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TNH sits down with UNH professor, state senator David Watters

By Tom Spencer, Staff Writer

Tom Spencer/Staff David Watters, a UNH professor and New Hampshire state senator pauses briefly in his office during his busy daily schedule.
Tom Spencer/Staff
David Watters, a UNH professor and New Hampshire state senator pauses briefly in his office during his busy daily schedule.

David Watters is a New Hampshire state senator and one of the University of New Hampshire’s own professors. The 4th Congressional District nominee, Democrat candidate Watters, will face Republican candidate Eddie Edwards in the general election on Nov. 4.

Watters reflected on his first term and the performance of the state senate.

“I am proud of the fact that we worked the way a senate is supposed to work,” Watters said. “As Washington said, a senate is a dish that cools the tea in terms of judgment of legislation. We accomplished some practical bipartisan legislation this past term, which was a relief after seeing the dysfunction in Washington [D.C.].”

This legislation included passing a state budget, which restored some of the funding to UNH and funding for mental health services and job training. The legislature also obtained a $13.5 million renovation of the Dover High School Career and Technical Education Center.

“We passed [a New Hampshire] health protection plan, despite the unpopularity of ‘Obamacare,’” Watters said. “We went behind closed doors for a month and got it done.”

Watters’ goals and current work include expanding job education. This expansion would involve tax cuts for businesses that aid in job education at career and technical education centers.

Watters continues to teach courses in American literature at UNH. He has a strong interest in New England’s African American history. However, both Watters’ legislative and professorial obligations are time consuming.

“It is a lot of late nights and long weekends, but everyone understands that being [a New Hampshire] state senator is a $100 per year job,” Watters said. “[In the state senate] we have to balance state service with employment.”

In addition to being a state legislator and a college professor, Watters makes time to travel to Texas to see his son, Harper, dance in the Houston Ballet.

Harper Watters left high school in grade 11 to pursue a career in dance. 

“I’m a proud father … [Harper] is really flourishing as an artist,” Watters said.

Harper Watters’ recent work includes “Paquita,” “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and contemporary work by choreographer Edwaard Liang. A production of “Romeo and Juliet” is upcoming.

The Watters family has a tradition of public service. While growing up in West Hartford, Connecticut, David Watters was inspired to a career in public service by his father, who was a doctor in the Veteran’s Administration for 50 years.

His mother worked with the Easter Seals in Hartford, Connecticut. Watters’ community service in New Hampshire began with tutoring at the Dover Adult Learning Center, serving on Democratic campaigns, serving a term on the Strafford County Democratic Committee and several terms in the Democratic State Committee.

Watters also finds time to make it to his cellar to do some wood working. One of Watters’ original pieces is in the collection of UNH’s museum. The piece is a 9/11 memorial made out of wood and mica. It is dedicated to the memory of Bob LeBlanc, geography professor and friend of Watters’.

His specialty is oval Shaker boxes, one of which is on exhibit with New Hampshire’s Shaker Village in Canterbury.

Watters knew members of the Shaker community when he was growing up. “[The Shakers] were amazing women who carried the spirit of the 1790s into present day,” Watters said. 

“The Shaker idea of the sacred nature of work has been very influential to me in my professional and legislative life,” Watters said.

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