NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Election Connection

November 3, 2012

NH governor race down to wire

Hassan, Lamontagne battle to replace Lynch

(Continued)

But the candidates differ on the process for determining the location for a new casino and how gaming revenues should be spent.

Hassan believes there should be one, high-end casino near the Massachusetts border to keep gambling and rooms and meals tax revenue in state. She favors identifying that location through a competitive bidding process, which would keep Seabrook Race Track along with nearby Rockingham Park in Salem, among others, in the mix and allow officials to select the proposal that offered the best deal for the state.

Hassan said she would use gaming revenue to augment educational funding for public schools and the state’s community college and university systems.

Lamontagne also believes there should be one new casino site. But if approved by the Legislature, he’d place it at Rockingham Park. He said the Salem racetrack’s history as a gambling venue and its easy access to Interstate 93 make it the right spot. Lamontagne believes the reason casino gaming never garnered sufficient support in the past is because of the debate over how many sites to allow and where they should go.

Although he is a partner in the Divine, Millimet and Branch law firm, which has been the lobbyist pushing for a casino at Rockingham Park for decades, Lamontagne said he isn’t worried he’ll be seen as having a conflict of interest for picking Rockingham for a casino. If elected governor, he said he’ll divest himself of his financial interest in the firm, essentially severing his ties there.

Lamontagne said he would use gaming revenue for economic development, such as improving the business climate by reducing taxes on enterprises and expanding Interstate 93.

MAGGIE HASSAN

Democrat

Age: 54

Residence: Exeter

Education: Brown University and Northeastern School of Law

Occupation: Former labor attorney most recently with Sullivan, Weinstein and McQuay; not currently practicing

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