Freedom in the ‘Live Free or Die’ State
A couple weeks ago, Karen and I were walking the beautiful streets of Portsmouth, and came upon this statue. Although we had passed this same spot so very many times in the past, on this day, the American flag seemed more radiant than ever and stopped us dead in our tracks. We were transfixed for the moment – and so very thankful for the freedoms that we enjoy in this great country. And, grateful to live in New Hampshire, one of the original thirteen colonies and where the spirit of freedom began to take life so many years ago.
And, it is that same spirit that has spread to people all around the world, touching a yearning deep within the human soul that seeks individuality, liberty and the opportunity to reach our full potential. We see this spirit expressed by the brave young people leading the freedom protests in Hong Kong. And all those other regions of the world where men and women risk all in order to enjoy freedom for themselves and their families.
We in America need to protect our freedom, but also to embrace our role as leaders and models for people around the world. All those who yearn for the same basic freedoms that we enjoy. And, in so doing, offer our support for those brave souls who are leading efforts to achieve freedom throughout the world.
You see, the United States is like no other nation before it. We were founded on a vision - an idea. That vision, that simple, yet never-before realized idea of freedom and personal liberty, is what breathed life into the soul of America. Our Founders fought for this idea and filled future generations with the same passion and desire. The spirit of freedom has become part of the human spirit here in America. It's truly incredible. On top of that, we in New Hampshire are fortunate to live in the freest state in the nation, the ‘Live Free or Die’ state! I often tell my friends and those I work with that New Hampshire is a true birthplace of freedom. It is the embodiment of the American idea. We as Granite Stater’s pride ourselves on our freedom will fight tooth and nail to defend it.
Expanding Freedom and Opportunities in a Small Town
Freedom encompasses many aspects. And, one key element is ‘economic freedom.’ Sometimes referred to as ‘freedom from want.’ If you can reflect on this concept for a moment, ask yourself a question: ‘what does economic freedom, or freedom from want, mean to you? For many in Newport, NH, and other small towns across the country, this has become an aspiration – but sadly, not a reality. During these winter months and especially during the holidays, families are forced to choose between food and heat, all while living pay check to paycheck. ‘Want’ has become an intrinsic part of life.
But. let’s fast forward and imagine a fresh, positive vision of the future. A vision that offers economic freedom and expanded opportunity. What happens if new, higher paying jobs are created? What if there were new, family friendly and affordable housing opportunities available throughout the community? So families wouldn’t have to put their whole paychecks towards rent with nothing to show for it expect broken pipes and inadequate heating. What if your children could ask Santa for something and you didn’t have to fret about where it was going to come from – and still make ends meet?
Freedom from want changes everything. While one of our main goals at the Sunshine Initiative is bringing in new, higher paying, more stable jobs, one of our most recent initiatives is focused on a complementary set of skills that helps solidify financial freedom for individuals and families irrespective of their job status. I am so pleased to share that my dear friend Jon Carrick, a Newport area native, and now successful bank executive in Boston, has volunteered to lead a free course in Newport focused on the basics of financial planning. How to save on a budget, how to improve your credit score, and more. The goal is to prepare Newport residents for all that awaits them in 2020, including new housing opportunities with a ‘rent to buy option’ and innovative job training programs for the digital economy where they will have the opportunity to earn upwards of $60,000 to $70,000 per year. After so many years of fighting to ‘make it by,’ Jon’s course will arm the community with some of the key tools needed to successfully live a life free from want. In other words, achieve the freedom to pursue exciting opportunities and establish a solid future for the next generation.
America Steps Up In Support Of Hong Kong
In the last two weeks we have seen major progress in the fight for freedom by the citizens of Hong Kong. And, importantly, we as Americans have stepped up to play an important role. The United States has acted and offered expressed our overwhelming support. Congress passed and President Trump signed a bill that strengthens the positions of the protesters, imposing potential sanctions if China meddles in Hong Kong’s elections and prohibits the sale of American made rubber bullets and tear gas to China. These actions have led the protesters to once again wave the American flag in defiance of China’s objections, and vividly shows how America is still the symbol of hope to the world.
I could not be happier with this bold move by our leaders. As I have said in previous writings, Hong Kong’s fight against the oppressive Communist Chinese regime is a truly American endeavor. It speaks volumes that despite the threat to our current trade negotiations with China we as Americans stand united on the side of freedom.
As events continue to unfold in Hong Kong it is imperative that we as Americans hold steadfast in our support for freedom. America must continue to serve as that shining beacon of freedom. Liberty is inevitably contagious, and without question, we are on the right side of history in our continued support.
