Candidates Stress Need for GOP to Show Unity
Geoff Cunningham Jr.
Republican congressional hopefuls Robert Clegg and Jeb Bradley stressed the need for GOP candidates to have a unified message during in the upcoming election in remarks to the Belknap County Republican Committee on Wednesday.
Bradley, who was the District 1 congressman until his defeat at the hands of Democrat Carol Shea-Porter in 2006, and Clegg, a state senator from Hudson seeking the District 2 nod, didn't mince words when they talked about Second Amendment rights, health care and veterans' support.
Approximately 40 people gathered at the Shang Hai restaurant on South Main Street for a Belknap Republican Committee meeting that saw members stressing the need for party candidates to clearly express their message to voters.
Bradley, of Wolfeboro, made it clear he has high hopes about returning to Capitol Hill.
The longtime Wolfeboro resident and small-business owner joined Clegg in speaking angrily about the way veterans have been treated despite their service to the country.
Bradley said he wants to support the troops while they are fighting and when they return home.
He scoffed at current regulations that require veterans to travel long distances to see doctors and obtain necessary surgeries.
"I didn't go to Washington to cut veterans' spending," said Bradley.
Bradley noted that during his time in office he supported veteran-related bills and noted that he helped get money earmarked for providing military personnel in Iraq with the night-vision scopes they needed.
"Let them call it pork ... I'm (more) concerned about Marines in body bags," said Bradley.
Clegg a 14-year veteran in state government having served in both the House and Senate touted his working-class roots and agreed with Bradley that the continued support of the war effort and veterans is the right way to proceed.
"We promised them we would take care of them," said Clegg.
Both Bradley and Clegg expressed their support for the right to bear arms.
"The more people who are armed, the less chance of becoming a victim," said Clegg.
Bradley noted that he had an "A" grade for his voting record on gun bills from the National Rifle Association.
The candidates also expressed their belief that Republicans need to make a clear argument to voters that nationalized health care or "free" health care will produce long lines, lower quality care and a false sense of entitlement.
Clegg and Bradley criticized the state's current representation in Washington, saying they have done little besides promote a system that supports increased taxes that threaten small businessmen.
Clegg said he learned much of what he needed to about politics while working as a shoeshine boy outside city hall in Nashua and he promised to keep the small business owner in mind if he is elected.
Longtime Republican Party activist George Roberts of Gilmanton said he was encouraged by Bradley and Clegg's speeches and asked if they might promote a unified message that clearly states the party's priorities in the upcoming election.
Bradley stated that he wouldn't be surprised if a sequel to the Republican-inspired "Contract with America" is created as the months go on to help provide voters with a clear understanding of what they would get from supporting GOP candidates.