Andru Volinsky | New Hampshire Public Radio

Andru Volinsky

Weekly N.H. News Roundup: Aug. 7, 2020

Aug 6, 2020

On the Weekly N.H. News Roundup, we'll speak with Executive Councilor and Democratic candidate for governor Andru Volinsky. We'll get his take on racial justice, handling the pandemic, and re-opening schools. Also, as the primary and general elections approach, are local polling places prepared to keep voters and poll workers safe? 

Air date: Friday, Aug 7 9 am 

Allegra Boverman | NHPR

The Exchange continues its summer series of primary candidate interviews with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andru Volinsky. He currently serves on the Executive Council, representing District 2. We'll discuss his positions on the coronavirus pandemic, police reform, and school re-opening, amother other issues. And we welcome  your questions, as well; send them before the show to exchange@nhpr.org.

Air date: Friday, Aug. 7, 9-9:20

To hear this conversation, which was part of the Aug. 7th Weekly N.H. News Roundup, click here!

Todd Bookman for NHPR

Gubernatorial candidate Andru Volinsky is singling out the Granite Bridge natural gas pipeline proposal as a dividing line in that race’s Democratic primary, holding a campaign event Friday that his opponent, state Sen. Dan Feltes, dismissed as a political stunt.

The project, from Liberty Utilities, involves a 27-mile gas pipeline between Stratham and Manchester, along Route 101. It would connect two existing gas arteries that follow Interstates 93 and 95 and would also include a large liquefied natural gas storage tank in Epping.

Josh Rogers / NHPR

The two Democrats running for New Hampshire governor, Executive Councilor Andru Volinsky and State Senator Dan Feltes, have some things in common. They're both from Concord, and they're both lawyers.

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Both also describe their legal experience as critical to how they'd approach the job of leading the state. Volinsky has been a prominent New Hampshire litigator for 30 years, and Feltes spent close to a decade as staff attorney at New Hampshire Legal Assistance. 

Josh Rogers / NHPR

The Democrats running for New Hampshire governor met in a Zoom forum hosted by Dartmouth College Thursday night, where they laid out competing strategies for how their party can win the corner office this year.

Allegra Boverman | NHPR

Executive Councilor Andru Volinsky is apologizing for his treatment of two Black nominees to statewide political appointments, saying his criticism of their credentials failed to account for what he called a history of Black people being “unfairly dismissed as unqualified.”

Gov. Chris Sununu has raised more money than either of his two Democratic challengers, and has more cash left in his campaign account than those two candidates combined.

But State Sen. Dan Feltes and Executive Councilor Andru Volinsky are both touting their latest fundraising numbers, filed this week with the Secretary of State, as record-breaking in their own ways.

The Executive Council voted Wednesday to deny the nomination of Ryan Terrell to the State Board of Education.

Terrell’s nomination, by Republican Gov. Chris Sununu, was voted down by the Democratic majority on the five-member body, who cited concerns about Terrell’s qualifications. But Terrell, who is black, said the debate “turned into a conversation about race” that discounted his other qualifications.

Zoom screenshot

Democratic state lawmakers say they'll push for renewable energy development as part of the economic recovery from COVID-19.

State senator and gubernatorial candidate Dan Feltes addressed the issue during a virtual Earth Day town hall Wednesday.

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Dan Tuohy / NHPR

There appears to be little progress being made in a six-month long partisan stalemate over filling a vacancy on the New Hampshire Supreme Court.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

Executive Councilor Andru Volinsky has joined Senate Majority Leader Dan Feltes in the Democratic primary for New Hampshire governor.

Both men are Concord lawyers: Volinsky is best known as the lead attorney in the Claremont education funding lawsuits; Feltes spent years as a legal aid lawyer before running for office.

Both men see themselves are leaders on progressive issues.

And both men, in their respective roles at the State House, have the ability to stymie Gov. Chris Sununu’s agenda in the coming year, even before Election Day rolls around in 2020.

File Photo/NHPR

The New Hampshire Liquor Commission has settled a dispute with a former employee who it accused of violating store policy and subsequently fired.

Backers of the former employee, however, describe him as a whistleblower who was retaliated against for shedding light on alleged ‘bootlegging’ at state-run liquor stores.

Allegra Boverman | NHPR

Executive Councilor Andru Volinsky is taking a step closer to running for governor.  The Concord Democrat has announced a list of 175 people who are backing his potential campaign.

Volinsky's announcement comes months after he privately emailed political supporters to say that a gubernatorial run was likely.

