Thursday, February 11, 2010

Businesses want problem solvers in Washington

As former Mayor Frank Guinta continued his tour of the First District today in Rochester, N.H., he met with several business owners who clearly said they want someone in Washington who can come home, sit down with them and help them solve problems.

Serving in Washington “is about identifying problems that people have and then trying to solve them,” Guinta said during a sit-down meeting with Mel and Walter Belville at their restaurant, Mel Flannigan’s Irish Pub. “People want problem solvers; they want people who are willing to sit down with them and say, ‘OK, how can I help you to be a better business?”

Promoting such public servants does not mean Guinta thinks the federal government is the answer to everyone’s problems, because most of the time, it isn't. But a congressman who represents his constituents at the Capitol should also make the time to meet with them back home and help them come up with solutions, which they can then work to achieve on their own.

At Mel Flannigan’s Irish Pub at52 N. Main St. in Rochester, Guinta gave the Belvilles some possible solutions to generate more business in their downtown district.

“Rochester and the rest of the state needs a congressman that listens to the people and acts accordingly,” said Walter Belville, owner of Mel Flannigan’s Irish Pub. “I look forward to future meetings so we can further discuss some of the issues that we touched upon today; mainly, helping out the small businesses of New Hampshire, which are the backbone of the economy.”

Guinta also had great visits with Lenny Bernard, owner of the Pink Cadillac at 17 Farmington Road; Scott Brock, owner of Brock’s Plywood Sales at 298 North Main St.; Tim Galvin, operating manager of Nantucket Beadboard Co. at 109 Chestnut Hill Road; Michael Deegan, owner of Distinctive Forest Creations at 22 North Main St.; and Susan Jackson-Rafter, owner of The Portable Pantry at 12 Hanson St. He had meetings at City Hall, with the Rochester Main Street association and with the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce.

“I’m disappointed in the government’s attitude and the fiscal irresponsibility going on in the country right now,” said Bernard, owner of the Pink Cadillac diner. “My hope is the U.S. government will live within their means just like the majority of Americans are forced to do on a daily basis.”

Brock, who has run his lumber sales store for 32 years in Rochester, also noted Congress’s irresponsible spending spree. He said he had to lay off some 18 employees due to the deteriorating economy that has resulted. He now employs 52 people, who keep busy supplying clients with materials for their smaller projects.

Finally, several business owners urged Guinta to keep his independent spirit once elected to Congress.

“I’d like him to go in and not be partisan,” said Jackson-Rafter, owner of The Portable Pantry. “He should be someone to work for the people, and not the party.”