Republican candidate for governor, Walt Havenstein, stopped in at the Barley House in Concord, NH to discuss campaign issues with Chris Ryan.
The race for governor has narrowed to only an 8% gap between Republican candidate, Walt Havenstein, and the incumbent, Governor Maggie Hassan. The GOP’s candidate believes that concern about the state’s economy is a major cause for his gaining ground in the opinion polls. Havenstein cited that New Hampshire’s high corporate taxes are the highest in the region and third in the United States. Because of his business background, he believes that he can improve the business climate and then that will bring more jobs and better paying jobs to the Granite State. The Republican challenger attributed the state’s increased energy prices to short (two year) term planning and a willingness to accept regional rather than New Hampshire based solutions. Walt Havenstein graduated from the United States Naval Academy with a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering and also received a master’s degree in electrical engineering. He served in the US Marine Corps from 1971 to 1983. Then he worked for several companies in the aerospace industry.
When he was asked about attack ads which label him as a “Failed CEO,” Havenstein defended his work at SAIC Science Applications International Corporation. He stated that when he stepped down from that post he was praised by the chairman of the board of SAIC for his business acumen and leadership skills. He countered that several Concord politicians have described Maggie Hassan’s management style as not “bipartisan” but rather as “toxic.” Havenstein claims that in the Marine Corp and in his business experience he was skilled at team building and working effectively with strong, diverse personalities.
This is Walt Havenstein’s first venture into politics; and, despite having his reputation banged up a bit, he is enjoying the experience.
Havenstein also addressed crisis management as it pertains to situations like the current Ebola problem. He believes that communication is key. People need to know what the problem is, what is being done, what is the state of preparedness to deal with the problem, and what will be done if the situation changes. He mentioned that he has had some experience with handling disasters which affected his company–tornadoes in Alabama and Katrina in Louisiana. When he was asked about whether New Hampshire has a spending problem or a revenue problem? Havenstein attributed the problem to a lack of planning. To him, preparing a budget must include a true bipartisan approach and a long term integrated economic plan. Priorities of education, transportation, etc. should be aligned with the plan. The candidate ended with an appeal to voters that New Hampshire’s economic problems are the result of ten years of Democrat governorship.