A few minutes with Frank Edelblut

Frank Edelblut meeting voters outside the NH State House. (Ellen Kolb photo)
Frank Edelblut meeting voters outside the NH State House. (Ellen Kolb photo)

The New Hampshire Right to Life PAC has announced its endorsement of Frank Edelblut for New Hampshire Governor, calling him “a steadfast advocate of the pro-life cause.”

On his own campaign web site is this statement: “Frank knows life is truly a gift from God and he believes the New Hampshire Constitution guarantees ‘life’ and ‘liberty’ for every soul in New Hampshire.” Edelblut’s pro-life votes from the House session just ended are already on record (see my digest of 2016 votes here).

Before I spoke with Edelblut after June’s Executive Council meeting, I had a longer interview with him at his Manchester campaign office. He is one of several Republican candidates who will be on the September 13 primary ballot.

What sets you apart from the other candidates? What do you bring that they don’t? Their experience ranges from business management to legislative politics to mayoral politics.

I’m a job creator, not a politician. I’ve served in the legislature one term, long enough to see how it works and where the problems are and not long enough to be the problem. I’ve not spent my entire life calculating moves, trying to figure out a way that would build up to [being] governor.

I’ve been involved in business. I think the mood of the electorate is that we need an outsider, we need someone who isn’t part of the system in order to try and make a difference. I’m on the outside, a business guy who thinks he can try to  make the government work for the people again.

You’re a first-term state representative. When you ran in 2012, you were the top vote-getter in your ten-town district by one vote. What made the difference for you?

The beautiful thing about winning by one vote is that every single person who even thought about my campaign was responsible for my win. If you put a sign up, it was because of you that I got one vote. If you made a phone call, or attended a rally, it was because of you that I got one vote. People helped. And I ran a campaign. I did lots of phone calling, lots of door-knocking.

You were present when the Executive Council voted to send taxpayer funds to Planned Parenthood. Your thoughts?

I think that it is such a controversial subject. There are people with good intentions, I know, on both sides. I  just think it makes no sense that taxpayer money should go anywhere near funding abortion. We need to separate those two activities [abortion and non-abortion work], and it becomes very difficult. I’m an accountant. I know how moneys flow in an organization. When you have an organization that is both providing services to women, as well as providing abortion services, those funds become commingled and become really difficult to separate. So why don’t we just say, if you’re going to be in the abortion business, then you don’t need to have any state funding in there. That allows organizations that want to provide women’s health services to provide health services without the risk and the perception that that money is somehow going across into an activity that many people in this state find abhorrent.

In private life, away from politics, you and your wife are longtime CareNet supporters. Tell me about the kind of work you’re supporting there.

The main issue there is comprehensive care for women. That’s the goal. When  a woman is pregnant, and it is unplanned, it is a crisis. We need to make sure she has the full scope of options, and not kind of force her down a certain path. Most of the time, the decisions being made are not about the pregnancy. They’re about what happens after the pregnancy. There’s all this pressure [on the woman]: what happens when I have the baby? Employment, housing, can I be a good mom? What about the dad, how can I engage him? [CareNet is] not just taking you through your pregnancy. We’re taking you through your parenting. We bring men in and help them learn how to be good dads. Probably half the ministry over there is what to do after the kids are born, to help them get a good launch in life. And this is all done with private funding. 

Here’s an op-ed by Rep. Edelblut from last April in which he outlines his pro-life views and how they are consistent with a governor’s constitutional responsibilities.

To learn more about Frank Edelblut, go to frankedelblut.com.