1 Junkins Ave., Portsmouth, NH, 03801, Tel: (603) 610-7281Fax: (603) 427-1575 Email: Coalition@ch.cityofportsmouth.com

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Coalition Announces Education Forum Panel


PORTSMOUTH, NH - A panel of highly respected experts will question New Hampshire's six gubernatorial candidates at the Education Funding Forum scheduled June 13 in Portsmouth and members of the public also may submit questions via the Internet, the Coalition Communities announced Friday.

The two-hour Forum hosted by the Coalition will feature all the candidates for governor - Democrats Mark Fernald and Bev Hollingworth; Republicans Gordon Humphrey, Bruce Keough and Craig Benson; and Libertarian John Babiarz. The event is one of the few times that all six candidates have appeared at the same venue to date.

Questioning the candidates will be Doug Hall, co-executive director of the New Hampshire Center for Public Policy Studies; Daphne Kenyon, president of the Josiah Bartlett Center and Jon Greenberg, senior editor at New Hampshire Public Radio. The evening's moderator will be broadcast journalist Roger Wood.

The Coalition - comprised of 34 communities statewide -- has actively sought the participation of the public in the Forum by urging attendance and citizens to submit education funding related questions to be asked of the candidates. Those still wishing to do so may submit questions via the New Hampshire Public Radio web site, www.nhpr.org, beginning Saturday or by e-mailing the Coalition at Coalition@ch.cityofportsmouth.com.

The Coalition opposes using the statewide property tax as the sole means of funding education, but leader Mayor Evelyn Sirrell emphasized that while the Coalition has an agenda - the Forum will not.

"We want this Forum to be an open, intelligent and balanced discussion of the education funding issue, which the voters say is the No. 1 thing on their minds. This will be a tremendous opportunity for the citizens of New Hampshire to learn more about this critical issue and where the candidates stand on it," said Mayor Sirrell. "We are very lucky to have such a talented panel with great expertise in this area."

Doug Hall is Co-Executive Director of the NH Center for Public Policy Studies, an independent non-partisan think-tank affiliated with the University of New Hampshire. From the mid-80s to the mid-90s he was a computer and data consultant and also served four terms in the NH House, where he became recognized as a leading expert on the state budget and school finance. Since 1996 he has authored numerous reports on these and other policy topics for the Center.

For the past three years, Daphne Kenyon has been president of Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy, also a Concord non-profit, non-partisan, independent think tank focused on state and local public policy issues. Dr. Kenyon, the former chair of the Economics Department at Simmons College, also has authored reports on education funding while at the Center. Her many previous positions include being a senior economist with the Office of Tax Analysis at the U.S. Treasury, and she co-edited the books "Competition among States and Local Government" and Coping with Mandates."

Jon Greenberg is the Senior Editor and Director of New Media at NHPR. With the goal of bringing more people into the discussion of key public issues, he helped create the Online Tax Calculator and has played a key role in the formation of a partnership of non-profits called the New Hampshire Civic Connection. Prior to coming to New Hampshire, he was a Washington reporter for National Public Radio for six years. His stint there included 18 months following the Whitewater investigation and his investigative work on federal agriculture subsidies appeared in the Washington Post.

Roger Wood is a broadcast journalist serving with the nine radio stations owned by Clear Channel Communications, and based at WHEB and WERZ in Portsmouth. He also works as a correspondent for New Hampshire Public Radio, National Public Radio and CBS radio. Last year his coverage of the backlash against the statewide property tax was recognized by the New Hampshire Association of Broadcasters with a first place award.

The Coalition has said it plans to eventually develop a pledge to offer all the candidates for Governor and the State Legislature to sign. The pledge will not be part of Thursday's two-hour Forum and will be formulated at a later date.

Those attending the Forum are being asked to be seated by 6:45 p.m. as the event will be broadcast live beginning promptly at 7 p.m. and viewed in the Portsmouth area via the Channel 22 government-access station serving the communities of Portsmouth, Rye, Greenland, Newington and New Castle. Public access stations across the state also have agreed to air a tape of the Forum broadcast. Citizens interested in viewing the tape should contact their local cable stations to express interest, as well as their local government-access stations via their town offices. A videotape of the Forum also will be made available to each of the Coalition Communities.


 1 Junkins Ave., Portsmouth, NH, 03801, Tel: (603) 610-7281Fax: (603) 427-1575 Email: Coalition@ch.cityofportsmouth.com