- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 22, 2014

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - Republican state Rep. Marilinda Garcia said Wednesday she is running for Congress in New Hampshire’s 2nd District because federal mandates, regulations and taxes are preventing local governments from solving their own problems.

The 30-year-old, four-term lawmaker from Salem is competing with former state Sen. Gary Lambert for the chance to take on U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster, a Democrat elected in 2012. Garcia filed her campaign paperwork two months ago but formally announced her campaign Wednesday at a news conference backed by dozens of her Statehouse colleagues.

“I’m running for Congress because I believe we need leaders who will work to make Washington, D.C., smaller and empower local communities and families,” said Garcia, who was particularly critical of Kuster’s support for President Barack Obama’s health overhaul law. She called the law an example of how the “entire decision making process has become corrupt” in Washington and said it bails out the insurance industry while leaving the typical family facing higher health care costs, restricted access and lower quality care.

“This is a broken system of health care that’s only being made worse,” she said. “I understand how the laws and regulations that seem to flow like a raging river from Washington, D.C., crash against the banks of our state and local communities.”

Garcia has been a speaker at the Republicans’ GOPAC Hispanic Leadership Training Institute and national Republican Party events, and last year was named by the Republican National Committee as one of its “rising stars.” Asked whether she could help the GOP expand its base by attracting more young or Hispanic voters, Garcia said the Republican Party hasn’t been good at communicating its vision.

“I intend to communicate that message, my message, and if by virtue of being who I am, that helps expand the base, that’s great,” she said.

Garcia said she is frustrated that Congress has not done more to curb wasteful spending and what she considers the Obama administration’s misguided policies. But she said she wouldn’t make it a goal to work with Democrats just for the sake of being bipartisan.

“I’m happy to work with people in general if we’re of the same mind,” she said.

Kuster meanwhile, released a report Wednesday describing the top concerns she has heard from families and business-owners during her first year in office and outlining her proposed solutions.

She called for increased investment in workforce development, protecting access to affordable higher education and providing tax credits to companies relocating in the United States. She plans to discuss those issues as she starts a “jobs and opportunity” tour later this week.

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