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From The Ground Up

It Starts With A Belief…and A First Step

Jay discusses how great achievements are built ‘from the ground up

Every major accomplishment starts ‘from the ground up!’  It is started by an individual who has a belief and who musters up the initiative to take ‘the first step.’  When we look around us, we see large growing companies. Like Amazon, Apple, Uber.  We see energized political movements.  We see major philanthropic initiatives. And, we assume these things are just ‘there.’  But the truth is that every single one of them started as an idea, in the mind of one person, and is ‘there’ today, only because that one individual took bold action… starting ‘from the ground up.’ 

In fact, President Teddy Roosevelt perhaps put it best.  He said, “Do what you can. With what you have.  Where you are.”  In other words, take that first step.  In essence, if you are going to build something, you need to do so ‘from the ground up.’ 

Over the past week, I’ve spent quite a bit of time thinking about the health and well-being of our nation in the aftermath of last week's election.  I have been focusing on the values that uniquely connect each of us and our communities to the common causes that make our nation the exceptional place that it is. I’ve spoken many times in these paragraphs about the need for a return to our core values where responsibility to family and community stand above all else. But in these challenging times, what does that mean, and where do we start?  

Interestingly, I came across the story of an organization called the Orton Family Foundation.  It resonated with me because it parallels the work we are doing on the Newport Sunshine Initiative.  Revitalizing my hometown of Newport – and then sharing our ‘Best Practices’ with other small towns across the state and potentially throughout the nation.  The Orton organization supports what is called resident-driven town planning through their Community Heart & Soul Program, a type of civic engagement that empowers average citizens to find community-based responses to the socio-economic challenges their towns face. The program has grown from only a few sparse pilot projects to 60 towns across the country in the matter of only a couple years. As one Town Manager in Vermont said, “The program created a critical mass of positivity that [helped us] overcame old differences that had become obstacles in the community.” Another from Maine declared, “[The program] turns discussions and stories in a positive direction that drive decisions and our future in a positive direction." One of the keys to their success is the philosophy of their Executive Director, David Leckey, “You don’t live in an economy; you live in a community. Build your community first.” 

What stands out to me about the work of an organization like the Orton Family Foundation is their focus on instilling a spirit of positivity and community first as the key to rebuilding towns been left behind.  They don’t focus on some large, out-of-reach plan that sets unrealistic expectations. Instead they build ‘from the ground up.’  Starting with the human element that creates the basis of a community: connections between individuals and the commitment to a common cause. 

Many communities across our nation are in need of reinvigoration and rebuilding. Throughout the course of our history, Americans have worked from the ground up to create lasting legacies that have positively impacted the generations that follow.  So, let’s each take that first step, right where we are, and begin to build an exciting and positive future. 

David Tille – Ending Veterans’ Homelessness

This past Wednesday, we had the great honor to join Americans from across the country in thanking our veterans for their service, sacrifice, and commitment to our nation. As you know both Karen and I are extremely passionate about supporting our veterans. From Children of Fallen Patriots to Swim with a Mission, just to name a few.  We are truly blessed to live in a state that does so much for veterans.

And, we are especially honored to highlight the efforts of our great friend, David Tille, New England Regional Administrator of The Department of Housing and Urban Development.  David has led an amazing effort in his quest to end veterans’ homelessness in the New England states.

According to data provided by the Office of Veterans Affairs, nearly 40,000 veterans nationwide experience homelessness. I don’t know about you, but that number is startling and should never be the case. That is why I’m so excited by the tack that David and his colleagues at HUD have taken.  They have issued a challenge to local officials to work closely with them to solve the problem.

Specifically, HUD has called upon local officials nationwide to get involved in this crisis and so far, right here in New Hampshire, 13 mayors from across the state have already committed their support for the program. Across New England communities like Lewiston, Portland, Burlington and many more are getting on board, creating awareness, and taking action every day - thanks to the leadership of David Tille and the local leaders in our communities!

As many of you know, I am a firm believer in promoting positive action that can create positive change. Furthermore, I believe that actions speak louder than words. Our veterans are left behind far too often, and I thank David for ‘taking that first step,’ encouraging others to join him – and building this effort ‘from the ground up.’  For more information on how you can support this program, click here.

Next Generation of Lawmakers – Elected and Energized

New Hampshire is truly a state where politics happens and change can occur -  ‘from the ground up.’  With our citizen legislature and our commitment to local, small and self-government, we offer the opportunity for every individual to get involved and make a difference.  In fact, as you may know, took advantage of this opportunity when I was nineteen when I ran for, and then served two terms in our New Hampshire House of Representatives.

So, it was especially exciting to see the ‘wave’ of new young legislators who took the initiative to run for office and were elected this past Tuesday.  We now have a record number of young Republicans and Democrats – all ready to do what they believe will help shape the destiny of our state going forward.  They each have their own story to tell.  And, each one will be working in committee, filing bills, voting on legislation and reporting back to their constituents.  Doing the hard, but rewarding, work of self-government and doing so ‘from the ground up.’  

The future is bright for these young elected officials who are taking Concord by storm. I look forward to the next two years - seeing these young legislators begin to take their place as the next generation of leaders in the Granite State.  

Positive Profile of the Week: Jason Osborne

We are delighted to profile this week, my great friend, Jason Osborne.  A highly accomplished business owner, state legislator, and leader in our community.  Jason is a staunch believer in freedom and opportunity and has been a champion for advancing these causes consistently throughout his political involvement.  Jason has just recently been re-elected to his fourth term to the New Hampshire House of Representatives, where he is a ranking member of leadership and over the next two years will have a significant opportunity to shape legislation and drive the political agenda.  

Jason also serves as Chief Executive Officer of Credit Adjustments, Inc., a successful and growing business.  The company is based in Manchester, New Hampshire and Defiance, Ohio, and is a leader customer care, servicing clients in higher education, health care and related sectors.  Today, CAI employs upwards of 500 individuals with an outstanding record of achievement in philanthropic activities and public service.  

Jason, his wife Sharon and their three children live in Auburn, New Hampshire.  We are thrilled to honor Jason this week and thank him for his continuing efforts on behalf of our community. 


By the way, today is ‘World Kindness Day.’ Check it out:

World Kindness Day is a global day that promotes the importance of being kind to each other, to yourself, and to the world. This day, celebrated on November 13 of each year, has the purpose is to help everyone understand that compassion for others is what binds us all together.)


Quotes of the Week: The First Step

“Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase.”

“The two important things I did learn were that you are as powerful and strong as you allow yourself to be, and that the most difficult part of any endeavor is taking the first step, making the first decision.”

“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.”

“The indispensable first step to getting the things you want out of life is this: decide what you want.”

“Overcoming fear is the first step to success for entrepreneurs. The winners all exemplify that, and the hard work and commitment they have shown underlines what is needed to set up a business.”


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