Here’s hoping for a civil and productive session

It is my hope, that with the New Year, we can endeavor to achieve a spirit of cooperation that will carry throughout the legislative session.

We face very significant challenges as a state, and they will only be made more difficult if we don’t work together to solve them. Personal differences should be set aside and commonalities should be identified so that a pathway to compromise can be explored.

It’s vitally important that we all put the best interests of this state and its people at the top of our priority list.

Working together in a bipartisan fashion will not only help achieve the best possible outcome, it will also help restore the people’s faith in government and the process. They are not impressed with partisan bickering, or worse yet, animosity within parties. We should learn from what we’ve witnessed occurring at the national level, and that is that no one wins when the legislative branch isn’t functioning.

We have to look no further than Congress to see the negative consequences of not working together. While the bill they passed in December will fund most of the government through September, it only funds the Department of Homeland Security through February, significantly cuts other agencies and contains regressive measures that will undo good that has been done. Specifically, it weakens parts of the Dodd-Frank Act that were imposed to protect taxpayers from future bank bailouts. It also weakens campaign finance laws by increasing the allowable donation amounts to political parties.

The days leading up to the vote were filled with divisiveness between and among the parties rather than attempts at compromise. The result is a piece of legislation that avoids a government shutdown but leaves many problems unanswered. That’s not good government.

Disagreements are inevitable, unavoidable, and even healthy. It is how we conduct ourselves during disagreements and how we work through them that truly matters. If we approach this session with open minds and open ears as ideas are shared, I’m confident that good things will result.

We should learn from the mistakes of Congress, as well as those from our own past, and strive to be better. Let’s bring forth our best ideas and pass good, meaningful legislation that betters our state and the lives of its citizens.

There is reason to be optimistic. The economy is improving and gas prices are down. With good fiscal management, the right priorities and innovative ideas we can build upon the positive trends we’re seeing and create a better situation for everyone.

We’re never going to agree on everything, and of course that’s not what I’m suggesting. I’m simply suggesting that we not forget why we’re here. The people have made their choices with the votes they cast. Now it is up to those of us who were elected to represent our constituents in a civil and constructive manner.

Lou D’Alessandro, D-Manchester, represents District 20 in the New Hampshire Senate.

Categories: Opinion