Jay Kahn is a man of many positions and now takes it one step further by announcing his running for New Hampshire State Senator.
A State Senator is responsible for representing N.H. as well as writing and voting for new bills that affect N.H. citizens. Kahn spent 45 years in public finance and obtained a Ph.D. in Political Science. While he was employed at Keene State College, he spent 27 years as Vice President of Finances and another year as Interim President.
Kahn said his time at KSC has stimulated a passion to provide for the youth of N.H. He explained that discussion and action need to happen sooner rather than later in a student’s life. “We don’t talk about job opportunities until someone’s ready to graduate,” he explained. He said what this does is defer students from “the jobs of the future.”
Kahn said education is implemental to helping students get further in the workplace.
“College degree holders fare better in the workforce; we should encourage college education,” he said. Kahn supports putting a freeze on in-state tuition and said doing so can help bring the prices down. In addition, Kahn said, “We need to provide additional certification programs in manufacturing, healthcare [and] social services.” He said these could be yearly programs that could help get students into the workforce early and then they can grow within their area of interest. He said that with a stronger workforce, stronger economic growth will ensue, which could encourage students to stay in Keene as a place to live.
Kahn said that some of the beginning incentives to do so could include internships and community work. He said that the more opportunities available for a student to grow, the more likelihood of them sticking around. “[In] as many ways a student can qualify themselves is important.”
He said ultimately the people who knew who he was at the college, and the relationships he maintained with others, should be a good indication of who he will be as a state senator. “The passion with which I advocated on behalf of Keene State College across the state is the same passion I will bring to the State Senate in representing Cheshire County citizens, students, institutions and businesses.”
Education counselor for the Upward Bound program Kyle Virgin said he supports Kahn’s decision to run. “I like his knowledge of Keene State College as a long-term staff member,” Virgin said. He explained that it reassures him that Kahn understands how the college is important in the Cheshire community. “He understands the importance of high education, which goes hand in hand with what I do,” he said.
Virgin said he is a firm believer that college can drastically change someone’s life. “College is the easiest pathway out of poverty,” he said. Virgin goes to various high schools throughout the Vermont and N.H. region to promote higher education. Virgin said he hopes Kahn will encourage more funding for higher education in New Hampshire.
“N.H. is ranked as one of the lowest states to support higher education. N.H. give little [financial] aid which makes huge issues, especially when tuition rises.” Virgin said that he knows Kahn will have other issues to apprehend with, but at the very least “he’ll be an advocate for what higher education needs.”
Virgin also attributed Kahn as having viable social and leadership skills with the community. “When he was interim president, he did a good job of relating to the students,” he said. Virgin said he felt like Kahn went out of his way to make a connection. Virgin explained, “Because he’s so local, it feels good. You should know your state representatives.”
KSC visitor Garry Page said he knows Kahn through mutual friends. Page also said his wife and Kahn worked together on the new dormitory. “I don’t know him very well, but he seems friendly, smart, a no-nonsense sort of guy.”
Page said he noticed Kahn as a city councilman. “Keene needed someone to go in and look at the budget; Jay has a great financial mind,” he said. Page said having Kahn’s financial mind could help N.H. bring further funding to education. He said, “We need to cut things of waste and bring it to education.”
Dorothy England can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.