Politics

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NHPR's political coverage from the New Hampshire State House to the First In The Nation Primary, Town Meeting, and the Congressional Delegation. Stories by Senior Political Reporter Josh Rogers, Digital Journalist Brian Wallstin, and the NHPR News team. 

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A newly formed political action committee says it's trying to "encourage" former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, to run for president.

The group called "Tenaciously Moving for American Change in 2020" announced its formation Tuesday. The group's name is a play on McAuliffe's "TMac" nickname.

Co-founder Shannon Kane said the group is looking to raise McAuliffe's profile in early voting states like Iowa and New Hampshire.

Updated at 8:59 p.m. ET

The Senate Judiciary Committee is reviewing a statement from a third woman who has come forward with sexual misconduct allegations against Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh.

The allegations, from a woman identified as Julie Swetnick, were made public by attorney Michael Avenatti on Wednesday morning. Avenatti posted Swetnick's three-page sworn declaration on Twitter.

Let's Fix Washington

Sep 18, 2018

Former Congressmen David Jolly, a Republican, and Patrick Murphy, a Democrat, are travelling nationwide as part of their "Let's Fix Washington" initiative.  Jolly and Murphy, who were one-time rivals for a Senate seat, discuss how Congress got to its current state of division and gridlock and how, through bipartisan leadership, the nation’s political systems can function more effectively.  

Cheryl Senter for NHPR

Senator John McCain, a Vietnam War hero who won two New Hampshire presidential primaries, died Saturday after a months-long battle with brain cancer. He was 81.

An outpouring of remembrances was swift from colleagues and friends across the political spectrum. He will lie in state at both the U.S. and Arizona Capitols and he will be buried at the U.S. Naval Academy Cemetery.

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.

Peter Biello/NHPR

Bill Kristol, the founder and editor-at-large of The Weekly Standard, visited the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at St. Anselm College today to speak at the traditional "Politics & Eggs" event. The conservative leader does have his sights set on 2020—he just wants someone else, someone formidable, to take on President Trump. 

Kristol joined All Things Considered host Peter Biello to further discuss this administration, the mid-term elections, and the next presidential election. 

(The transcript below as lightly edited for clarity.)  

Britta Greene / New Hampshire Public Radio

The New Hampshire House of Representatives dealt a blow Thursday to one of Governor Chris Sununu’s key priorities on the opioid front, the Recovery Friendly Workplace initiative.

The effort aims to link the private sector to the drug crisis by helping businesses better attract and retain people in recovery.

Credit mikecogh via Flickr Creative Commons

Governor Chris Sununu has vetoed a bill relating to prison sentences for those struggling with substance abuse.

In New Hampshire, if a prisoner is out on parole but has that parole revoked, he or she must be recommitted for at least 90 days. The parole board has some flexibility in handing down those sentences, though.

Lauren Chooljian / NHPR

  New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu beamed as he looked out upon a room packed with 60 round tables, each one full of supporters.

“A little daunting once you finally get up here. I’m absolutely humbled, absolutely humbled at the turnout,” he said to the crowd.   

It may have been Sununu’s party at the Manchester Downtown Hotel Thursday night, but it was Vice President Mike Pence who got top billing.

Paige Sutherland / NHPR

New Hampshire’s congressional delegation is cheering a significant increase in federal funds for fighting the opioid epidemic included in the federal spending deal released Wednesday. The draft bill contains an additional $3 billion over 2017 funding levels to fight opioid and mental health crises nationally.

“These federal dollars will deliver the material assistance that is desperately needed for prevention, treatment, recovery, law enforcement and first responders,” said Senator Jeanne Shaheen in a statement Thursday.  

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

President Trump's speech at Manchester Community College today about the national opioid epidemic included plenty of New Hampshire references.

Trump took time to thank Governor Chris Sununu and Manchester Fire Chief Daniel Goonan for attending.

The speech ranged widely on topics including sanctuary cities, DACA and the border wall with Mexico, but the President did not make any specific announcement of new funding measures to fight the opioid epidemic.

Trump did make it clear that he wants to see tougher penalties for those convicted of drug trafficking.

WashingtonNH.org

Plenty of local officials grumbled about the state’s orders not to reschedule town elections because of last week’s snowstorm. But only one — the town of Washington — defied those instructions and decided to delay its votes anyway.

b / New Hampshire Public Radio

State officials are working on a deal to secure funding for drug recovery services in Sullivan County. That’s after the major provider in the region, Hope for New Hampshire Recovery, announced it was rolling back its offerings last month.

Meg Kelly; NPR

NPR's senior editor and correspondent for the Washington Desk, Ron Elving, joins us to talk about the biggest news in our nation's capital this week, including President Trump's trade announcements, the resignation of the President's top economic advisor, Gary Cohn, and more. 

Voters in more than 75 towns across the state will decide on Keno at town meetings this spring.

State lawmakers legalized the lottery game last year as a way to help fund all-day kindergarten statewide.

But it still has to be approved on a city-by-city or town-by-town basis.

In Enfield, where it’ll be up for a vote at the Town Meeting next month, selectman Meredith Smith says she hopes voters reject Keno and send a message to Concord. “Gambling is not a way to fix the funding of the schools,” she said.