Our Military Service Members and Veterans – Protectors of Freedom
We owe our freedoms to the courage and bravery of our military - no doubt about it. Without their willingness to stand on the front lines and defend our nation, our freedoms and rights would be under constant attack. Whether it be the soldiers during the time of the Revolution or the soldiers of today, America is that ray of hope for the oppressed and freedom seekers around the world. It is because of our brave men and women in the military that our freedoms are protected, and that we are am afforded the ability to live our lives free of fear and with the ability to enjoy liberty in a way never paralleled in the history of the world.
Events – Positive Things Happening…On the Move!
There is nothing better than bringing people together in an uplifting way. Karen and I love hosting friends and colleagues who share our spirit - in creating positive energy thru positive change. Whether it be a roundtable gathering in Portsmouth or hosting leaders from across the country in New York, it’s just great to get people together. In fact, we hosted one great gathering this past week in the City, and have two events – year-end ‘Celebrations’ coming up that we would love to have you be a part of.
This past Tuesday night, we hosted Board Members and major supporters of the Millennial Action Project (M.A.P.) for a reception celebrating the great work of this organization. M.A.P. is dedicated to the idea of transcending the bitterness in our politics today – by helping young people – i.e. millennials, become involved in politics, run for office and inject a positive ‘can do’ approach to government. Proud to say that our son Gates, along with fellow NH State Reps Joe Alexander and Willis Griffith are part of this effort. The Tuesday night celebration honored this great organization and we were especially pleased to welcome our featured guest, Frank LaRosa, the current Secretary of State in Ohio – and also a true millennial himself.
This Saturday at 4:30pm, Karen and I will be hosting the Newport Sunshine Initiative’s Holiday gathering for the 2nd year in row. The event will take on a new element this year and surely will be a first of its kind in the Newport-Sunapee Region. We have a surprise appearance and entertainment scheduled that should be absolutely amazing. In addition, we will be raising awareness and funds for the local dog park. For more information about the party, please click here for details.
Then, on Monday, December 9th, Karen and I are excited to open our home in Portsmouth for the 3rd Annual NH Supports Children of Fallen Patriots Holiday Party at 6pm. This annual event allows us to take a moment to give thanks to those who serve and to celebrate the amazing teamwork that has allowed us to grow such a wonderful organization. For more information or to RSVP get out the events Facebook page by clicking here.
Profile of the Week: Joe McQuaid
There are few people who can truly hold the total “Icon.” In sports, it can be a Ruth or a Brady. In politics, possibly Roosevelt, Lincoln or Washington. In media, here in the Granite State, Joe McQuaid defines the Icon status. Not because he runs the state’s largest newspaper but because he has kept true to his principles, reported the news, and held people and power accountable.
Here is a fun little fact for my fellow Granite Stater’s. Did you know that the Union Leader once was two separate publications that were merged in 1913? It’s true, there was the Union and the Leader. In addition, Joe McQuaid’s father, B.J. McQuaid founded the New Hampshire Sunday News. The Loeb family acquired all the respective papers and created the New Hampshire Union Leader and Sunday News that we know so well today.
Joe was hired by the Loeb family at a young age and rose thru the ranks to eventually become the President and Publisher in 1999. As head of the state’s voice for conservative and New Hampshire values, Joe helped found the Loeb School for Communications. This amazing organization offers free classes in media, writing, communications, and more.
When I campaigned for Governor in 1998, I like so many candidates before and after me, had to meet with and be interviewed by Joe and be asked the tough questions. Joe knew he had a job to do but also wanted you to know he took interest in your family and the impact a campaign can have on one’s life. That speaks volume about a person and Joe McQuaid is a solid family man himself. A proud father of Katie and Brendan, grandfather of three boys, and a devoted loving husband to his late wife Signe.
Over the years, Joe has consistently been a zealous defender of our ‘First in the Nation’ Presidential Primary, fought tirelessly to protect our First Amendment freedoms, and has had the opportunity to interview politicians and key decision makers from around the world.
But despite these high-profile responsibilities, Joe has never lost touch with the community and his core values. His daughter said it best this past February as Joe was inducted into the New England Newspaper Hall of Fame as she said, “Joe has worked tirelessly over a 50-year career to improve his community and ensure the paper’s independence. This includes helping to raise more than $8 million for the Salvation Army Santa Fund, being one of the last newspapers to feature a regular veterans page, and defending the first-in-the-nation primary which fulfills our mission of holding people in power accountable,”
The world could use a few more Joe McQuaid’s.
Quotes of the Week: Spirit of Freedom
“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.” Ronald Reagan
“We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Thomas Jefferson
“Freedom lies in being bold.” Robert Frost
“A man who believes in freedom will do anything under the sun to acquire, or preserve his freedom.” Malcolm X
“Everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can labor in freedom.” Albert Einstein