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New Hampshire House Democratic leader Cushing dies

N.H. State Rep. Renny Cushing, D-Hampton
Dan Tuohy
State Rep. Renny Cushing, the House Democratic leader from Hampton, in a 2019 photo.

The long-time state representative from Hampton was 69.

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Officials have announced the death of New Hampshire State Rep. Robert "Renny" Cushing, who staged a massive sit-in against nuclear power in the 1970s and spent later decades standing up for social justice at the Statehouse.

The state House Democratic Office said Cushing died Monday at his home. He was 69.

The Democrat from Hampton had been fighting stage 4 prostate cancer. Cushing was in his eighth non-consecutive term in the House and even as his illness progressed, he was elected House Democratic leader in late 2020.

Cushing was a co-founder of the Clamshell Alliance, which fought the construction of the Seabrook Station nuclear plant.

He also led the successful effort to repeal New Hampshire's death penalty.

New Hampshire's Renny Cushing, center with blue tie, listens to legislative testimony in 2018.
Dan Tuohy
Rep. Renny Cushing, in the center with blue tie, listens to legislative testimony in 2018 on proposals for legalizing cannabis.
Renny Cushing with Bernie Sanders in 2016
Allegra Boverman for NHPR
Rep. Renny Cushing stands behind Sen. Bernie Sanders when the Democratic presidential candidate filed for the New Hampshire Primary in 2016 at the New Hampshire State House.

New Hampshire leaders recall Cushing's dedication

House Speaker Sherman Packard:

“I am saddened by the passing of Leader Cushing. He was highly respected amongst his peers in the House and throughout the State of New Hampshire. He was a passionate and dedicated public servant - never afraid to take on controversial issues for the sake of bettering this great state. It was an honor to serve alongside Leader Cushing, and his presence will be greatly missed by all who had the opportunity to know and work with him. On behalf of the House of Representatives and General Court staff, I would like to extend my deepest sympathies to the Cushing family, their friends and loved ones during this difficult time.”

Gov. Chris Sununu:

“Renny Cushing served his community for decades in the New Hampshire House and made a lasting impact on the issues he cared deeply about,” said Governor Chris Sununu. “My thoughts are with the Cushing family during this unimaginable time.”

State Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley:

“Today, New Hampshire lost a great and courageous hero, and I lost a good friend, with the passing of New Hampshire House Democratic Leader Renny Cushing. Renny’s passion for justice was unparalleled in New Hampshire history. He spent his entire life fighting the good fight. Always courageously championing the cause of those who needed a champion.

“Personally, I was inspired by his charismatic leadership as a teen and followed him in the fight against the Seabrook nuclear plant. Just ten years later, we were both elected to the NH House in 1986 - both by 9 votes. Together we worked on issues both great and small, his clarity of thought, strategic mind and heart of gold were a wonder to behold. His sense of justice never wavered or compromised. His epic determination and strength led to impressive victories both inside the legislature and out."

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