HOLLIS – Though it is two years until he is up for reelection, Sen. Bob Smith is already campaigning.
Last night at a home in Hollis, Smith met with his supporters and a group of fluoridation opponents.
Smith said he had been at it all day, visiting towns along the Connecticut River, spreading the word that he would run again. And even though the election is still two years away, Smith was asking for people’s support and votes.
“You know in politics those who come out early are never forgotten,” Smith told the crowd of more than 20 people gathered on a patio, “When you’re there early, believe me, I don’t forget, and I’m grateful for those of you that willing to help me this early.”
“We’ve been touring all over the state. This is our week off, quote unquote,” he said.
People put on red-and-white “Vote Bob Smith 2002” stickers and passed out envelopes for donations.
Last year Smith left the Republican (sic) to run for President, but rejoined later in the year after being offered the powerful chairmanship of the Senate’s Environmental and Public Works Committee.
Smith said he didn’t realize how powerful the chairmanship was until he assumed the position. “You can make things happen,” he said.
And he did just that for opponents of fluoridation, which is the adding of fluoride to drinking water to reduce tooth decay. Opponents say the fluoride many towns and cities put in the water needs to be further tested. They believe results of such studies will show that the fluoride level most people ingest, especially children, is much too high and leads to health problems, including the weakening of bones. Supports (sic) say fluoride in small doses is harmless and reduces tooth decay.
Last week, Smith had Dr. J. William Hirzy, vice president of a chapter of the Treasury Employees Union, which represents Environmental Protection Agency employees, speak to the Subcommittee on Wildlife, Fisheries and Drinking Water.
After hearing the testimony of Hirzy, Smith says he backs a plan to study fluoride in drinking water over the next six years. The EPA will study the effect adding fluoride to the drinking water has on people. If it is determined too much fluoride is being consumed, Smith said the EPA could limit the amount added or do away with adding it to drinking water entirely. (emphasis added)
Smith, however, said local towns and cities that now decide by referendum if they want fluoridation should continue to have the choice. It’s just that most would discontinue it if studies showed fluoridation was unhealthy, Smith said.
“The question now is, do we have to add it,” he said. ” I think (opponents) have a valid concern.”