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A.G.: Criminal History Bars Nashua Transgender Woman From Holding Office

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An opinion from Attorney General Michael Delaney issued Monday concludes a Nashua woman is ineligible to run for office because of her criminal history.

As a result of the opinion, Stacie Laughton says she plans to withdraw her candidacy for special election to fill the vacant seat representing Hillsborough County District 31.

Voters elected Laughton to the seat in November, but she stepped down after reports surfaced about past felony convictions.

Laughton later reconsidered and filed paperwork last week to run as a candidate in the special election.

In his opinion issued Monday, Attorney General Michael Delaney says Laughton’s sentences have not yet been fully discharged.

Four years ago, under the name Barry Laughton, she was convicted of conspiracy to commit identity fraud and falsifying physical evidence.

Her sentences included prison time suspended for good behavior and the repayment of nearly $2,000 dollars in restitution.

State law says people are not eligible to hold public office if sentences from a felony conviction are not fully discharged.

Delaney says the state’s Ballot Law Commission is ultimately responsible for determining eligibility for holding political office.

Laughton would have been the state’s first openly transgender lawmaker.

With Laughton stepping down, two candidates will now face off Feb. 19 in a special election to fill the seat.

For NHPR news, I’m Michael Brindley.

Michael serves as NHPR's Program Director. Michael came to NHPR in 2012, working as the station's newscast producer/reporter. In 2015, he took on the role of Morning Edition producer. Michael worked for eight years at The Telegraph of Nashua, covering education and working as the metro editor.

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