Kathy Rago was a state rep who did her town of Franklin proud. I saw her in action at the State House: a woman with a calm manner who did her homework before speaking up about bills. While in the House, she served on the high-profile Education Committee. She declined to run for re-election in 2012, opting to devote her time to the Network for Educational Opportunity, a scholarship administration organization that fosters school choice for families with students in grades K-12.
She’s back in the political arena in 2014. She’s running for New Hampshire state senate as a Republican, taking on incumbent Democratic state senator and buffer-zone supporter Andrew Hosmer in district 7. In addition to Kathy’s town of Franklin and Hosmer’s city of Laconia, the district also includes Andover, Belmont, Boscawen, Canterbury, Gilford, Northfield, Salisbury and Webster.
What made her decide to go back to politics? “Realizing no one was looking out for taxpayers. Watching our economy stagnate, with no end in sight – watching the New Hampshire Advantage slipping away. Watching the Democrat majority continue to diminish our liberties as they grow government power, continue to overspend and then turn around and raise our taxes to cover their mismanagement of our economy. I could no longer just watch.”
Kathy has lived in Franklin with her family for 15 years. She and her husband have three kids, two of whom are in college and the youngest of whom is at home. “My youngest is in special education in a public charter school – school choice, you know.”
School choice is a high priority for her. Her work with NEO has included support for New Hampshire’s education tax credit law, which the state Supreme Court refused to throw out earlier this year. “The Court just ruled in our favor, so we are moving forward to reach out to more families.” She’s glad to be part of the effort “to change the climate for school choice.”
“I love my job [with NEO]. I became interested in school choice because of my children’s need for options and realizing, while sitting on the House Education Committee, how few options were available to lower income families.” She says she also knew “how it felt to be stuck due to finances in trying to provide the best education for [our] child.”
One of her achievements as a state representative was passage of a House resolution praising the work of pregnancy care centers. “I had folks from CareNet in Plymouth contact me and [ask] me to sponsor a resolution, which I gladly did. I then reached out to other representatives and senator I knew were pro-life to sponsor with me.” She’s seen firsthand the failure of other bills touching on the right to life, including a Women’s Right to Know bill. “It is perplexing to me why anyone would not want the same regulations that apply to any outpatient facility for minor procedures to apply to abortion providers. We have to do a better job of explaining why it is a safety issue.”
Would she have a to-do list in the Senate? “Everything I can to jumpstart our economy. Look at lowering business tax rate; reducing burdensome regulations – for example, taking a close look at occupational licensing which is a barrier to entry in the job market. Prevent wasteful spending.” She also wants to look at energy costs and how to reduce them. She says that making New Hampshire more “open for business” so more jobs are available for everyone, especially New Hampshire college graduates.
Ask Kathy what she likes about her district, and her enthusiasm shines through. “I love central New Hampshire! There is so much beauty all around. I love Webster Lake, and go kayaking in it quite often. I love how Soulfest comes to the area every year. We have Meadowbrook Pavilion, beautiful Weirs Beach, and wonderful walking and hiking trails, just to name a few things.”
For more information on Kathy Rago’s campaign and how to support it, go to her web site (www.kathy4nh.com) and Facebook page.