Tom ShermanPrimary Election 2022 Winner
Running as Democrat
Served two terms as a state representative and two terms as a state senator
Current jobState Senator and retired doctor
Founding Partner, Core Gastroenterology
Time lived in NH14 years
Northwestern University (BA), University of Connecticut School of Medicine (MD)
What are the most important concerns you’ve heard from Manchester residents and how can you address those concerns if elected or re-elected as Governor?
Across the state, and particularly in Manchester, people are struggling with the soaring cost of their energy bills, and the lack of affordable housing. And they’re concerned about the attacks on reproductive rights here in New Hampshire and across the country. Both our energy costs and housing costs are soaring because of years of inaction. Sununu vetoed and blocked bipartisan measures that would have expanded our energy options, and he did nothing to address the lack of housing stock until it reached crisis levels. As governor, I would broaden our energy sources to lower costs, I would work with stakeholders to remove barriers and incentivize housing construction, and I would codify Roe v. Wade into New Hampshire law.
What is your overarching philosophy when it comes to the duties of the Governor?
The job of the governor is to lead by bringing people together to solve problems, listening to different viewpoints, and working collaboratively to craft solutions that will help Granite Staters. But our current governor isn’t listening or leading. He’s caving to far-right extremists and signing New Hampshire’s first modern abortion ban with no exceptions for rape, incest or fatal fetal anomaly. He’s spent years vetoing bipartisan measures that would have expanded our energy options, and now we’re seeing energy rates soar because we’re so reliant on natural gas. Sununu’s style is to be missing in action for months and then veto legislation at the last minute. The way I govern is to sit down with all stakeholders from the beginning and have tough conversations. That’s how I worked as a doctor and that’s how I’ve gotten legislation like Medicaid Expansion passed with strong support from both sides of the aisle.
What is the most significant issue facing Manchester residents at the municipal level and how can you aid the city government and/or directly aid Manchester residents on that issue?
Like so many communities across New Hampshire, Manchester is struggling with rising housing costs, negatively impacting both our workforce and homelessness simultaneously. There’s more the state can do to work with the city and empower them to incentivize housing development in order to lower costs. We can also fulfill the state’s pension obligations and send more money back to the city, meaning they’ll be able to provide property tax relief. We can increase the state funding and support for shelters and wrap around services to address the causes of homelessness as well as the immediate needs of this population.
How do you feel the current divisive political climate in the United States will impact the Governor’s role over the next two years and how would you navigate that divisiveness as Governor?
I think a lot of people are concerned about the anger and the vitriol we’re seeing overtake our politics. I’ve always found that when I sit down and listen to people, I can find common ground. Active listening is critical to being a doctor, otherwise you miss clues and symptoms that can help you diagnose and treat your patient’s problem. And it’s how I’ve gotten legislation passed with bipartisan support. A critical step I would take as governor is making sure I’m regularly sitting down with legislative leaders from both parties and talking about our priorities. That kind of leadership has unfortunately been absent in the State House under Sununu.
In your conversations with voters, what is the most significant issue to them right now? How would you address that if elected or re-elected?
I think universally, people are concerned about their choices being taken away. For some that’s reproductive rights and the ability to make the medical choice that’s right for them. For others, it’s whether they can choose to raise a family in New Hampshire with the soaring cost of housing, energy prices, and property taxes. I would codify Roe v. Wade into state law and work with stakeholders to lower those costs. We don’t need a sales tax or an income tax to do this – we just need to stop giving our revenue away as tax breaks to out-of-state corporations and to finally legalize recreational marijuana so that revenue stays in our state.
In your opinion, what were the five most significant pieces of legislation introduced by the New Hampshire General Court in the past two years, and why?
Some of the legislation passed in the past two years is significant because of the damage it’s done to our state, and some because of the good it could have done. The most damaging legislation by far was the budget Sununu signed in 2021 that included a number of measures that never would have made it through the traditional legislative process. They include the first modern abortion ban in New Hampshire history, which criminalized doctors and provided no exceptions for rape, incest, or fatal fetal anomaly. It also included provisions making teachers afraid to teach basic history and created a program that’s sending millions in taxpayer money to private and religious schools.
Five bills that I was proud to support were legislation that would have codified the right to choose. New Hampshire currently has no proactive protections against a national abortion ban, and unfortunately 10 Republicans voted against our bipartisan bill to protect reproductive rights. I was proud to pass my bipartisan measure to protect American steel manufacturers, and legislation to expand dental benefits to Medicaid recipients, which will pay dividends back into our economy. I also supported measures to provide additional property tax relief to cities and towns that unfortunately failed, and measures that would have expanded access to affordable childcare and pre-k.
In your opinion, what were the five most significant actions taken by New Hampshire governors over the last ten years, and why?
The actions of governors impact the directions of their states for decades to come, and one of the actions that’s been most significant this past decade is actually something Jeanne Shaheen did in 1997 – she signed legislation repealing New Hampshire’s law making abortion a felony. At the time we could have never imagined a world where Roe v. Wade was overturned, but today we are so incredibly grateful for her foresight.
One of the most significant things New Hampshire has done over the past decade is expand Medicaid and provide substance abuse and mental health coverage to tens of thousands of Granite Staters. One of the things I’m proudest of in my legislative career is negotiating that expansion, and Maggie Hassan’s leadership in making sure it went through was critical.
Similarly, then-Governor Hassan’s leadership in convening a special session in 2015 to address the opioid epidemic helped launch the state’s first response to substance misuse in New Hampshire. Unfortunately there’s still far more work to be done that has been stalled over the past six years.
Significant in a different way is Sununu’s decision to veto a budget in 2019 that provided additional funding for schools and property tax relief, but sign a budget in 2021 that contained New Hampshire’s first modern abortion ban and sent taxpayer funds to private and religious schools.