Ovide Lamontagne is running for governor in the hopes of bringing strong leadership to the Granite State, and one of the problems he said he sees with current leadership is a weak focus on the big issues.
The Manchester resident and former U.S. senatorial candidate said during a campaign stop in Hampton on Thursday there needs to be a greater focus on issues like the economy, job creation and reducing business regulations, and not social issues like .
Lamontagne, a supporter of "traditional marriage," said the marriage equality issue isn't a "top priority" to him, as he said he doesn't think it's something that concerns residents as much as seeing a resolution to many issues he said have been created in part by Gov. John Lynch's leadership style.
"Let's focus on what really matters to people right on the Seacoast and around the state, and that's job creation, that's creating an environment that'll launch us into a new era of prosperity," said Lamontagne.
[Editor's note: The above video showcases Lamontagne's views. Tell us whether you agree or disagree in the comments and why!]
Lamontagne spent roughly two hours chatting with Hampton residents Thursday night at the home of County Attorney Jim Reams, outlining his background, economic plans and gubernatorial approach to a small crowd that also included local state Reps. Chris Nevins and Jim Rice, Rockingham County Treasurer Sandy Buck, and others.
Gay marriage and the GOP-lead effort for its repeal has been one of the biggest political topics over recent weeks in the Statehouse, and Nevins — — called it the "biggest thing we've done in two years."
He said he received "an awful lot" of e-mails, phone calls and comments against repealing the law, and he said both gay marriage and the economy are subjects with which residents are very concerned.
Lamontagne said he doesn't see it exactly that way, though, and promised if elected to first tackle larger issues, including education funding, before addressing social issues. He said he'd like to see a referendum to ascertain where residents stand on gay marriage, although he said it's an issue that will likely "work its way out" while dealing with other state business.
In the meantime, Lamontagne said his focus must be on building name recognition — as well "name pronunciation" recognition — because he isn't as well-known in the Seacoast area, especially when compared to some of his .
Dennis Brady, an Exeter resident and Lamontagne supporter, said that will be the candidate's "biggest challenge" because he's "struggled before" in other elections. Brady said he's confident, though, that Lamontagne's "back-to-basics" approach will resonate with Seacoast residents this time and lead to a better overall showing at the election polls.
"Hopefully he'll hit this one out of the park," said Brady.