Zach, Andrew F., and I went to New Hampshire on Wednesday. We were invited by Ray Buckley, the Chair of the Democratic Party to meet with Democratic state legislators in Concord.
I haven’t been to New Hampshire since I graduated from high school in 1992. (I went to a boarding school there, Phillips Exeter Academy, for the last two years of high school. Please don’t hold it against me.)
Our first stop was at MegaFood, where we met with the CEO, Robert Craven. MegaFood makes whole food nutritional supplements. Robert hosted us to a vegan lunch in honor of Earth Day, which was so delicious that it made it seem possible to go vegan without suffering. Robert is incredibly thoughtful and passionate about renewable agriculture and practices that put carbon back into the earth—apparently our current farming practices are putting us on track for crop depletion in the coming years (like in the movie Interstellar). We learned a lot from him.
After leaving Robert we did a couple of media interviews with journalists from NPR and the Concord Monitor about the campaign and the Freedom Dividend. I met with locals at a coffee shop and answered questions about Universal Basic income for a while. It was a lot of fun.
One of the people I met at the coffee shop, Tim, said something important to me: “After you meet someone for 5 minutes in person, you kind of get a sense of that person. You could tell Rudy Giuliani was an asshole in like 10 seconds. That’s why he bombed here. Talking to you, you seem smart, reasonable. Not insane. Normal. You’re going to do well here.”
I laughed and said, “Thanks! I’ll take it.” Who knew that sanity and normalcy could be such selling points? New Hampshire residents take their responsibility to screen presidential candidates very seriously.
We went from the cafe to meet with state legislators, activists, and volunteers at the Democratic Party Headquarters. I found out that state legislators get paid only $100 per year in New Hampshire for what is between a full-time and part-time job—you really need to have a strong spirit of service to want to do it. The people we met were passionate about making things better for children and pushing their state forward.
Perhaps because of the financial freedom needed to be a state legislator, the average age is 60. They are trying very hard to bring that down. There were many impressive young activists in the room that struck me as the future of the party in New Hampshire.
I spoke for about 15 minutes about automation, the labor market and the need to build a new kind of economy that puts Humanity First. I then spoke about opiate addiction—New Hampshire has the second highest opiate overdose death rate in the country after West Virginia due to low treatment resources and other factors. Things are so bad that firefighters carry Narcan around to treat overdoses. I said:
“Opiate addiction is a plague here in New Hampshire because our federal government was asleep at the switch and allowed private drug companies to overprescribe opiates to millions of Americans so they could profit in the tens of billions. Now the federal government needs to take back that money and cure the plague. 7 Americans die every hour of opiate overdoses, and it’s completely unconscionable that we are allowing our fellow citizens to suffer and die from something so treatable. As President, I will follow what they did in France to cut heroin deaths by 79% in 4 years—make Buprenorphine freely available, which reduces opiate cravings. Every doctor that can prescribe opiates should be able to prescribe Buprenorphine, and the Federal government should pay for it.”
After the event, we had dinner with Ray and Amy Kennedy, the Executive Director of the Democratic Party of New Hampshire. As you’d imagine, many people in the restaurant knew them and came up to say hello. It was wonderful. After dinner, Zach, Andrew F. and I drove home and our campaign volunteer, Liam, took a bus back to Boston.
In my experience, there is always the idea of what you’re going to do and then the reality. New Hampshire is the reality. If the people we met yesterday were any indication, we are going to do very well there. I can’t wait to go back.
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A note about fundraising:
We’re so grateful to the energized people who have supported our campaign so far.
As of today, we are not on track to meet our fundraising goal for April. Please make a contribution so we can keep working towards a future of abundance, advocating for the Freedom Dividend, Medicare for all, and countless other policies that put Humanity First.
Thank you for the continued support! There is no campaign without you.