CONWAY, N.H. — Jay Lewis believes his and his fellow Granite Staters’ rights are being infringed upon. It’s the chief reason he’s running for governor.
“The only way to fix things is to become boss,” he said during an editorial board at the Conway Sun on Aug. 19.
Lewis, 64, of New Hampton is one of six Republicans seeking to be the party’s nominee. Others are incumbent Gov. Chris Sununu of Newfields, Julian Acciard of Derry, Richard McMenamon II of Gilmanton Iron Works, Thomas Riley of Brentwood and Karen Testerman of Franklin.
Tom Sherman of Rye is unopposed on the Democrat ticket.
Lewis describes himself as “the only biker running for governor.”
“That’s because it’s the only thing I ride,” he said. He arrived at the Sun office on a 1956 Indian motorcycle with a slew of Lewis signs attached to the seat. “To try to stuff yourself into a car now, it’s like being a sardine.”
Lewis also has another dilemma. “When I win, I’ve got to find a (state) trooper (who would be his assigned personal protection detail) willing to ride in the sidebar with me,” he said, laughing.
This is Lewis’ first foray into politics. The lifelong New Hampshire resident who grew up in Manchester is currently retired following a long career as an electrical technician.
“People not following my Constitution,” Lewis said, explaining why he’s running. “And people not following my state laws. You’ve heard of the Constitution, right? When Sununu takes an oath to uphold the Constitution, you can’t pick and choose which ones you want.”
Lewis lists “fixing” the state Department of Motor Vehicles as his top priority. He shared an envelope from DOT.
“They put return service requested, which is against my Constitution,” he said. “I have the right to tell my post office where to transfer my mail when I go on vacation. Well, they won’t transfer my titles, my license plates or anything to do with a driver’s license because they just won’t do it. … You gotta love the DMV.”
If elected, Lewis also would work to legalize marijuana.
“Everybody wants me to legalize pot since (New Hampshire is) a doughnut hole,” he said. “It’s that thing in the middle doing nothing. Well, you got Maine, Vermont and Massachusetts all around us, all got legalized.”
Other priorities for Lewis: “Fix the liquor commission stupidity,” “take rats off the state payroll” and “bring back Hippy Hill.”
“It’s dead now,” Lewis said of the popular spot near the intersection of Routes 4 and 104 in Danbury. “Up along the railroad tracks, there were a couple of picnic tables up there. And people used to just stop. We call that socializing. It wasn’t just bikers, it was a lot of other people, too. I think it’s slowly coming back now.
On the liquor commission, Lewis said “there are some stupid laws” he believes can be replaced by common sense.
“Down at Weirs Beach, where I come from, they have a block party,” he said. “It’s all blocked off and you have to go in and show your ID to get into this certain block. You’ve got four or five bars, plus they set up bars on the street where the band is so you can buy a beer and do stuff like that. So you’d walk into the bar, you buy a couple of drinks, you walk out with the drinks because you can do that. You can’t walk back in with them because of the stupid liquor law. ”
Another thing Lewis doesn’t like: The Live Free or Die state motto.
“I’ve got to pay taxes, I’ve to pay for this and that, where’s that ‘live free’ stuff?”
Unlike some, Lewis is not a lifelong Republican.
“I was an independent,” he said. “I like to take a little bit of these people and a little bit of those people and mix it up and get a good idea. I tend to go more Republican because Republicans are less on government. More rights, less government.”
Lewis admits he’s a long shot, but he wants to get his message out to as many people as possible.
“I know a lot of people who said they’ve had trouble (with the government). I go to bike shops and car shops, and they tell me different things. They’re having trouble with this and that. Everybody’s having trouble, but we need everybody to get together and say enough is enough.”
The primaries are Sept. 13 and the general election is Nov. 8.
For more on Lewis, go to “Jay Lewis” on Facebook.
These articles are being shared by partners in The Granite State News Collaborative. For more information visit collaborativenh.org.
Lloyd Jones is an editor for the Conway Daily Sun.
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