Who is Ovide Lamontagne?
Lamontagne began his political career in 1996, when he ran against then New Hampshire State Senator Jeanne Shaheen for governor. Lamontagne was decisively defeated in that election 57 percent to 40 percent as Shaheen went on to become the governor of New Hampshire.
Lamontagne didn’t run for major public office again until 2010 when he challenged Kelly Ayotte, Bill Binnie, and Jim Bender for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate. Ayotte defeated Lamontagne, Binnie, and Bender in the primary and won the General Election, becoming the junior Senator from this state.
Now, in 2012, Lamontagne is running again for governor, this time against Democrat Maggie Hassan. Since the inception of the Tea Party in 2009, Lamontagne has been closely associated with that movement. He said recently in a radio interview, “I’m still the Tea Party favorite . . . That’s where I am.” (WKXL Concord News Radio, 8/12/12).
As a Tea Party member, Lamontagne’s political views closely parallel the group’s beliefs. He recently responded in writing to a questionnaire sent to him by the Raymond New Hampshire Area Tea Party. He was asked “Do you support a voucher system?”
The voucher bill was passed into law last spring by Republican votes in the State Senate and House. This new law indirectly gives public tax money to students transferring from public to private schools, including religious schools. As such, this bill stands in conflict with the New Hampshire State Constitution which supports a separation of church and state by forbidding the allocation of public tax money for religious purposes.
At a time when the Republican-controlled legislature cut funding by 50 percent for our public university, UNH, the voucher bill the legislature passed will take $16 million in taxpayer money away from public schools and send it to private, religious schools.
Nevertheless, despite all these problems with the voucher bill, Lamontagne wrote in reply to the Raymond Tea Party group, “Yes, I believe in school choice, vouchers, and support homeschoolers and charter schools.” Of course, in this case, “support” means giving them public tax money.
In addition, as chair of the state Board of Education, Lamontagne turned away millions in federal funds for local schools.
The Raymond Tea Party questionnaire posed a second question about education: “Would you support a law that mandates teaching both creationism as well as evolution as theories in my public schools science classes?”
In reply, Lamontagne wrote, “I support teaching of creationism as well as evolution.”
A third question on the Raymond Tea Party questionnaire asked, “What do you think is our most pressing family/social issue? (i.e., defense of marriage act, abortion, etc.)”
In response, Lamontagne wrote, “I am 100 percent pro-life, and I support a Human Life Amendment to the Constitution. I also believe that marriage is the union between one man and one woman.”
Lamontagne’s answer requires some clarification. When he writes “I am 100 percent pro-life,” he means that he doesn’t support abortion, even in the case of rape, incest, or threat to the life of the mother. In addition, the amendment to the Constitution Lamontagne backs would make abortion a crime. The amendment would also outlaw some forms of birth control and fertility treatment. Finally, Lamontagne would allow companies to deny women insurance coverage for essential health care services, including birth control.
In addition, Lamontagne’s answer indicates that he doesn’t support “the equal marriage act” that is now the law in our state. New Hampshire was the first state to pass the “equal marriage act” by a vote of the legislature, rather than through a judicial ruling, demonstrating that the act has widespread popular support here.
Another question on the Raymond Tea Party questionnaire asks, “Do you believe it is the responsibility of the federal government to stop global warming?”
To which Lamontagne writes, “No, I have signed the Americans for Prosperity (the lobby bankrolled by the billionaire Koch Brothers) ‘No Climate Tax’ pledge and will oppose any legislation regarding climate change that includes a net increase in government revenue.”
A picture of Ovide Lamontagne begins to emerge from the answers he gave to the Raymond Tea Party questionnaire. He is closely aligned with the beliefs of the Tea Party. He is unsympathetic to the separation of church and state, a principle built into the Constitution by our founding fathers to prevent abuse of religious minorities by a dominant religious faith.
Moreover, Lamontagne is willing to impose his own religious beliefs on those of other faiths. His attitude toward gays reveals an unwillingness to treat all humans equally. And finally his anti-science mindset places him in opposition to a methodology which has been largely responsible for many of the improvements that have taken place in our lives.
Twice before, the voters of New Hampshire have rejected Ovide Lamontagne’s bids for higher office. An examination of his beliefs and plans for New Hampshire argues strongly that he should be defeated a third time.