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An Interview with Dr. Stewart Levenson

An Interview with Dr. Stewart Levenson

New Hampshire’s 2nd congressional district is one of the 435 that will be contested in the midterm elections this coming November. One of two districts in New Hampshire, it covers the northern and western parts of the state and includes Dartmouth and Hanover, as well as Nashua and the state capital in Concord. It is currently represented by Ann Kuster ’78, a Democrat, who has held on to the seat since the election in 2012, in which she triumphed over incumbent Republican, Charles Bass ‘74. Between the 2014 and 2016 elections, Rep. Kuster’s margin of victory has fallen from 10% to 5%, meaning that the race will probably be tight this year. Review Associate Editor Daniel M. Bring spoke with one of the Republican primary challengers, Dr. Stewart Levenson of Hopkinton, running for the chance to face off against Rep. Kuster in November.

The Dartmouth Review (TDR): Dr. Levenson, to start, could you tell us why you are running for this seat?

SL: I’m running to restore accountability to government. I’m the conservative outsider who is listening to the people, and that’s something that has just been so rare in modern politics. I worked at the VA taking care of my patients, then when care could not be provided to my satisfaction I became a whistleblower, only because Congresswoman Kuster would not work to improve the healthcare for the veterans.

TDR: When I first met you at the Dartmouth College Republicans event, you talked a lot about your commitment to the VA and to the care of the veterans. Could you expand on that?

SL: It’s not only about veterans, it’s about accountability in government. The VA is one agency in government and it’s demonstrative of how government is no longer serving the people. The government shutdown was proof that the politicians in Washington are posturing for their own end and not taking care of the people who elected them to office.

TDR: Could you tell me what other platform points are key to your agenda?

SL: Well, of course, healthcare. I’m a physician who has public health experience, I’ve been a director in a large medical organization, so I’m in a unique position to improve healthcare in the United States. This is a key issue for the citizens of New Hampshire. Healthcare does no one any good if they can’t afford it. People are avoiding seeing their doctor, going for healthcare, because it’s become so unaffordable. That’s one part of my platform, but also there are many others. I’m a staunch spokesman for border security. I believe that until we have border security, many other problems just won’t go away. The opioid crisis. We have to stem the flow of illegal opioids through our borders. The immigration problem. We’re not going to solve the issues with immigration until we have secure borders. Also, national security is extremely important to me. We must maintain the world as a safe place without being the world’s peacekeeper. We set an example, we use our influence to see that our national security is preserved.

TDR: What other domestic policies are critical to your platform, especially on such issues as civil rights and education?

SL: Well, education is the basis of a well-informed electorate. We are blessed in this country with many top institutions. New Hampshire has a superb education system. We, in New Hampshire, take into account individuals’ views on education, more so than New York state.

TDR: So do you support school choice?

SL: Yes, I do, depending on how it’s specifically worked out. I am a proponent of school choice. I agree with the Governor on his view of the latest bill at the statehouse on school choice allowing for savings accounts. I think this will enable to make choices they feel are best for their families.

TDR: How do you think you can avoid the divisive partisan politics that have been causing a rift in this country and bring people together with your campaign?

SL: I have no problem reaching across the aisle. As a physician and as someone who has a lot of education behind me, a lot of my friends are from different parts of the political spectrum. I respect differing views. I enjoy debating people, but at the end of the day, I go by the theory that we all want the same things, but we might have different ways of getting there.

TDR: What do you feel are some of Congresswoman Kuster’s major shortcoming in representing New Hampshire’s 2nd congressional district?

SL: Congresswoman Kuster does not represent her district is the big problem. Her vote on the recent tax bill; 89% of New Hampshire residents will be getting more money in their pockets and Congresswoman Kuster. She is completely unaccountable to the voters. She has said things like she’s with the veterans, she’s worked to help improve care, but when I met with her, her response was that the VA in Manchester was not in her congressional district.

TDR: What will strategy will you take to win first the Republican primary and then defeat Congresswoman Kuster in the election in November?

SL: In both the primary and the general election, my message is other people have always promised accountability, but I have shown that I can deliver it and that I hold myself accountable. I could no longer work in a system that would endanger veterans so I left. People ask me all the time: “We like what you have to say, but we’re concerned when you get to Washington, you’re going to be just another politician.” I say, look what I did at the VA. When I could no longer maintain standards for the veterans, I went to the press and effectively ended my career there.

TDR: Assuming you win the election, what will be your first actions individually and legislatively when you go to Washington?

SL: When I go to Washington, I want to be assigned to the appropriate committees. Of course, I want to be assigned to the Veterans’ Affairs committee. That’s the first step, get on the appropriate committees. Start working with people of a like mind, because I’m sure there’s a lot of people in Congress who want to do the right thing, but have trouble doing so because of the overall number of congressmen who are just career politicians looking out for themselves. This is what we found at the VA, that people wanted to get involved, people want to do the right things. They need people willing to work with them and form a group that will march in the right direction.

TDR: What are you views on some of the major policy initiatives from both the Left and the Right today in Washington? For example, tax reform and the DREAM Act, these big issues of debate in the House and the Senate.

SL: Specifically with the DREAM Act, I agree with the President in tying this to border security. I’m quite pleased the tax package passed, it will mean more money for New Hampshire families. Furthermore, I’m in favor of the deregulation as a policy that the President has put forward. I believe that while people have been looking at the tax plan, people aren’t looking at the fact that the President has demanded that two regulations be struck for every one that’s passed, and I believe that is a good start. Overregulation has been stifling both the economy and healthcare, and other key industries in this country. I feel we have been taking that for granted in terms of what’s been such a boost to the country right now. While the previous administration seemed to continually write regulations that were the bane of small businesses and even large ones, the new administration has been working to streamline processes and make it easier to conduct all areas of business and hopefully government.

TDR: Would you say that you are generally supportive of the agenda of the President and the outsider Republican politics that are coming to redefine the GOP?

SL: Yes. I was an early supporter of President Trump, I voted for him in the primary, and he gave a voice to those who didn’t have one. I feel that if one removes the background noise in the press, you’ll see how well the country is doing. But, anyone who thinks I’m a blind follower of the President should go ask his VA Secretary, who I’ve been his worst nightmare.

TDR: For anyone who’s reading this and is really excited by your campaign and your platform, how would you tell them to get involved and help make a difference both in the primary in September and the election in November?

SL: Talk to their friends. Tell people to get out and vote in the primary. This is a midterm election, it generally has a lower turnout than presidential years, so therefore I ask that people get out and vote in the primary. Talk to your Independent friends and ask them to vote in the primary. Unfortunately, primaries tend to be skewed towards party insiders because that’s just the nature of how primaries work, but once people understand that I am the outsider, who at the end of the day my message resonates with the general electorate.

TDR: How could someone get involved with your campaign specifically, perhaps to volunteer?

SL: I would suggest going to my website: levensonforcongress.com. They’ll see ways of volunteering, of getting in touch with my campaign, that would be most helpful. I realize that your demographic, college students and young adults, don’t vote in the numbers that other demographics do, so I would encourage them to get involved. Knock on doors, get the information out there, become informed. Plenty has been written about me in the newspapers, I’ve been doing interviews. I feel that the only opponent we can’t defeat is apathy, so I ask that people get involved.

TDR: Thank you, Dr. Levenson, for taking the time to speak with me.

 

Paid for by Levenson for Congress.