Lauren Chooljian

Reporter, Politics & Policy

Credit Lucy Hewett / lucyhewett.com

Lauren is NHPR’s Politics and Policy reporter for the State of Democracy project.

Before joining NHPR in 2017, Lauren spent nearly six years as a reporter, producer and fill-in host for WBEZ in Chicago. Most recently, she covered City Hall and Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration.

Her reporting has earned her awards from the Associated Press and a regional Murrow Award. In 2014, her voice was featured on a best-of list in the Chicago Tribune culture section for its “unpretentious, Peppermint Patty scratchiness,” which her family especially appreciated.

Lauren graduated with a BA in History from Saint Anselm College and has a Master of Science in Journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, where she was also an adjunct lecturer. Her work as been featured on NPR, Marketplace, Here and Now, and in The Washington Post, among others.

Lauren is a proud New Hampshire native, born and raised in Hampstead.   

Ways to Connect

Lauren Chooljian / NHPR

U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen has officially endorsed Chris Pappas in the race for the 1st Congressional District, a move that has stirred up some drama among other Democrats in the crowded field.

Shaheen and Pappas announced the endorsement together Tuesday at the American Legion Sweeney Post in Manchester. While Pappas supporters munched on chicken tenders from The Puritan, the Pappas family’s restaurant, Shaheen told the crowd she’s known Pappas since he was in high school, when he worked on her 1996 campaign for governor.

Courtesy

Sean Graber and Keal Harter love to talk politics together. The recent Dartmouth graduates recall many late nights at the Tuck School of Business debating the political dramas of the day - often to the chagrin of their classmates.

It wasn’t that they always agreed, or that they enjoyed disagreeing with each other. They liked knowing that the person on the other side of the table came to the debate with an open mind and a fact-based perspective, something Graver feels the country seems to be losing.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Earlier this summer, eight Democratic candidates sat shoulder to shoulder before about 70 voters in the library of Kennett Middle School in Conway.

But before they could even introduce themselves to the voters in the audience, New Hampshire

Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley had a special request: Play nice, please.

Lauren Chooljian / NHPR

  In yet another week where news of the Russia investigation dominated national headlines, President Donald Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani made time in his schedule to fly to Portsmouth and endorse Republican Eddie Edwards in New Hampshire’s 1st Congressional District race.

Despite insisting that voters shouldn’t interpret his endorsement as an endorsement from the president, most of Giuliani’s remarks were about Trump, and the similarities between Edwards and the president’s agenda.

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St. Paul's School in Concord has hired its first female head of school. 

 

Kathleen Carroll Giles has been appointed by the school's board to be its new rector.

 

Michael Hirschfeld, the former leader, announced this year he was retiring early, after multiple sexual abuse lawsuits were filed against the school.

 

Giles currently serves as head of Middlesex School in Concord, Massachusetts and will start at St. Paul's next July. 

 

Courtesy SPS

St. Paul’s School in Concord has hired one of its former math teachers to serve as interim rector for 2018-19 school year.

 

Amy C. Richards has been hired to replace current rector Michael Hirschfeld, who retired a year earlier than originally planned. Hirschfeld told the St. Paul's community in May that he was leaving early because it had been "an usually painful time for the entire School community and also for my family."

NHPR

  Republican Bruce Crochetiere suddenly dropped out Wednesday of New Hampshire’s 1st Congressional District race, citing “recent developments with his family and business.”

His campaign, launched just four months ago, was the Hampton Falls businessman’s first foray into politics, a fact he often touted when he introduced himself to voters.

Lauren Chooljian / NHPR

  The field of candidates trying to replace retiring Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter is crowded, to say the least. There are over a dozen people running for the 1st Congressional seat, and this district is notorious for swinging back and forth between the two parties.

NHPR’s Lauren Chooljian spent some time this week watching the three main Republican candidates to see how they’re trying to distinguish themselves from one another. She spoke with NHPR's All Things Considered host Peter Biello.

Lauren Chooljian for NHPR

Allegations that New Hampshire Republican state Senator Andy Sanborn made inappropriate comments at the State House are following him on the campaign trail for Congress.

Sanborn is among a handful of Republicans running to replace retiring Democratic Rep. Carol Shea-Porter in the 1st Congressional District. 

Courtesy of St. Paul's School's Website

St. Paul’s School in Concord is extending its resources for sexual abuse victims to alumni of its prestigious summer program. NHPR's Lauren Chooljian reports.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

One of Senator Maggie Hassan's interns has become a flashpoint in the national discussion this week over civility in politics, and both of New Hampshire's major political parties are pointing fingers. 

NHPR File Photo

St. Paul’s School will now offer an independent therapy fund that former students who were sexually abused by faculty members can access confidentially. 

In a letter to the St. Paul’s community Tuesday, school administrators also announced that claims made by alumni for general compensation would now be handled by an independent arbitrator, and the school’s Alumni Association has established a new initiative focused on healing within the community. 

In a phone interview, Board President Archibald Cox, Jr. said these steps should have been taken sooner.

NHPR File Photo

St. Paul’s School in Concord has agreed to settle with a former student who was sexually abused in the 1970s, though it continues to face lawsuits from other alumni.

