FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, October 18, 2012
Zandra Rice-Hawkins, (603) 225-2471
Ovide Misleads Voters on His Tobacco Record, Again (Audio)
In the same week he gets knocked for denying he was a tobacco lobbyist, Ovide attempts to take positive credit for state's tobacco settlement
MANCHESTER, NH – GOP Gubernatorial candidate Ovide Lamontagne misled voters on his tobacco record for the second time this week during a morning debate hosted by the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce.
Last year the NH Legislature passed a decrease in the tobacco tax, which has cost the state millions in lost revenue. During the Manchester event, Ovide was asked to detail his position on the tobacco tax – including whether it should be increased. Instead of answering the question, Ovide pivoted and attempted to take credit for the state's tobacco settlement: "The massive settlement agreement that leads to $40 million a year in tobacco settlement was signed by me. I was part of that."[i]
During her turn, opponent Maggie Hassan reminded voters that Ovide Lamontagne's name was indeed on the settlement – because he represented Big Tobacco client Philip Morris/Altria during the lawsuit.
“The record is clear: Ovide Lamontagne was a lawyer and a lobbyist for Big Tobacco," said Zandra Rice Hawkins, Executive Director of Granite State Progress. “Ovide wants to run on his record but he continues to mislead voters on his history of siding with big tobacco companies over middle class families. New Hampshire's state budget is currently losing revenue due to a corporate tax giveaway to cigarette companies, and Ovide Lamontagne refuses to tell the truth about whether he'd side with those former clients or with New Hampshire families."
This is the second misdirect on the subject in one week: The Lobby NH reported yesterday that Ovide told voters over the weekend, "By the way, contrary to what you have heard on the television ads, the negative ads, I am not a lobbyist. Maggie has never seen me, in the six years she was in Concord, with a yellow or an orange badge.''[ii] The article went on to report that Ovide lobbied for more than ten years in Concord on behalf of his law firm clients, including "when he testified before the Senate Ways and Means Committee against a proposed tax on cigarette manufacturers."[iii]
During part of that testimony, Ovide stated that "And although I'm appearing here before you on
behalf of Liggett Vector Brands, I believe that my comments reflect also the opinion of the other tobacco companies … ".
Ironically, the same article foreshadows the faux paus Ovide made today: it mentions that in 1998, Ovide represented Philip Morris/Altria in the tobacco master settlement.
For a copy of Ovide's testimony to the Senate Ways and Means Committee, contact Granite State Progress.
Granite State Progressis a progressive advocacy organization that addresses issues of immediate state and local concern. Granite State Progress works as a communications hub for the progressive community to provide a strong, credible voice in advancing progressive solutions to critical community problems.