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Candidates Attack Sununu On Justice Reform In Virtual Governor's Debate

N.H. State House
Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Gov. Chris Sununu was absent from a forum hosted virtually by the Greater Nashua Area Branch of the NAACP and Black Lives Matter Thursday evening, but his stance on criminal justice reform, voting rights, and racial justice came under fire nonetheless.

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“For Granite Staters of color and those marching for change, you deserve a governor who acknowledges systemic racism exists; Chris Sununu does not,” Democrat Dan Feltes said in his opening statement.

Libertarian candidate Darryl Perry pitched himself as the top criminal justice reform candidate, arguing for full legalization of marijuana, which he said would lessen the effect of drug laws on people of color, and generate revenue in taxes.

“There’s no reason people should be going to prison for possessing a plant,” he said.

The two candidates praised local election officials for their work preparing for the November election, but said Sununu had not done enough to condemn President Trump’s unfounded allegations of voter fraud.

Feltes criticized Sununu for not condemning the president’s recent call to supporters to patrol polling sites on Election Day.

“Let’s enforce the law and make sure it is enforced in terms of poll watching, not invite a bunch of people to flock the polls and intimidate people,” he said.

Sununu adviser Paul Collins explained through a letter to the NAACP that the campaign had received too many invitations to debates and forums, and were only participating in three "sponsored by respected media outlets with fair and impartial moderators."

Sarah Gibson joined NHPR's newsroom in 2018. She reports on education and demographics.

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