Amazon Says 'Nope' To New Hampshire, Gov. Sununu Takes It In Stride

Jan 18, 2018

Amazon has chosen 20 finalists for its much-coveted second headquarters, and New Hampshire didn't make the cut.

Boston, however, made the cut. The list of 20 finalists also includes New York City.

If Governor Chris Sununu is hurt by Amazon’s rejection, he’s not letting it show.

For months, Sununu has been a vocal champion of the state’s efforts to lure the online retailer’s highly prized second headquarters to Londonderry. 

He made reference to the bid in remarks made on Wednesday at Rivier University in Nashua.

“And if Amazon - and I'm not kidding - if Amazon doesn't look in our direction, they're crazy,” said Sununu.

But early Thursday, Amazon did go "crazy" and didn’t include New Hampshire in its twenty location shortlist of remaining contenders. The Governor is taking his licks in stride.

“While we always knew that our bid was considered a long shot, we are excited that it is already serving as a template for other businesses that now have New Hampshire on their radar,” said Sununu. “We will never stop emphasizing that New Hampshire is open for business.”

Perhaps adding to the sting is Boston’s inclusion on the shortlist. In the state’s marketing proposal to Amazon, officials made several jabs at the city, including this closing dig: “Choose Boston and next year when you leave your tiny $4,000-a-month apartment only to sit in two hours of traffic trying to make your way to an overburdened airport, you’ll be wishing you were in New Hampshire.”

The comments weren’t exactly appreciated by Hub loyalists. They may find some solace in the Governor’s new position on Amazon and Boston making a match.

“I hope Boston does land it,” said Sununu during an interview in his office. “We are part of that region and there is no doubt there would be a lot indirect benefits right here in New Hampshire if they were to relocate into downtown Boston.”

One other reversal worth noting is on commuter rail. During Sununu’s remarks on Wednesday in Nashua, he announced his support of a $4 million feasibility study of a commuter rail line connecting Boston with Nashua, Manchester, and possibly Concord. Sununu previously voted against such a study while serving in the Executive Council. Last year on the campaign trail, he called a proposed commuter rail line a $350 million “boondoggle.”

Amazon, though, included public transportation in its list of desired traits. Sununu says that’s one reason why he thinks now is the time to investigate rail’s feasibility. The GOP-controlled Legislature gets final say on approving the study.

After speaking with the press on Thursday about the whirlwind of activity surrounding Amazon and commuter rail, the Governor appeared to be in relatively good spirits. He even made a joke about canceling his Amazon Prime.