New Hampshire State Rep. candidate Heath Howard is running for office and attending University of New Hampshire (UNH) classes simultaneously this semester. With competitors Jeff Allard, Kurt Wuelper and Michael Harrington over 40 years older than him, Howard is the youngest candidate at 20 years old.
“We have a lot of retirees, old white men who are serving, and it’s not a very good representation of what New Hampshire should be,” said Howard. “I can tell you right now that the two state representatives that are running in this district don’t care about young people, and they are not fighting for a future that’s going to be sustainable.”
According to Howard’s website, his campaign is running on three main topics: climate change, education, and heath care.
“New Hampshire could be on the front line of the fight on climate change as a state that is known for its natural beauty and wildlife,” Howard wrote.
According to the website, Howard wants protections to be put in place “to keep New Hampshire at a minimum 70 [percent] forest and increase the amount of protected land.”
Howard spoke about the Birch Ridge Community Forest project to conserve land in New Durham. According to Howard, both Wuelper and Harrington have failed to attend any of the meetings, despite being invited.
“One of my opponents [is] literally working for an energy lobby,” Howard said in an interview. “He’s fought against doing basic things like starting the transition from fossil fuels over to clean, renewable energy.”
Howard said he first got into politics after a major skiing accident where he broke his back. He attended N.H. Boys State after losing sports to his injury, and later joined Maura Sullivan’s 2018 campaign for Congress. According to Howard, his injury not only pushed him toward politics, but also helped shape his views on health care.
“When [people are] having to make decisions on whether they need to purchase their insulin, pay their rent, or buy food, that’s not [okay],” Howard said. On his website, Howard calls Wuelper and Harrington’s refusal to set price caps on insulin and EpiPens “unacceptable and appalling,” and wrote that “fighting for healthcare rights and protections is essential.”
Howard also emphasized the importance of affordable higher education and education funding. In particular, he hoped to improve funding for special education programs.
“When you remove funding from special education, you’re making it harder for the people who are most vulnerable to learn,” Howard said. “We need to specifically change how we focus on special education. We need to make sure that it’s adequately funded, because I believe that everybody is entitled to a free and good education to the same level.”
Howard said he is committed to fighting for racial justice.
“I don’t know what it’s like to be a person of color,” Howard said. “It comes down to listening to the people who are actually affected and providing change on [what] needs to be done. I do think that police reform needs to take place.”
As the phrases “fake news” and “alternative facts” become more widely used across the country, discerning the objective truth can be a daunting task. Howard said he actively works to avoid biased news.
“I read the New York Times, the Washington Post, I look at CNN, Fox, Politico, BBC, Aljazeera… pretty much all the local papers every single day,” Howard said. “I try to get as much information as I possibly can, because if you get it from multiple sources, it’s more likely to be accurate.”
Howard said that with expensive education and the oldest working class in the nation, New Hampshire is not a viable place for young people to live. Howard also said that Wuelper and Harrington both work for special interest groups, while he does not.
“One of them is the president of the anti-abortion league in New Hampshire, and the other is an analyst for the New England Ratepayers Association, which is the biggest energy lobbying firm in the entirety of New England,” Howard said. “I can tell you right now that I’m going to be more honest than they are; I’m going to be fighting for our future.”
Kurt Wuelper is the Vice President of New Hampshire Right to Life and Michael Harrington is on the advisory board of the New England Ratepayers Association, according to the organizations’ respective websites.
Heath Howard has been endorsed by the New Hampshire Youth Movement (NHYM), the New Hampshire Sierra Club, the American Federation of Teachers, and the New Hampshire AFL-CIO.
Photo Courtesy of Heath Howard