THANK YOU FOR RE-ELECTING JERRY KNIRK, STATE REPRESENTATIVE
MADISON, TAMWORTH, ALBANY, FREEDOM
I represent District 3, Madison, Tamworth, Albany and Freedom in the New Hampshire House of Representatives, serving on the Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs Committee. It has been a great honor serving my district for the past two years. I ask the voters in my district to re-elect me.
I have worked hard at this job, as I did in my previous career as a surgeon. Much of our work in the legislature is done in committees. I prepare before each committee hearing, reading the bills and developing a list of questions to ask during the testimony. I play an active role in analyzing the bills before us, consulting with stakeholders and researching the issue. Before our House sessions, I review the bills upon which we will vote and make my own judgment about how to vote. I refine those decisions when listening to discussions about the bills in the House Democratic caucus and during the House floor debates.
My scientific training and attention to detail help me use a data-driven approach to analyzing problems and searching for solutions. But it is important to remember that the bills we are working on affect real people, not just budget numbers. Both in our hearings and in my speeches on the House floor I emphasize the impact of the legislation and the issue on individuals, not just the population.
I enjoy finding common ground with others, including those from the other party, and working with others to find solutions to problems. When our committee worked on the Medicaid expansion reauthorization bill I spent hours with a very conservative Republican and a moderate Republican to draft needed amendments which became part of the final bill. Sounds like a joke–what do you get when Democrats and Republicans work together? Good important bills passed!
As a retired physician, much of my focus is on healthcare issues and policy. I have been very active on my committee working on legislation over the past two years and frequently debated bills on the house floor. I was one of the two representatives who led the house debate in favor of the reauthorization of Medicaid expansion this year, the passage of which continued coverage for over 50,000 of our fellow citizens, keeping them healthy and providing critical help in our fight against the opioid problem.
Many of you know my stand on a number of issues from reading my regular columns in the Conway Daily Sun. What you read is what you get. You do not need to guess about where I stand. I try to explore each side of an issue, working to clarify the controversies.
Much of my writing has been about healthcare reform, exploring both the philosophical and economic arguments about why we need to make sure that everyone has access to affordable health care. People without health care coverage still have accidents and emergencies. We still treat them, just more expensively in an ER rather than in a medical office. Those costs are shifted to everyone else. It is a hidden tax. Health care access, like universal education, is infrastructure needed to support our well-being and our economy. Everyone needs to be covered. You should not have to hold a fundraiser to cover your medical costs.
Last year I recognized that many people wanted to explore healthcare reform, so I developed a fact-based nonpartisan healthcare discussion which I lead in venues around the county. Clearly we need a federal solution but I am not holding my breath on that. There are approaches which we can explore at a state level since the state regulates health insurance. For example, we can work to assure that coverage for pre-existing conditions continues even if Washington repeals that provision. This past year I co-sponsored a bill to establish a study commission to explore the costs and benefits of developing universal coverage in New Hampshire but it died along a party line vote.
My dedication to environmental conservation and protection is demonstrated by my service as the chair of the board of the Green Mountain Conservation Group and my work on house bills to protect water quality. I sponsored and testified on bills which would help protect the water resources which are critical to our health, our recreation, and our local economy. The recent closure of Province Lake and Danforth Bay to swimming due to cyanobacteria is evidence of the importance of protecting these vital shared resources. Closure to recreation of any of the major lakes in our region would be devastating on our local economy and quality of life.
We need an economy that works for everyone. New Hampshire does well in measures of median income, educational achievement, and unemployment rate. However these parameters are not equally distributed, especially geographically. We need to address the non-livable minimum wage, lack of affordable housing, expensive and inaccessible healthcare, expensive childcare and poor internet access, all of which make it difficult for young families, elders, and low income people to thrive in our economy. Addressing these problems will help us attract and retain the young skilled workforce our businesses desperately need to make New Hampshire the best place to raise a family and start a business.
If you live in Madison, Tamworth, Albany or Freedom, please vote to re-elect me so I can continue representing you in Concord.