Lauren Chooljian

Reporter, Politics & Policy

Credit Lucy Hewett / lucyhewett.com

Lauren is NHPR’s Politics and Policy reporter for the State of Democracy project.

Before joining NHPR in 2017, Lauren spent nearly six years as a reporter, producer and fill-in host for WBEZ in Chicago. Most recently, she covered City Hall and Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration.

Her reporting has earned her awards from the Associated Press and a regional Murrow Award. In 2014, her voice was featured on a best-of list in the Chicago Tribune culture section for its “unpretentious, Peppermint Patty scratchiness,” which her family especially appreciated.

Lauren graduated with a BA in History from Saint Anselm College and has a Master of Science in Journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, where she was also an adjunct lecturer. Her work as been featured on NPR, Marketplace, Here and Now, and in The Washington Post, among others.

Lauren is a proud New Hampshire native, born and raised in Hampstead.   

Ways to Connect

Lauren Chooljian / NHPR

  President Donald Trump might have a Republican challenger in 2020.

Former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld was in New Hampshire to announce he has launched a presidential exploratory committee. He’s the first Republican to throw a hat at least close to the 2020 ring.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

New Hampshire Republicans had a brutally honest conversation this weekend about the state party’s dysfunction, and how it led to being “outspent, out-organized and out-messaged” by Democrats in the midterm elections.

Lauren Chooljian for NHPR

The New Hampshire House of Representatives is now a gun-free zone.

The new Democratic majority led an effort Wednesday to ban deadly weapons from the House chamber - the largest public space at the State House - and in surrounding rooms. The vote was 220 to 163, marking one of the first pieces of official business this session.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

 

Two of Donald Trump's key New Hampshire supporters want the state Republican Party to endorse the president in the 2020 primary.

 

But after talking with Gov. Chris Sununu, they've decided not to press the issue anymore. 

 

Historically, both state parties stay out of primary elections. 

 

But Republicans -- state Rep. Fred Doucette and Bruce Breton -- wanted to change the rules.

 

Lauren Chooljian / NHPR

When Republican Ohio Governor John Kasich is in New Hampshire, as he has been twice this year, and when he’s asked about running for president, as he constantly is, he responds with “all of my options are on the table.”

And when he says all options, his list includes running, not running, and running as a third party candidate.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Democrat Chris Pappas beat Republican Eddie Edwards Tuesday in the race for New Hampshire's 1st Congressional District. The candidates were vying for the seat vacated by Democrat Carol Shea Porter.

Pappas' victory came after a hard-fought battle that began with two bitter primary campaigns and a general election that kept voters on edge until late on election night.

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.

Lauren Chooljian | NHPR

The midterm elections are just a few days away. New Hampshire voters will be choosing who they want for governor, both congressional districts and in all 424 legislative seats.

But with all the Democratic presidential hopefuls in town lately, it's starting to feel more like 2020 than 2018.

Lauren Chooljian / NHPR

Denise Bowdidge would like it to be known that she is a big fan of President Donald Trump.

 

“He’s not afraid, he’s a man of strength and encouragement and hope for people for the future,” she told an NHPR reporter one August afternoon.

Those same feelings propelled her to drive across the 1st Congressional District, from her home in Bedford, to Portsmouth, where Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, was in town to endorse Republican Eddie Edwards.

At the time, Edwards was locked in a heated primary battle with opponent Andy Sanborn, and he was courting Trump supporters hard.

“The president is doing one hell of a job in Washington,” Edwards said. “One hell of a job.”

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

First Congressional District candidates Eddie Edwards and Chris Pappas faced off at New Hampshire Public Radio today for their first, live debate of the general election. Edwards, a Republican from Dover, is a former chief of law enforcement for the state Liquor Commission. Pappas, a Democrat from Manchester, is a restaurateur and current Executive Councilor for District 4.

NHPR's Lauren Chooljian, one of the debate moderators, joined All Things Considered host Peter Biello to discuss how the debate went.

Lauren Chooljian / NHPR

The national storm over Judge Brett Kavanaugh's potential Supreme Court confirmation blew into New Hampshire Monday, as Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, a key player in the confirmation hearings, arrived at Saint Anselm College to give a speech warning about “tribalism” in politics.

Flake’s speech was scheduled before he landed at the center of Kavanaugh’s fate on the Supreme Court. Last Friday, Flake pushed for a week-long pause in the hearings so the FBI could investigate the sexual assault allegations from Dr. Christine Blasey Ford.

NHPR File Photo

New charges were filed Monday in connection with the state's probe into reported misconduct at St. Paul's School.

The New Hampshire Attorney General's office is alleging 28-year-old Stephanie O'Connell made false statements to the grand jury tasked with investigating the elite Concord boarding school.

Prosecutors claim O'Connell, of Chicago, lied about her contact with David O. Pook - a former St. Paul's teacher who pled guilty in August to interfering with the investigation.

 

Advocates and attorneys who represent sexual abuse victims see the settlement between St. Paul’s School and the New Hampshire Attorney General’s office as “groundbreaking,” and some say it could serve as a model that could be implemented at private schools around the country.

