New Hampshire's Virtual Town Hall
Political activity shifted from the halls of the State House to the campaign trail as candidate forums and endorsements in the race for governor dominated the news this week.
The two Republican candidates for governor -- Ovide Lamontagne and Kevin Smith -- engaged in back-to-back forums on Wednesday and Thursday.
In Manchester on Wednesday night, the two Republicans engaged in what was seen as a civil exchange.
See the Union Leader coverage of the event here. And be sure to check out the video from LFDA member and editor Chuck McKenney here.
Then in Rindge on Thursday, the two were at it again, this time digging at each other’s past histories, both as lobbyists.
Read the Nashua Telegraph coverage of that event here.
The Nashua Telegraph is also keeping tabs on candidate honesty in its PolitiFactNH series. Here, it looks at Lamontagne’s claims of job loss in the Granite State.
The winner in the GOP primary will square off against the winner among the three Democratic hopefuls -- Maggie Hassan, Jackie Cilley and Bill Kennedy.
The current governor, Democrat John Lynch, decided not to run again after eight terms. Lynch, by the way, made a point this week of letting it be known he has no further interest in elective office.
In the endorsement front, labor organizations are splitting their allegiances between Hassan and Cilley.
Cilley this week picked up the endorsement of the New England Police Benevolent Association and the Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire.
According to a Union Leader tally, Cilley has the backing of State Employees Association/SEIU Local 1984, the Bricklayers and Allied Craftsmen Local 3, the New Hampshire Association of Letter Carriers and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Locals 490 and 2320.
The paper said Hassan has the backing of Teamsters Local 633, the Communications Workers of America Local 1400, Carpenters Local 118, Iron Workers Local 7, UFCW Locals 1445 and 791, the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades Council 35 and the International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers Local 6.
Meanwhile, Lamontagne is racking up endorsements from well-known Republican politicos in the state, the most recent of whom this week was Gordon Humphrey, former U.S. senator.
Responding to a whistleblower’s complaint about nepotism in her agency, Tara Reardon on Wednesday resigned as commissioner of the state Department of Employment Security.
It’s alleged she ordered her daughter be laid off from a secret internship at the department so she could collect unemployment benefits.
Reardon said the complaint is the work of “disgruntled employees.”
Then another shoe fell on Thursday: Deputy Commissioner Darrell Gates was suspended from his job amidst allegations that he too engaged in a similar scheme of nepotism as Reardon.
Gov. Lynch has nominated state Labor Commissioner George Copadis of Manchester to serve as interim commissioner of State Employment Security.
This is seen as a bit of a smudge on what had been a clean, ethical image of the Lynch Administration through the years.
This and that
First Lady Michelle Obama is coming back to New Hampshire on Aug. 2. No details of the trip have been released yet.
At this rate, we’ll have at least a presidential campaign visit a month right up until the general election in November.
Between the president and vice president and First Lady, and Mitt Romney, our little state with four electoral college votes is in full swing-state mode.
As expected this week, our two Republican congressmen, Frank Guinta in the 1st Congressional District and Charlie Bass in the 2nd CD, voted with the GOP majority in the U.S. House to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
Here is Guinta’s statement. Here is Bass’s statement.
The vote, like many before it, was symbolic since the Democrat-controlled U.S. Senate has no intention of taking up the repeal.
Communities are dealing in different ways with the decision by the state Department of Transportation to turn off the streetlights on many streets, roads and bridges throughout New Hampshire.
Some are just letting the areas go dark. Some are taking on the electric bill in order to keep the lights on.
In Keene, state and community officials met and, according to the Keene Sentinel, the city agreed to accept the cost of keeping certain lights lit “because they were deemed to be at intersections that have had serious accidents.”
A hazy, muggy rest of the weekend was forecast, and public health officials were warning against unhealthy air quality.
We’ll keep our cool and be back next week with a look at the news in review.