Issues: Economy

A Business Plan to Keep New Hampshire’s Economy Moving Forward

New Hampshire’s unique competitive advantage is our well-trained, well-educated workforce and our unparalleled quality of life. Strengthening the New Hampshire workforce and protecting our quality of life will be Colin’s driving goal every day as Governor.

As a business leader and Executive Councilor, Colin knows that to keep New Hampshire moving forward we must strengthen our workforce and spur business growth.

On the NH Executive Council, Colin successfully championed growth-friendly policies including new investments in solar and renewable energy projects across the state; the key economic feasibility study for bringing commuter rail to central NH; and the successful expansion of Medicaid to nearly 50,000 NH citizens.

Most of Colin’s professional career has been as a business leader in New Hampshire’s private sector. As a member of the Stonyfield Yogurt company-wide leadership team, Colin managed product lines totaling over $100 million in annual revenue and was responsible from bringing teams together from every department across the company to drive profitable growth.

In 2013, Colin helped launch College for America at Southern New Hampshire University – a nonprofit, fully-accredited school dedicated to partnering with employers to support their workforce development needs and give working adults a path to a debt-free college degree. Today, the school has drawn national recognition and partnered with over 100 employers. This past year College for America enrolled over 4,600 new students – as many as UNH and Dartmouth combined – most of whom are working adults earning a degree with no debt.

As Governor, Colin will focus efforts in four critical areas to grow jobs and wages in New Hampshire:


Bring Commuter Rail to Nashua and Manchester: On the Executive Council, Colin helped commission an independent economic feasibility study which now projects commuter rail will help NH employers create over 5,600 new jobs and develop nearly 2 million square feet of commercial real estate. Shortly after announcing his campaign for Governor he released a detailed financing plan which would achieve rail for just $3-4 million/year in state funds, including both capital and operating costs. As Governor, he will actively work to ensure commuter rail becomes a reality. Broadly supported by the business community, passenger rail is essential to helping attract and retain workers in New Hampshire and to support economic development.

Boost Job Training, such as through the Gateway to Work (which Repurposes Public Assistance Funds): As Governor, Colin will move forward to implement initiatives like Governor Hassan’s Gateway to Work Plan, which will help move people receiving some public assistance into higher-paid jobs through apprenticeship programs, job training, case management, and by improving access to child care and transportation.

Redirect Job Training Funds To Specific Sectors of Workforce Need: New Hampshire’s economy increasingly depends on and is adding more positions that need specialized training and education. As Governor, Colin will ensure that New Hampshire businesses can grow, workers can prosper, and the economy can flourish by funding job training programs in key sectors: Advanced Manufacturing, IT, Healthcare, and Hospitality.

Reduce Costs & Increase the Affordability of New Hampshire’s Colleges & Universities: Colin knows to grow our workforce here at home, we must provide quality, affordable higher educational opportunity for young people and families. As Governor, Colin will invest in higher education to keep tuition costs and student debt down; expand options for two-plus-two partnerships that enable students to save money and transfer between community college and the university system; and continue to expand options for high school students to begin earning college credit.

Expand Rural Broadband: In far too many communities across New Hampshire, broadband internet simply isn’t available. In Coos and Cheshire Counties, nearly 1 in 3 homes don’t have broadband internet access—leaving thousands of citizens unable to participate in the modern economy. Colin will bring a new focus to our digital infrastructure, just as we have with our transportation infrastructure, working with providers to set connectivity goals for every region of the state and give local communities more flexibility to expand their digital infrastructure.

Ensure Safe, Reliable Roads & Bridges: As Governor, Colin will continue the work he has done on the Executive Council to improve the state’s roads and bridges. A thriving economy depends on critical infrastructure and Colin knows businesses and citizens must have access to a safe, reliable and efficient transportation system.

Aggressively Recruit New Businesses & Workers to New Hampshire: As Governor, Colin will work tirelessly to promote New Hampshire businesses and destinations. He will fully fund the Travel and Tourism fund to help bring more visitors to New Hampshire; he will bolster the Department of Resources and Economic Development’s ability to promote New Hampshire around the world; and he will fund Department strategies to recruit not just employers but also new workers to New Hampshire.

Include All Workers & Strengthen Non-Discrimination Laws: New Hampshire was one of the first states in the nation to enact marriage equality legislation into law. Our state has been a model for treating our LGBTQ community with dignity and respect. Meanwhile, states pursuing discriminatory laws like North Carolina and Indiana have seen the negative impact to their reputation as a result. As Governor, Colin will protect and promote equality for every Granite Stater.

Ensure Every Community Has Access to Full Day Kindergarten: To build the workforce pipeline – and to attract young families to New Hampshire to work – we need to make sure every child has the best possible start. That is why Colin is a longtime champion for full-day kindergarten. As Governor, Colin will work to expand and fully fund access to full-day kindergarten to every town and community across New Hampshire.


Raise New Hampshire’s Minimum Wage: As Governor, Colin will fight to restore New Hampshire’s minimum wage law and increase the minimum wage so that people who work hard can afford to support themselves and families.

