By Whitney Dowds ’16
Here on the Franklin Pierce campus, a student, a professor, and an alumni are all Democrats running for seats in the State of New Hampshire House of Representatives, using the values they have learned both here and in other aspects of their lives to push themselves to win the election on November 8.
Ronald J Cooper III ’19, originally from Kalamazoo, Michigan, attended high school in Derry, NH where he is now a Democratic candidate running for Rockingham District 6 State Representative. Cooper is the President of the Class of 2019 and is a double major in Political Science and Marketing. Since 2015, Cooper has been a delegate in the New Hampshire Democratic State Party Convention.
“What I enjoy the most is when a potential voter says ‘I support you’ or ‘I believe in you and what you’re doing,’ because not only does it show me that they’re actually taking a vested interest in what I’m doing for them, but they recognize my attempts to make their life better,” said Cooper.
Cooper’s father is currently an enlisted Master Sergeant in the U.S. Army. With this in mind, he is currently working to form an organization called Volunteer for Vets. The organization’s main goal would be to open a call center where veterans can call in, at any time, and talked to a trained psychiatrist. Cooper also wants to make sure that each veteran has access to medical treatment whenever they need it, and that they all have the ability to find a stable job when they return home from active duty.
“With New Hampshire leading the way, Veterans will begin to receive the treatment that they honestly deserve,” said Cooper.
Bianca Acebron Peco ’14 is also a Democratic candidate running for NH State Representative for Hillsborough District 38, which serves the communities of Antrim, Bennington, Francestown, Greenfield, Greenville, Hancock, Hillsborough, Lyndeborough, Wilton, and Windsor. Acebron Peco graduated from Franklin Pierce with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Intelligence & Security Studies. She was also student body president her senior year.
“Bianca is an emerging leader, a voice for the millennial generation. She is undoubtedly going to be framing the public agenda in the Granite State for generations to come, and doing it in increasingly responsible positions,” said Kristen Nevious, Director of the Fitzwater Center. “I anticipate that we will someday see Bianca join our Congressional Delegation.”
Acebron Peco is looking to change many things if she is elected, one of those things is that she believes the working class is not having their needs represented enough in government. To address this issue, she wants to make trade degrees less expensive, “vast and be completed in a realistic amount of time.” She also says that men and women aren’t being paid equally and she supports any bill that allows for women to earn what men are paid for the same job.
“Women being paid less than a man for the same job, is not only a women’s issue, but a family issue,” said Acebron Peco. “It hurts the family income as well.”
Associate Professor of History, Dr. Douglas Ley, Ph.D. is running is running for reelection for State Representative in Cheshire District 9, which covers the communities of Jaffrey, Roxbury, Dublin, and Harrisville. Ley was elected to the State House in 2012 and won reelection in 2014.
“Professor Ley brings to the role of public representative his trademark dedication and commitment,” said fellow history professor Mary Kelly. “Constituents can count on him as a principled advocate whose viewpoints are fortified by deep appreciation for American history and concern for the well-being of working people.”
Ley is a candidate who is labor oriented and specifically wants policies that include paid family leave. He also supports companies and organizations that have unions like Franklin Pierce does. He originally got involved in politics when he was asked by the American Federation of Teachers to go to State Labor Committee meetings, in response to the passing of dangerous anti-worker legislation by officials in the NH House. He co-sponsored a gender pay fairness bill, which became a law in 2014. Ley was a leader in making New Hampshire the first state to eliminate the law that previously allowed people with disabilities to be paid lower than the minimum wage.
“Through civility and mutual respect let’s work together to build a better New Hampshire and pursue the right priorities for middle class families in New Hampshire,” said Ley.
All of the candidates have one important thing in common, they have the Franklin Pierce spirit and dedication that it will take to be able to continue this journey to the New Hampshire State House.