Post Author
David Gaul
Shelby County Democratic Party Co-Chair

Authors  Contributors

David Gaul
Donna Clothier
Kathleen Cue


Last week Mitt Romney made a visit to New Hampshire.  He made a speech in Hillsborough, New Hampshire, in front of one of the town's historic stone bridges.  The town has five stone bridges left.  It used to have twelve.  The bridges are registered as historic structures by the National Park Service.   Collectively, the bridges are also recognized as a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark.  The town of Hillsborough is very proud of its bridges.  The town's website makes that quite clear.   The video of Romney's visit received a lot of air-play because Romney was there to rip President Obama's stimulus plan.  The bridge--the Sawyer bridge--that Romney stood before while delivering his speech  benefited from a $150,000 stimulus expenditure.  Romney ridiculed it with his characteristic, breathless HA-HA-HA.

Personally, I have been an ardent supporter of the stimulus bill since it passed.  My only criticism of the stimulus bill is that it wasn't large enough to handle what was a much bigger contraction of the economy than thought at the time when the stimulus bill was enacted.  Last year I wrote a letter to the local paper, outlining the local impact the stimulus had for Shelby County, Iowa.  I was able to do this because there's a website set up to track stimulus spending which can be viewed here. Anyone can go to this site and view stimulus projects from all over the country, right down to the specific zip code.

Knowing this, I decided to do a search in regard to the Sawyer Bridge project.  It didn't take long.  I found the entry here.  I also found the name and email address of the contact person on the project, Mr. Alex Vogt.  I emailed him some questions about the project.  His reply came the next day.

As it turns out, there's more to the story than Mitt Romney wants us to know.  First of all, according to Mr. Vogt, the New Hampshire Department of Transportation selected the project because it was ready to go.  The Obama Administration did not make the selection.  Again, according to Mr. Vogt, "The Town of Hillsborough supported this project and provided the match."  That's a detail Romney left out.  The town of Hillsborough put up matching funds to help restore the bridge to the tune of $133,000.  The town fathers voted in favor of the project because they have plans to incorporate the bridge into a future public park.  The first step was to make the bridge amenable to pedestrians and bicyclists, as specified in the project description:  "In Hillsborough, on route US 202/NH 9, a historic stone arch bridge will be preserved and resurfaced to better accommodate pedestrians and bicycles."  In his email to me, Mr. Vogt concluded, "The project was successful as it did what the Town wanted.  It was a relatively small project so the number of jobs created directly was small. The jobs reported are only the workers on site and does not include suppliers, truck drivers delivering product, or manufacturers."

The project was indeed small, receiving only $150,000 in federal stimulus money.  Now, don't get me wrong, that is a lot of money... if it's in my checking account, but in the grand scheme of things, it's a spit in the ocean.   It's betting cash for Mitt Romney.  The point is, the project kept people working at a time when the economy was shedding jobs by the thousands.  It was a project the town wanted, and when the park around the bridge is eventually completed the folks of Hillsborough will have a fine place to take their families to.  Ultimately, it's a project that enhances the town of Hillsborough and makes the lives of people there better.  Why is that a waste of public money?  Why is public money for a public park a waste of money?  If Romney really believes that, than he should be calling for the closure of our National Parks, too.  Right?  After all, we don't really need Yellowstone and Yosemite, do we?  Those places are run by the National Park Service, the same agency that has designated the stone bridges as historic structures.  Of course, Mr. Romney probably wouldn't be caught dead in a quaint public park in Hillsborough, New Hampshire--where ordinary folks go--especially since he has a $10 million mansion on the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, less than forty-eight miles away.

It's easy to criticize projects like the Sawyer Bridge restoration from a zip code hundreds or thousands of miles away.  But when it's in your back yard, it's a different story.  Here in Shelby County, Iowa, and in the adjacent counties around Shelby County, the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act pumped $93,757,473 into the economy in 2009 and 2010.  It kept teachers working in our schools and kept folks working on our highways.  It stabilized the economy at a time when it was in freefall.  Likewise, the Hillsborough project also played a role in that stabilization. 

Finally, the city of Wolfeboro, New Hampshire--zip code 03894--where Mitt has his $10 million lakeside mansion on an 11-acre spread, received a grant for $706,000 to upgrade a sewage treatment plant.  I notice Mitt Romney didn't go there to ridicule the stimulus plan.  Now that's a video I would like to see--Mitt Romney making a speech in front of a sewage treatment plant!  Not nearly as picturesque as a stone bridge, but how fitting would that be? 

RSS Feed Link


Comments Policy Comment Policy
Comments Policy Close

Comments should be viewed as a conversation between two people. Please consider this an interactive discussion and act civilly.

All comments will be approved by a moderator. Although we would like to post every comment submitted immediately, site safety and our family friendly theme does not allow it.

Comments considered or deemed to be obscene, vulgar, cruel, pointless, embarrassing or harmful to this site, in poor taste, accusatory, flames, personal attacks, duplicates or spam will be edited or deleted.

This site is the final arbiter of whether or not a post falls in to one of the above categories. Whether or not a post or comment is displayed will be at our sole discretion and will not be limited by the previous description(s).

Please do not repeat posts, post comments under another persons name or post comments under multiple names. Any of these may cause you to be banned from future posts.

A valid email address is required to post comments, they will not be publicly displayed, published, shared or sold to a third party. Your email address may be used by the moderator to contact you privately.

Please avoid offensive, crude or innapropriate words, terms and descriptions in your comments, this blog intends to be family friendly.

Please do not post comments that detract from the general theme of the blog post and other comments, these can disrupt the "flow" of discussion and may not be approved.

The individual or organization authoring a given blog post may or may not be available to respond to your comments.
The moderator may or may not forward comments to the blog author.
The blog Author may add a response to the blog comments, reply to comments by email or may not be available to respond at all.
Please do not be offended if there is no response to a blog comment, all posted comments should add to the general discussion and not focus on personal questions. Personal questions should be directed to the blog author or you may use our contact form to contact the moderator directly.

Any and all comments posted to this blog are the sole responsibility of the person posting the comments. The blog owner, moderator, author or administrator are responsible for their own posts and comments and cannot be held liable for others comments.

When submitting a comment on this blog, you agree that any comments and content is your own, and to hold this site, and any representatives harmless from any and all repercussions, damages, or liability.

Please refrain from posting personal or private information such as your email, real address, phone number etc., this type of information may be removed from a comment or the comment may not be approved for display. For your protection, never share this type of information in  a comment.

If you feel copyrighted material has been used in a comment or blog post on this blog please use our contact form to notify us and we will  review the information then respond by removing the material in question, responding in a timely fashion or both. We respect the rights of others and will not knowingly display material copyrighted by others.

All blog posts are Copyright of this site or the respective Authors.
Copyright © 2012- 2017  Shelby County Democratic Party  All rights reserved.

Comment:Email address will not be displayed
Website:  Format:http;//
*Enter Verification Code: 68489

* Required
All comments will be reviewed before being displayed. See the comment policy on the right side panel.