State of Democracy

NHPR's reporting initiative focused on the impact of politics and public policy on the residents of New Hampshire and beyond. Learn more here.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Rep. Dan Eaton of Stoddard, one of the longest-serving Democrats in the New Hampshire Legislature, was reprimanded earlier this year after a State House employee reported that he had engaged in “a long pattern of behavior” that created a “hostile work environment.”

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.

With six weeks to go until the primary, Congresswoman Annie Kuster’s campaign account is six times the size of the three Republicans who’ve lining up to challenge her — combined.

The fundraising narrative in New Hampshire’s 1st Congressional District has been consistent from the start of the race: There’s Democrat Maura Sullivan way out in the front of the pack, thanks largely to out-of-state donors and other powerful political allies, and then there’s everyone else.

JJBers via Flickr/Creative Commons

A major ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court last month means that states that impose a sales tax can now require businesses located outside of their borders to collect that tax and turn the money over. It’s a big deal for New Hampshire, one of the few states without a sales tax.

Courtroom One Gavel
Joe Gratz / Flickr Creative Commons

The juvenile justice system in New Hampshire is built around the idea of rehabilitation. Instead of going to jail, young people who commit crimes gain access to services like counseling and substance abuse treatment to address the underlying causes of their behavior.

But a blind spot in the state’s juvenile justice system can keep some kids from getting the help they need.

Jason Moon for NHPR

This week’s Supreme Court ruling limiting the ability of public sector unions to collect "agency fees" from non-members has landed along predictably partisan lines in New Hampshire. 

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. 

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

You’ll hear a lot this campaign season about who’s raising the most money — but the most telling parts of a candidate’s fundraising report aren't the details about how much a candidate raked in, but where that money came from.

That’s especially true in the race for New Hampshire governor, where we have a Republican incumbent who can draw on plenty of political and corporate connections, one Democratic challenger who is similarly well-connected to her party’s establishment and another Democrat who says he wants to get big money out of New Hampshire politics.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Ask any fourth grader, Statehouse tour guide or civically engaged Granite Stater about the size of the New Hampshire House of Representatives, and they’ll likely have one oft-cited number at the ready: 400, the largest of any state in the nation and among the largest in the English-speaking world.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

The New Hampshire Liquor Commission is making a bet on itself. The state agency is investing heavily in refurbished outlets and supermarket-sized new facilities. It’s part of a long-term strategy to increase sales and ward off competition from other states.

Lawmakers who count on liquor profits to help fund state government are watching closely to see if these expensive projects pay off, with some concerned about the early results.

Sara Plourde

Over the past few months, more than a dozen New Hampshire towns, cities and counties have filed lawsuits against major drug makers, accusing the companies of ignoring signs that their products were fueling an epidemic of addiction.

The lawsuits represent the latest turn in a story that has hit New Hampshire harder than much of the rest of the country. Here’s an overview of where things stand, and where they may be headed.

via LinkedIn

Gov. Chris Sununu’s top drug policy advisor, Marty Boldin, resigned Wednesday following an investigation by the attorney general’s office into an unspecified personnel issue.

State officials with the attorney general’s office and the governor’s office are staying mum on most of the details around his resignation.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The issue of voter fraud in New Hampshire — or a lack thereof — was front and center at a meeting of New Hampshire’s Ballot Law Commission in Concord. The big takeaway?  Top state officials haven’t found any evidence that it’s running rampant in New Hampshire’s elections.

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.

via Twitter

Marty Boldin, Gov. Chris Sununu’s top drug policy advisor, has been on paid administrative leave since the end of April.

But at least one month before that, concerns about Boldin’s behavior came to the attention of the state Department of Health and Human Services, according to interviews and an email obtained by NHPR.

Via LinkedIn

A top advisor to Gov. Chris Sununu has been placed on paid administrative leave and is under review by the attorney general’s office for an unspecified personnel issue.

Marty Boldin — Sununu’s Policy Advisor for Substance Misuse Prevention, Treatment and Recovery — will remain on leave until the attorney general’s review is complete, the governor’s Chief of Staff Jayne Millerick said Friday afternoon.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

Around noon on November 9th of last year, a Black Chevy Suburban pulled up to a New Hampshire liquor store. The driver, a 46-year old Queens, New York resident named Juncheng Chen, bought some booze, then headed off to another liquor store to make another purchase.

