Guinta's resume is a strong one

June 28, 2010

There is much to like about Frank Guinta’s candidacy for the Republican primary nod to take on U.S. Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, D-N.H., in November.

Prime among these is his understanding that Shea-Porter’s troops will “walk through fire for her.”

This understanding of how Shea-Porter was able to unseat Jeb Bradley then hold him off in a rematch is essential to a November victory.

But if that were all to suggest Guinta is worth consideration by First Congressional District voters, this editorial would end here.

During an editorial board meeting at Foster’s Daily Democrat on Thursday, Guinta offered a combination of practical business experience and government right-headedness that was impressive.

As mayor of Manchester until he decided not to seek re-election and run for Congress, Guinta found it anything but easy to fight the demands by both Democrats and some Republicans who wanted to inflate budgets.

He especially raised the ire of a Democratically controlled Board of Alderman, Manchester’s version of a city council, when he supported a tax cap — which voters approved after the board stalled a year in putting it on the ballot.

Guinta came to politics from the insurance industry, but found his passion in government.

In 2001, he and his wife, Morgan, were honored by the New Hampshire Union Leader’s “40 Under Forty” program. They are the only husband and wife team to be so honored by the newspaper for their accomplishments.

Guinta was then coming off a stint in the New Hampshire House of Representatives and headed for the mayor’s chair.

During Guinta’s meeting with Foster’s editors, the discussion covered a lot of territory beyond the candidate’s background.

One particularly striking moment came after a question about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Guinta was mayor of Manchester when Police Officer Micheal Briggs was gunned down. With emotion evident on his face, Guinta told of the 4 a.m. call telling him one of his city’s officers had been shot. Later Guinta was the one to break the eventual news of Briggs’ death to a legion of fellow officers who had gathered, hoping for the best.

Should Guinta win the primary and then the general election, there is no doubt he will take to Washington a unique understanding of life and death. This, coupled with a deep respect for those who protect, will give him the balance of judgment to cast votes on how and if the war should continue.

It is perhaps this balance of abilities and judgment that most make Guinta a strong candidate.

But a touch of common sense also helps.

Guinta knows that Congress needs to take up unpopular discussions. Among them are entitlement programs and overspending, which have become a way of life for Washington under both Democrats and Republicans.

On Social Security, Guinta makes no bones about its insolvency. And popular or not, he wants to have an open discussion about fixing it … not decades in the future, but now.

On health care, the newest entitlement, Guinta rightfully notes it missed its mark in controlling costs. To that end he still sees an immediate need to open insurance markets across the country to groups of small businesses, and to allow individuals to purchase policies that may be sold for less in other states, something now prohibited.

As for the national debt, he offers a chilling number. If asked to pony up today to pay the bill, it would cost each American approximately $122,000 — a number that speaks volumes by itself.

As with other candidates for the House, Foster’s is not ready to offer a recommendation. But what can be said now is that Guinta joins a long list of quality candidates looking to carry the GOP banner in the fall.

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