"Compromise," Jackie Cilley said, "is not a dirty word."
But there are some things the former state senator said she will not compromise on. She listed a few of them as she announced her run for the Democratic nomination for governor Tuesday: education, collective bargaining rights, respect for public employees, support for abortion rights, and civil rights.
"And I won't play pledge politics with the future of our state," she said. "Pledge politics is not leadership."
Cilley, a businesswoman from Barrington who has taught at the University of New Hampshire's Whittemore School of Business and Economics, said she would fight for small business and make sure New Hampshire has the best and brightest workers.
She repeatedly took aim at "politicians in Concord," including a shot at Tea Party Republicans in the Legislature.
"I am running because I believe we can offer the citizens of New Hampshire win-win solutions to the challenges ahead," she said. "We can do that if we are willing to be honest about what those challenges are and the consequences of each potential solution. We can do that only if we are willing to engage with our citizens and bring all stakeholders to the table."
Supporters crowding into the YWCA in Manchester gave her loudest cheers when she spoke to workers' rights. Former state Sen. Burt Cohen of New Castle, who stands with Cilley, said, "She's one of the people."
Former Sen. Betsi DeVries, a former Manchester firefighter, introduced Cilley. She called her a smart, tireless advocate for New Hampshire. Referring to firefighters counting on fellow responders in times of need, DeVries said, "I will follow this lady anywhere–anywhere."
New Hampshire Republican Party Chairman Wayne MacDonald welcomed Cilley into the race with a statement referring to her as a tax-and-spend Democrat.
"With Jackie Cilley's decision to run for governor, voters in the Democrat primary now have two choices, but they might as well be the same," MacDonald said. "Jackie Cilley and Maggie Hassan both fit into the narrow ideology of the Democrat Party – higher taxes, increased spending and more government control."
Hassan is a former state senator from Exeter. Other candidates may still enter the race. The filing period for the state primary does not open until June 6.
Watch two videos here from Jackie Cilley's speech today.