Karina Barriga Albring

News Editor


karina barriga albring / news editor Senator Jeb Bradley (R), majority leader in the Senate, spoke about funding for higher education, Medicare and the 2014 Election in a roundtable discussion at KSC on April 6.

As students presented projects in the Academic Excellence Conference on Saturday, April 6, around 20 community members, including Republican leaders from the state and Keene State College students and staff members, attended the political discussion with majority leader of the New Hampshire Senate,  Senator Jeb Bradley (R) in the Young Student Center. The afternoon’s discussion included higher education funding, Medicare and overall thoughts on Obama’s campaign.

During this roundtable discussion sponsored by KSC Republicans, Bradley expressed that restoration of state funding for college education is still in debate.

Senator Bradley explained that the state senators have to analyze more up-to-date factual information than the governor and the House when recommending a budget. “The majority of Republicans would like to see more students in college. However, when the revenue growth is not materialized, we sometimes have to make painful cuts,” Bradley said.

According to former President of the Senate Thomas R. Eaton (R), time is a crucial aspect when passing a budget. “The governor proposes a budget based on the inflation rates. Then the House analyzes the budget and reorganizes and distributes money. After some months, the Senate discusses the budget. Since time has passed, there are more economical facts available and the senate has to vote on the budget with the actual income that the state has,” Eaton explained.

Eaton stated that some groups may claim a certain amount of money the Governor offered. “But if the funds are not really there, it is impossible for us to allocate them for any initiative,” Eaton said.

When it comes to funding higher education, Bradley recognized that New Hampshire’s state appropriation is lower than other states but said it would be unfair to blame this on the tax system. “If there would be a sales tax, people would find a way to spend it. We are doing a lot better than other states that have income or sales tax. I would choose our tax structure over the ones other states implement,” Bradley stated.

New Hampshire is currently at the bottom of the list of higher education funding. Even before the state funding was cut in 49 percent in fiscal year 2012, New Hampshire was already one of the states that allocated less funds to higher education, stated Karen House, KSC vice president for Finance and Planning.

When the proposal of reducing spendings in order to make college more affordable for students was brought to the table, senior and chair of KSC Republicans Allie Bedell indicated that Keene State College is not an institution that squanders its funds. “[At] KSC, we are very wise when using our resources. I don’t think there are any unjustified spendings,” Bedell said.

On behalf of the institution, Vice President for Advancement Maryann Lindberg said, “Any investment you make in a young person, you are creating new taxpayers. If young people can’t finish college, it is a great issue for the state.”

Bradley expressed that because of the economic situation of the nation, “Many states in the country have had the need to cut their budget. We have limited resources and a lot of decisions to make.”

About Medicare, Senator Bradley said, “I don’t think that we [the Senate] will join the House in expanding the program.” Republican leaders in the room referred to Medicare as “Obama-care.” Senator Bradley stated that when he voted in favor of Medicare, “It seemed like a good initiative.”

“Currently, if you ask pretty much any governor throughout the nation, they will tell you it is a very costly program, very hard to implement. The programs that we have are unsustainable,” Senator Bradley said.

Regarding the place where the Republican party stands after losing the 2012 election, Bradley said, “We need to focus on what voters care about: economy, jobs, cost of food. We need to find candidates that don’t scare people. We cannot afford that people believe that their rights are going to be taken away.”

Bradley said President Barack Obama has not been a good president, “but is certainly a very good campaigner.”

Bradley stated, “Our friends on the other side have been successful in putting a message people understand in a bumper sticker. We haven’t.”

About students’ support for the Republican party, Bedell said, “In the past election, we did not give students a single reason to vote for us. Students are more interested in hearing about social issues that they feel directly affect their lives every day.” Bedell said that approaching college students with economy as a primary topic is not the best idea. “Students think about paying for tuition and not graduating with a huge debt. Apart from that, when Republicans speak to them about the economy in general, they don’t pay a lot of attention.”

“One of the challenges the Republican party faces is that liberal media will not present our message in a fair way,” Eaton said. Bradley said, “Social media has given the party the opportunity to reach out to voters. We need to take more advantage of it.”

In regard of the 2014 Elections, Bradley said, “There will be a lot of chaos, it will not look good for our Democratic friends.” Bradley indicated that historically, the sixth year in office has always  been a tough one for most presidents. “It was tough for George W. Bush. It will be a tough year for the Obama administration.”

Bradley is considered one of the strongest candidates to challenge U.S Senator Democrat Jeanne Shaheen when she runs for re-election.

“We have to continue to be a party of opportunity, instead of a party that sits and expects that others take care of us. We are a party that believes in personal liberties and responsibilities. Personal responsibilities seem to have taken a step back in this country, and we cannot let this happen,” Bradley stated.


Karina Barriga Albring can be contacted at kbarriga@keene-equinox.com


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