Hippo Press - Back in the Game
Jeb Bradley Plans to Win Back the 1st District
By Alec O'Meara
Q:If you had to point to one reason that you lost the election in '06, what would that be? What would you do to right that ship?
I think that across the state and across the nation it was just a bad year for Republicans. ... I look at 2008 and I think it is going to be very different. The dynamics of 2006 are behind us now and I think people are, as I said before, very concerned about all of the things that are costing more in their lives ... those economic pressures are there and certainly as I talk to people they want somebody that understands how the economy is going to grow. That they are going to be able to afford the things that they will need in life, will keep a job, or get a job. The answer is not some of the things that people are seeing in Washington right now; things like raising taxes and increasing legislature are making it harder for people to make ends meet....
Outside of politics, what have you been up to in the past two years?
...Most of my time has been spent on the campaign, but I have spent a little bit more time up in the mountains ... I really enjoy winter hiking .... I've had more of an opportunity to see my kids who live in Colorado, and my daughter [who] recently graduated from college at Arizona... .
You've hiked the presidential range, correct?
I have hiked all the 4,000-footers in New Hampshire, and I've hiked all the Presidential Peaks multiple times in multiple directions, and I'm in the process, with a friend, of trying to climb all 40 4,000-foot peaks in the winter, from Dec. 21 to March 21. I'm up to ... I believe it is 27 for the winter 4,000-footers ... I do a lot of tramping up in the White Mountains.
What's been the toughest hike so far?
I did South Twin last winter. I think I was tired that day. We did Gale Head first ... then we got to the hut, rested for a few minutes, and then it's about eight tenths of a mile, very steep climb to get to the summit of South Twin, and it was windy, and my legs were cramping badly, and ... boy, every five steps I was wondering if I was going to make it. I'd never been in that kind of situation before, but I kept going, and my friend was waiting for me at the top with his dog. I got the top, touched the sign, let him take a picture of me, and then turned around and went back. I was pretty gassed that day ... We were wearing snowshoes most of the day. After that hike, I bought a new pair of snowshoes and I found the new pair were a lot easier.
You're not painting a picture of an especially enjoyable time out in the wild ... what is it that you enjoy about winter hiking? It sounds fairly cold and miserable.
(laughs) I'm painting the wrong picture! It's fantastic. I love it. The challenge of it certainly it's harder than the summer, but you get views almost all the time because you can see through the trees, see the mountains, the snow is interesting, and in some cases it is actually easier because the snow covers all the roots and rocks. ... I love it. It's great views. It's just fun.
You've talked about your love of hiking before. Is there something you do for fun that maybe voters don't know about you?
People don't know that I'm a snowboarder.
You're a snowboarder?
... My kids were in high school and they kind of challenged me to pick up snowboarding and I kept saying, "Oh, I don't think so," or that I'd kill myself and all of that, and then I started hearing them say, "I don't think I can learn this," so one day I took their challenge and took a lesson, and after some bumps and bruises, I taught myself how to snowboard. I'm not as good a snowboarder as I am a skier, but hopefully I can snowboard one day from the top to the bottom of Mount Washington over Tuckerman's.
Have you skied [Tuckerman's Ravine]?
I've skied it several times. But top to bottom only once. There was lots of snow, maybe 40 degrees and hardly any wind. I think it was the first time I had to ski on the lip of a headwall, and it was pretty steep.