The settlement, which remains confidential, was finalized in May and was shared with NHPR by the victim, William Foley, who said he was sexually abused by two teachers while attending St. Paul’s School in the early 1970s. In a statement, the school said it was “pleased" to reach a resolution with Foley and apologized for the abuse he suffered.

NHPR File Photo

  St. Paul's School in Concord said Wednesday it plans to create an independent therapy fund for alumni who were sexually abused by faculty. The school’s announcement comes just hours after NHPR reported St. Paul’s is an outlier among boarding schools that have grappled with similar issues.

File photo

Over a year ago, St. Paul’s School in Concord, New Hampshire published an investigation that revealed decades of sexual abuse allegations. The school is currently being sued by two alumni over faculty sex abuse allegations.

And yet they haven’t established a therapy fund for alumni who were abused, something academics, attorneys and victims believe is essential for healing.

By John Phelan - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=54844484

A graduate of Bishop Guertin High School is suing the Nashua Catholic school for not protecting her from sexual abuse by a faculty member she alleges she suffered in 1995.

The faculty member in question, Brother Shawn McEnany, was convicted as a sex offender in Maine in 1988, yet was hired as a teacher by Bishop Guertin a few years later. McEnany died in 2017.

Lauren Chooljian for NHPR

Senator Maggie Hassan said Tuesday she believes student activism will be what tips the scales in the gun debate and pushes Congress to pass gun control legislation. 

NAMI New Hampshire

When we think about gun deaths in the United States, we usually think about mass shootings, like the one last week in Santa Fe, Texas -- tragedies that have deeply divided the country.

But in New Hampshire, most gun deaths are suicides.

NHPR File Photo

 

The head of St. Paul's School in Concord has announced that he will resign next month - a year earlier than planned.

Rector Michael Hirschfeld was going to step down at the end of next school year, in June 2019.

St. Paul's School

 

A former St. Paul’s student has filed a federal lawsuit against her alma mater, alleging the Concord private school did not protect her from sexual assault and harassment from male students in 2013-2014.

The former student, who enrolled at St. Paul’s in 2012, is not named in the lawsuit, instead referred to as Jane Doe.

Chester Irons' relationship with St. Paul’s School didn’t always feel so complicated.

He’s in his 60s now, yet he can still remember the exhilarating feeling of being dropped off at the Concord boarding school for the first time.

"I stepped out of the car with my parents and said goodbye to them and ran off with a bunch of friends I met literally 20 minutes earlier. It was a new beginning, a new adventure and I was very excited," he recalled in a recent phone interview.

St. Paul's School

Two alumni are suing St. Paul’s School for not protecting them from sexual abuse by faculty members in the 1960s and 70s, and their lawsuit calls the Concord prep school a “haven for sexual predators” that has failed to protect children for decades.  

Naomi Andrews

 

Retiring New Hampshire U.S. Rep. Carol Shea-Porter’s chief of staff is throwing her hat in the ring for her boss’ congressional seat. Democrat Naomi Andrews joins eight Democrats and three Republicans in the September primary. 

 

Andrews, who is from Epping, said in a campaign video (scroll down to watch it) that her experience working for Shea Porter has taught her how to win in this tough swing district. 

 

File photo

St. Paul’s School is now required to report any allegations of sexual assault to the Concord Police Department, according to an updated agreement between the college prep school and local police.

via bruce2018.com

Another Republican is joining the crowded race for New Hampshire’s First Congressional District seat.

Hampton Falls businessman Bruce Crochetiere is selling himself to voters as a candidate who is “not even close” to being a politician.

“We don’t need to just promote another politician. We need a fresh voice from an outsider, a completely different kind of leadership,” Crochetiere says in a campaign video.

Sara Plourde

After years of having to choose between the same two candidates, voters in New Hampshire's 1st Congressional district are now faced with a flood of candidates who want to fill retiring Rep. Carol Shea-Porter's seat. 

As of April 23rd, there are eight Democrats and two Republicans in the race. And with the September primary months away, there's always time for more to join. 

Valentina Tabatchikova for NHPR

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Presidential Advisor Ivanka Trump will spend part of Tax Day in New Hampshire. The two White House officials will host a town hall discussion on taxes Tuesday afternoon at the Derry Opera House to highlight passage of the recent tax overhaul.

The event kicks off at 1 pm and will be moderated by former Governor John H. Sununu.

NHPR Staff

Ahead of another student walk out to protest gun violence, around 200 gun rights advocates had their say outside the New Hampshire statehouse Saturday.

The National Constitutional Coalition of Patriotic Americans organized similar events outside statehouses across the country. Despite biting cold weather, gun owners and second amendment advocates from across New Hampshire showed up to hear a range of speakers and to show opposition to any further firearm restrictions.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

 New Hampshire Sen. Maggie Hassan is backing Executive Councilor Chris Pappas in the crowded 1st Congressional District race.

It’s pretty early for a big endorsement like this -- the primary election isn’t until September. But Hassan, a Democrat, told a crowd of people inside Water Street Books in Exeter that people keep asking her who she’s voting for and she decided it’s best to tell them now.

Lauren Chooljian / NHPR

  And just like that, it was primary season again in New Hampshire on Tuesday.

But does it really ever end?

Two past (and potentially present) presidential hopefuls, Martin O’Malley and John Kasich, made their way through the first-in-the-nation primary state Tuesday.

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