Republicans improved the state's job picture and business climate since winning legislative majorities two years ago, House Speaker Bill O'Brien said Saturday.
"Ten thousand more of our neighbors are working today in New Hampshire than when we were elected," O'Brien told the Amherst GOP over breakfast at Joey's Diner.
He accused Democrats before 2010 of going off on a "spending spree" that eroded the state's competitive advantages. The message going into the fall election, he said, is this:
"The government was bleeding. We stopped the bleeding."
O'Brien, a Republican from Mont Vernon whose rise to power was helped by Tea Party members, spoke of "transformative change," citing right-to-work legislation as an example of such change. Gov. John Lynch, D-Hopkinton, who vetoed that legislation, was a popular target for O'Brien on Saturday.
He accused Lynch of breaking promises, in connection with a controversial former "surcharge" on motor vehicle registrations. With Lynch in office and with Democrats as the previous majority party in the Legislature, New Hampshire "had worked itself down to being worst in the country" in terms of business taxes, according to O'Brien.
Although Democrats have criticized him of being distracted by social issues, O'Brien said the House Republican Leadership would continue to focus on jobs, including looking at further regulatory changes and a proposal to cap overall state spending.
He received his loudest applause of the morning when he mentioned a bill that would require people to show photo identification in order to vote.
"Government starts at the ballot box," O'Brien said. "It starts with knowing who's voting. It starts with voter ID."