Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes
MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) — Republican Walt Havenstein told young students Friday that he's running for governor to make sure they can find good jobs in New Hampshire when they grow up.
"The reason I want to be governor is to create a better future for you," Havenstein told a dozen students at Polaris Charter School in Manchester, one of the state's 22 charter schools.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal joined Havenstein (HAV'-ehn-styn) at Polaris, where the students quizzed both on everything from their states' biggest problems to each man's favorite food, before visiting the headquarters of US FIRST, a robotics education program.
Havenstein faces Democratic incumbent Gov. Maggie Hassan in the Nov. 4 election. Havenstein, a former defense contracting executive, is centering his campaign around jobs and the economy. But he delved into education policy Friday, saying he would promote charter schools and stop New Hampshire's participation in the Common Core education standards if elected. He supports the controversial state program that gives businesses tax credits if they donate to programs that give students scholarships to attend private or religious schools. Hassan opposes it.
"We're really giving choice to many people who otherwise wouldn't have an option to opt out of public education if that's in the best interest of their children, and for me the choice is tremendously important," Havenstein said.
Jindal is a strong proponent of school choice — 90 percent of students in New Orleans attend public charter schools — and he recently sued the federal government over Common Core. Hassan's campaign says Jindal has destroyed Louisiana's education system and economy.
"It's hard to imagine a worse governor to emulate on education policy than Bobby Jindal, whose radical cuts have undermined Louisiana's workforce and economy," Hassan's campaign spokesman Aaron Jacobs said.
Jindal, serving his second term as governor, is considering running for president and told reporters he will decide after the holidays. He is vice chairman of the Republican Governors Association, which is spending money on Havenstein's behalf. Despite poll numbers showing Hassan in a strong position to win re-election, Jindal says Havenstein's business record gives him a strong chance of winning the race.
"A No. 1 issue here continues to be the need to create better-paying jobs at home so folks can stay here and pursue their dreams here, I think Walt's uniquely positioned to address those concerns," Jindal said.