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Kevin Smith, Republican candidate for US Senate, stumps in Keene

By Ryan Spencer Sentinel Staff

Londonderry Republican Kevin Smith, a candidate running for U.S. Senate, speaks about his vision for New Hampshire during a Cheshire County Republican Committee meeting in Keene Saturday.

Kevin Smith, the former town manager of Londonderry and a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, stumped in Keene on Saturday morning, speaking to a crowd of about two dozen people.

Hosted by the Cheshire County Republican Committee at its meeting at Hope Chapel, Smith laid out his platform and leaned into his incumbent Democratic opponent, U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan.

“I feel more than ever that New Hampshire and this country are ready for a new generation of conservative leadership to bring the fight to Washington, to bring accountability to Washington that people expect,” Smith said. “But more importantly in the short term, to bring the fight to Maggie Hassan this fall.”

Smith touted his almost nine years as town manager in Londonderry, over which he said he grew the town’s tax base by $2.2 billion by cutting regulations, attracting commercial and industrial development. He said when he left the position this past February the town had a historically low property tax rate.

The Republican said his focus would be on issues like gas prices and inflation while also prioritizing border security. Calling Hassan “Maggie Hasn’t,” Smith ran through a laundry list of issues he said his opponent has ignored, from “parental rights in education” to inflation to “election integrity.”

“Maggie hasn’t been representing us here in the Granite State, on issue after issue,” he said.

Should he be elected to the Senate, Smith said he would like to serve on the U.S. Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship. He described small businesses as the “lifeblood” of New Hampshire and noted his business experience serving as the Chairman of the Pease Development Authority — an office and industrial park home to more than 245 companies — in Portsmouth for four years.

Smith said the nation’s debt and border security are his two top issues. Both Republicans and Democrats have added to the deficit for years, he said, adding that he is in favor of legislation to require the federal government to balance a budget.

“It’s leading us into an economic calamity,” he said of the nation’s debt. “This inflation that we are feeling right now is just the first part of it. We are forced to balance our budget at every level of government: in our own homes, towns [and] state but for some reason on the federal level they don’t think it is important.”

As for the border, Smith said the country should reinstate the “Remain in Mexico” policy — known formally as the Migrant Protection Protocols — established under the Trump Administration. He claimed the policy — which required migrants seeking asylum to remain in Mexico until their U.S. immigration court date — helped deter the thousands of immigrants he said cross the border every day, bringing drugs like fentanyl with them.

Asked by an audience member whether Jan 6., 2021 — when hundreds of Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol — was an “insurrection or not,” Smith responded that he felt what happened that day “was a shame.”

“I think it is a stain on our country,” he said. “… At the end of the day, anyone who broke the law that day should be prosecuted to the fullest extent.”

In a statement shared with The Sentinel prior to the Republican candidate’s speech Saturday, the chair of the Cheshire County Democrats, Mohammad Saleh, took aim at Smith’s stance on abortion.

“Smith’s long record of support for criminalizing abortion and punishing women for seeking reproductive health care could not be more out of step with our community, and Granite Staters will reject Smith’s anti-choice, anti-woman agenda,” Saleh said in the Friday statement.

In an interview after his talk Saturday, Smith said he thinks it is appropriate for the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade and return the issue of abortion to the states.

“I’m pro-life with exceptions of rape, incest and life of the mother,” he said.

The Cheshire County Republican Committee hosted another U.S. Senate candidate, Republican Chuck Morse, in March.

Ryan Spencer can be reached at 352-1234, extension 1412, or [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @rspencerKS

Original article: https://www.sentinelsource.com/news/local/kevin-smith-republican-candidate-for-us-senate-stumps-in-keene/article_83671ffb-55aa-5b1e-a742-af681973f2ae.html