ccording to Dr. Tom Sherman, there are similarities between being a good doctor and a good political leader, which is one of the reasons that he believes he’s a good gubernatorial candidate.
Sherman, a Democratic state senator who is running for governor, spoke at a meeting of Peterborough Democrats Sunday at Peterborough Town Library, along with state Rep. Donovan Fenton, who is running for state Senate. Sherman said the ability to sit and listen is essential, whether it be to a patient, a constituent or a colleague across the aisle.
“Even though we may disagree on so many things, we find that common thread and we get the job done,” Sherman said.
In addition to serving two terms in the state House of Representatives and two terms in the state Senate, Sherman also has 35 years of experience as a doctor. Although the jump from doctor to lawmaker seems unusual, Sherman said that the presence of medical professionals is necessary in politics.
“The parallels are amazing. There’s so much that we do in the Legislature on health care, health insurance, patients, patients’ rights, and there’s no expertise,” he said. “Bringing that expertise felt very natural.”
Sherman mentioned environmental action, gun control legislation, health care, and affordable housing as some of his biggest concerns. He said that Gov. Chris Sununu has failed to address these concerns during his three terms in office.
Sherman also felt that being in the Legislature gives him a distinct advantage over Sununu in terms of his ability to govern.
“Sununu was an executive councilor, so he doesn’t know how to engage the Legislature. He doesn’t know how to craft a bill, how to follow it and make sure it gets to his desk. He doesn’t know how to meet with the Legislature ahead of time and say ‘What are our top issues, how can we tackle these?’” Sherman said. “That’s what I’ll do. I understand the process. It’ll make the whole thing much more focused.
Sherman also believes that he is a bipartisan candidate with the skills to reach across the aisle and work with Republicans and independents who may disagree with him on some issues.
“I’ve always won in a red district,” he said.
The core of Sherman’s message to voters was that he would listen to constituents and make the change that they want to see.
“I’m ready, I’m completely committed,” he said. “Now until November, I’m yours.”
Fenton discussed how his three terms in the state House of Representatives has prepared him for a seat in the state Senate, as well as how his personal life as a father and small-business owner influences his policy priorities.
“My wife and I have two young boys, and we often wonder what kind of world we’re raising them into,” he said, listing education, affordable housing, a woman’s right to choose and quality eduction for all children as some of his primary concerns.
Fenton is a Keene native, and has served his terms in the House representing the Keene area. However, due to redistricting, Keene’s state Senate district now includes Peterborough.
“The future demands change, and that’s what I hope to do as your senator,” Fenton said.