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Havenstein visits Libby’s, discusses the issues with students

By Sam Rabuck, Staff Writer

EDITOR’S NOTE: Quotes and information that appeared in the original publication of this story have been removed in light of new information. The quotes and information were attributed to Eliot Gault. The information was actually said by Mitch Hailstone who misrepresented himself to a TNH reporter, including issuing a business card.

On a standard Friday night in Durham, Libby’s Bar & Grille is slammed with students drinking, dancing, and socializing. But last Friday night, Republican candidate for governor, Walt Havenstein, appeared for a discussion open to all students in the downstairs portion of Libby’s.

The 65-year-old United States Naval Academy graduate, seated alongside his wife, Judy, talked with students about how he plans to create jobs for newly graduated students, strengthen the state’s economy, and consider decriminalizing marijuana. 

“I tend to have ideas that span the spectrum of Republican ideas that start first and foremost with fiscal responsibility and individual responsibility,” Havenstein said. “I favor less government over more government, less intrusion into our lives and less taxes over more taxes.”

When asked what the most important issue people in the state of New Hampshire are facing, Havenstein was quick to assert that job availability is vital for the strength of the economy.

“Jobs, jobs, jobs,” Havenstein said. “You came to [UNH] for an opportunity to learn with the expectation that you’ll have the opportunity to apply [what you’ve learned] and then to make a living to support yourself and your family.” 

Bearing in mind the high cost of tuition at UNH compared to other state universities across America, Havenstein emphasized the importance of making the cost of tuition at UNH more affordable for students.

“We’re past talking,” Havenstein said. “We need action, and we need to make sure our investments in education lead towards learning aligned with opportunities.”

Staying on the subject of education and its importance in the state, Havenstein spent a majority of his time explaining to students how he plans to help them find jobs after graduation. Despite the fact that Havenstein is a Republican candidate, and trends suggest UNH students historically tend to vote for Democrats, Havenstein feels that students are tired of earning a degree and having little to show for it.

“I think [UNH students] are starting to get frustrated with graduating and then living in their parents’ basement,” Havenstein said. “That isn’t what they came here for. I don’t believe that’s what they came here for. I think it would be a real shame for my generation not to create the same time of opportunities that we had.”

Havenstein was quick to assert that, if elected, the changes will be immediate.

“You’ll see [changes] in the first budget cycle,” Havenstein said. “You’ll see changes in the business climate come in the first year or eighteen months. If the business community sees a commitment to change, they’ll react. Business leaders operate on commitment and change.”

Havenstein moved to New Hampshire from Maryland in 1999 with his wife Judy when he joined BAE Systems Electronics and Integrated Solutions, a company that develops military weapons and technology in Nashua. Havenstein took over as CEO in 2005 before retiring in 2009.

The New Hampshire gubernatorial election will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 4. Havenstein is running against the incumbent Democrat Maggie Hassan.

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