Josh Rogers

Senior Political Reporter and Editor

Josh has worked at NHPR since 2000 and serves as NHPR’s State House reporter. Before joining the staff, he lived in New York, where he worked for a number of different magazines.

Josh’s award winning reporting can be heard locally but also regularly airs on national broadcasts of NPR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered. Josh is also a frequent analyst on political talk shows in the state. He grew up in Concord, and holds a Bachelor of Arts in American Studies from Reed College.

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Dan Tuohy for NHPR

Governor Chris Sununu kicked off his second term with an inaugural speech that laid down some ideological markers but stressed bipartisanship, particularly on issues involving child protection mental health and the opioid crisis. 

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

As Governor Chris Sununu gets ready to deliver his second inaugural address, the Democrats who lead the New Hampshire Senate are challenging him to adopt some of their priorities.

The Democrats talked up what they call the "Granite State Opportunity Plan" as they campaigned and say now's the time to start enacting policies like paid family leave, hiring more staff at the state’s child protection agency, lifting the state minimum wage, and putting the brakes on further business tax cuts.

Donna Soucy is the new Democratic Senate President.

Merrimack County Department Of Corrections

Owen Labrie is now in custody at Merrimack County Jail.  The St. Paul's School graduate will serve 10 months for sexually assaulting a 15-year old fellow student in 2014.

Owen Labrie was found guilty of sexual assault and a related computer crime more than 3 years ago. But apart from serving two months behind bars for violating bail, he'd remained free while appealing his conviction.

This month, a judge rejected Labrie's request to reduce his sentence and ordered him back to jail.

Labrie's conviction had already been upheld by the state Supreme Court.

Dan Tuohy/NHPR

The New Hampshire House will be slightly younger when the new legislative session starts next month. But the chamber remains dominated by members above the age of 60.

According to the new numbers released by the House Clerk this week, about one of 4 members of the New Hampshire House is over the age of 70, but even so the legislature's average age is dropping.

It will be 61 this session, a year younger that it was last session, and 5 years younger than it was the session before that.

The New Hampshire Attorney General's office has picked Keene State College's director of campus safety to oversee St. Paul's school's compliance with the settlement it reached with the state over its handling of sexual misconduct by faculty and students. 

Jeffrey T. Maher holds a law degree, and spent 20 years working for the Nashua Police Department, retiring as a Captain.

Deputy Attorney General Jane Young says starting Feb. 9, Maher will be at St. Paul's School, and reporting back to prosecutors for at least three years and possibly as long as five.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Governor Chris Sununu is defending payouts from his inaugural fundraising committee to family members and staff. But the governor also says he'd welcome tighter standards on inaugural committees.

In the wake of his first election in 2016, Sununu's inaugural committee raised $450,000, much of it from corporations and lobbyists. It also paid out about $165,000 to people with close ties to the governor, including members of his family and administration.

NHPR Staff

The Democrats who lead the New Hampshire House are moving closer to outlawing firearms from Representatives Hall.

The policy on allowing guns to be carried onto the House floor and into the gallery has toggled back and forth over the past decade depending on which party holds the majority. And the committee vote to restore the ban was party line.

Prior to the vote, Walpole Democrat Lucy Weber told colleagues guns have made schools leery of making class trips to the State House.

Sam Evans-Brown for NHPR

As Governor Chris Sununu prepares to be inaugurated for his second term, the committee that organizes his inaugural activities is getting some attention.

Over the weekend the NH Union Leader reported that the committee has paid out thousands of dollars to members of the Governor’s inner circle, including his sister, father and wife.

Joining me now to to discuss the story is NHPR’s Josh Rogers. 

NHPR Staff

Democracts in charge of the state legislature have made key legislative appointments.

House speaker Steve Shurtleff has tapped Karen Ebel of New London to serve as deputy speaker, and made Doug Ley of Jaffrey house majority leader.

Senate President Donna Soucy has, meanwhile, made her committee assignments.

Lou D'Allesandro, the Senate's longest serving member, will again lead the powerful Finance Committee.

Senate Majority Leader Dan Feltes, will run the Ways and Means Committee, which is in charge of tax policy.

New Hampshire has collected $2.9 million in rooms and meals tax revenue directly from Airbnb  in the year since the state reached a deal with the vacation rental site. 

The revenue from Airbnb comprises less than 1% of rooms and meals tax collections over the same period, but they are the first under the agreement that put Airbnb - and not property owners - in charge of sending the state the 9% tax charged in rooms and meals.

According to Airbnb's Liz Debold Fusco, the new approach is serving everybody's interests.

NHPR Staff

New data compiled by the Chronicle of Higher Education show salaries continue to rise for leaders of New Hampshire colleges and universities. 

Will his total compensation of more than $1.1 million dollars, Dartmouth's Phil Hanlon is the highest paid college administrator in New Hampshire, the 44th best paid private college president in the country.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The new legislature will be sworn in and pick a Secretary of State on Wednesday. Bill Gardner has been Secretary of State for 42 years, and for most of that time his re-election has been inevitable.

Not this year. 

Wilfredo Lee/AP

The state is ramping up efforts to get drivers to obtain licenses that comply with the federal standard known as REAL-ID. Relatively few people in New Hampshire now have such licenses.

New Hampshire was among the few states that fought the 9/11-inspired federal standard that became law in 2005. 

Josh Rogers / NHPR

Wednesday is the day lawmakers will pick New Hampshire’s next Secretary of State, and both candidates—42-year incumbent Bill Gardner and his challenger, former executive councilor Colin Van Ostern—are hustling for support. 

