New Hampshire Gubernatorial candidate Ovide Lamontagne has pledged to turn the Granite State into the Northeast’s first “Right-to-Work” state and in doing so has earned the endorsement of the anti-union Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC). This, of course, should come as no surprise as the ABC is a partisan political player with an agenda of repealing Davis-Bacon and banning Project Labor Agreement’s for federally funded projects.
During the 2012 election season the group has given $1.2 million to Republican candidates and $0 to Democrats.
During the 2010 midterm elections the 400+ member New Hampshire state legislature took a sharp turn to the right as the Tea Party put its footprint on the Capitol steps. For the past two years their anti-worker ideology has permeated the statehouse where current Governor Lynch was forced to veto aggressive, ideologically driven policies such as “Right-to-Work.” These issues have been brought back from the dead multiple times with continuing threats for future sessions.
Lamontagne has promised to work with both parties if elected but an endorsement from the ABC seems a sign that such promises may go unfulfilled.
For all their political might and lobbying power, the ABC has become more of a political stooge for the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) than a major player in the industry. As we reported in June, the ABC and ALEC have worked together to push through a “Right-to-Work” agenda in states with Republican held legislatures:
The ABC’s 2009 Chapter Legislative Guide contained 18 bills listed as “property of” ALEC, while the ABC’s 2010 Legislative Handbook included 10 examples of copyrighted ALEC model legislation.
That is an imbalanced amount of power for an association that only represents a small part of the construction industry (which is very adversely affected by “Right-to-Work”):
The total number of ABC member-contractors amounts to only 1 percent of the total number of licensed or registered construction companies in the United States. The highest percentage represented in any state is only 6 percent.
In accepting the ABC’s endorsement, former construction worker Lamontagne is also accepting “Right-to-Work” for New Hampshire. NH/VT ABC chapter President Mark Holden spoke glowingly of Lamontagne’s dedication to the art of Tea Party talking point repetition in his endorsement announcement.
“Ovide’s positions on reducing business taxes, health care reform and his priority focus on our economy and job creation are important to Associated Builders and Contractors,” said Mark Holden, President of the Associated Builders and Contractors, NH/VT Chapter. ”Ovide knows our industry and has demonstrated he is not only interested in but passionate about our pro-free enterprise principals. We know a Governor Lamontagne will fight to reduce regulations and will work to reform the culture in Concord to treat New Hampshire businesses as a partner, not an adversary.”
The New Hampshire’s Governor’s race is in a dead heat according to recent University of New Hampshire and WMUR polling. 34 percent of voters current lean Lamontagne and 30 percent favor Democrat Maggie Hassan. 34 percent are still undecided.