I was invited to make brief remarks on Saturday, September 24, 2011 to the New Hampshire Democratic Party’s annual convention, held in Concord, NH.  Several people have asked to see a written version of the remarks, which focus on the need in 2012 for leadership focused on education and entrepreneurship, delivered by people with a strong record of fiscal responsibility.  These are the remarks as prepared for delivery:

In 2012, for the first time in almost a generation, neither John Lynch nor Jeanne Shaheen will appear on our ballot. When we select a gubernatorial nominee, we are not just setting the tone for 2012. We’re setting it for a generation.
And in these few minutes, I want to give you my vision about who we, as Democrats, should be. Not just because it’s good politics, but because we have the once-in-a-generation opportunity to present a vision of what it means to lead New Hampshire from the perspective of the real world.

As the Manchester born-and-raised son of immigrants from Quebec, who has lived through lost jobs, and medical crises, and the struggle of trying to help their son become the first family member to attend college, I’ve seen that real world.
As a mayor who has taken many calls from residents calling in personal desperation; who has dealt with parents worried stiff about the quality of their child’s school, and their ability to pay their property tax bill – at the same time; who has had to tell department heads requesting budget increases, “No”; I’ve seen the real world.
And as a self-employed small businessman, active in our region’s Chambers of Commerce, spending time with the entrepreneurs who create the jobs we need, I hear from that very real world, too.
These are the people I’m talking about, these the New Hampshirites looking for leadership with passion, authenticity, and vision. They are up for grabs in 2012, and for a generation – if we lead.
Now the good news is that, among all the Democrats being rumored to run for Governor in 2012, there is near unanimity on many key issues.
We all will be champions for environmental protection.
Oppose the middle-class-killing right to work legislation.
We all strongly support a woman’s right to choose.
We all support marriage equality.
And we all would support the Democratic nominee for Governor.
The contrast with somebody like Ovide Lamontagne is stark, puts us firmly in the mainstream of New Hampshire. That’s great.
But here’s the thing. We can be right on these issues and more, but if we do not inspire in the two areas that matter most to people today, we may not get the chance to lead.
First, we must be a national model for delivering world-class results in education at a price taxpayers can afford. And second, we must become an entrepreneurial oasis of the northeast, a leader in attracting the ideas and investors that will create the jobs we need.
The next Governor will need to go big on such things, and that will require avoiding the political morass that is “Pledge Politics”. The people of New Hampshire expect the next Governor to be credible on issues of taxes, spending, and budgets. Governor Lynch has been extremely successful, in no small part, because of his credibility on these issues.
I will not speak for others, but I will say this: in 2012, if our nominee is forced to play defense on spending, on budgets, and on taxes, it will not matter what his or her position on choice, or marriage equality, or the environment, or labor rights is. We will not get the opportunity to lift the dialogue and inspire others on how we will become a national leader on education and job creation. Playing defense means squandering that chance. And those chances come only once in a generation.
Therefore, I submit: To succeed in 2012 and beyond, our nominee’s take on budgets, and spending, and taxes must not come from a position of fear; they must come from a record of strength.
If we do, we’ll have a chance to set a vision on education; set a vision on job creation; and excite a populace that is increasingly cynical about the ability of our leaders to actually lead. And in so doing, we will define who we are, and lead for a generation. Thank you.