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

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

First Congressional District candidates Eddie Edwards and Chris Pappas faced off at New Hampshire Public Radio today for their first, live debate of the general election. Edwards, a Republican from Dover, is a former chief of law enforcement for the state Liquor Commission. Pappas, a Democrat from Manchester, is a restaurateur and current Executive Councilor for District 4.

NHPR's Lauren Chooljian, one of the debate moderators, joined All Things Considered host Peter Biello to discuss how the debate went.

Lauren Chooljian / NHPR

The national storm over Judge Brett Kavanaugh's potential Supreme Court confirmation blew into New Hampshire Monday, as Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, a key player in the confirmation hearings, arrived at Saint Anselm College to give a speech warning about “tribalism” in politics.

Flake’s speech was scheduled before he landed at the center of Kavanaugh’s fate on the Supreme Court. Last Friday, Flake pushed for a week-long pause in the hearings so the FBI could investigate the sexual assault allegations from Dr. Christine Blasey Ford.

NHPR File Photo

New charges were filed Monday in connection with the state's probe into reported misconduct at St. Paul's School.

The New Hampshire Attorney General's office is alleging 28-year-old Stephanie O'Connell made false statements to the grand jury tasked with investigating the elite Concord boarding school.

Prosecutors claim O'Connell, of Chicago, lied about her contact with David O. Pook - a former St. Paul's teacher who pled guilty in August to interfering with the investigation.

 

Advocates and attorneys who represent sexual abuse victims see the settlement between St. Paul’s School and the New Hampshire Attorney General’s office as “groundbreaking,” and some say it could serve as a model that could be implemented at private schools around the country.

St. Paul's School

St. Paul’s School focused more on protecting its reputation than on protecting the children entrusted to its care. That was the message from New Hampshire Attorney General Gordon MacDonald today as he announced the end of his criminal investigation into the elite Concord boarding school.

  The battle for New Hampshire’s 1st District Congressional seat is officially set: It will be Republican Eddie Edwards vs. Democrat Chris Pappas in November.

 

It was a hard fought - often negative - campaign on both sides of the aisle, and voters certainly had their work cut out for them.

WMUR Debate

New Hampshire voters got a chance last night to check out the Republican side of the 1st Congressional District race during the candidates' only televised debate. There were some surprising performances, a little fighting but mostly the five Republican candidates focused on the issues. NHPR's Lauren Chooljian is back with us this morning to breakdown last night's WMUR debate.  

(This transcript was lightly edited.)  

OK. so quickly remind us, who was on stage last night.

WMUR

The 11 Democrats running to replace Rep. Carol Shea-Porter in the 1st Congressional District tried their best to stand out during a televised debate Wednesday, using their fleeting time on stage to prove to voters that they’re the most progressive candidate and best able to take on President Donald Trump’s agenda.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Voters in New Hampshire's 1st Congressional District have less than a week to choose from the pack of candidates running to replace retiring Rep. Carol Shea-Porter.

As with any election, candidates are racing around the state to knock on doors and shake as many hands as possible. But this mad dash to the finish is especially frantic for the 11 Democrats running for the seat, as the sheer number of candidates might cause results to split in interesting ways.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The days until New Hampshire’s primary election are numbered, and most of the Democratic candidates for the 1st Congressional District are using their remaining public appearances to attack the two assumed front runners.

All eleven candidates met at Manchester Community College Thursday night for their final New Hampshire Democratic party sponsored forum, and it was clear that most of the congressional hopefuls have their sights set on Executive Councilor Chris Pappas and Maura Sullivan.

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.

Courtesy

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.

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