Then another, then another.

  

In total, Chen bought liquor at six different New Hampshire stores that afternoon.

Given the deep field of candidates and its reputation as "the swingiest congressional district in the nation," New Hampshire’s 1st Congressional District has attracted most of the spotlight this year, when it comes to campaign fundraising or otherwise. But there’s also plenty of money flowing into the 2nd Congressional District race — most of it going through the campaign bank account of incumbent Congresswoman Annie Kuster.

Democrat Maura Sullivan continues to blitz past all other candidates running in New Hampshire’s 1st Congressional district when it comes to fundraising — and, as was the case during her inaugural months in the race, most of her campaign money continues to come from outside New Hampshire.

Casey McDermott, NHPR

Former Missouri Secretary of State (and possible 2020 presidential candidate) Jason Kander is returning to New Hampshire to headline a major Democratic party fundraiser Saturday night. 

But apart from his occasional appearances at party events over the past few months, Kander’s political committee, Let America Vote, has all the while been building an on-the-ground presence in the Granite State: rallying opposition to Republican-backed voting laws at the State House and support for Democratic candidates in local races. 

NHPR File

There’s been a lot of talk in the past year about the need to pass stricter voting laws and clean up New Hampshire’s elections. But there’s been a lot less talk about any specific cases of voter fraud. NHPR’s Casey McDermott wanted to find out more about what the issue actually looks like.

Twitter

As Dave Carney tells it, September of 1982 was a rough time for John H. Sununu’s campaign for governor.

“We we were broke,” Carney, a longtime political strategist, recalled recently. “We had no money, we couldn’t pay staff. Not that he paid very much anyways…”

 


It’s not often that a political candidate announces his or her platform, and then is immediately challenged by passionate opponents.

But last week, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Steve Marchand stood on the steps of the Lebanon City Hall taking questions - not from reporters, but passionate gun rights advocates.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

We’ve heard a lot of stories this election cycle about political newcomers who have been inspired to run for office. But there are often many obstacles between making that big personal decision and actually running a campaign.

A Boston-based group called New Politics is trying to help veterans and other public servants break into politics. This election cycle, they’re working with Maura Sullivan, a New Hampshire congressional candidate and a Marine veteran.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

There’s a phrase political reporters often lean on when describing Democratic congressional candidate Maura Sullivan: “Right out of central casting.”

Sullivan is a Marine and a Harvard grad who served multiple posts in the Obama administration. So, yeah, central casting seems accurate.

And yet, there’s a very noticeable hole in her resume that has been tripping up some New Hampshire voters lately who are weighing their options in the 1st Congressional District--there’s not much on Sullivan’s resume about the Granite State.

A proposal to amend the state constitution is stirring debate among lawmakers and legal experts in New Hampshire.

The so-called Marsy’s Law amendment would insert specific rights for crime victims into the state constitution.

As NHPR’s Jason Moon reports, a well-financed campaign has brought the same debate to more than a dozen other states at the same time.

The campaign in New Hampshire’s 1st Congressional District is among the most crowded and most buzzed-about midterm races in the country. With all that attention comes plenty of money, from both inside and outside the state.

KOMUNews | Flickr Creative Commons / https://flic.kr/p/aDWgGW

This story has been updated with a statement provided by Envision Healthcare.

When Seabrook resident Donna Beckman got a surprise medical bill after a trip to her local emergency room last summer, she eventually learned it was because the doctor who treated her wasn’t part of her insurance network.

But Beckman’s story doesn’t just serve as a cautionary tale about how patients can be unexpectedly “balance billed” for out-of-network services at in-network medical facilities. It also illustrates how little the average patient knows about who’s involved in their medical care.

Casey McDermott, NHPR

Rep. Bob Backus of Manchester said he thought Tuesday morning's anti-harassment training for legislators was worthwhile — even if, he conceded, he might not have absorbed the whole thing.

“I wasn’t fully awake and participating very well,” Backus, a Democrat, said in the hallway after the 8:30 a.m. presentation wrapped up.

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