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ICYMI: Will Stewart: Young Granite Staters want to stay, but it isn't easy

In Case You Missed It, Will Stewart, executive director of Stay Work Play New Hampshire, a statewide nonprofit with the mission to attract and retain more young Granite Staters, wrote an op-ed for the Union Leader where he outlines how young people want to live and work in New Hampshire, but “they just can’t afford to.” Young people said lack of affordable housing, lack of adequate public transit, costly child care, high property taxes and expensive higher education deter them from staying in the Granite State.

For years, New Hampshire Democrats have proposed common-sense solutions to these challenges to help attract and retain young people. These solutions range from urging the state to adopt commuter rail to calling for more significant investments in child care and public education. Unfortunately, Republican-held majorities in the State House, Senate, and governor's office have blocked these proposals at every turn, making New Hampshire unaffordable and inaccessible for too many young people. This November, we need to elect Democrats to the State House who will fight to make New Hampshire a place where everyone can afford to stay, work, and play.

Read key excerpts below:

  • Young people want to live in New Hampshire. They just can’t afford to.

  • Such was the message Stay Work Play heard loud and clear during our recent Policy & Pints Pop-up Series, which saw us talk to 231 young people at eight craft breweries across the state.

  • From the North Country to Nashua, and from the Monadnock Region and the Upper Valley to the Seacoast, young people spoke about how New Hampshire offers so much of what they want. They spoke of access to both world-class outdoor recreation and breathtaking natural areas along with proximity to the amenities found in the state’s more urban areas. They spoke of a strong sense of community and the ability to get involved and make a difference here. They spoke of strong public schools and of New Hampshire being a great place to raise a family.

  • But they also spoke of their struggles just to get by here, to say nothing of being able to take advantage of our state’s vaunted quality of life. The phrase “high cost of living” was mentioned over and over again in all corners of the state we visited.

  • Housing affordability was, hands down, the number one concern heard across the state. [...]

  • New Hampshire is an expensive place for everyone, younger and older. But our younger residents are especially cost burdened. [...]

  • Due to the state’s inadequate funding of higher education, young Granite Staters have the highest average student debt load in the country, meaning a payment of hundreds of dollars each month for many. And for those who have young children, there’s also the high cost of child care, assuming it can be found.

  • For too many of our younger residents in too many of our communities, the math simply doesn’t work. This is a big problem for all of us, younger and older. As the second oldest state in the nation by average age with one of the lowest unemployment rates, New Hampshire needs all the talent we can get in general and all the young talent we can get in particular. [...]


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