Dr. Stewart Levenson
Michael Moore / Sentinel Staff

New Hampshire congressional candidate Dr. Stewart Levenson speaks to a small gathering of voters in an outbuilding on the Peterborough property of Chris Maidment, right, Monday evening.

Michael Moore / Sentinel Staff

PETERBOROUGH — Dr. Stewart Levenson is angry.

And that’s why he’s running for Congress, he told a small crowd of people at an intimate meeting of the Peterborough Republican Committee Monday night. The meeting, held at a committee member’s home, drew about 15 people from Peterborough, Dublin, Hancock and Greenfield.

Levenson, the former New England regional director of Veterans Affairs, is known for his role in the The Boston Globe’s Spotlight investigation of the Manchester VA Medical Center. In the Globe series, Levenson and a group of other doctors and medical staff alleged a pattern of poor leadership and insufficient care at the Manchester hospital.

The Hopkinton resident announced his run as a Republican candidate for the state’s second congressional district in October. So far, three other candidates have thrown their hats into the ring for the Republican primary: Brian Belanger of New Boston; Lynne Blankenbeker, who represented Merrimack in the N.H. House from 2009 to 2012, and Steve Negron, a state representative from Nashua.

Congresswoman Ann M. Kuster, a Democrat who also lives in Hopkinton, has held the district seat since 2013.

At Monday’s meeting, Levenson said “career politicians” are responsible for what he views as a broken government.

“I decided to (run) for a very simple reason — that I’m very angry, and I feel everyone should be angry, because the people deserve better. They deserve much better than what we’ve had. We’ve had this congresswoman who just has not listened to the people,” Levenson said. “I don’t need to go into all the ways in which she’s let down the citizens of New Hampshire.”

Levenson criticized Kuster for voting against the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act — the White House-backed overhaul to the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 that passed in December — and for what he characterized as inaction in response to concerns about the Manchester VA Medical Center.

If elected to Congress, Levenson said, he plans to approach his office much like he did the VA.

“What I did in the VA, holding government officials accountable, I will do in Congress. I will hold my colleagues responsible, and you will hear about it when people are dragging their heels for their own ends, and then we can get something done,” he said.

Though improving care for veterans is one of his priorities, Levenson said he would also work to remove “burdensome” health care regulations, increase border security and address national security concerns.

“We haven’t had the resolve to completely repeal Obamacare, and the reason is we haven’t had a clear vision of something to replace it with. And I feel as a physician, as a medical executive, I have a vision that can be shared, and that we can come up with something that works for the majority of people,” he said, “and won’t drive us all further into the red than we already are with this health care debacle.”

After speaking for about 15 minutes, Levenson took questions from attendees for nearly an hour. In response to a question about addressing the opioid crisis, he said it would take a combination of education, enhanced border security and tougher consequences for the sale of drugs.

“I’m not a big believer of putting users into the criminal justice system, but I don’t think there’s a dark enough hole to put drug dealers. A lot of Democrats feel that drug dealers are just street-level users who have to find an entrepreneurial way of supporting their habit. I can’t abide by that,” he said. “The moment you start dealing heroin to people, you’re a purveyor of murder.”

After the question-and-answer session, Erik Spitzbarth of Hancock said he appreciated being able to hear genuine responses from the candidate. Spitzbarth is also a selectman for the town of Hancock.

“The group gets an opportunity to ask the questions that are important to them, not what the candidate thinks is important for the group to hear,” he said. “So it’s a very open forum, and I think you get some honest answers. They’re not scripted to do that.”

Rich Dan, a Greenfield resident, said he wants to learn more about the other candidates for the district, but that he enjoyed the meeting and decided to attend because he wants to be politically active.

“I’m a new resident to New Hampshire, and your vote counts here. As they say, think globally, act locally, so you just really want to care about your own neighborhood and community,” he said.

New Hampshire voters will go to the polls in the primary election on Sept. 11. The general election is Nov. 6.

This article has been altered to correct the date when U.S. Rep. Ann M. Kuster first began representing New Hampshire’s 2nd Congressional District.