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Milk a cow, pass a bill

Derek Owen rises before dawn to milk the cows at his Hopkinton farm. Chores completed at the 200-acre spread, he showers, puts on a suit and heads to the state Capitol in Concord where he serves in the nation's largest state legislature.

The job pays $100 a year, "plus mileage," Owen added. On the farm, he makes less than $25,000 annually.

"You've got to either have money or the stubborness to want to make change," said Owen, who along with his wife, Ruth, raises and grows most of the food they put on their large wooden kitchen table. Excess is sold and they note the market is expanding for food grown locally.

Owen has hosted underdog Democratic contender Dennis Kucinich at the farm and defends New Hampshire's right to hold the nation's first presidential primary. But he chuckled when asked whether a candidate with a shoestring budget and big ideas can take off in the state.

"Wrong," he said, his words punctuated by the whoosh of milk hitting a metal pail. "Because money is how you get your face and your word out there. The more money you have the more ads you can buy."

And spend they have: Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton's campaign has 16 offices across the state; and Republican frontrunner Mitt Romney has spent $4.2 million on advertising in the state.

Posted by Lesley Clark at 09:45 AM on November 14, 2007 | Permalink


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