Sununu mixes positivity with caution at State of the State discussion

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Gov. Chris Sununu
Gov. Chris Sununu on March 20, 2023, at NH Institute of Politics. Photo/Andrew Sylvia

GOFFSTOWN, NH –  What’s the current state of New Hampshire? Pretty good, but there are obstacles coming soon.

At the Manchester Chamber’s annual State of the State Conversation presented by Dartmouth Health, New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu said that the Granite State certainly has challenges but is strong overall.

Sununu touted New Hampshire as outpacing the rest of the northeast when it comes to energy policy and its ability to balance consumer costs with environmental issues, but also noted that much of New Hampshire’s energy policies are impacted by neighbors and global factors, necessitating the need for diversification. Here he felt positive, noting developments in wind power and hydrogen as well as efforts to prevent the closure of natural gas storage facilities in Massachusetts.

He also urged caution regarding the development of electric vehicles based on the difficulty in permitting new transmission lines and the over-reliance on processing lithium batteries in China, which he said is set to become one of the world’s most unstable states given its demographics.

Sununu also spoke highly of the state’s economy and the national economy, much to the chagrin of other Republican governors, but noted that federal policies encouraging risky bank behavior and a possible commercial real estate bubble could create stagnation in the near future.

Gov. Chris Sununu, left, with event moderator Scott Spradling during the 2023 State of the State address at the NH Institute of Politics. Photo/Jeffrey Hastings

The lack of people in their 20s and 30s re-entering the economy has also harmed economic growth, but in New Hampshire he said that programs, where the state could help college graduates paying off debt, could play a role – something that is especially needed here with nurses and social workers.

That tone of positivity for the present and caution for the future permeated his statements on other topics as well, such as the impact of the American Rescue Plan Act on the state’s economy, efforts to address housing shortages and stopping the opioid epidemic.

Sununu praised the city of Manchester for its efforts to win the recent U.S. Department of Transportation Build Back Better Grant, saying the $44 million obtained by Mayor Craig with assistance from Dean Kamen and other Manchester entrepreneurs could become worth $1 billion to the New Hampshire economy with proper marketing.

Gov. Chris Sununu praised the city of Manchester for its efforts to win the recent U.S. Department of Transportation Build Back Better Grant and its potential to boost NH’s economy. Photo/Jeffrey Hastings

Perhaps the only area where Sununu’s outlook was purely positive came regarding the participation of New Hampshire’s residents in the political process. He predicted that with the Democratic National Committee’s recent announcement, Democratic candidates may come to New Hampshire as a springboard, since incumbent president Joe Biden is unlikely to campaign in New Hampshire this cycle, and the Republican Primary is still wide open.

That necessity surrounding New Hampshire’s role on the national stage stemmed from the average Granite Stater’s participation in government, ranging from their direct questions to presidential candidates to heading out to town meetings each spring. There, he said he has told other Republicans that he doesn’t seek to dictate policies down to the local level, even in Democratic areas of the state, believing that local residents will remove local officials pursuing bad policies.

He also expressed frustration at the continuing divisiveness at the national level as well as the quality of some Republican U.S. Senate candidates, believing that Republicans should seek the most conservative candidate they can nominate that can also get elected, but also pursue conservative policies that can obtain support from some Democrats given the need to obtain 60 votes in the U.S. Senate to get anything accomplished.

When asked by event moderator Scott Spradling whether he was receiving better advice about running for President versus possibly running for U.S. Senate, he said that all unsolicited advice is bad.

However, he did not indicate whether he is or isn’t running for president. People continue to ask him what’s going on at the national level during his recent appearances on network television, which he sees as part of his job in touting the state of New Hampshire.

He’s not going to change who he is for anyone.

“I get a lot of advice, ‘oh you have to go here!’ ‘Go right!’ I’m not going anywhere. I’m a four-term governor that managed a pandemic,” he said. “Take it or leave it, I’m not moving for anybody.”


About this Author

Andrew Sylvia

Assistant EditorManchester Ink Link

Born and raised in the Granite State, Andrew Sylvia has written approximately 10,000 pieces over his career for outlets across Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont. On top of that, he's a licensed notary and licensed to sell property, casualty and life insurance, he's been a USSF trained youth soccer and futsal referee for the past six years and he can name over 60 national flags in under 60 seconds according to that flag game app he has on his phone, which makes sense because he also has a bachelor's degree in geography (like Michael Jordan). He can also type over 100 words a minute on a good day.