Well, that could have gone better…

The word is probably out, Steve is cranky.  It’s true, I am.  While I have made some mistakes this past week, there are a lot of good opportunities for improvement. Having said that, I have some hard lines that are never crossed and you should know what they are.   I interact with a lot of elected officials from across the spectrum, as well as state agency personnel.  They tell me things that help me be better informed and effective.  One thing I never do is give details of any of those conversations unless explicitly told to.  This is an important trust issue.  For example, when a constituent comes to me with a problem, many times they have to tell me details so that I can help… details that they wouldn’t like me blabbing to just anyone.  I was in a meeting with some folks that I am trying to help.  I mentioned that their situation was not unique.  They asked me for details.  I said that I just don’t do that.  I was pressed at least 6 more times for those details.  Instead of staying calm and explaining that to do so would violate the professional standards and ethical boundaries that I set for myself, I got mad.  While their questions were inappropriate, I could have handled it a lot better.  I will work on keeping my temper down.

On the other hand, I simply won’t tolerate political labels being injected into a situation that needs a solution.  So, if you think it productive to ask the political party of someone involved, or ask if the “left” or the “right” is the problem… please don’t vote for me and don’t involve me.  If we want solutions, the first step that we take cannot be to try to divide people.  I will not apologize for getting hot with people who do this. Nothing will get better until that ends.

In the context of all this going on, I probably got combative on other topics where it was unnecessary.  That is my fault alone and I have to improve on that.  Representing a lightly populated area has challenges.  In Concord we face voting blocks from Hillsborough and Rockingham counties.  To complicate things, 4 out of our 13 Sullivan County Representatives are from Claremont, and their interests do not always align with Charlestown and the other smaller towns.  We have to be creative about how we help and get things done.  To accomplish anything, I have to convince 200 other Representatives, 13 Senators, and the Governor that it is a good idea.  That is the process.  Unless a Representative chairs a committee and controls a part of the process, none of us can say “I am going to….”.  They are either pulling your chain or have no idea how state government works.  So, I will try to lighten up a little when dealing with local people.  In exchange, I ask that we don’t talk about political parties or ideologies, respect each other’s ethical boundaries, and just get good work done.


About Rep. Steven Smith

Steven Smith is a member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives, serving his 7th term. Rep. Smith currently represents Charlestown, Newport, and Unity. Rep. Smith is the Deputy Speaker of the NH House.
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