Gene Martin (Pictured Right, Courtesy of NH Fiscal Policy Institute), 35, who began as the new executive director of the NH Fiscal Policy Institute (NHFPI) in December 2022, says his experience living in a homeless shelter as a child with his mother and younger brother is fundamental to his viewpoint that policy should be focused on shaping lives for the better.
Martin says programs shaped by policies allowed his family to stay off the streets, find an apartment and eventually purchase their own home. “I’ve always thought about that and having worked in the policy space, it’s a unique perspective I’ve always brought. When we think about a state budget, it’s not always numbers on a page, it’s lives we are talking about and how those policies affect individual people.”
Before becoming executive director at NHFPI, Martin served as associate director of development and director of government relations at Plymouth State University. He previously held various roles in the NH State Senate as the top policy and communications staffer in the Senate Minority Leader’s office, overseeing a policy portfolio of the state budget, education, economic security and tax policy; as well as a legislative aide, staffing the Senate Transportation and Ways & Means Committees. Today he lives in Manchester with his wife and two young daughters and is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Leadership and Policy at the University of NH, where he received his Master of Public Administration from the Carsey School of Public Policy.
In late January NHFPI released its NH Policy Points guide, a 60-page document outlining key issues facing the state. The guide breaks down population demographics, education, income, economic security, transportation and other key issues. Martin says this initiative, along with explaining the state’s budget as it unfolds over the next several months, is central to NHFPI’s work.
Reflecting on his first two months on the job, Martin says he loves it. “For me, when I think about public policy as a younger person in the state, when I think about the future we need to have, for my daughters and for our communities, it’s important to highlight issues that help provide a context for policy makers,” he says.