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Community First.

Community First means putting the needs of families above those of big corporations that strain our budgets with increased living costs for basic needs like heat, or power, just so they can show profits year over year for their shareholders. It means ensuring that the funding and resources intended for our communities from our state government make it to us, and that we’re utilizing those in the best ways possible to promote healthy well-being, and stability for our communities throughout our state . It means even as the numbers grow in New Hampshire, we’re doing everything within our power to keep everyone safe, and healthy.

 

I’m Marcus Ponce de Leon, and I am on the ballot for a seat in our State House of Representatives this November. Join me in the fight to make sure Concord is working toward uniting communities in our state, so we can all share in the Granite State pride and prosperity that so few of us have easy access to now.

Challenges I Intend to Address in Concord

Housing costs are at an all time high today in our state. That’s great news for anyone looking to profit from the sale or rental of homes here. It’s not so great for those moving to Manchester trying to start a new life, recent high school or college graduates, renters working two and three jobs just to make ends meet, or our seniors trying to make it with extremely limited income. The lack of affordable housing has led to a sharp increase in the number of working houseless persons living in cars in communities like ours across the country. Affordable housing construction has become an imperative need. Many states – though not New Hampshire – have laws in place to ensure that with every new construction project, a certain portion therein has to also be affordable to the surrounding community. As we continue to grow the Queen City with new construction everywhere you turn, I want to work with the legislature to create common sense laws to ensure that this fast paced growth includes safe and affordable housing for our existing communities as well. The city government is working to build new units in the East and West side Public Housing communities, but our upscale growth is dwarfing those initiatives. We need more housing that residents new and old can afford to move into.

I’d like to take a more comprehensive approach to cannabis legislation as well. The current bill in the legislature addresses growing plants at home. I’m working with current legislators to draft a bill that covers the retail sale, and overall legalization that will reduce law enforcement interactions for the community, and provide a massive influx of new tax revenue for our state to fund existing concerns, like our schools and substance abuse support programs.

Health care is a topic no one needs introduction to. We’ve all been literal victims of our current system, where highly skilled and caring professionals do their best to keep us physically and mentally healthy, then we’re sent to the billing department where we get handed astronomical bills for the care, written in jargon and code that we’re not meant to understand, just pay for. Many of us have insurance that only serves to blunt the trauma of this new financial stress on our mental health; others do not, and easily fall into despair and financial ruin trying to figure out how to even come up with payment plan money for these charges. Stable mental health is critical to recovery from ailments both physical and emotional in nature, so this approach is very counter productive. With healthcare more focused on curing us than having us broken physically, mentally and financially, our communities would have the added freedom necessary to prosper, the unimpeded good health to chase our dreams, and focus on a better tomorrow for our children and families. I support a Health Care for All system where the astronomical premiums and deductibles we pay don’t just serve as discounts for our health needs, but instead fully pay for a reality where we can see a doctor without checking our account balance first, much like 32 of the 33 most developed nations in the world. Any opportunity to further this vision at the state level is one I want to work toward.,

The federal minimum wage was established to ensure that Americans were not being treated as indentured servants, and establish a minimum pay necessary to sustain a family. Many states do, but New Hampshire has not ever had it’s own minimum wage; we have always defaulted to whatever the federal number was. Along with increased housing costs, the average cost of feeding a family, plus heating and energy costs, a minimum wage of $7.25 an hour today falls disgracefully short of the established precedent. Our current legislature is hard at work fighting to achieve a $15 an hour minimum wage by 2024 for the Granite State through incremental raises until we reach that date, and I will be on the front lines pushing the issue with them. An increased minimum wage doesn’t devalue the work you do today earning more than the current federal minimum; it allows you the baseline to achieve higher wages, and do no worse than a new $15 minimum wage in the event that you don’t achieve your goal. If you’re making $15 now, it provides you the security of knowing you can only make more from there, not less.

Every day under our current administration LGBTQ+ rights are under attack by our current president and his administration. Worker and patient protections implemented under the Obama Administration have since been rolled back. Access to LGBTQ+ friendly community health resources is near nonexistent in New Hampshire. I will work to bring community health needs to Concord so that the issue gets the attention it deserves from our legislature, and work to ensure that at the state level we do everything we can to protect the existing healthcare rights fought for and won here in the Granite State, and continue strengthening trans, non binary and LGBTQ+ access to healthcare that meets the specific needs of our community.  If elected but I will amplify the voice of our community on this and related issues even further with our 4 legislators that NH sends to the US House and Senate. 

LGBTQ+ advocacy is a passion of mine, and I’ve sought opportunities to do so here in the Granite State, though unfortunately not found many channels to be easily accessible for anyone looking to become involved. Arriving to the state 6 years ago I immediately sought out resources and found the Southern NH HIV/AIDS Task Force in Nashua and on the seacoast, and Merrimack Valley Assistance Program in Manchester. I noticed that these programs – while they provide a presence in the community – were not adequate vehicles for community health guidance and support. I will work as a legislator on bringing more funding for LGBTQ+ community health needs directly so we can as a community work toward greater acceptance, provide the testing, diagnosis, treatment and mental health support so desperately needed, without the shame or stigma often experienced with treatment outside of the community through traditional healthcare channels.

Candidate Endorsements