Encourage Startups & Strengthen Workers by Reforming Non-Compete Agreements: Ensuring entrepreneurs are able to grow their ideas and invest in startups is critical to building New Hampshire’s economy. States such as California have fostered economic growth by limiting non-compete agreements to empower workers and spur new business growth. As Governor, Colin will work to ensure those who want to invest in New Hampshire and grow a business are able to do so without burdensome regulations.

Advance and Improve Family & Sick Leave Policies: Colin believes that a flexible workplace promotes a stronger workforce. As an Executive Councilor, Colin voted to commission a study conducted by the University of New Hampshire that is studying the costs, benefits, alternative models, and public support for family leave policies in New Hampshire, with a goal of identifying the barriers that hold Granite Staters back from fully participating in our economy. As Governor, Colin will work with stakeholders to incorporate the best ideas recommended by this study to advance paid leave policies that will help remove existing barriers to workforce participation.

Oppose So-Called Right to Work: As Governor, Colin will oppose so-called right-to-work laws that drive down wages by stripping workers of their rights to collectively bargain and organize for better wages and working conditions.


Prevent a Sales or Income Tax: As Governor, Colin will fight to protect New Hampshire’s low-tax environment to keep the state affordable for consumers and businesses of all sizes. He would veto an income or a sales tax if passed by the legislature.
Cut Energy Costs by Investing in a Clean Tech Economy: Colin will work to implement New Hampshire’s long-term energy strategy to ensure businesses have access to affordable energy; to increase New Hampshire’s home-grown energy sector and jobs; and to protect New Hampshire’s environment, tourism economy, and natural resources.

Ease Pressure on Local Property Taxes by Fully Funding State Education Obligations: As Governor, Colin will fully fund the state’s school funding formula to reduce pressure on local property taxes, ending the cap on fast-growing school districts and providing additional funds to every community to fully-fund all kindergarten students (currently funded at ½ the level of all other students).

Increase Affordable, Workforce Housing to Attract and Keep Young Families & Employees: Expanding access to affordable workforce housing is a major priority of New Hampshire’s business community and a critical element to bringing and keeping more young people and young families in New Hampshire. As Governor, Colin will identify opportunities for the state Housing Finance Authority and other institutions to secure federal matching funds to build additional affordable housing options. Colin will prevent attempts to roll back New Hampshire’s workforce and affordable housing laws.

Cut Costs with Paperless Government Contracting & Procurement: On the Executive Council, Colin led the effort to begin the transition away from traditional printed materials to electronic contracts, which increase transparency and efficiency. As Governor, Colin will work with state departments to expand fully-digital procurement and contracting options and continue efforts to being all business forms online.

Make Medicaid Expansion Permanent, Further Reducing Uncompensated Care, a Hidden Health Care Tax on Everyone: Just two short years since Colin cast the deciding vote on the Executive Council to implement the successful bipartisan New Hampshire Health Protection Plan, state hospitals now report 27 percent fewer uninsured emergency room visits. As Governor, ensuring Medicaid expansion is made permanent will be a top priority for Colin. Colin knows that expanding Medicaid, and ensuring all residents have health insurance, alleviates a major cost on individuals and businesses across the state. Ensuring Medicaid is made permanent is not only a boost for New Hampshire residents, but also good for the New Hampshire economy.


Medicaid Expansion & Fully Fund the Alcohol Fund: Medicaid expansion is a critical cornerstone of New Hampshire’s efforts to help people fighting substance use disorder, ensuring access to treatment for thousands of people. As Governor, Colin will fight to permanently extend the New Hampshire Health Protection Program and work to fully fund New Hampshire’s Alcohol Fund — which is dedicated to supporting prevention, treatment and recovery efforts — for the first time in state history.
Invest in Prevention, Treatment & Recovery Efforts: As Governor, Colin will support Drug Courts and other evidence-based alternative sentencing programs to get people into treatment programs and reduce recidivism. He will work with the Department of Health and Human Services to ensure a Licensed Drug and Alcohol Counselor in each of the state’s eleven districts. He will work with area hospitals and nonprofits to boost availability of medical detox beds and treatment capacity, including increased capacity for medically-assisted treatment where appropriate, in every corner of the state.


Colin knows our state has vast potential and by strengthening our workforce, boosting wages, keeping taxes low, and overcoming the opioid epidemic we will keep New Hampshire moving forward for the next generation.

For those items in this economic plan which require additional investment, funding sources include additional, specifically-identified and currently-available federal funds (such as for most of the costs of commuter rail and Medicaid expansion); currently-projected NH state budgetary surpluses; self-contained funding sources (such as for Gateway to Work); and previously-identified funding initiatives (such as fully funding the state Alcohol Fund for drug prevention, treatment, and recovery; and funding full-day public kindergarten in every community with additional cigarette tax revenue, still limited to less than every other New England state).


Paid for by Van Ostern for New Hampshire. Debby Butler, Treasurer.
P.O. Box 3931, Manchester, NH 03105 • (603) 232-5538