• Susannah Colt

WHY I AM RUNNING - time to get off the sidelines

Updated: Jun 13

Filing day at Whitefield Town Hall
photo by Courtney Vashaw

I’ve been writing essays for The Concord Monitor since the pandemic started, commenting on current events, historical events, politics, and nature. It is easy being an armchair activist, complaining about current events, opining on solutions, and pointing out the obvious power of the vote. But is that enough?

It is a dark and depressing time right now. Mass shootings have replaced the war in Ukraine as the top story. It is so distressing to see 18-year-old boys filled with such hatred for Black people, teachers and innocent children able to buy weapons of mass destruction and carry out these atrocities in broad daylight in the presence of armed police officers.

Closer to home we are dealing with relentless attacks on the public schools, what they teach, how they are funded, and how they deal with the pandemic. There were efforts on the local and state level to dictate and censor what the teachers taught about history, especially the history of slavery and racism in America. There were efforts to defund the public schools as evidenced by what the Free Staters tried to do in Croydon, NH.

The issue of mask mandates and vaccines certainly got heated attention at school board meetings across the state. Fortunately, the legislative effort to prevent local school districts from implementing their own health safety protocols failed, but we cannot let down our guard.

Remember when the Republicans inserted non-budget-related items in the 2021 budget. Gov. Sununu let the first abortion ban, the “divisive concepts” bill, and Freedom Education Accounts become law without the benefit of full public scrutiny.

There is no telling what the Republicans might attempt to slip through the cracks in 2023. My first guess would be the “parental bill of rights,” which would be disastrous for transgender youth and young victims of abuse of all kinds. The safety net that is often found in schools through teachers and counselors would be torn asunder.

Regardless of what the Supreme Court does with Roe v. Wade, there will always be continued efforts to strip women of their right to control their own reproductive lives. We cannot rely on a governor who claims to be pro-choice but allows an abortion ban to weasel its way into law through the backdoor.

There is so much on the line in this election that I have decided to stop sitting on the sidelines in my comfortable armchair and get into the game. I am running for state representative of Coös District 4, which includes Carroll, Jefferson, Kilkenny and Whitefield. Since I’ve made this decision, I have received a great deal of support and it is an honor to take up this challenge so I can try to make an impact on the direction the legislature goes in the next session.

I used two Susan B. Anthony coins to pay the $2.00 filing fee with my candidacy papers. It seemed fitting to channel the advocacy of someone who helped make one of the most impactful changes in the country’s history by enfranchising women in the political process. She reminds us that at one point in our history, women were excluded from the political process and her advocacy, coupled with her mantra “failure is impossible,” helped bring about change. I can only hope to adequately follow in her large footsteps.

photo by Courtney Vashaw

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