Josh Rogers / NHPR

The domestic violence case against Jeff Woodburn, the former Democratic leader of the state Senate, is moving to Superior Court.

The latest order indicates the investigation into Woodburn may have started after a tip from a fellow lawmaker.

The lawyer for Jeff Woodburn's alleged victim says Woodburn's defense has pushed the idea that her client went to the police out of revenge over the failure of their relationship.

Attorney Patricia LaFrance says she'd argued that's not the case in court and in pleadings.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The woman poised to become the next New Hampshire Senate President has no plans to say who she'll vote for in the race for Secretary of State.

The race pitting 42-year incumbent Bill Gardner against former Executive Councilor Colin Van Ostern is a topic she'd prefer to avoid.

Donna Soucy had just finished inspecting the renovations to the Senate Chamber where which she'll soon preside. As leader of the Senate, her endorsement in the secretary of state race could be pivotal. I flagged her down and asked if she had a minute to talk.

josh rogers / nhpr

Five former New Hampshire governors  -- Republicans John Sununu, Judd Gregg, Steve Merrill Craig Benson, and Democrat John Lynch -- want lawmakers to give Secretary of State Bill Gardner another term. The ex-governors say putting Colin Van Ostern in the job would place the independence of the office and the state’s presidential primary at risk.

Former Governor John Lynch already spoke of Gardner’s behalf before the House Democratic Caucus voted 179 to 23  to back Van Ostern over Gardner.

Josh Rogers for NHPR

Lawmakers new and old new swarmed the New Hampshire State House Tuesday for orientation.

For those new to the State House, orientation week is a time to get one's bearings.

"I want a day up here when there are no committees so I can walk around, and say, 'Oh this is here, and that's there.'"

For those not so new to Concord, this week is a time to adjust to new realities.

josh rogers / nhpr

 

A recount last week affirmed that Democrat Jon Morgan of Brentwood beat incumbent Republican Bill Gannon of Sandown by 105 votes out of the almost 26,000 cast in the race for New Hampshire Senate District 23.

Gannon and other Republicans had questioned  whether the Democrat met the seven-year residency requirement laid out in the state constitution.

josh rogers / nhpr

The final 2018 recount confirmed Democrat Jon Morgan’s win over GOP incumbent Bill Gannon. But the disputes over this race aren’t over.

josh rogers / nhpr

The former New Hampshire co-chair of Donald Trump's presidential campaign wants to lead the state Republican Party. 

josh rogers / nhpr

Republicans in the New Hampshire House met today ahead of selecting their leaders. Several members are vying to lead Republicans as they move from majority to minority status, but the caucus seems united behind Secretary of State Bill Gardner. 

josh rogers / nhpr

Steve Shurtleff has been House Democratic leader for six years and Democrats gave him an easy win over Hampton progressive Renny Cushing. After the 182-43 vote, Shurtleff said earning the confidence of his caucus, which, pending recounts, will hold a 34-seat majority in the House, means a lot.

"I'm very touched, as someone who grew up here in Concord, seeing the State House so many times, to be the nominee for speaker is a great honor."

File photo

Governor Chris Sununu has tapped a Republican former colleague on the Executive Council to join New Hampshire's Superior Court. St. Hilaire of Concord is now a top manager at the state Liquor Commission.

Apart from serving as general counsel to the commission, St. Hilaire has been a city prosecutor, won election as Merrimack county attorney, and worked in private practice and as a state hearings officer.

From 2011-2013, he served alongside Governor Sununu on the Executive Council.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

Pending recounts, Democrats will hold a 66-seat majority next year in the New Hampshire House. That makes electing a Democratic speaker all but certain.

Steve Shurtleff (D-Concord) has led his party in the House for three terms, but Renny Cushing (D-Hampton), who's pushed to end the death penalty and legalize marijuana, says there ought to be a choice.

Tom Roy / Union Leader

While voters chose to reelect Gov. Chris Sununu on Tuesday, they also voted to put both chambers of the state Legislature and the Executive Council in the hands of Democrats, reversing the State House's current balance of power.  These changes will test the governor, which he acknowledged during his victory speech.

Tom Roy | The NH Union Leader

Governor Chris Sununu won second term in Concord on Tuesday. He beat Democrat Molly Kelly by racking up votes in GOP towns and holding steady or better in the state’s two largest cities.

But Sununu will now have to work with a state legislature and executive council under Democratic control.

Lauren Chooljian for NHPR

The divisive 2018 midterm campaign is quickly drawing to a close.

Over the weekend - candidates and volunteers knocked on doors, shook hands - and in some cases went grocery shopping - as they tried to make their final get out the vote push.

NHPR’s Lauren Chooljian and Josh Rogers were also on the trail.

Via Twitter

If you catch Gov. Chris Sununu at the State House or on the campaign trail, it generally won’t be long before he drops a certain biographical tidbit:

“I’m an engineer by trade, a civil and environmental engineer....” “My focus as an environmental engineer…” “I was an environmental engineer…. “I love the concept, I’m an environmental engineer...”

But by the governor’s own accounting, it’s been a decade since he's really worked as an engineer. And Sununu’s political opponents have questioned his professional credentials for years.

allegra boverman for NHPR

Governor Chris Sununu and the Democrat hoping to replace him, former State Senator Molly Kelly met in debate last night on NHPR. Joining me now to discuss is Josh Rogers.

OK. Josh, last night’s debate at Manchester Community College was the second of the general election, but the first for live statewide broadcast – and by the way we’ll be playing that debate back at 9am. You and Laura Knoy were asking the questions. So what in this debate stood out for you?

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