Concord Patch Profile: Cinde Warmington

Cinde outside in teh park in front of the New Hampshire State House

Age (as of Election Day)

62

Position Sought

Executive Council, District 2

Party Affiliation

Democratic

Family

Husband: Bill Christie, voting rights attorney
Adult children: Emily, a teacher, and Adam, an electrical engineer
Grandchildren: Eleanor (age 3) and Zachary (3 months)

Does anyone in your family work in politics or government?

My husband Bill Christie is legal counsel to the New Hampshire Democratic Party.

Education

Bachelor of Science, Medical Technology – UMass Dartmouth
Master of Business Administration – University of Texas at Arlington
Juris Doctorate – UNH Franklin Pierce School of Law

Occupation

Health care attorney and chair of the Health Care Practice Group at Shaheen & Gordon, P.A.

I have practiced health care law for twenty years. For twenty years prior to that, I worked in health care, mostly in laboratory medicine and health care management positions.

Previous or Current Elected or Appointed Office

n/a

Campaign website

www.cindewarmington.com

Why are you seeking elective office?

I’m running for Executive Council because one vote on the Council is the difference between Planned Parenthood being funded and women across our state being denied essential health care services; one vote on the Executive Council is the difference between a Commissioner of Education who supports public education and one who seeks to undermine it every single day; one vote on the Executive Council is the difference between a Supreme Court that upholds our fundamental rights and one who seeks to undermine the right to choose, the right to vote and the right to marry the one you love.

We are in the midst of a pandemic that has exposed what most of us already knew—that our government is failing working class families, that women and people of color are being disproportionately impacted, that health care must be recognized as a basic human right.

We can fix these things. But we need someone in this seat who will be ready on day one to step in and do the job. Someone with a proven track record of fighting for our progressive values, and someone who understands the role of the Executive Council and how to use that role to forward our values. That means understanding the nomination process and understanding the contract process, and how to use these to better serve the people of New Hampshire.

After a successful 40 year career in health care, I am grateful for the opportunity to give back to our state and to turn my full time attention to serving the people of New Hampshire.

The single most pressing issue facing our (board, district, etc.) is _______, and this is what I intend to do about it.

Everything is on the line in this election— health care, education, the environment, the right to choose, the right to vote, LGBTQ+ rights, and workers’ rights. They were under assault before COVID-19, and now, the most pressing issue to me is protecting them during this pandemic where we have seen a complete lack of leadership.

Critically, this pandemic has laid bare the many gaps in our health care system. I’ve spent my life working for the recognition of health care as a basic human right. As a health care worker and now a health care attorney, I’ve seen the challenges many Granite Staters face in accessing quality, affordable health care, including mental health and substance use disorder treatment. The Executive Council serves a critical role in health care funding and I will work to expand access and lower costs for New Hampshire families.

Expenditures in the Department of Health and Human Services are the largest part of our state budget: $2.8 billion just in the last year. We’re facing the most dire public health crisis of our lifetime. Yet, no one on our Executive Council has a health care background. Having an Executive Councilor who understands both the complexities of the health care system and how those are presented in state contracts will be of great benefit.

I know what’s in our state contracts. I know what to ask. I know where we can hold state contractors accountable to lower costs and expand access. One example I often cite is the administrative burden insurers impose that drives up the cost of health care delivery and delays access to medically necessary care. Prior authorizations, mid-term changes to drug formularies and expanded access to telehealth are all areas where contract improvements could reduce cost and increase access to care.

What are the critical differences between you and the other candidates seeking this post?

I distinguish myself in three ways:

1. I am the only candidate in this race with a health care background. Currently, we do not have anyone on the Executive Council with health care experience, despite this being the largest share of our state budget and as we are navigating the most dire public health crisis of our lifetime.

2. I am unique in having extensive professional experience reading, writing and negotiating contracts. This isn’t just theoretical knowledge. Over 20 years, I have seen how things buried in the fine print can impact real people in their real lives. The Executive Council reviews 100-200 contracts every two weeks, delivered on Friday night and voted on Wednesday morning. I have the skills and experience to dig deeply into these contracts and ask the tough questions.

3. I am the only candidate in this race putting forth a new vision for putting the power of the Executive Council to work for the people of New Hampshire. From early intervention in the contracting process, to greater coordination with the legislative branch, to proactively identifying and recommending diverse nominees, I have a plan. After a successful career, I am grateful for the opportunity to give back to our community and our state and will commit my full-time attention to building on the good work of my predecessors to make the Executive Council work for the people.

If you are a challenger, in what way has the current board or officeholder failed the community (or district or constituency)

I am not a challenger. This is an open seat, being vacated by Councilor Andru Volinsky this year. I have great admiration for Councilor Volinsky’s work. He has raised the profile of the Executive Council and has been an outstanding and strong voice, especially against unqualified and highly partisan nominations made by Governor Sununu. I hope to build on Councilor Volinsky’s excellent work.

Describe the other issues that define your campaign platform

Protecting reproductive rights and Planned Parenthood funding is a top priority for me. Unfortunately, the state Planned Parenthood contract has become a partisan battle and I would be a warrior in that battle. Even more dire is the threat to reproductive rights posed by our national and state Supreme Courts. As Roe v. Wade is likely to be overturned by a conservative national Supreme Court, it’s a question of when, not if, abortion rights come before our New Hampshire Supreme Court.

The most controversial issue that came before the Executive Council in the last two years was the nomination of the anti-choice Attorney General Gordon MacDonald as chief justice of the N.H. Supreme Court. Fortunately, our Democratic majority on the Executive rejected that nomination. But Gov. Chris Sununu has held that seat open, refusing to nominate another candidate, in the hopes that next year he will have an Executive Council majority who will confirm MacDonald’s renomination.

My priorities when reviewing all nominations and contracts before the Executive Council are:

– Expanding access to affordable health care,
– Safeguarding Planned Parenthood funding and reproductive rights,
– Ensuring fair wages and workers’ rights,
– Protecting public education,
– Demanding action on climate change, and
– Requiring qualified judges and state agency heads.

What accomplishments in your past would you cite as evidence you can handle this job?

I’m not afraid of hard work. I was the first person in my family to ever go to college, and I worked 30 hours a week to pay my way. After graduation, I worked in hospital laboratories and worked my way up eventually serving in a variety of hospital and health care management positions. I was a working mother, raising two children while volunteering at their school and in my community. When my youngest started first grade, I started law school. Most nights, my study time started at 9pm.

For the past 20 years, I have been a health care attorney. I chair the Health Law practice at Shaheen & Gordon, PA. and in that role, I read, write and negotiate contracts. I have volunteered my time serving on the boards of mental health and substance use disorder treatment organizations, including 8 years on the board of the Lakes Region Mental Health Center, which I chaired, and now as a member of the board of Riverbend Community Mental Health.

Driven by my belief that health care is a basic human right, I became politically active 20 years ago at a grassroots level, knocking on doors, making phone calls, marching in parades, and standing at the polls to elect Democratic candidates. I served as chair of my town committee and secretary of my county committee, and currently serve as chair of the New Hampshire Democratic Party’s Platform Committee. In this role, I have traveled around New Hampshire, listening to what matters most to Democrats to help put forth a party platform we can all unite around.

With my skills and experience, I will be ready on day one to use the power of the Executive Council to stand up for Granite State families.

The best advice ever shared with me was …

Be kind.

What else would you like voters to know about yourself and your positions?

I will fight for the people of District 2, and it would be my honor to serve as your Executive Councilor.

Read the profile of Cinde Warmington in the Concord Patch here.