Friday November 30, 2012

CONCORD, N.H. -- Gov.-elect Maggie Hassan said Thursday she is setting up informal transition teams on topics ranging from the health care to transportation to advise her as she prepares to lead New Hampshire for the next two years.

Hassan told The Associated Press she wants to hear what different people have to say about issues that include transportation, health care, business, energy and the environment, education and the workforce and the North Country between now and when she is inaugurated on Jan. 3.

She said the teams of four or five people will reach out to leaders around the state for new ideas and how they would identify priorities. She said she isn’t forming the teams with regard to political party.

"This is a grassroots state and decision-making is best when we bring people together to identify their priorities and then figure out how best to move forward," said Hassan.

Hassan, a Democrat from Exeter, campaigned on the need for people to work together to address the state’s problems. Earlier this month, Hassan reiterated that her focus will be reaching out to Democrats, Republicans and independents.

She named Pamela Walsh as her transition director. Walsh of Concord served as deputy chief of staff for retiring Gov. John Lynch, a Democrat, and as press secretary for Democratic Gov. Jeanne Shaheen, now a U.S. senator.

The transition co-chairs are former Democratic state Sen. Kathleen Sgambati and former Resources and Economic Development Commissioner Sean O’Kane, who served under Republican Gov. Craig Benson. Sgambati, a former deputy health and human services commissioner, has been sitting in on hearings this week on state agency budget requests.

Hassan said she is going on a statewide tour starting on the Seacoast on Friday to talk with business leaders, educators, legislators, community leaders and others about their ideas for the state. The tour will provide feedback on her Innovation Plan to help businesses and the economy.

Friday’s Seacoast stops will highlight the Green Launching Pad, a partnership between the state and the University of New Hampshire focused on creating new energy-related jobs in New Hampshire.

Hassan’s Innovation Plan would double the state’s research-and-development tax credit for business, provide technical assistance to businesses and work with the state’s colleges to produce the workforce business needs.