Success will come from compromise, not ideology

Politics is defined by conflict; government by compromise. This balance seems to be perpetually lost on Washington, where politicians are swept away in perceived mandates and partisan warfare. This is not what the people want. Quite frankly, it’s what they most dislike about politics, and now it is what they most dislike about their government.

The voters in my North Country district, the most evenly divided political district in the state, told me to work with everyone to find practical, nonpartisan solutions. That is what I have always tried to do.

That’s what we did in the Senate during the last session by passing several important bipartisan bills that expanded health care, fixed our aging roads and created a unanimous, balanced budget that funded our important needs while maintaining fiscal restraint.

A few weeks ago, voters overwhelmingly rewarded those that stand for compromise over conflict. All but one of the senators who voted for expanding health care and investing in our infrastructure were returned to office. Two Republican senators even withstood tough primaries from right-wing candidates along the way, showing that voters valued practical, bipartisan solutions over a hardline partisan agenda.

As the newly elected Senate minority leader, I will work with anyone to keep our hard-earned, bipartisan progress intact.

No doubt, there are some itching to fight for a radical agenda that includes repealing expanded Medicaid eligibility to provide private health insurance to 50,000 hardworking Granite Staters and repealing the 4-cent gas tax increase that is making vital investments in our infrastructure (while gas prices at the pump continue to drop).

That is not the road we should go down, and I am hopeful that the same spirit of compromise that led us to so much success last year will prevail again. Senate Democrats are united and ready once again to work with Governor Hassan and Senate Republicans to build a fair, responsible, balanced state budget as we did two years ago.

What we will not do is heed the call of partisan, ideological voices who are trying to use the always-challenging process of maintaining a balanced budget as a way to dismantle important investments in education, health and job-creating innovation in our economy.

While we are extending our hand to find practical compromises, we are also prepared to stand firm to temper the overzealous and extreme agenda that emerged that last time there was a Republican House of Representatives. That Republican leadership, led by then-Speaker Bill O’Brien, slashed investments in education, health care and economic development in ways that are still reverberating through our economy today. It took the last two years of bipartisan work to get things back on track, and we must not go backward.

By coming together, we can make our state and our people proud. Let’s get to work.

Jeff Woodburn, D-Dalton, represents District 1 in the New Hampshire Senate.

Categories: Opinion