Countdown to a Change
The Hiller Instinct: Countdown to a Change
Portsmouth is still asleep and much of New Hampshire is just waking up, but the state's next governor is already working out and Craig Benson is already on borrowed time.
Craig Benson (R) NH Governor-Elect
"This is the honeymoon, and we're not to the part of this job that becomes tough just yet… People don't know what I'm going to do, so they're worried about what might be."
Dressing quickly, Benson checks his schedule, getting ready for the ride to Concord. Arriving at the state house, and his new parking spot, Benson heads for a budget hearing he could have delegated to his transition chief... but he's running his transition.
"Because I'm a hands on manager and the people voted for me in record numbers to be a hands on manager of this state."
The hearing underlines his biggest challenge.
"There's a lot of wants we have around here and there's some needs we need to do. So we need to make sure we take care of the needs before we look at the wants."
And Benson is looking to state legislators, meeting them in small groups selling cooperation.
"At the end of the day, I need your help. There are legislative things that need to be accomplished to make this thing happen."
The biggest thing?
"We're not doing new taxes."
"Read your lips, no new taxes?"
"No, no, read your lips, we're just not doing it."
Benson is confident.
"Can you maintain essential services and keep your pledge to limit state growth to three percent?"
"I know we can."
But not over confident.
"Do you have any self doubt?"
"I have to tell you, I'm one of the most paranoid people in the world. I always, always second guess myself and I always question things."
Take away the paranoia, and Craig Benson is a lot like Mitt Romney. Both are wealthy republican businessmen, who've never held public office before. And both want to reform their state's government, improve education, and hold the line on taxes. Can they do it? Well, this is the time when everything seems possible. That's why it's called a honeymoon.