StateImpact’s been on the campaign trail! And the race in the Second Congressional District is looking like a nail-biter. Democrat Ann McLane Kuster is running against incumbent Republican Congressman Charlie Bass in a rematch following her narrow loss in 2010.
Given the interest in this particular election–a fiscally conservative, socially moderate Republican versus a progressive Democrat who stresses her family’s “Yankee frugality” and “Republican roots”– we thought we’d go ahead and pop in on the candidates this week to hear their thoughts on the economy.
Kuster gave the sympathetic crowd her stump speech, and followed-up with Q&A time. The economy came up quite a bit in her speech, but for our purposes, here’s a highlight:
“What I believe in, in terms of getting our economy going again, is that we need to invest in opportunity today, for prosperity tomorrow. Education, I couldn’t be in a better place to talk about education, because we all believe in it here in the Plymouth region [the home of Plymouth State University]. But we need to invest in people’s lives so that they can do the jobs of the 21st century.
“Any job. Go into the auto mechanic, you’ve got to know computers to be able to work on the cars. Today I had a wonderful tour of a company called Hypertherm, over in Hanover. Incredible company–1,300 employees. Shipping big crates of new products to Shanghai. Sixty percent of their products are sold in other parts of the world with ‘Made In America’ stamped on it.
“That’s the future for us. And yet, they have to do nine weeks of special training in order to get people prepared to do these manufacturing jobs. Now that’s a wonderful public-private partnership, because they’re working with the community technical college over there to get that done. But what I’m saying is, we’ve got to be delivering young people, and people that are getting reeducated, people who are getting reemployed, into the marketplace with skills to work together, to understand computers, and to be able to be a part of that 21st century economy.
“So education, innovation, research and development, and infrastructure–the roads, the bridges, the highways, and the telecommunications that we need,” Kuster said.
We also followed Congressman Charlie Bass this morning to a stop at a Jaffrey-Rindge Rotary Club meeting. You can catch our dispatch on that event a bit later.