St. Paul's School

St. Paul’s School focused more on protecting its reputation than on protecting the children entrusted to its care. That was the message from New Hampshire Attorney General Gordon MacDonald today as he announced the end of his criminal investigation into the elite Concord boarding school.

  The battle for New Hampshire’s 1st District Congressional seat is officially set: It will be Republican Eddie Edwards vs. Democrat Chris Pappas in November.

 

It was a hard fought - often negative - campaign on both sides of the aisle, and voters certainly had their work cut out for them.

WMUR Debate

New Hampshire voters got a chance last night to check out the Republican side of the 1st Congressional District race during the candidates' only televised debate. There were some surprising performances, a little fighting but mostly the five Republican candidates focused on the issues. NHPR's Lauren Chooljian is back with us this morning to breakdown last night's WMUR debate.  

(This transcript was lightly edited.)  

OK. so quickly remind us, who was on stage last night.

WMUR

The 11 Democrats running to replace Rep. Carol Shea-Porter in the 1st Congressional District tried their best to stand out during a televised debate Wednesday, using their fleeting time on stage to prove to voters that they’re the most progressive candidate and best able to take on President Donald Trump’s agenda.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Voters in New Hampshire's 1st Congressional District have less than a week to choose from the pack of candidates running to replace retiring Rep. Carol Shea-Porter.

As with any election, candidates are racing around the state to knock on doors and shake as many hands as possible. But this mad dash to the finish is especially frantic for the 11 Democrats running for the seat, as the sheer number of candidates might cause results to split in interesting ways.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The days until New Hampshire’s primary election are numbered, and most of the Democratic candidates for the 1st Congressional District are using their remaining public appearances to attack the two assumed front runners.

All eleven candidates met at Manchester Community College Thursday night for their final New Hampshire Democratic party sponsored forum, and it was clear that most of the congressional hopefuls have their sights set on Executive Councilor Chris Pappas and Maura Sullivan.

Lauren Chooljian / NHPR

U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen has officially endorsed Chris Pappas in the race for the 1st Congressional District, a move that has stirred up some drama among other Democrats in the crowded field.

Shaheen and Pappas announced the endorsement together Tuesday at the American Legion Sweeney Post in Manchester. While Pappas supporters munched on chicken tenders from The Puritan, the Pappas family’s restaurant, Shaheen told the crowd she’s known Pappas since he was in high school, when he worked on her 1996 campaign for governor.

Courtesy

Sean Graber and Keal Harter love to talk politics together. The recent Dartmouth graduates recall many late nights at the Tuck School of Business debating the political dramas of the day - often to the chagrin of their classmates.

It wasn’t that they always agreed, or that they enjoyed disagreeing with each other. They liked knowing that the person on the other side of the table came to the debate with an open mind and a fact-based perspective, something Graver feels the country seems to be losing.

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.

Lauren Chooljian / NHPR

  In yet another week where news of the Russia investigation dominated national headlines, President Donald Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani made time in his schedule to fly to Portsmouth and endorse Republican Eddie Edwards in New Hampshire’s 1st Congressional District race.

Despite insisting that voters shouldn’t interpret his endorsement as an endorsement from the president, most of Giuliani’s remarks were about Trump, and the similarities between Edwards and the president’s agenda.

Courtesy

St. Paul's School in Concord has hired its first female head of school. 

 

Kathleen Carroll Giles has been appointed by the school's board to be its new rector.

 

Michael Hirschfeld, the former leader, announced this year he was retiring early, after multiple sexual abuse lawsuits were filed against the school.

 

Giles currently serves as head of Middlesex School in Concord, Massachusetts and will start at St. Paul's next July. 

 

Courtesy SPS

St. Paul’s School in Concord has hired one of its former math teachers to serve as interim rector for 2018-19 school year.

 

Amy C. Richards has been hired to replace current rector Michael Hirschfeld, who retired a year earlier than originally planned. Hirschfeld told the St. Paul's community in May that he was leaving early because it had been "an usually painful time for the entire School community and also for my family."

NHPR

  Republican Bruce Crochetiere suddenly dropped out Wednesday of New Hampshire’s 1st Congressional District race, citing “recent developments with his family and business.”

His campaign, launched just four months ago, was the Hampton Falls businessman’s first foray into politics, a fact he often touted when he introduced himself to voters.

Lauren Chooljian / NHPR

  The field of candidates trying to replace retiring Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter is crowded, to say the least. There are over a dozen people running for the 1st Congressional seat, and this district is notorious for swinging back and forth between the two parties.

NHPR’s Lauren Chooljian spent some time this week watching the three main Republican candidates to see how they’re trying to distinguish themselves from one another. She spoke with NHPR's All Things Considered host Peter Biello.

Lauren Chooljian for NHPR

Allegations that New Hampshire Republican state Senator Andy Sanborn made inappropriate comments at the State House are following him on the campaign trail for Congress.

Sanborn is among a handful of Republicans running to replace retiring Democratic Rep. Carol Shea-Porter in the 1st Congressional District. 

Courtesy of St. Paul's School's Website

St. Paul’s School in Concord is extending its resources for sexual abuse victims to alumni of its prestigious summer program. NHPR's Lauren Chooljian reports.

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. 

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