When I ran for and served in office, it was because I wanted to bring a new, younger perspective to the political process. There were voices that I felt weren’t being heard above the noise created by the same, tired, old politics of the past. I felt that we needed new solutions to address critical issues in our state. We needed to tackle these problems to move our state and our economy forward to create more prosperity and a higher quality of life for everyone in New Hampshire — particularly for young people like me. One of those critical areas was energy.

Energy is different from most other issues dealt with in Concord, because it has the ability to touch our lives in so many different ways.

One of the great developments of the past decade has been an energy renaissance in America. Thanks to technological advances, we’re now able to produce so much energy, particularly from natural gas, that the United States has become the world’s leading producer of energy.

That’s right. We produce more than Russia, more than China, and more than the OPEC nations of the Middle East.

And natural gas is touching our lives in more ways than most people realize.

Natural gas helps to heat and power manufacturing facilities that produce busses for public transportation, components for bicycles, the clothing and shoes that we wear; it’s used in making our cell phones and computers, and the furniture, carpeting and wood floors in our homes.  It is used in making fertilizer.  And of course it cooks the food we eat.

All of this is made possible by natural gas.

On top of all of that, natural gas is improving our environment. Because it is displacing coal as an electric generator, carbon emissions have fallen to near 20-year lows as natural gas production has increased.

Clean-burning natural gas helps to empower other renewable, green energy options by providing power when the wind doesn’t blow or the sun doesn’t shine. With natural gas providing a solid foundation for our state’s energy needs, we’re able to operate with a comprehensive, all-of-the-above energy strategy that includes solar and wind power. This only serves to further protect our environment, while balancing those interests with maintaining a high quality of life for everyone in New Hampshire.

But there’s still work to be done so that our state’s economy can take full advantage of the benefits of natural gas.

The rapid expansion of natural gas production has created a problem for our state and our region. We don’t currently have energy infrastructure that is sufficient to handle the increased load of natural gas that needs to be transported and then delivered to our homes, businesses and factories as well as our electric generators.

Our energy infrastructure is out of date, and we need to make it a priority to bring it into the 21st century.

The abundance of natural gas has reduced energy costs in states from coast to coast, but because our energy infrastructure is inadequate to meet current demand, we’re paying higher than necessary energy costs.

That’s money that could be put back into our local communities, donated to charity, saved for retirement, or put aside for unexpected health care costs.

Right now, our state’s high energy costs are a significant driver of jobs leaving New Hampshire. We need to take action to make sure that these jobs stay in our state, for my generation and for everyone who lives and works in New Hampshire.

The way we begin to do that is to tackle this problem head-on. It’s time that we make updating our energy infrastructure a priority in New Hampshire and New England.