Peter Biello/NHPR

Truth seems especially hard to get to these days. "Fake news" articles on social media tend to look like they come from legitimate news outlets, and even the most well-researched story can be derided as "fake news."

Under these conditions political reporters push forward with their work. For a look at how that work has changed we turn to NPR's Domenico Montanaro. He's lead editor for politics and digital audience at NPR and he's here in New Hampshire to discuss leaks, fake news, and a free press at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College.

Britta Greene / New Hampshire Public Radio

Governor Chris Sununu signed into law Thursday morning new protections against childhood lead exposure.

At a signing ceremony in Claremont, the Governor championed the public health impact of the new law.

"We will, without a doubt, prevent a lot of children from getting lead poisoning,” he said. “That's a really good thing"

The legislation mandates lead screenings for all one and two year olds. It also lowers the blood-lead level that triggers state intervention.

Allison Quantz for NHPR

Have you ever gone to an ER that you thought was in-network, but ended up getting stuck with a surprise bill because the doctor you saw there was out-of-network? That’s known as “balance billing,” and New Hampshire is one of a growing number of states looking at ways to protect patients from these unexpected — and often large — invoices.

NHPR File Photo

Gov. Chris Sununu says he supports a bill that would increase the state's minimum age for marriage to 16 years old.

 

In a letter to lawmakers Wednesday, Sununu described the marriage of a 13-year-old girl as "unconscionable." That's the minimum age for girls to marry in the state; for boys, it's 14, though both require parental consent and approval of a judge.

 

The Republican-led House rejected a bill last year that would have raised the minimum age to 18. Lawmakers are now considering a bill to raise the minimum age to 16 for both genders. 

 

N.H. Bill Would Establish State Demographer

Jan 24, 2018
NHPR File Photo

New Hampshire's demographics are changing, and some lawmakers want to make sure policy makers keep that in mind.

The House Executive Departments and Administration Committee is holding a public hearing Wednesday on a bill that would create a new position of state demographer. The bill also would create a commission to develop long-term migration goals and would require lawmakers to consider how proposed legislation would affect the state's population trends.

Brian Allen via Wikimedia Commons

Women across the country will participate in marches this weekend, including at several events in New Hampshire.

Last year’s Women’s March came on the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration. For many progressives, it was the start of a resistance movement. Organizers of this year’s local events, including Anne DiCicco from Hollis, say their political efforts have matured.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Both New Hampshire’s U.S. senators said Monday they will not hold up a budget deal as leverage for immigration reform.

 

President Donald Trump ended the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program - or DACA - last year.  The program protected tens of thousands of kids who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children. Trump gave Congress until March to find a fix, but so far, it hasn’t been resolved.

Lauren Chooljian for NHPR

  It wasn't gold, money or skeletons.

But the newly-found items, including old ledgers, now-vintage fans and Civil War bonds, locked for decades in an old safe in a first floor committee room, were still exciting to a few curious minds at the New Hampshire State House. 

Garry Knight; Flickr

As we head into Thanksgiving, difficult topics are bound to come up around the dinner table.  We hear about a new effort in Nashua called 1000 Conversations, which is aimed at getting people to talk outside of their own cultural groups.  Those involved say this kind of dialogue has wide-ranging benefits.

GUESTS:

Lauren Chooljian / NHPR

 

George and Maxine Maynard have what you might call a complicated relationship with New Hampshire's state motto.

And when the U.S. Supreme Court takes up a controversial free speech case next month, the Maynards' decades-old legal battle over the state’s ubiquitous “Live Free or Die” will be back in the spotlight.

Incumbent Mayor Ted Gatsas and challenger Joyce Craig, a former Alderman, square off days before voters go to the polls. On the agenda: the opioid crisis, education, property taxes, and immigration. It's the second time the two have vied for the corner office of the state's largest city.


Allegra Boverman

The Speaker of the New Hampshire House is looking to put down his gavel to lead the state’s agriculture department.  Although it may be an unusual career move, Speaker Shawn Jasper says he’s been eyeing the commissioner's job for a while. 

Jasper grew up in a family of poultry farmers. His grandfather and father bred chickens for nearly 75 years in Hudson - producing more than 160 million eggs. 

Jasper says he’s continued to keep up on agriculture issues over the years through the legislature and as a nearly 30-year advisor to UNH's agriculture fraternity.

NPR

Both New Hampshire US Senators are criticizing Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price for reportedly taking private jets around the country for official government business.

 

NHPR File

Controversy over SB 3, a new voting law, remains a partisan cloud over Concord, despite a court ruling this week allowing much of it to take effect.

“Definitely the judge was offering a to-be-continued on this,” Dante Scala, a political science professor at the University of New Hampshire, said Thursday on The Exchange with Laura Knoy.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

It's not primary season, but voting is top of mind in New Hampshire these days.

With the passage of the controversial new voting law SB 3 and its first test in the courts and at the polls earlier this week, Granite State voters are split on whether or not the law is necessary, or simply a tactic to suppress students (and others) from casting ballots.

As that story continues to develop, Secretary of State Bill Gardner's participation on President Trump's election commission continues to generate controversy. That group met in New Hampshire this week amid protest from activists and pushback over new, unfounded claims of voter fraud in the state during the 2016 election.

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