail – contrary to what she said at the forum. Not only did she vote once to repeal the NHRTA, she also voted to override Gov. Lynch’s veto of that bill. Rep. Kuster, in contrast, has repeatedly gone to bat for federal grants to help make rail possible.
In an economy where any politician should be thumping the pulpit and screaming “JOBS, JOBS, JOBS!” Ms. Garcia seems to favor mediocre being good enough.