It also follows a solid fundraising period that left the 63-year-old lawyer with $125,000 in his campaign account.

Todd Bookman / NHPR

As the New Hampshire Attorney General continues to examine the legality of the state Liquor Commission’s policies for large all-cash sales at state-run liquor stores, the agency is retaining a private law firm, as well as a tax advisory company, to assist in what it calls ongoing "discussions" with the Internal Revenue Service.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

A seemingly routine request for a pay raise led to a tense meeting on Wednesday at the State House in Concord, as high ranking employees from the Liquor Commission faced blunt questioning about their performance, and whether they deserved a 5 percent increase in salary.

NHPR File Photo

Next year, Republican Governor Chris Sununu will be working with a Democratic majority in the legislature and on the Executive Council. 

The last time the five-member council was majority Democrat was in 2014.

The Council reviews the Governor's hiring decisions and approves state contracts.

Historically, it has been seen as non-partisan, but in recent years it has become more political - with fights over Planned Parenthood, light rail, and staffing appointments.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

The N.H. Liquor Commission will pay an armored car company about $5,200 to pick up cash at 16 of its high-volume stores this month.

The contract with Loomis Armored coincides with the current gift card promotional period, when there is typically a surge in sales at the state’s 79 liquor stores

Berlin School District

The city of Berlin and its school district will host a forum Thursday that explains how the state funds public education.

They're calling it: "Save Our Schools: Save Education Funding Now."

Executive Councilor Andru Volinsky and lawyer John Tobin have led three of these forums in other property-poor towns around the state.

The pair were lawyers in the original lawsuits against the state for adequate school funding more than two decades ago.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

The New Hampshire Liquor Commission is seeking to ban the president of one of the state’s largest labor unions from entering any state liquor store for the next six months.

The effort is an escalation in an ongoing dispute between the state agency and some of its workers over the proper handling of large all-cash transactions and allegations of bootlegging.

NHPR Staff

The Executive Council will vote Wednesday on Governor Chris Sununu’s request for a special legislative session this summer.

The call for a session stems from the Supreme Court’s recent decision in South Dakota v. Wayfair, in which the majority of justices ruled that states that impose a sales tax can require businesses in other states to collect and remit that tax on their behalf.

A long-festering dispute between New Hampshire Liquor Commission management and the union employees who staff the state-run stores erupted in front-page headlines this week.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

Around noon on November 9th of last year, a Black Chevy Suburban pulled up to a New Hampshire liquor store. The driver, a 46-year old Queens, New York resident named Juncheng Chen, bought some booze, then headed off to another liquor store to make another purchase.

Then another, then another.

  

In total, Chen bought liquor at six different New Hampshire stores that afternoon.

The New Hampshire Liquor Commission is denying allegations made by Executive Councilor Andru Volinsky that the state-run agency is engaging in questionable business practices surrounding all-cash transactions and possible money laundering.

New York State Department of Taxation and Finance

A week after requesting information about possible contacts between the New Hampshire Liquor Commission and a New York man charged with bootlegging, the IRS is now withdrawing its summons, according to the Commission.

N.Y. Tax Department of Taxation

Internal Revenue Service agents want to review communications between New Hampshire state liquor store employees and two New York residents, one of whom was arrested in that state in December on charges of bootlegging.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

Agents from the Internal Revenue Service made unannounced visits to New Hampshire liquor stores last week, according to multiple sources. The action comes in the wake of allegations made by an elected official that the state-run stores aren’t doing enough to stop potentially illegal all-cash transactions, exposing the state and liquor store employees to possible lawsuits and harm.

Courtesy of NH Liquor Commission

The New Hampshire Liquor Commission has fired a retail employee who it says violated policies by improperly completing a large all-cash sale at a state liquor store last month.

That transaction, involving $24,000 worth of Hennessy cognac, is at the heart of allegations being made Executive Councilor Andru Volinsky into wrongdoing by the Liquor Commission.

NHPR File Photo

The Chair of the New Hampshire Republican Party Monday criticized an Executive Councilor for conducting his own "misguided sting" investigation into potential money laundering at state liquor stores.

After receiving allegations about potential money laundering taking place at state-run New Hampshire liquor stores, Gov. Chris Sununu says the source of the allegations--an elected official--may have acted improperly in gathering information.

Andru Volinsky, Letter to Governor and Attorney General

Executive Councilor Andru Volinsky is calling for an investigation into the New Hampshire Liquor Commission, alleging that the state’s liquor stores are engaging in business practices that could “unquestionably facilitate money laundering related to criminal activities.”

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