This blog post is one planner's perspective on the importance of taking part in the New Hampshire Primary.
Today, I voted in the New Hampshire Presidential Primary.
New Hampshire is a small state, relatively rural and not demographically representative of the country as a whole in terms of race and ethnicity. New Hampshire is less religious — and has fewer tea party supporters — than Iowa.
People who live in New Hampshire are independent, civically engaged and politically aware — and take their role in the first presidential primary very seriously. Candidates have to get out in public and engage voters in person.
With Baby Boomers choosing to stay in state, our older population is expected to double between 2010 and 2030, yet our educated young people, straddled with college debt, are leaving the state for better paying jobs, shrinking the workforce.
This demographic phenomenon challenges New Hampshire planners to address the needs of multigenerational communities.
Here are some of the issues in this year's presidential primary that will impact the work of planners in New Hampshire and across the country:
- Planners strive to conserve and preserve our natural environment and we are seeing the impacts of climate change. Some candidates acknowledge the existence of man-made climate change, but oppose regulations that they say would hurt the economy. Others doubt man's role or deny it exists.
- As planners, we are supposed to have special concern for the long-range consequences of present actions. Gun violence and its impacts on the public health of our communities should be a concern to planners.
- Immigration and refugees have been a particularly contentious issue in this primary. This is a social justice issue and disturbing, since NH was founded by immigrants and refugees.
- Rebuilding our infrastructure, national parks, or providing affordable housing and education was discussed. However, some candidates are opposed any domestic initiatives involving higher taxes or deficit financing stands in the way of progress.
As planners, it is important for us to be engaged with political decisions, to ask tough questions, and to cast our vote in the primaries. The future of our cities and towns as well as the people who live in them depends on it.
Planners also have the opportunity to be advocates for issues that impact the work they do beyond voting. Joining the Planners' Advocacy Network is one way planners can connect with their Congressmen and show support for the federal policies that make sound local planning possible.
About the Author
David Preece is an APA member and Executive Director of the Southern New Hampshire Planning Commission.
Image: Illustration by Flickr user DonkeyHotey (CC BY 2.0).