Meet State Rep. William Pearson

Age:

27

Area represented:

Cheshire District 16 (Keene, at-large)

Occupation and employer:

Student at the University of NH School of Law.

Number of years in NH:

26

Favorite place in NH:

Anywhere along the Cheshire Rail Trail.

Describe NH in three words:

Independent, unique, and alluring.

Year first year elected to the legislature:

2014.

Legislative priorities:

Election Law (campaign finance reform, independent redistricting, increasing voter turnout); Education Law (proper State funding for an adequate education; teacher protections; lower higher-ed tuition); Child and Family Law (increased resources for foster families); Labor Law (protections for unions and their members).

What was your path to politics?

I found myself taking several political science courses upon matriculating to Keene State College and I couldn’t get enough. I was–and continue to be–fascinated by our system of federalism and checks and balances. People with an interest in public service have many opportunities in New Hampshire and I was informed of such an opportunity when a former professor advised me of an anticipated vacancy in the State House. I lived in the appropriate district and decided to run. My first campaign was thankfully successful because I still cannot get enough.

What barriers did you face running for office? How did you overcome them?

My principal barrier has been finding a way to fund myself while working at the State House. My incredibly generous parents and student loans have made my public service possible. Scheduling has also been a tremendous hurdle and I can only thank my professors and the committee chairs for their leniency regarding my late arrivals.

What is the most pressing issue facing young people in NH?

Education. Our public schools are the foundation of our society and they are struggling. The same disparities litigated in the Claremont cases over two decades ago still exist today. These disparities not only handicap current students but they are also a disincentive for families looking to move to New Hampshire.

How could NH be made even better for young people?

First, the State should take its constitutional obligation to provide an adequate education seriously by revising the state-wide school funding formula. Second, the State should invest in infrastructure. Infrastructure in the 21st century means more than roads and bridges, which the State should also address. Internet connectivity is a component of our modern infrastructure and it is crucial for New Hampshire’s businesses and families, both young and old.

What advice do you have for other young people considering running for office?

Do it and be humble. There is a lot to learn and young people have much to offer. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes; recognize them and apologize sincerely when they occur.

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